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Kid’s Education Central

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Here are our latest tips and resources for mainstream and special needs children…

  • Ten Suggestions Your Child-care Provider Wants to Share
  • Education Resource
  • How to Support Parents of Special Needs
  • 4 Tips For Smoother Mornings When Your Child Has ADHD
  • 5 Ways To Boost Kids’ Self-Esteem
  • Active Kids Zone


Ten Suggestions Your Child-care Provider Wants to Share

If you outsource any part of your parenting to a child-care provider, chances are that person has opinions about you and your parenting. But relax! Most of the time, he or she probably thinks you are an awesome mom and that your child is the best kid ever. Seriously. Most people who devote their lives to taking care of kids love their job; otherwise, they would go crazy and find another one. They also want to support you, not undermine or judge you.

But here are some things your child-care provider is likely thinking and won’t say:

  1. Your child freaks out when you drop him off because you do. Separation anxiety is a normal part of your child’s development. Sometimes, though, it is exacerbated by your response. If you are anxious and upset about leaving your child, chances are he will pick up on that energy and react accordingly.
  2. Let your child be three or two or however old she is. Three-year-olds do not need to hit all the milestones for five-year-olds, and childhood isn’t a contest.
  3. Let your child grow up. It can be distressing to see your child grow up and reach new milestones, but it is also an important part of his development. Let your child grow and thrive without babying him or responding to his growth as a personal tragedy. Kids become more and more independent as they grow up, and that is normal and OK.
  4. Stop complaining about your child’s other parent. Your ex probably is difficult, but the better you and your ex-partner can collaborate, the better it is for your child. At a certain point, your child will understand, and it isn’t healthy to put a child in the middle or poison her against the other parent.
  5. Boundaries don’t make you mean; they make you a good parent. Children usually have a structured day when they are with their child-care providers. Structure and reasonable expectations help your child behave well and thrive while you are at work. You can respect, love, and nurture your child while providing structure and boundaries. It probably isn’t a coincidence that your child behaves better at day care than he does with you if you have trouble structuring your time with your child or setting limits.
  6. Stop obsessing about your child’s size. Kids come in all shapes and sizes. You do not get a plaque if your baby is in the 99th percentile for height and weight. Likewise, if your baby is petite, that is fine, too. If your pediatrician is happy with your child’s growth, stop comparing her to all the other kids out there.
  7. All kids throw tantrums. Meltdowns are part of being a kid. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, and your child-care provider probably isn’t judging you. Everyone knows kids melt down from time to time.
  8. Stop judging other kids and their moms. Sure, Johnny might not share toys, but he isn’t evil, and his mom isn’t negligent. Provide other parents the grace you would like them to extend to you.
  9. You don’t need to rescue your child. Stop raising your child to be helpless.
  10. Your child won’t break. All child-care providers should be committed to the safety of your child above all else. That said, if your child gets a scratch, it is not the end of the world. Your kids get over minor bumps, bruises, and colds quickly. Seeing you freak out can make them more anxious about something that is normally a blip on their radar.

Child-care providers aren’t opinion-less marshmallows. Chances are your provider has noticed a few patterns with your child, so if you’re curious about what your provider thinks, ask! This person spends a lot of time with your child and would probably be more than happy to share his or her perspectives and observations.

ESME (Empowering Solo Moms Everywhere), is a free, online community founded by a sociologist and former Solo Mom, Dr. Marika Lindholm. True to their motto, “Independent Together,” ESME aims to form a single supportive network around diverse groups and communities that ordinarily wouldn’t meet under normal circumstances. The site’s mission is to redefine single motherhood and provide tribes for mothers who spend time parenting on their own, including disabled moms, moms with special needs children, moms with public assistance, moms whose partners are deployed or incarcerated, and so much more. Learn more at www.

By Danielle Bostick

Education Resource…

Tutor Time
Every child is unique. At Tutor Time®, we embrace that individuality to nurture their learning, growth, self-esteem, and imagination. With our exclusive School Readiness Pathway, we chart a course to elementary school with specialized curriculum and developmentally appropriate programs for infants to school-age students. Plus, our Grow Fit® initiative ensures the complete well-being of your growing child through a focus on healthy living, nutritious eating, and physical fitness. Multiple locations in the Chicagoland area. Find your local school by connecting with us at 877.684.1613 or visiting

IC Catholic Prep
IC Catholic Prep is a dynamic college prep and learning community devoted to developing the whole person—Spirit, Mind & Body, inspiring critical thinking and independent thought, celebrating the Catholic tradition of community and service on behalf of others, and, preparing young women and men to lead confidently and selflessly throughout life. IC Catholic Prep is located in Elmhurst with 321 students in grades 9-12 and offers a student-teacher ratio of 16 to 1. 217 Cottage Hill, Elmhurst, IL 60126. 630-530-3460. Social: @iccatholicprep.

