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Valentine’s Day gives us all a chance to tell other people in our lives how much they mean to us. Here’s a nice activity inspired by our partners at PBS Kids that you can do with your child to put a smile on their friends’ faces this Valentine’s Day.

Recently, teachers at Kiddie Academy of Abingdon in Maryland, read aloud from the book, Pinkalicious: The Pinkamazing Storybook Collection, by Victoria Kann. The book features the whimsical and effervescent PBS Kids character, Pinkalicious.

After reading the story, the teacher discussed with the class what it means to be a good friend to someone. They went around the room and each person chose one friend. Then they completed the sentence, “I like ____ because ____.”

This is so easy for you to do with your child to create Valentine’s Day messages for all their friends. The activity combines literacy with a discussion about friendship, and is a great way to practice using complete sentences, speaking clearly and using correct grammar.

Kiddie Academy is a proud underwriter of the Pinkalicious & Peterific television show. You can find games, videos and more fun activities on the Pinkalicious page on PBSKids.org.

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We would love to send you our free monthly newsletter, Parenting Essentials! You’ll receive a newsletter by e-mail, full of parenting advice, ideas and information, as well as articles about emerging trends in educational child care.

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Sesame Street: Respect (Word on the Street Podcast) - YouTube
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The video above, from our friends at Sesame Street, does a great job explaining the concept of respect. In the video, you see children, adults, pigs, chickens and more. Everyone’s a little bit different – just like in real life. That’s okay, though, so long as you take time to treat everyone in a way that makes them feel cared for and important. Respect is an important value for children to learn and it’s Kiddie Academy® Educational Child Care’s featured value for February.

“Teaching respect is part of our Character Education curriculum,” said Richard Peterson, Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Education. “We teach children that respect is the ability to recognize and appreciate the rights, beliefs, practices, and differences of other people.

“Often, people use the words ‘tolerance’ and ‘acceptance’ when they talk about respect. These are important, but respect means more than just tolerating or accepting a person. Respecting someone means that you value that person for their contributions to society, your community, or the group.”

In our Academies, teachers are strong role models for the children when it comes to showing respect. Every day, our teachers find ways to make each child feel valued for what they bring to their classroom community. We encourage children to share family traditions, special skills, and talents with their peers so that we can celebrate differences and similarities.

Here are some ideas for discussion starters you can use at home to help your child learn about respect:

Discuss with them the definition of respect – Ask your child what respect means to them. Share with them what it means to you.

Ask about a time they practiced respect – What did they do? How did it make them feel? Conversely, ask about a time when someone may have shown a lack of respect toward your child. How did that make them feel?

Discuss some things you could do as a family to show respect – How can you practice respect within your own family? Are there ways you can show respect to others in your community?

As always, one of the ways children learn best is by watching you. Be a good role model by showing respect for your children, your spouse and others.

There are many awesome books you can read with your children to help them understand the concept of respect. Some that Kiddie Academy’s Education Department recommends are:

Owl Moon,” by Jane Yolen

The Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect,” by Jan and Mike Berenstain

Respect and Take Care of Things,” by Cheri J. Meiners

Everyone Matters: A First Look at Respect for Others,” by Pat Thomas

Scholastic Publishing also offers several books about respect, including:

Lily’s Plastic Purse,” by Kevin Henkes

David Goes to School,” by David Shannon

The Grouchy Ladybug,” by Eric Carle

The Jacket,” by Andrew Clements

Here are some additional ideas about teaching respect from our partners at PBS Parents:

Exploring New Cultures with Your Child in Let’s Go Luna!” – PBS Parents

Inclusive Communities” – PBS Parents

Activity: Discover Ethnicity!” – PBS Parents

Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids!

Looking for more news you can use?

We would love to send you our free monthly newsletter, Parenting Essentials! You’ll receive a newsletter by e-mail, full of parenting advice, ideas and information, as well as articles about emerging trends in educational child care.

