5 Ways to Resocialize Your Kids This Summer


Every parent wants their child to have a strong foundation early in life. Whether it’s through their child’s ability to excel in academic environments, meet milestones or even make friends, parents are constantly on the lookout to help their little one succeed. 

But what does a parent do when a global pandemic shifts their ability to control how their child develops outside of the home? They do what most parents did last year,  provide as much emotional and academic support in the home as possible, and hope for the best

But now that more businesses are re-opening, parents have found themselves facing new questions; how much did the pandemic really impact my child, and how do I resocialize my kids so they feel comfortable in the world again? 

We feel your pain moms and dads, so we set out to find answers to both of these questions.

To our surprise, researchers said the pandemic might not have impacted your littles as much as you think. A recent New York Times article revealed, “The majority of neurotypical kids will be able to socialize just fine… A lot of socialization happens implicitly through interactions with caregivers,” said Erika Hernandez a postdoctoral scholar of social development at Penn State. “Just having conversations with your kids, asking them about their feelings, and setting boundaries gets you most of the way to the socialization they need.”

But if you’re not completely sold on this theory, we did some research to identify the top 5 ways other experts are saying you should support your child this summer as they venture back into the world. 

In no particular order, experts say: 

 

Start Small 

In our excitement to get back into the swing of things, and re-start our “old-life,” we may inadvertently rush this process for our kids. We have to keep in mind that even though we’re comfortable spending time with new people in new environments, our children still need to operate at their own pace. Taking small steps with new interactions should also be managed with mini-milestones. Experts say setting small incremental goals can help children feel more in control about facing uncomfortable situations where their initial response may be to avoid.

 

Go at the Child’s Pace

Another way parents can ease the transition of re-socializing is to start with environments and people with whom the child may be more familiar. Pediatric psychologist Kate Eshleman, PsyD, encourages parents to remember kids need to go at their own pace. 

“Kids haven’t had to share with others, and they haven’t had to talk to unfamiliar adults,” Dr. Eshleman says, “so you may see some shyness or kids responding to other people in ways that aren’t typical of how they act around their families.”

 

A Routine Helps

Whether you want to re-start classes at Gymboree Play & Music, join a play-date group or head to the farmer’s market, other experts say it’s best to create a routine around the places your child will socialize in. Pandemic aside, when babies and toddlers are a part of familiar activities and routines, they establish relationships with familiar people who help them gain a sense of self-confidence. And as older toddlers and young children grow, a routine can help them demonstrate independence.

 

Listen to Them in Busy Environments

One of the positive benefits children experienced in the last year was more of their parent’s undivided attention. In many cases, they haven’t had to compete with other adults or people to get your attention. As social engagement for your family picks up, don’t forget to listen to your child when other people are around. They need to know you haven’t cut them off now that other adults are around. We found this proven research on the CDC website that gives some examples of how to actively listen to your child so they feel supported. 

 

Try the Scaffold Approach

The concept of Scaffolding is that a light framework helps to support new skills as the child is stretching beyond their current, stable abilities. It teaches kids to reach higher because the scaffolding provides extra support. When the child can do it themselves, the support is removed. And just like a building supported by scaffolding during construction, it stands on its own.

According to Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, author of The Scaffolding Effect, the three pillars of scaffolding are support, structure, and encouragement. At every stage, parents can model and teach positive, prosocial behaviors, give corrective feedback, and boost self-esteem. 

In practical terms, Scaffolding means: 

  • Support your children with empathy, and validation. Assure your child that you understand their fears and concerns. 
  • Provide security through scheduling. Many of our structural norms — like having breakfast and going to Gymboree Play & Music were upended during the pandemic. You can ease a child’s anxiety by reestablishing old household routines and reinforcing rules more than you have in the past. 
  • Encourage your kids to put themselves out there. This can be as simple as taking them to the park and encouraging them to play with other kids, or arranging play dates where the kids can interact with other kids to watch a movie, bake or engage in a shared interest or activity. 

Transform Your Home for Play, Life & Learning

Transitioning from an actual office, school or learning center to an at-home work and play environment has been an overwhelming shift for parents around the world.

Where homes used to have obvious and defined areas for lounging and living, the lines have become blurred to accommodate for Zoom calls, and remote,  (or “virtual”) learning, on top of day-to-day life.

We’ve gathered some of the best tips for creating a co-working, co-learning, space in your home, that won’t break the bank or require you to overload your home with tons of furniture.

