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Being a Single Parent
There is a lot of responsibility in raising a child by oneself. Being a single parent, whether it is by choice or fate, can be a challenge. It is important to recognize that many single people do a beautiful job of raising their children to adulthood. Children from single parent families need the same things that all children need – love, understanding, a home, medical care, food, clothing and discipline. It is vital that all parents show real love and caring to their children. One way to do this is to set limits and use consistent consequences when children break the rules and misbehave. This provides the guidance all children need. Sometimes visitations with the child’s other parent/ grandparents can be difficult, especially if there has been trouble in the past. It is best to accept the situation that the other family does have the right to see the child. Parents can use the time away from the child to recharge emotional energy and to develop new coping skills. As a single parent, it is very important that they take care of themselves so that they can to do a good job taking care of their children. It is a good idea for the parents to find a friend with whom he or she can vent frustrations and negative feelings. …parents show real love and caring for their children. These are feelings that need to be shared with adults rather than with one’s children. When a parent confides in adult friends, they are less likely to burden their children with adult concerns and worries. They should make plans to talk with friends over lunch or on the phone away from the children. Single parents should not put the child in the middle of a vindictive relationship between themselves and former partners. When this happens children may be left feeling that that they are in a hopeless uncomfortable position. It also may affect the feelings they have about themselves and their self esteem. Remember, children are part of BOTH of their parents’ lives. When one
July / August 2005 Volume 5 Issue 4

parent is critical of the other, a child may also feel that criticism. A single parent should never be afraid to ask for help. Parents who ask and accept help are far better able to face the challenges of raising children. Although it may be hard to ask for help, many times it will benefit the child. Family members, friends or neighbors may be resources and can provide child care, assist with special chores or listen when there is the need to talk. Government agencies such as the County and State Cooperative Extension Offices, County WIC Office, Community Health Nurses, and others have information and many resources that can improve family life. Attending parenting classes may give a parent a broader understanding of a child’s safety needs, positive ways to discipline, daily care tips, ways to bolster self esteem, understanding of developmental ages and stages and nutritional needs. Continued on page 3

Monthly Reading Corner Promoting Literacy.................... 2 Cognitive Development............... 2 Tips for Travel Success with a Young Child ................... 3 Health News - Immunizations..... 4

Inside

The Monthly Reading Corner
Promoting Literacy – Helping Children Bloom into Lifetime Readers
Whether you're a parent, guardian, grandparent, or an older sibling, you can help a child learn to love reading. Nurturing a growing reader is an on-going process and one that requires helping children explore the world around them. Even though children may already like to read, it is important to continue to encourage the process. Reading to children on a daily basis is an excellent way to demonstrate how important it is, as well as how enjoyable. It is also an opportunity to explore new worlds and new ideas through the stories in books. Children can go anywhere and be anything when they step into the pages of a book - - the possibilities are endless! Be sure to provide age appropriate books for your child as he or she grows and help them pick out books that relate to their interests. It is also important to encourage them to read (or if you are reading to them) different types of books such as fiction and non-fiction. In addition to story or chapter books, there are other ways to encourage children to read such as exposing them to newspapers, magazines, cookbooks, comic books and food labels. (They can develop healthier eating habits at the same time!) No matter what methods you choose to promote literacy, remember that you are planting the seed that will grow and blossom into a stronger, more excited reader. Happy Reading!
Prepared by Deb Rombough, Extension Educator/Family & Consumer Sciences, Lawrence County

…opportunity to explore new worlds…

By having plenty of books on hand, you are also ensuring that your child will not get bored. This does not mean you need to spend a lot of money. Visit the library often to exchange books and always make sure that books and other reading materials are within a child’s reach. You can help your child build his or her own library by purchasing new or used books. They make great gift ideas for children too.

Cognitive Development
Infancy is a period rich in cognitive or intellectual development. Infants are born with the desire and the capacity to explore and to learn. Infants begin learning through sensory experiences. They uncover the world from what they see, hear, feel, taste and touch. Cognitive development is then enhanced by the six discoveries of infancy.
• Learning Schemes. Young infants begin to put things into groups. They become familiar with hard things, soft things, things that bounce and things that make noise. Later instead of mouthing or banging a block, they may explore the size, shape, texture or color. They also begin to understand the relationship between actions, such as saying goodbye and leaving. • Use of Tools. Infants will use a cry, a hand, a caregiver or an object as a tool. They have learned that a tool is a means to an end. • Cause & Effect. Young infants do not recognize the connection between cause and effect. At about 15 months of age, they actively search for causes of familiar observations, such as what makes a light go on or what makes a sound happen. • Object Permanence. For young infants “out of sight” means “out of mind.” Children begin by identifying and tracking objects as they move through space. Repeated contact with a familiar object, such as a mother’s face or particular rattle, will help an infant acquire this concept.

• Understanding Space. Infants and toddlers will bump into walls, crawl into tight corners, get stuck under tables, and reach for things beyond their grasp. Investigating their environment is part of learning. • Imitation. At first, infants imitate their own behaviors. Later they mimic what they see, whether it is actions, sounds or behavior. This ability enables an infant to learn socially appropriate behavior. Every tiny step of learning is part of a life-long process. The foundation for learning is established in the early years of life.
Source: WestEd and California Department of Education. A Guide to Cognitive Development and Learning. 1995. Prepared by Deb Sundem, Extension Educator/Family & Consumer Sciences, Codington County

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Tips for Travel Success with a Young Child
Your travel life doesn’t need to end just because you’ve become a parent. Traveling somewhere new can be a revitalizing way of spending a few days or weeks. Be sure to set realistic goals and take it nice and easy. Here are some strategies for making travel with your young child a success. colored outfit so he’s easy to spot in a crowd. Inspect the motel/hotel room carefully. Get down on your hands and knees and check the floor of your room (including under the bed) and the bathroom in case there are small objects that your baby might swallow. Examine all drawers and cabinets and remove any items that could be dangerous. Things to bring on the trip for baby proofing the motel might include electrical outlet covers, a safety gate, a toilet lid latch, doorknob covers, table corner covers for blunting sharp edges, and pipe cleaners to secure any loose drapery or electrical cords.