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Rock Hound | Kiddie Academy - YouTube
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The young girl in the video above LOVES rocks. She simply can’t get enough rocks. You might even say she digs them – literally. Her intense interest in rocks was sparked when she learned about them at her Kiddie Academy and it followed her home. That’s our goal at KAECC – to make learning fun and inspiring so that it becomes a lifelong passion.

In this case, it was rocks. Finding fun ways to teach children about rocks and minerals is how we introduce them to geology, one of the science subjects in our STEM program.

“Science is where the natural world comes to life,” said Richard Peterson, Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Education. “Learning center exploration time is a fantastic opportunity for children to learn through play, by observing and exploring, using their senses. There are many fun ways we’ll introduce them to geology. They’ll learn about different types of rocks, they’ll learn about the Grand Canyon and about fossils. The lessons often combine the science they’re learning with art and language, where they’ll decorate rocks or write stories and poems about them.”

You can do many of these fun geology projects at home, too. It’s a great way to build on the interest started in your child’s class. Some of the projects you can do are:

Talk about birthstones. Each month has a signature gemstone. The website Wonderopolis has some good information about how the gems became associated with each month. Talk about this information, then print and cut out pictures of birthstones. Make a list of each month and match the correct stone to each month. What is your child’s birthstone? What’s yours?

Make pet rocks. Find or buy some smooth rocks that you and your child can decorate. Ask your child to imagine what kind of pet they want their rock to be. A dog? A cat? Maybe a turtle or even a ladybug? Then, using markers, paints and even some googly eyes or pipe cleaners, they can then decorate their rock to make it “come alive.”

Play “Rock, Paper, Scissors!” This traditional two-person game is always fun. The players chant, “Rock, paper, scissors, Shoot!” Then each player makes a sign with one of their hands. A fist means “rock”; a flat hand means “paper”; and an extended index and middle finger mean “scissors.” The winner is decided according to the rules that rock breaks scissors, scissors cut paper, and paper covers rock.

There are also lots of great books about rocks for children. Here are a few that we recommend:

Stone Soup,” by Ann McGovern

If You Find a Rock,” by Peggy Christian

National Geographic Kids Everything Rocks and Minerals,” by Steve Tomecek

The Rock Factory: The Story About the Rock Cycle,” by Jacqui Bailey

A great way to learn how Kiddie Academy incorporates STEM into our curriculum is by attending one of our STEM Adventures events in January or February. KA locations nationwide will be hosting these free and fun events in January and February. You can click here to find dates and times at a participating Academy near you.

Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids!

Looking for more news you can use?

We would love to send you our free monthly newsletter, Parenting Essentials! You’ll receive a newsletter by e-mail, full of parenting advice, ideas and information, as well as articles about emerging trends in educational child care.

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It’s time again for Kiddie Academy’s STEM Adventures! To get your family ready for fun with learning about science, technology, engineering and math, here’s an activity you can do at home. It’s called, “Sink or Float.”

The activity was recently done at Kiddie Academy of Abingdon in Maryland. The teachers thought it would be fun to perform an observational experiment about items that sink or float. They asked students to bring in an item that was safe to put in water. Before the experiment, they made a chart listing the items, then asked the children to come up with a hypothesis – an educated guess – about which items would float and which would sink. They tallied up the votes, then conducted the experiment. After the experiment, they revisited their chart to see how their hypotheses compared with the actual results.

This experiment highlights observation, deductive reasoning, hypothesizing, and comparing and contrasting results.

Here’s how you can perform the experiment at home.

Step 1: Have your child gather different items that are safe to place in water.

Step 2: Pour water into a clear bucket. A clear bucket makes it easier for children to see if an item sinks.

Step 3: Create your hypotheses. For each item, discuss whether you and your child think it will sink or float. Mark your guess for each on a list.

Step 4: Have your child place each item, one at a time, in the bucket to identify if it sinks or floats. Talk about why you think each item floated or sank.

Step 5: Revisit your list of hypotheses and compare it to the results of your experiment.

Register for STEM Adventures!