Kiddie Academy
An early childhood learning program can play a unique role in a child’s life. Each interaction with a teacher, every song or game played, and the warm, caring environment helps to shape a child’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and character development. Kiddie Academy helps children ages 6 weeks – 5 years prepare for elementary school and for life.

Life Essentials® is Kiddie Academy’s overarching philosophy that includes our programs and techniques. From family style dining to character education, our developmentally appropriate curriculum gives your child a full day of learning no matter what he or she is doing. Some of the best learning happens without your child knowing it.

Our program includes enrichments in music, health/fitness, literacy & math, and character education. Kiddie Academy also offers parents daily electronic reports for real-time updates. Locations in Algonquin, Batavia, Naperville, Oswego, Plainfield and Streamwood. Two Coming Soon: Lincoln-Square and Oakbrook.

Shriners Hospitals for Children®
Shriners Hospitals for Children® – Chicago improves the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, conducting innovative research, and offering outstanding educational programs for medical professionals. Children with orthopaedic conditions, rehabilitation needs including spinal cord injuries, and plastic surgery needs including cleft lip and palate are eligible for care, regardless of the families’ ability to pay.  All care and services are provided in a compassionate, family-centered environment. For more information, please visit

Our Lady of Peace School

Our Lady of Peace School provides a comprehensive and challenging curriculum to help our students develop strong foundations in reading, math, science, technology, arts and culture that will prepare them for high school and the path beyond.

We offer:

  • Preschool 2, 3 or 5 days a week
  • Half or full-day kindergarten
  • iPads as part of PS-3rd grade curriculum; 1:1 technology program for grades 4-8
  • Art, music and gym for K-8; no-cut sports for grades 5 and up
  • Convenient before and after school care

Meet our educators, see our classrooms and learn more at:

  • Preschool & Kindergarten Preview – Wednesday, January 23, 2018 6-7:30 p.m.
  • All-School Open House – Sunday, January 27, 2018 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Or schedule a personal tour by calling us at 630-325-9220.  | | 709 Plainfield Road Darien, Illinois 60561

Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley
Easterseals DuPage & Fox Valley transforms uncertainty into possibility for children with developmental delays and disabilities. Together, we’re helping children and families build skills to live, learn, work and play in their communities. Schedule an evaluation, ask questions or more at and 630.620.4433 or learn more about our services at our Villa Park, Naperville and Elgin centers at

Creative Corners Preschool
Creative Corners Preschool provides every student with a quality early childhood experience by creating an atmosphere where they can grow socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually through an engaging and explorative curriculum. The Illinois Early Learning & Development Standards are used in the teaching of academic skills to build a strong foundation, achieve benchmarks, and assure school-readiness. Creative Corners offers families a variety of programs for children ages 2–6, with flexible schedules to meet all needs. Contact: Jeanette Berard, Recreation Supervisor at the Des Plaines Park District, 2222 Birch Street, Des Plaines, IL 60018. 847-391-5700


How to Support Parents of Special Needs

When Tracy Glock’s 13-month-old daughter Kira was hospitalized with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, she was touched by the outpouring of support she and her husband received. During those eight difficult months, the community rallied around the family. Friends and acquaintances babysat Kira in the hospital while her mom and dad worked, and many others helped by delivering meals and even mowing the family’s lawn.

“Words cannot express the gratitude you feel when someone you barely know does so much for you,” Glock says, who was also pregnant at the time with Kira’s sister Allina.

Although Kira, now seven, has recovered from the frightening ordeal, she still faces many daily challenges. As a child with Down syndrome and autism, learning and development takes longer and requires more patience compared to the typically developing child.

Like many parents who have children with special needs, Glock says finding time for herself is difficult.

While many of us know how to help a family in crisis, how do we support parents who often put their own needs last as they focus on the daily challenges of caring for special needs youngsters?

Offer to babysit. Finding trustworthy, alternate caretakers is a huge relief for parents who regularly juggle doctor’s appointments, school issues and therapy, not to mention jobs and other children.

“Every special needs parent’s needs are different, but most just love a little rest,” Glock says.

