High-quality child care produces a stimulating, secure and loving atmosphere for the little one.

Focusing on children's wellbeing and ecological exposures in child care centers is Essential for several reasons: Since they display exploratory behaviors that put them in direct contact with contaminated surfaces, they're more likely to be vulnerable to some contaminants found. They're also less developed immunologically, physiologically, and neurologically and are more prone to the negative effects of toxins and chemicals. Children spend a whole lot of time in child care settings. Many babies and young children spend as many as 50 hours each week, in child care.

Nationally, 13 million children, or 65 percent of U.S. kids, spend some part of the afternoon in child care and at California alone, roughly 1.1 million children five decades or younger attend child care. In this exact same condition, many adults might also be subjected as roughly 146,000 employees work 40 hours or more a week child care centers. Child care environments include substances which may be harmful for kids. Recent studies suggest that lots of child care environments might contain pesticides, allergens, volatile organic compounds from cleaning agents and sanitizers, and other contaminants which may be toxic to children's wellbeing.

Nevertheless, little is understood about what environmental and chemical exposures they might be getting in these configurations. To fill this gap, we quantified. Outcomes of the study were reported on the California Air Resources Board. Our findings help inform policies to lower accidents to children, encourage training and workshops to educate child care providers about methods to lower children's environmental exposures (ex. Using integrated pest management to decrease pesticide usage ), and search for future research.

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Washing Your Baby’s Clothes
Washing Your Baby’s Clothes – How to do it Rightly
Washing Dishes
Washing Dishes
Cleaning up after oneself is an important life skill
Make a Bed
Make a Bed
It might be a dying art, but learning how to make a bed is a valuable skill.
Sweep a Floor
Sweep a Floor
Give a kid a broom, and you are likely to see dirt flipping everywhere except in a pile.
Mop a Floor
Mop a Floor
Be sure to give them instructions on how to mop different floor types you may have in your home.

Managing Children’s Feelings By Understanding Your Own

Episode 179 – Early childhood years are formative for emotional development and affect people into their adult years. In this episode, we interview Dr. Tamar Jacobson and explore how our...

The post Managing Children’s Feelings By Understanding Your Own appeared first on HiMama Blog - Resources for Daycare Centers.


Episode 179 – Early childhood years are formative for emotional development and affect people into their adult years. In this episode, we interview Dr. Tamar Jacobson and explore how our...

The post Managing Children’s Feelings By Understanding Your Own appeared first on HiMama Blog - Resources for Daycare Centers.

Episode 179 – Early childhood years are formative for emotional development and affect people into their adult years. In this episode, we interview Dr. Tamar Jacobson and explore how our own childhood experiences inform the way we think about children when we discipline them. Dr. Jacobson shares the importance of reflecting on how we react to children as adults and why it’s important to consider the influence of our own childhood experience!  

Resources: 

  1. Everyone Needs Attention
  2. Don’t Get So Upset 

Tamar JACOBSON:

Or were we brought up with sort of a lot of hope and benefit of the doubt and trust and compassion, or maybe something in between? All this affects how we’re going to think about children when we discipline them or when they ask for attention.

Ron SPREEUWENBERG: 

Tamar, welcome to the Preschool Podcast!

JACOBSON:

I’m grateful to be here, thank you!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

We’re delighted to have on the show today Dr. Tamar Jacobson. She is an early-childhood education consultant with years of wisdom under her belt. She’s the author of three books. And we’re going to be talking to her today about emotions and how our emotions affect how we interact with children in the early-childhood setting.

Tamar, let’s start off by learning a little bit about you and your background in how you got into early-childhood education and writing books about these important topics.

JACOBSON:

Okay, well, I was bored in what is now Zimbabwe – Rhodesia. And when I was 19 I went to live in Israel where I studied to become an early-childhood teacher, a preschool-kindergarten teacher with the Ministry of Education. And after 19 years I was recruited to the university at Buffalo to study my doctorate and run the University of Buffalo Childcare Center.

And about 15 years ago we relocated to Philadelphia because my husband was recruited to Temple University. And I became the chair of the Teacher Education Department at Rider University. And I have just retired from there because if you add up all the years I’ve turned 70.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

So, I guess you kind of had the combination of working, for example, at the University of Buffalo, in the center and running the center, as well as doing some research projects on the side. Is that right?

JACOBSON:

Yes, absolutely. I was the director of the campus childcare center for the university at Buffalo for about eleven years. And that was about 200 families, two sites, about 50 staff and the children [of] ages 6 weeks to 5 years.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Cool. And a lot of what you’ve focused your work on is around adults and adults’ emotions and how that influences the early-childhood setting and early-childhood relationships. Why did you decide to focus on that subject matter?

JACOBSON:

That’s really a good question. Maybe I should have become a counselor or a psychologist when I was little? But what I discovered as a preschool teacher was that the way that I was brought up as a child seemed to come up for me a lot when I was working with children. And there was nowhere for me to go to process that unless I sort of took myself under my own wing and went for therapy on my own.

And I thought about that a lot for many years until I went back to school for my doctorate, that actually teachers don’t have any support for that kind of work. And the work that they’re doing with children minute-by-minute is really emotional work, whether it be discipline, whether it be facing our own biases and prejudices, anything at all, actually. The way we were brought up very often affects how we interact with other people.