Just a reminder that the first STEM Adventures events kick off Jan. 26 and 27 in many of our Academies. There are also events schedule on Feb. 23 and 24. CLICK HERE to find a participating Academy near you and register for STEM Adventures!

Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids!

Teachers: Mr. Robert and Ms. Katie

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The consequences of the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history aren’t lost on Kiddie Academy® Educational Child Care. Many Academies across the nation serve the families of the federal workers and contractors who are affected. As the shutdown drags on, most of those families are struggling with the ramifications of a lapse in income. But in many locations, Academy owners are stepping up to help, looking for flexible solutions to ease the disruption in these families’ lives.

Approximately 800,000 federal workers and thousands more government contractors are feeling the pinch. Particularly hard hit are Academies in Maryland and Virginia, where many federal workers live. According to a study done by WalletHub, these are two of the six states feeling the biggest impact of the shutdown. Since the Academies are locally owned and operated, several Maryland and Virginia franchisees are working with affected families to find ways of dealing with this hardship.

Among the arrangements they’ve come up with are:

Select Academy owners in both states that have many families impacted have made arrangements with affected families to postpone tuition payments, make partial payments, use vacation credits or receive a temporary tuition discount.

In Virginia, one franchise owner has waived registration fees for three affected families who needed to temporarily suspend their enrollment.

Academies in Maryland and Virginia are allowing new families to postpone their start dates until they return to work once the shutdown ends.

One Virginia owner hired a furloughed government worker to help out at his Academy during the shutdown.

“We are incredibly proud of the flexibility, creativity and humanity shown by these franchise owners,” said Kiddie Academy President, Greg Helwig. “This is totally voluntary on their part. Our owners have relationships with the families they serve. Those folks are part of the Kiddie Academy system. To help out at a time like this shows the true spirit of the word ‘community.’”

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As parents, we all want our children to be healthy and fit. But we live in a nation where all of us – children and adults – are tempted daily by fast food, sugary and salty snacks, and the lure of computers, television and video games. The statistics on childhood obesity are startling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children and adolescents in the United States who are considered obese is about 13.7 million. That’s more than the populations of New York City and Los Angeles combined!

Here are some other eye-popping statistics:

  • – Obesity prevalence among 2- to 5-year-olds is 12.9 percent. 1
  • – Only one in three children are physically active every day. 2
  • – Children now spend more than seven and a half hours a day in front of a screen (e.g., TV, videogames, computers). 2
  • – A leading organization that promotes and assesses health and fitness among U.S. children and youth gave an overall physical activity grade of D- in 2018. 3

It’s a situation we’re acutely aware of at Kiddie Academy® Educational Child Care and diligently working to address. That’s why Health & Fitness is one of the four pillars around which our Life Essentials® philosophy is built.

“The health of the children in our care and the development of healthy habits is a top priority at Kiddie Academy,” said Richard Peterson, the company’s Vice President of Education. “We’re committed to combatting the epidemic of childhood obesity by teaching our children, from the very start, the healthy habits they need for a lifetime. That means focusing on eating right, integrating physical exercise and maintaining healthy personal habits every day.

“Learning and encouraging health and fitness at a young age is a gift that lasts a lifetime. Knowing that good physical health is a critical component of brain development, we provide nutritious meals and ample playground time for physical activities.”

At Kiddie Academy, we believe meal time is an excellent time to instill a variety of important life lessons. Our meals are served family style, where your child eats alongside teachers and friends. It provides an opportunity for them to taste and enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods while learning the basics of healthy eating.

We also believe that physical exercise is an integral way to enhance children’s health, motor skill development and social skills. At Kiddie Academy, children go outside every day, unless it’s raining, very cold or extremely hot.

There are easy things you can do that can carry this emphasis on health and fitness into your home. Here are some tips:

Get kids involved in meal planning – Allowing your child to help plan your family’s menus is a great way to let them feel invested in the meal while learning about healthy foods.

Make healthy snacks available – Offer apple slices, carrots, whole wheat crackers they can munch on as an alternative to sugary, salty processed snacks.