Because special needs children require more attention from their parents, healthcare providers and therapists, other youngsters in the family may feel slighted.

“Children always struggle and this is the case whether they’re special needs or not,” says Nancy Masannat, mom to two children, including Emy, 16, and Kyle, 14, who is on the autism spectrum. “There’s going to be sibling jealousies.”

When her children were younger, Masannat would often schedule her son’s appointments during times when her daughter was in preschool. “In my daughter’s mind, it wasn’t fair that someone was coming to the house and playing with her brother and not her.”

Having access to a qualified babysitter you can trust with your special needs child, can give you an opportunity to spend much-needed, one-on-one time with your other children too.

Listen. Ask your friend how she’s doing and then simply listen. Avoid offering platitudes or suggestions to help her fix problems.

“We all just like to be heard. Everybody likes to vent,” Masannat says. “Just listen to what the issues are without judgment. That’s a huge help for everybody, but primarily when you’re dealing with something that someone else might not understand.”

Educate yourself. Get to know your friend’s child, including her disability, her personality quirks and her individual needs. And ask your friend about her specific parenting challenges.

“It shows that you care and will help you provide more effective support,” says Heather Trammell, mom to two special needs children, including Beth, 14, who has Down syndrome and Marie, 11, who has high-functioning autism. Both girls also have a connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Suggest resources. Support groups help parents feel less alone and provide valuable resources for assistance in childcare, school issues and navigating healthcare.

“The biggest thing for me was to know that I wasn’t in this by myself-that I wasn’t the only person who had a child who didn’t sleep well; that I wasn’t the only one with a child who was now three and not talking,” Masannat says.

To find support groups in your area, consult with the therapists and teachers your child already works with, your library, your church and online. For example,, which includes resources for families or the National Down Syndrome Society, Also check out Facebook and for local support groups.

Other ideas to brighten you friend’s day:

  • Purchase a gift certificate for a massage or manicure
  • If you plan to have the family over, ask your friend if you should be aware of any food sensitivities or specific ground rules to ensure a successful visit
  • Offer to babysit and/or help with siblings
  • Help with getting kids to practices
  • Deliver a meal
  • Mow their lawn
  • Send a bouquet of cheerful flowers
  • Arrange for a house cleaning crew
  • Ask if you can pick up anything while running errands
  • Mail an encouraging card

By Christa Melnyk Hines


4 Tips For Smoother Mornings When Your Child Has ADHD

Getting your kids ready for school is a work in progress in many American homes.  It may resemble a three-ring circus for some, a regimented drill team for others, or somewhere between chaotic and orderly.

Ideally it becomes easier as the kids grow older, become more empowered and get themselves ready without much fuss. But there can always be wrenches thrown into the routine as the focus and time-management skills waver. And for families who have kids with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), there can be more challenges than most.

For those families, Dr. Ed Carlton says there are ways to help better manage the morning.

“Children with ADD typically have a hard time waking up, staying on task and navigating the complicated rituals that families go through in the morning,” says Carlton, founder of the Carlton Neurofeedback Center ( and author of the book The Answer. “It’s a recipe for stress and conflict, but it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Carlton gives four tips to make your morning smoother when your child has ADHD or ADD:

  • Establish a routine. Have a family meeting and making some every-morning task assignments. Give your child more time to get ready. “You can account for difficulty waking up and trouble focusing by setting earlier bedtimes or waking up earlier,” Carlton says. A visual organizer with a checklist can help children with ADD or ADHD manage tasks. Reduce morning distractions like TV or video games. “Setting these boundaries at the family meeting will reduce complaints,” Carlton says.
  • Prepare the night before. Getting organized starts with doing everything you can in advance. “Reduce fights about what to wear and what to eat in the morning by deciding the night before,” Carlton says. School lunches, snacks and water bottles can be packed in the evening and backpacks can be ready to go.
  • Make breakfast portable. Give your child a selection of grab-and-go nutritious foods that can be eaten at the table or taken in the car. Encourage sources of protein – boiled eggs, yogurt, protein bars, oatmeal or cheese sticks. If you’re dealing with a picky eater, consider adding non-traditional choices like leftovers from dinner, sandwiches or chicken nuggets. “The goal is to get some nutrition in your child’s tummy before they head off to school, so get creative if it helps,” Carlton says.
  • Reward with an energy break. A little exercise before school can help a child who is bursting with energy. Make time in the morning schedule for a 10-minute energy break. It also can be used as a reward if their morning tasks are done on time. “They can go for a swing, dance in the living room, play with the dog, whatever is fun for them,” Carlton says. “By all means, catch your child doing things right and making progress toward an easier morning.”

