Children’s Books For Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated September 15th to October 15th! This month celebrates the cultures and contributions of Latino Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. September 15th is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. While Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month try reading these great children’s books:

The Barking Mouse book

The Barking Mouse by Antonio Sacre. This is a Cuban folktale retold by Antonio Sacre is about the value of being bilingual.

I Love Saturdays Y Domingos

I Love Saturdays y Domingos by Alma Flor Ada. Sat­ur­days and Sun­days are very spe­cial days for the child in this story. On Sat­ur­days, she vis­its Grandma and Grandpa, who come from a European-American back­ground, and on Sundays (los domingos) she visits Abuelito y Abuelita, who are Mexican-American. While the two sets of grand­par­ents are dif­fer­ent in many ways, they also have a great deal in common–in par­tic­u­lar, their love for their granddaughter.


Round is a Tortilla by Roseanne Greenfield Thong.  A little girl discovers that shapes are all around her. They are part of her culture and the food she eats, games she plays, and objects in her room and around her town. Everywhere she looks, she sees shapes!

Green Is a Chile Pepper book

Green is a Chile Pepper by Roseanne Greenfield Thong.  A little girl discovers all the bright colors in her Hispanic American neighborhood.


Make sure to follow The Learning Child on social media for more research-based early childhood education resources!

Twitter Logo Pinterest Logo iconmonstr-facebook-4-icon-64


What Will You Do To Be The Preferred Parent In Divorce?

rulesetting.jpgMore and more Nebraska families with children are single-parent families. According to the 2014 Kids Count Report, “one of the most troubling trends for child well-being is the steady decline in the percentage of children living with two married parents.” 2013 data indicates, 131,000 or 30% of Nebraska children lived in single parent homes. In 2012, nationally, 35 percent of children were living with a single parent, with about half of all children spending a portion of their childhood in a single-parent home.

It is natural when single parents are hurting, to want to be the parent who the children prefers to be with. Children learn quickly which parent will say “yes” and which parent will say “no” to specific requests. It is easy for children to create “competition” between parents about who will provide the most things or which parent will lighten up on the rules in order to be “the preferred parent.” During divorce and custody, parents typically have less time to spend with their children and less money to buy children the things they need and or want.

For these reasons co-parents want to give children additional gifts, stretch the rules and plan special experiences. It is typical for one parent to have more discretionary income than the other. When parents try to gain their child’s love by providing stuff, entertainment, and unjustified privileges children may become manipulative and feel entitled. Here are a few strategies which create cooperation in which the children and parents both benefit.

  • Come up with an agreement with the other parent about how much stuff children really need. Flexibility is also important.
  • If one parent, or possibly grandparents are able to provide “the extras” such as violin lessons and soccer shoes, the co-parent can “reframe” and feel grateful rather than feeling inadequate.
  • It is OK to say “It is not in my budget” in a kind way which lets the kids know you are appreciative about what the other parent is able to provide.
  • Plan family time to communicate and teach life skills. These may include family meals, homework, household chores, pick-up basketball games or going to the park.
  • Provide the “extras” such as a new bicycle or a concert ticket on special occasions. This will create special memories, and minimize the sense of entitlement.
  • Set at least 6 rules that both homes will stick to so there is consistence between houses. The more guidelines or rules that both houses can agree on, the easier it will be for both parents as well as children.

Continue to strive for cooperative relationships with your co-parent to best meet the unique needs of each of your children. It’s not easy, however it is worth it.

Click here for additional information about creating peaceful solutions for children and parents who are experiencing divorce, separation or custody transitions.

Gail Brand, Extension Educator | The Learning Child

Make sure to follow The Learning Child on social media for more research-based early childhood education resources!

Twitter Logo Pinterest Logo iconmonstr-facebook-4-icon-64


8 Ways To Engage Parents In Childcare

Teacher with young studentsWelcome to our center, we are happy you are here and can’t wait to learn more about you! This is the message you should be sending every time a family enters your child care program. Families are important, they are our partners in the development, education and well-being of their child.