Exercise during commercials – If you’re watching television together, during commercial breaks have everybody get up and move around. You can do jumping jacks, pushups, situps or simply dance.

Every step counts – When you’re out shopping or running errands, park farther from your destination so that you get the benefit of a longer walk. Instead of taking an elevator or escalator, climb the stairs. All those extra steps add up to better health.

Be a good role model – If children see you eating healthy and exercising, they’re more likely to do the same.

There is a wealth of helpful information online about healthy eating and fitness for children. Some of the articles we recommend are:

Encouraging Family Fitness & Healthy Habits” – PBS Parents

Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy Food” – PBS Parents

Physical Activity Facts” – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids!

Looking for more news you can use?

We would love to send you our free monthly newsletter, Parenting Essentials! You’ll receive a newsletter by e-mail, full of parenting advice, ideas and information, as well as articles about emerging trends in educational child care.

Sources:

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2 President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition

3 The 2018 United States Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

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Any parent who has taken a long car trip with the family knows that patience is not something children are born with.  “Are we there yet?” “I’m starving!” “I have to go to the bathroom!” Their questions and statements are all delivered with an underlying urgency to make things better NOW.

Life is a waiting game. From the moment we’re born, we’re waiting on something – meals, holidays, other people. Waiting is hard. That’s because patience isn’t something that comes to us naturally.

“It’s not always easy to be patient, even for adults,” said Richard Peterson, Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Education. “Patience is a learned value. It’s the ability to demonstrate self-control while waiting for an event to occur. It also refers to the ability to remain calm in the face of frustration. It’s a skill that children develop as they mature.”

Patience is a fundamental theme in Kiddie Academy’s Character Education curriculum. Patient children get along better with others because they’re able to take turns. And patient children grow up to become patient adults.

To build patience in children, it needs to be practiced every day. But keep your expectations realistic – especially when working with younger children. You can start with shorter patience-building activities, then increase the duration as children develop a stronger sense of self-control.

Here are some things you can do to teach your children about patience:

Slow your response time – Instant gratification isn’t always necessary. When situations allow it, build in some reasonable waiting periods before responding to the child’s request. You can even use a clock or timer to help them understand that they will need to wait for a specific period of time. And be reliable – if you promise something later, follow through on your promise so they trust that when you say something will happen, it will. This helps them understand and trust that even if you don’t satisfy their needs right away, you’ll take care of it in time.

Do projects that require patience – There are lots of fun activities you can do with children that simply can’t be rushed. Things like working on puzzles or models require you to follow a process to get to the desired end. Gardening is also a great patience-teaching tool. Children will love helping to sow seeds and tending to the plants as they grow into flowers or vegetables over time.

Play games that make waiting more fun – Make waiting fun by playing games. Games like I Spy, 20 Questions, Simon Says, Tic Tac Toe and Hangman can make waiting time fly by.

Personal experience – Share your own personal experience with having to exercise patience. What made you impatient? How did you deal with it? This helps make a personal connection with children, letting them know that you understand how they’re feeling when they’re impatient.

Acknowledge independent thought – Similar to sharing your experiences, ask children to think of situations where they might have to exercise patient behavior. Ask them how they might deal with those situations. We often ask children to think deeply about a situation and make decisions on how they might react. This level of empathy can be challenging but constructive. Acknowledge all answers with a comment that thanks the children for sharing their thoughts. Value those thoughts by writing the children’s words on paper.

Compliments – Recognize the work that children are putting in to learn how to be patient. Acknowledging their efforts helps build self-esteem. Praise them when they wait. It can reinforce their behavior.

Be a role model – Your child looks to you as a role model. Make sure that if you’re teaching patience, you also demonstrate patience in your behavior. Your actions, your language – it all matters.

There are lots of resources available to help you teach children about patience. Here is a list of story books about patience, recommended by Barnes and Noble:

Waiting” by Kevin Henkes

Are We There Yet?” by Dan Santat

Waiting Is Not Easy” by Mo Willems

The Carrot Seed” by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson

Additionally, here are links to other resources with useful information about teaching patience:

How to Teach Patience” – Parenting

5 Tips for Teaching Patience” – Scary Mommy Blog

Kids and Patience” – Huffington Post

Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids!