Create Boundaries
Giving your play area boundaries not only helps to keep toys and objects in their proper space, but it gives your child the impression that they have a special part of your home or living room that is all theirs.

Use Containers & Cabinets to Conceal Items
Just because you aren’t likely to have company at this time, doesn’t mean you should forgo the cleaning and organizing you would typically undertake. Using a cabinet, cloth baskets or a shelf will keep things like toys, papers, work-out gear, and virtual class tools out of sight when you want to enjoy your living space.

Repurpose Everyday Items for Learning 
Believe it or not there are tons of items you can find around your home that are perfect for learning. Things like q-tips, sponges, balls, and disposable dixie cups can be used for art and science projects. 

Set Defined Working and Learning Hours for Your Space
One of the biggest hurdles that working parents and little learners have had in recent months has been how to keep a routine in what seems to be a routine-less world.

Our advice: treat your day, and your space just like you would if you were in a routine. If you are supposed to be in a class or in a meeting at a specific time, commit your space to those things at their assigned time.

Once those things would typically end, leave the space accordingly. So, for example, if you would typically be at a desk at 8am, get out of bed and sit at your desk or table at 8. If your baby has a class, get your virtual space set up, and when the class is over – put away any class related items. 

Although it appears that life won’t be back to “normal” anytime soon, at least we can find ways to make our day-to-day life more manageable. 

Hang in there, mama!

 

 

Believe in Self-Confidence

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It’s our mission at Gymboree Play & Music to encourage children to explore their world, push their boundaries, and step out of their comfort zone. So much learning takes place through mistakes, building a growth mindset that promotes self-confidence in our little ones.

Raising a confident and happy child is important. It sets a foundation for the rest of their lives and helps them learn necessary emotional and social skills. When your little ones believe in their ability to accomplish tasks on their own, they will feel empowered to take on challenges in all aspects of life.

Here are a few ways to help build self-confidence in your child:

Focus on strengths
Strengths come in all shapes and sizes. Some strengths are obvious, while others are harder to notice -such as being a good listener. By recognizing your little one’s strengths, you are helping them thrive.

Be positive
Being optimistic can go a long way. If your child makes a mistake, turn their frown upside down with an encouraging discussion that focuses on a solution and the lessons that were learned.

Allow children to make their own decisions
Empower your little ones by giving them opportunities to make their own choices. Teach good judgement and offer multiple options.

Become a supportive role model
Parents and caregivers serve as role models, through their attitudes and behaviors within the family and their community. Encourage positive interactions that contribute to your little one’s personal growth and development.

Raising confident children can be challenging. Putting trust in your little one’s abilities and seeking opportunities to challenge them will help build the self-esteem they need to grow into confident learners.

Come play with us with Gymboree Play & Music’s YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music  Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

The Fearless Parent

July Graphic_FBAs parents, you are responsible for what happens to your children, and that can feel overwhelming. We all strive to be “perfect” parents, but successful parenting is not about achieving perfection. Let’s face it, good parenting is hard work and is loaded with uncertainty. You can suddenly find yourself worrying about things you never thought about until you held your tiny one in your arms for that very first time.

Fear is a natural part of the human experience. Being a parent can be scary, and that is why we created a few tips on how to defeat those fears one step at a time.

You are enough
We have said this before, and will continue to say, that you are doing a great job. Yes, mistakes will happen, but that does not mean you’re not a great parent. Take a deep breath and give yourself a high-five. You deserve it!

Take care of yourself
It’s no surprise that taking care of yourself makes you a better parent but, in turn, it will help your little ones to be confident in their everyday life. Hydrate, get plenty of sleep, and a take a little “me time.”

Make parenting goals
While you might set goals in different areas of your life (career, health, and home), goal setting for parents is also important for modeling behavioral values and building relationships with your little ones. Write down what you want to achieve as a parent. Be consistent and positive with the goals you set for yourself.

Lead by example
Everything that you do or say rubs off on your little ones. Hold a mirror up to yourself and reflect the qualities and traits that you want your children to aspire to.

It is okay to fail
Being a parent is both rewarding and challenging. Your little ones do not come with an instruction manual, and you may fail from time to time. Parenting mistakes do not mean you are bad parent. Mistakes provide an opportunity to sharpen those parenting skills and teach your child valuable life lessons.

Come play with us with Gymboree Play & Music’s YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music  Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

It’s Slime Time

Support a lifetime of learning by introducing your little ones to science at an early age.

Tactile activities such as making slime (yes slime) have many benefits for children’s cognitive and physical development. Slime is a type of sensory and messy play that encourages the imagination to explore and create.