T Be flexible
Traveling with baby can be a wonderful experience if you are able to just go with the flow. Too many new sights and sounds at once can over stimulate your baby. Keep your itinerary simple. Limit it to one activity a day and you’ll find it much easier to make last-minute adjustments if your child gets tired.
…talk about how you will be seeing…

T Pick a family-friendly

destination Choose a destination that is family-friendly, so you don’t have to work so hard at the details. You’ll want to skip the crowded, overstimulating tourist destinations and places without shade. Look for family-friendly motels that let children stay for free in their parents’ rooms and provide free meals to children included in the price of the room. snacks A bag of snacks and a water bottle are critical components of any trip. Children can get dehydrated during a flight and toddlers can’t always wait for food service.

Good choices to bring along are bananas, animal crackers, small juice cartons, and small boxes of whole grain cereal. It is important to always keep in mind age appropriateness of snack choices and the children’s likes and dislikes. Bring along moist towelettes for cleaning up.

T Pack a goodie bag
Consider taking along a goodie bag with more doodads than you think you’ll need. Include favorite toys, books, games and some surprises. Start building your toy bag a few weeks before the trip.

T Plan frequent rest stops
If you’re driving, break up your trip so that children can stretch and run around to expend some energy. Pack a foam or rubber ball for a simple game of catch or board books for quiet time. Try to end your driving day early so all of you have time to unwind after a long day on the road.

T Take practice trips
If possible, lead up to the big trip with short day trips or weekend getaways to see how your child adjusts, then work your way up to a longer trip. Show toddlers pictures of where you are going and talk about who you’ll see and what you’ll be doing there. If you convey positive feelings about your upcoming adventure, chances are your child will approach the trip the same way. Happy Trails.
Prepared by Ann Votaw, Extension Educator/ Family & Consumer Sciences, Gregory County

T Bring water and plenty of

T Think safety
If you’re taking a road trip, make sure that your baby’s car seat is properly secured. Removable window shades will assist in keeping the sun off your baby. Consider dressing your child in a brightly

Being a Single Parent
Continued from page 1 Most importantly – parents need to take the time to enjoy their children. They are only little once! A parent will never regret spending time with their children, thus creating wonderful memories for themselves and their children.
Source: Parenting on Your Own, Iowa State University Extension, PM 15470, Positive Discipline for Single Parents by J. Nelsen
Prepared by Laurie Tangen, Extension Educator/Family & Consumer Sciences, Brookings County

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Health News – Immunizations
Immunizations are a way to prevent many diseases by injecting small amounts of killed or weakened microorganisms to elicit a response by the child’s own immune system. The child’s body will produce antibodies against the pathogen. Therefore, when the child is confronted with the actual, living pathogen, she will already have the antibodies to fight it off quickly. The Facts about Immunizations:
• It is impossible for your child to get the disease from any vaccine made from a killed pathogen. The only immunizations that use weakened “live” viruses are the varicella and MMR immunizations. With these two immunizations, there is a low risk of getting the disease. In most cases, it would be a very mild form of the disease. • If you are thinking about skipping immunizations for your child, chances are that other parents are thinking of the same thing. With several children in the community not getting the immunizations, there is a greater chance of having an outbreak of the disease. In 1989 there was a lapse of immunizations with preschoolers and an outbreak of measles occurred in the United States. A number of children sustained brain damage and even died due to the disease. • Few things in medicine work 100% of the time. Immunizations are one of the most effective weapons against disease. They work 85-99% of the time. • Immunizations can cause serious reactions such as seizures and allergic reactions, but the risk of this is far lower than acquiring the disease if the child hasn’t been immunized. Common mild reactions are soreness at the injection site and fever. These common reactions can be treated with Tylenol. Research continually improves the safety of immunizations your child receives. • Although diseases like polio and measles occur rarely in the U.S., they still flourish in other parts of the world. Therefore, there is a

• chance your child can come in contact with the disease with travel or from others coming to the U.S. from another country.

What immunizations does your child need?
Please check with the South Dakota website: http://www.state.sd.us/doh/ Immunize/faq.htm

This is the South Dakota Department of Health Immunization Program website. “The program provides vaccine, materials, training, and support to both public and private immunization providers throughout the state. It increases public awareness of immunizations by providing educational materials to all vaccine providers and working in partnership with local and statewide coalitions. The program also monitors immunization levels of children in South Dakota, and is involved with vaccine preventable disease surveillance and outbreak control.”
Information obtained from www.kidshealth.org. A website endorsed by the American Academy of Family Physicians Prepared by Kelly Wasko, RN, Child Care Health Consultant

The Bright Start UpDate is a monthly publication for South Dakota parents with young children under the age of five. It is brought to you as part of Governor Rounds Bright Start Program, an early childhood initiative with a number of different programs. Bright Start UpDate is published by the Office of the Governor 4,470 copies of this publication were printed at a cost of $.46 per copy. You are welcome to make copies and distribute as needed. You can reach us by calling 1-800-305-3064 or check our web site at: http://www.sdbrightstart.com

Please inform us if you’ve had an address change.

Bright Start Program Office of the Governor 500 East Capitol Pierre, SD 57501-5070 Return Service Requested


				
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