Looking for more news you can use?

We would love to send you our free monthly newsletter, Parenting Essentials! You’ll receive a newsletter by e-mail, full of parenting advice, ideas and information, as well as articles about emerging trends in educational child care.

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Happy new year! As we step into 2019, we’re excited to share with you Kiddie Academy’s® new national promotional campaign, Learn On℠!

Learn On, which launched on Jan. 1, is the next chapter in the Kiddie Academy story you’re familiar with from recent years through our Amazing Starts Here campaign. Learn On focuses on how Kiddie Academy’s philosophy of blending education with fun sparks a passion for learning that children carry with them wherever they go, for the rest of their lives.

“We’re a catalyst for learning,” said Nicole Salla, Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Marketing. Learn On underscores our belief that what we do at each Kiddie Academy prepares your child for a school and life. We offer opportunities and motivation so that children can act on their natural tendencies toward curiosity and discovery. We provide the inspiration and encouragement to develop this sense of wonder into a lifelong passion for learning that they take with them from the Academy into their homes and communities.

You’ll see this illustrated in the campaign’s first two TV commercials.

In “My Letter,” a child learning his alphabet starts to recognize the letter C – the first letter of his name – in the Academy, at home and throughout his community as he goes through the day. In “Rock Hound,” a young girl learns about geology during a lesson and brings her enthusiasm with her from the Academy to her home.

My Letter | Kiddie Academy - YouTube
Rock Hound | Kiddie Academy - YouTube

We think most parents will recognize what you see in these commercials as behaviors you see in your own children when they come home from Kiddie Academy.

“The owners and staff in our Academies are inspiring over 25,000 children every day, preparing them for school and life,” Salla said. “We create momentum for curiosity and we create confidence. Our professionals have the freedom to merge their skills with a curriculum that encourages children to think in their own way. The lessons and values the children learn at Kiddie Academy continue to make an impact beyond the hours and days we spend with them. It’s a powerful story to tell.”

Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids!

Looking for more news you can use?

We would love to send you our free monthly newsletter, Parenting Essentials! You’ll receive a newsletter by e-mail, full of parenting advice, ideas and information, as well as articles about emerging trends in educational child care.

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As we prepare to say, “Goodbye, 2018,” and “Hello, 2019,” it’s worth noting how abstract the concept of time can be for young children.

Children aren’t born with a sense of what time is. For infants, time is measured by waking and sleeping, not minutes, hours,   days and years. But as they grow, and consistent routines are established, their sense of time starts to assert itself. During the   first two years of life, children begin to associate daily benchmarks like meals, bath time and bed time with specific parts of the   day. Words like “soon” and “wait” begin to make sense to them. Between the ages of three and five, children start to become   more aware of time and its passing, and concepts like “before” and “after” come into focus. By the time they reach   kindergarten, children are starting to work with time-telling tools like clocks and calendars to mark the passage of time.

“You can use time when teaching a child patience, one of Kiddie Academy’s Character Education Values,” said Richard   Peterson, Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Education. “When playing a game and it’s time for dinner or a bath, give your   child a choice to play for five more minutes and then you will stop the activity at that time. This helps the child to understand   the concept of time and also helps them develop self-control while wanting to do something but only have a limited amount of   time during which they can do it.”

Along with birthdays, the transition to the new year is the biggest event in the year for marking the passage of time. And even   though some younger children may not totally grasp the concept, it’s still an opportunity to turn it into a moment with activities that combine fun with learning.

With a little inspiration from Kiddie Academy’s partners at PBS Parents, here are some fun ways you can celebrate New Year’s Eve with your children – and none of them require staying up until midnight!