Making slime is a relaxing activity that you and your little one can do together at home. This hands-on science experiment blends different substances together, and supports sensory play through movements such as pouring, mixing, measuring, and even cleaning. Children will have fun stirring and stretching the slime, as well as exploring the texture. Your little one will also learn colors and color combinations.

What you will need:
Water
Borax
Glue (Elmer’s School Glue)
Food coloring to add color to the slime (Optional)

How to:
Take 1 cup of water
Add 1 teaspoon of Borax to the cup of water, stir until dissolved and set aside
Put ½ cup of water and ½ cup of glue in a big bowl
Add a few drops of food coloring to the big bowl of ingredients
Stir glue, water, and food coloring together
Add the cup of water and Borax to the big bowl and stir some more

Now your little one is ready to be sticky and slimy!

 

Visit our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Engage In Play At Home

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There is nothing more fun than spending quality time with family and loved ones! But during these uncertain times of staying in place and social distancing, finding activities for your little ones to do at home can be challenging.

We at Gymboree Play & Music are committed to taking care of our community. We recognize how hard it can be to come up with creative ideas for every moment of the day. That’s why we have compiled a list of activities encouraging exploration and self-expression that will keep your little one engaged in play from the comfort of your own home.

Create a Daily Routine
A routine creates a sense of security for your little one and will provide a calmer family environment. Our friends at HOMER have created a “build your own learning routine” that focuses on movement, story time, and so much more. Check out their colorful routine that can be applied to ages 10 and under.

Click the image to view all the routines.

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Play Dress Up
We have mentioned before that dressing up and costume play has tons of developmental benefits that encourages problem solving, empathy, and builds confidence. Get the scoop on all the benefits of engaging in dress up play by reading our past blog–10 Benefits of Dress Up Play

Bubble Ooodles
Everyone loves bubbles and your little one will stay safe with bubble play! Children learn and develop from early sensory experiences. Bubble Ooodles use touch and movement to engage the senses. Not only that, but Bubble Ooodles are non-toxic and are an easy clean-up activity. 

Build a Fort
Introducing fort play has many benefits to early development that includes problem solving skills, planning, and creativity. Building a fort can be as simple as throwing a blanket over a table. Not to mention it’s fun!

Get Outside
If you have a yard, your little one will have fun exploring the world around them. A bit of sunshine can certainly turn those frowns upside down. Outdoor play improves physical development that is important for growth and movement of the body.

Messy Play
Messy play is essential to your little one’s cognitive and physical development. Messy play activities such as finger painting and shaving cream sensory bins can provide your child with hours of messy fun. Read our seven tips to “Keeping Messy Play Clean”.

Gymboree Play & Music Video Library
If you need to schedule some screen time for your little one, check out our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where we offer playful videos that support a lifetime of learning. Our teachers will guide you on different adventures such as Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities.

 

Engage in play at home with even more Gymboree Play & Music activities!

 

 

Make A Tambourine At Home!

This week is about musical play!

Support a lifetime of learning by teaching children about music at an early age! Playing with a tambourine provides a sensory experience that exposes your little learner to improvisation and creative thinking. It also encourages curiosity and movement. Making your very own musical instruments at home is a great way to not only bond with your child, but it will also keep them entertained for hours!

DIY Music tambourines are easy to construct using items that can be found around your house.

What your will need:
Two paper plates
A hole puncher
Dried beans, beads, Cereal, or anything that will make a noise
Ribbon, String, or yarn
Crayons or paint

Step One:
Decorate your paper plates

Step Two:
Sandwich your plates together

Step Three:
Use a hole punch to create holes around the plates that are about two inches apart

Step Four:
Slip the ribbon through the lined-up holes of both plates

Step Five:
Before tying up the last hole, don’t forget to add your noise material (dried beans, beads, etc.)

Step Six:
Tie up the last hole

Now your little one is ready to tap, shake, jingle, and move!

Jive on over to our Gymboree Play & Music YouTube channel where our teachers will take you on different adventures such as:
Story Time, Play Time Fun, and Art & Music Activities!
Through these videos your little one will be engaged in play, building crucial skills to support a lifetime of learning! 

Get your daily dose of fun!

Bonding With Your Baby

Happy Spring

Here at Gymboree Play & Music, we just love Spring! There are puddles to splash in and blooming flowers can be found everywhere.