Keeping parents engaged at your center is an indicator for center retention. Ask yourself: Are parents welcome in your childcare center and classroom? Do you value families individually for who they are? Do you value the opinions families share with you? Communication is key, from the first phone call inquiring about child care to the last day a child is enrolled in the program, everyone must be engaged for the good of the child.

We cannot know a child without knowing their family. Developing relationships with families will ensure that no matter the topic, the message you need to share will be received. Here are 8 easy way to engage parents in the classroom and childcare center.

  1. Send a welcome letter to the child and family before they start in your center or classroom.
  2. Send home a stuffed animal friend and a journal and have parents and children create a page in your classroom book about what they did when the animal friend was at their house. Everyone gets a page and the book will be bound and kept in your classroom library.
  3. Post a note on your classroom door “I Spy…” invite families and children to add to the list all week, then discuss the list during circle time. Share the final results with all families via an e-mail, a note sent home or in your classroom newsletter.
  4. Write thank you notes. This can be as simple as “Thank you for sharing (your child) with me. We have so much fun playing and learning every day!”
  5. Write a class poem. Start it with “I come from…” encourage families to add their line(s) to the poem. Then post the final poem in the classroom for all to enjoy. Ask families for a family picture to hang near the poem. If families do not have a picture, offer to take one for them.
  6. Invite families in to talk about themselves. The families in your classroom are a wealth of knowledge just waiting for you to recruit them.
  7. Communicate in many different ways. E-mail will not reach everyone, neither will printed newsletters or verbal discussions. Try to utilize a number of ways when you have an important message to share.
  8. Send home family homework over long weekends, family vacations or winter break. This will be something fun for the children to talk about when they get back to school.

Click here for additional strategies for supporting children and families.

Jaci Foged, Extension Educator | The Learning Child

Make sure to follow The Learning Child on social media for more research-based early childhood education resources!

Twitter Logo Pinterest Logo iconmonstr-facebook-4-icon-64

Being Consistent

family-473996_1280Have you ever told your child that bedtime is at 9 p.m., then the next night let them stay up until 10 p.m. and the next week you expect them in bed at 8:30? Or what happens when you tell your child to get their homework done right after school and your spouse tells them they don’t have to do it until after supper? If these situations sound familiar, it might be time to look at the importance of consistency in your home.

It’s easier for children to learn appropriate behavior when their environment remains constant. No parent will be perfectly consistent, but some level of consistency is needed for a child to learn the lessons of social life and feel secure while doing so.

Take A Look At These Situations:

A child is disciplined for throwing a football in the living room on Monday evening, but is not disciplined for the same action on Wednesday. Your teenager came home late after the basketball game. You had agreed that he/she should be home by 11:30 p.m. This is the third time he/she has come home late in the last two weeks. Your spouse says “Oh, don’t worry about, it wasn’t too late. Don’t get too shook up about it”. What has your son or daughter learned in these situations? Do they think you don’t care? Do they think they can get away with anything? In both situations, your child will feel confused. Why? Because consistency was not implemented. They do not know what to expect.

What does consistent discipline look like?

  • Results are predictable. As parents your predictable and consistent behavior from situation to situation gives children a sense of security. The importance of a rule is learned when it is enforced consistently.
  • Be consistent between parents in dealing with similar situations. Don’t play one parent against the other one.
  • Practice what you preach. Children learn values and beliefs more by examples parents set than by verbal instructions.
  • The message a parent sends has to be consistent with what the child receives. The child who said to his mother, “Your mouth says you love me, but your eyes say you don’t,” received a mixed message.

Being consistent doesn’t mean there is never room for change. There are times when curfew rules needs to be changed or table manners relaxed. As children grow, rules need to be adapted to children’s ages and level of responsibility. Talk to your children so they understand why changes are made, and then be consistent in how the changes are carried out.

Jeanette Friesen, Extension Educator | The Learning Child

Previously published in a PDF for Nebraska Extension. Used with permission from the author.

Make sure to follow The Learning Child on social media for more research-based early childhood education resources!

Twitter Logo Pinterest Logo iconmonstr-facebook-4-icon-64