Make a Time Capsule – Use this year as the starting point to create a family time capsule you can add to year after year. Ask your children to recall some of the things they’ve enjoyed about this past year. Write down their memories and store them in a small box. You can also add mementos such as photographs, drawings and other small items to your capsule. Next year, open and revisit the list and add their 2019 reflections to the box.

Make Resolutions – Have each member of the family come up with a list of two or three things they would like to do in the new year. You can also include family goals, like healthy eating and doing good deeds for others. You can write these down and add them to your time capsule or store them separately. Again, next New Year’s Eve revisit the list to see how many of the resolutions came to pass.

Create Party Hats – New Year’s Eve is, after all, a time to celebrate, so let your creativity run wild and create colorful party hats for everyone. Gather art supplies and raid the recycle bin for newspaper, wrapping paper, cardboard, ribbons and other materials. You can even hand out awards for the silliest hat, most creative, prettiest, and so on.

Celebrate “Noon Year”– Most youngsters won’t be able to stay up until midnight to ring in the new year, so plan to do your celebration at “noon year.” You can put on your hats, grab noisemakers and count down the seconds until the clock strikes noon.


Here are some other places to look for New Year’s Eve ideas:

New Year’s Eve, Family Style” – PBS Parents

14 Ways to Celebrate New Year’s Eve with Kids” – Today’s Parent

33 Creative Ideas for Celebrating New Year’s Eve at Home” – One Good Thing

Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids.

Looking for more news you can use?

We would love to send you our free monthly newsletter, Parenting Essentials! You’ll receive a newsletter by e-mail, full of parenting advice, ideas and information, as well as articles about emerging trends in educational child care.

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“How would you feel if that happened to you?” is a powerful question. To provide an answer, it requires the person to whom it’s asked to think about a situation from someone else’s perspective. It requires empathy.

Empathy is the ability to identify with the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another. When children are born, their world is all about them – discovering their own needs and what they must do to have them satisfied. But, as they grow, they begin to develop a capacity for learning how to sense the world through the eyes of others. How well they learn to do that is often up to us. As our partners at PBSParents.org point out, empathy is a skill that we can cultivate in children and strengthen with practice.

“At Kiddie Academy we teach empathy as part of our Character Education program and through the value Compassion,” said Kiddie Academy’s Vice President of Education Richard Peterson. “Compassion, as well as empathy, begins to develop in the very first years of life. It is most effectively taught through spontaneous interactions between children. At Kiddie Academy we help children identify with the feelings and emotions of others, encouraging children to comfort others or take action to make another child feel better.”

Our Life Essentials® curriculum begins to address empathy during the first year of life as part of social and emotional development. With activities like Our Friends’ Feelings, Face Time, Emotion Potion and Cry Spy, we teach children how to read and imitate the facial expressions of their classmates and respond to the feelings those expressions represent.

For toddlers, we focus on building language skills necessary to effectively communicate their feelings and discuss how their behavior might affect others. As part of that we work on taking turns and resolving conflicts.

Role modeling is a valuable tool for teaching empathy. As the children grow into two-, three- and four-year-olds, we use dramatic play, where children take the role of teachers and show how they would resolve conflicts. And we talk about those role models in our communities who dedicate themselves to helping others.

That role modeling also extends to you. Let them see how you practice empathy in your life.

We encourage you to take what the kids learn at school and bring it into your home. As you watch TV or read together, talk about the feelings of the characters in the story. Were they happy? Sad? How would your child feel if they were in the character’s situation? If there were conflicts, discuss what everyone was feeling and how things could be handled differently next time.

Here are some additional resources about teaching your child empathy:

Teaching Empathy: Evidence-based Tips for Fostering Empathy in Children” – Parenting Science

How Media Can Build Empathy in Young Children” – PBSParents.org

How Can I Teach My Child Empathy?” – ScaryMommy.com

Thank you for reading along, as we work together in raising the next generation of amazing kids!

Looking for more news you can use?

We would love to send you our free monthly newsletter, Parenting Essentials! You’ll receive a newsletter by e-mail, full of parenting advice, ideas and information, as well as articles about emerging trends in educational child care.

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