“As you get into a routine, get feedback from them and be willing to alter the routine,” Carlton says. “The idea is for everyone to get the day off to a good start, and it can be done with fun.”

By Dr. Ed Carlton



5 Ways To Boost Kids’ Self-Esteem

For the first two quarters of the school year, Olivia’s grades were perfect, all A’s on the report card of the second grader. Olivia was involved in the school holiday play, she was in the inventor’s club, she got along with everyone and always looked forward to going to school.

Something changed once school started again after winter break. Olivia began to withdraw from her friends, she was making up illnesses to stay home and when she was at school, her grades were slipping.

After some prying, Olivia’s parents found the root of her problem: A new teacher had taken over her classroom after her original teacher took maternity leave. With the new instructor came a stricter environment, one that didn’t allow for students to voice their opinions or explore creative options in the classroom. One that didn’t show mutual honor and respect but strict discipline and negative reinforcement without freedom of expression.

“Children need consistent guidance to build positive self-esteem. Knowing a few key strategies will help build solid foundations for children,” says Sharon Thayer, children’s advocate and author of the children’s book “If You Tell Me, I Can Fly” (

“Verbally shooting a kid down can have a negative influence on his or her life, the same way showing respect and affirming a child’s positive behavior can have a negative effect.”

Once parents know it doesn’t take much effort and just takes consistent interaction and feedback over the course of time, one of the top gifts they can give is a positive sense of self. Building self-esteem is an on-going process that is not hard but has to be consistent.

Here are some ways to achieve that:

  • Encourage kids to try something new. Art, music, sports, dance, summer camp, science clubs – a little time away from the electronics. Try to direct them toward some things where you know their success will come easily, but also let them choose options that will be challenging. It’s difficult to predict how new adventures will turnout, some will fizzle unexpectedly and what may appear to be a dead-end could be the beginning of a passion with no end.
  • Acknowledge and compliment your children. When you notice moments of creativity, talent and genius, celebrate those milestones, accomplishments and improvements, but also acknowledge failures and attempts that don’t go well. Help them learn from their failures and see they are simply stepping stones on the path to success. The freedom to fail is vital to success.
  • Honor and respect children’s ideas, knowledge and opinions. Kids today have more knowledge in some areas than many of adults (i.e. electronics). That’s great, sit back and let them be your teacher, as you honor this reversal of roles. Include them in family decision-making processes and responsibilities – with power comes responsibility is a valuable lesson.
  • Tell your children you believe in them and their dreams. Show your love every day; the successful, the average and the days of frustrations and failure. Regardless of their direction, accomplishments or disappointments, let your children see you are always there to help guide them through the maze to reach the goals they have chosen.

By Sharon Thayer. Sharon’s latest book, “If You Tell Me, I Can Fly” (, has won a bevy of awards and includes versions for both boys and girls.


Active Kids Zone

Cub Creek Science Camp
Cub Creek Science Camp – Ages 7-17. Imagine a summer camp where you can eat breakfast next to a colony of lemurs, zoom down a zip-line and pet a camel before lunch, and play a camp wide game of Capture the Flag after dinner! We are that camp! With 300 animals including porcupines, foxes, parrots, lizards, miniature horses, a 6-element ropes course, and classes in chemistry, pottery, culinary, animal care, and many more, we are a truly unique summer camp experience! A/C cabins.  ACA accredited. (573) 458-2125.

Animal Camp Jamaica
Animal Camp Jamaica – Travel abroad with Animal Camp Jamaica – Ages 13-18. This 13-day program focuses on Marine Biology and Cultural Immersion. Spend mornings snorkeling and afternoons exploring the island of Jamaica swimming with dolphins, trying exotic foods, and jumping from waterfalls! Campers stay at Seven Palms Villa in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. For more info call (573) 458-2125.

Camp Anokijig
Outrageous fun is around every corner at Camp Anokijig! For 93 years, we have nurtured independence, character, and confidence in our campers as they build positive values, friendships, and life skills through their experiences. We offer a huge variety of activities for campers to self-direct their own camp experience, build self-esteem, and create an enriching week of summer camp. Convenient, 1-week sessions offer valuable flexibility to accommodate busy family schedules. Be part of the family and catch the Anokijig spirit! For more information: or 920-893-0782 (ACA Accredited).

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