Spring is known for being the season of early development and in the month of March we are recognizing the importance of child development that encompasses physical, emotional, and cognitive elements in little one’s between the ages of 0 to 3. In these early years, building bonds with parents and caregivers can promote healthy brain development that is critical for learning.

Sometimes bonding with your baby happens naturally and other times it takes a bit longer for that bond to occur. Strong attachments will help your tiny ones learn and connect with others easier by continuing to build and grow these bonds.

Here are six ways you can promote bonding with your baby:

1. Put Your Phone Away
Don’t miss out on all the precious moments your tiny one is experiencing for the first time. Family and loved ones will understand if you don’t respond to messages and calls right away.

2. Keep A Journal of Baby’s First Years
The first few years of your tiny one’s development will fly by. Record all those precious moments you are creating together to preserve those memories.

3. Skin to Skin Contact
Skin-to-skin contact enables you to learn your baby’s signals sooner. It improves communication and assists with boosting maternal confidence that develops a sense of trust and security within your tiny one.

4. Play
It’s no secret that the best types of learning happen through play! In early development, play comes in many forms, from singing songs to your tiny one, to looking in the mirror together. These simple acts encourage the exploration of sound and sight when babies start to recognize voices and facial expressions. At Gymboree Play & Music we are all about the Tummy Time activity! Tummy Time is a type of play that is not only fun and engaging but promotes movement and strengthens muscles.

5. Don’t Stress the Milestones
Every baby develops at their own pace. It is hard not to compare or obsess about where your tiny one should be at each stage of development. Try to enjoy the moment and know that your baby will reach those milestones when they are ready.

6. You Are Enough
By meeting your tiny one’s daily needs, you have already begun to bond with your baby. Be proud of your super mom achievements and know that you are enough!

 

Spring into action and continue to bond with your baby!

The Benefits of Dr. Seuss

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March is all about the importance of early child development here at Gymboree Play & Music. In honor of this day (March 2), we recognize Dr. Seuss who was known for writing and illustrating 45 children’s books. Not only are the books Dr. Seuss created fun and entertaining, they offer an added benefit for your little one to develop their language skills!
Tongue twisting rhymes, made-up animals, repeated sounds, and engaging story lines are all recipes for your child to connect words and concepts together.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” -Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Below are a few benefits to why reading Dr. Seuss to your little one is important:

Rhythm
Rhythm is an integral tool for babies to understand when phrases begin and end. It is their first step in learning the language that assists in developing motor patterns. Rhythm also aides in the planning and executing of simple movements like reaching for a toy or crawling.

Appreciation for Words
The nonsensical words that Dr. Seuss created throughout his book, mirror the way children naturally speak. The combination of rhythms and funny made-up phrases inspires your child to learn real words and invites them to experiment with language.

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Learning is Fun
While Dr. Seuss’s characters are always colorful and entertaining, his stories included meaningful life lessons about kindness, friendship, acceptance, and independence.

Memory Development
Reading Dr. Seuss’s short rhythmic passages to your little one repetitively, allows them to commit these stories to memory and recite the story aloud or pretend to read along. This instills confidence, assists in developing social skills, and ignites a love of literacy at a young age.

Come Celebrate Dr. Seuss at Gymboree Play & Music!

Discover Your Mom Tribe

February is all about bonding and connection and all about you-The Mom! We know it takes a village to raise a child and it is important for moms to know they are not alone. Finding a tribe of moms, builds community support and strengthens the bond between you and your little one!

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Let’s face it, finding a mom tribe isn’t easy. Friendships take work. Often, moms feel socially isolated after they have had their first baby, or they are overwhelmed with the new obstacles to overcome.

At Gymboree Play & Music we don’t just help your child reach new milestones, we also provide a welcoming community where moms just like you can navigate the world of motherhood together. Here are a few ways you can be a part of your very own mom tribe!

Build a connection
It is easier to be on the same parenting page as others in your tribe. While your little ones do not need to be the exact age, sharing similar experiences certainly helps. There might not be an instant connection, but don’t give up, friendships take time to build.

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Exchange contact information after a Gymboree Play & Music class for there might not be another opportunity to reconnect. Follow-up shortly after the interaction to nurture the friendship so those you meet don’t forget you.

Make an effort
When you are tied to a little one’s schedule there are all kinds of reasons why you would need to cancel plans. The good news is having other mom friends with similar aged children will understand. Manage your schedule so you can take time for yourself to engage in these social interactions. Listen, as a supportive ear, and allow yourself to be open to your new tribe of moms by providing personal insights about who you are.

Come find your tribe of moms today at Gymboree Play & Music!