And that’s okay. But if we’re working with children, I think we have a responsibility to find out who we are [and] how we came to be who we are so that we don’t unintentionally hurt children. Because we don’t mean to but sometimes we’ll do things that maybe worked for our families or our parents but not for us when we’re working with children.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

That’s interesting. And how would you go about doing that? So, if I want to find out more about who I am and getting a better grasp on me and my emotions, I wouldn’t know where to start.

JACOBSON:

I know, without going to therapy!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Maybe it’s therapy, I don’t know!

JACOBSON:

Well, I think therapy is not a bad thing. I mean, I’ve been in therapy for many years and I choose to do that because I learn about myself in different ways all the time. It’s also because I may be trying to redeem my earliest childhood, which was emotionally quite abusive. So, I want to help children not have abusive-emotional early-childhoods as a result of that. I’m sure that that’s part of it.

But what I do with teachers is I talk to them about, first of all, the importance of our relationships with children. And there’s a lot of research on brain development, specifically with regard to our emotional memory that’s developed very early in the brain. And it’s something that’s uneraseable. Our relationships and the quality of our relationships affect everything that we do. If we don’t feel confident or worthy of our self or if we have some kind of self-esteem it’s hard for us to study, to read and write. It’s hard for us to concentrate on anything, really.

And there’s a lot of research that shows that children who are unpopular, for example, who can’t make friends, have a lot of mental disabilities later on in life – and many drop out of school, actually. So relationships, the quantity of our relationships, is extremely important. And if we’re not really understanding who we are then our relationships suffer from that, too, because we can’t really be authentic.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

So that’s an interesting word you use, “authentic”. How does understanding yourself translate into stronger relationships with the children you may be working with, let’s say, in the early-childhood classroom? Is it the authenticity? Is that, I assume, a key part?

JACOBSON:

That’s a very important part, too, in establishing relationships. But you did actually ask “how to” and I didn’t answer that so clearly. So, let me give you an example: Let’s say when I was a child – this is not about me but I’ve heard it said by many teachers who I work with – that when they answered their parents back, their parents slapped them across the face. And so when children answer them back their initial feeling is they want to punish their child. They feel like that’s there’s something wrong when the child answers them back.

And since they’re not allowed to use harsh punishments like they received they very often don’t know what to do. And even if we give them strategies they sort of fall short of doing the correct strategies because they seem to be mixing up their emotional memory of punishment with strategies for discipline, which discipline and punishment are two different things.

So, getting in touch with the things that cause us discomfort with children can be done in many ways. We can go home and write a journal about why we felt so uncomfortable or why we battled with that two-year-old the way that we did. I mean, after all, we’re in our 30’s and 40’s working with children, or our 20’s, and suddenly we become a two-year-old with a two-year-old.

So, sometimes it’s good to just journal about it and try and work out, “Oh, gee, that reminds me of this and this and this.” Sometimes a child reminds us of somebody that we knew that we liked or didn’t like or they remind us of ourselves. So, it’s sort of maybe journaling about that, maybe starting a group with other teachers where they can share these kinds of discussions in a safe place.

My dissertation that I did for my doctorate, I facilitated a support group for early-childhood teachers who wanted to talk about how they acquired bias and prejudice. And as they talked together in the group – and I facilitated their discussion – they learned a lot about themselves and their childhoods and how it affected them interacting with others. So that’s part of the how-to.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And so in some of the strategies that you’ve used or recommended it sounds like talking to peers is actually quite effective, which makes sense because you’re dealing with a lot of the same challenges, right?

JACOBSON:

Yes, I would recommend having someone facilitating a group like that, someone who has maybe a little bit of knowledge of counseling or even and of teaching, definitely, so that there’s a safe space and it’s not just a place where you go to vent but you can really talk about things that are disturbing or uncomfortable for you.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, that makes sense. And so let’s say I’ve had the opportunity as an early-childhood educator [ECE] to learn more about myself and my emotions. How do I then go and apply myself now that I’ve had these learnings and reflected on this to be a better ECE?

JACOBSON:

It’s ongoing, Ron, it goes on and on. It never ends! I mean, what I think of it as more of accompanying me when I do the work because I have to live day-to-day in the classroom and do stuff that I can’t just sit around reflecting. I have to sort of stop the child from throwing a block at another child or I have to do something like read a story or something to do with curriculum. So, it’s challenging in that way.

But to be able to… for example, I have a little experiment for teachers [wherein] instead of putting a child in timeout that a teacher takes a timeout. And when they take the time out they just stand by the door for about two minutes and they look at the classroom and they think, “If I was a child in this classroom, how would I like to be treated?”

And for that brief five minutes that they’re standing there thinking about that their whole attitude might shift when they come back to take care of the classroom again. Of course, they can only do that if they have an assistant with them to take over the classroom while they take that break. So, taking yourself out of it sometimes can help you.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

So, this actually sounds super important, so…

JACOBSON: I think it is!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

I think so, too!

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And I guess I’m just wondering to myself, if I don’t necessarily have that support group or I’m not in a position to create that, I guess, what avenues do I have? Or maybe I can try to set one up myself? Do I have any recommendations?

JACOBSON:

Well, setting up a support group is really quite a challenge. And most teachers don’t have time. They work such long hours and for so little pay. And, I mean, I would recommend doing home visits, for example. But I know the teachers just don’t have the one spare minute to do things like that. Sometimes it just helps to maybe journal about it or read books, that would be helpful. I think my book might be helpful for that.

Let me give you an example: When I do presentations or professional developments with teachers, I ask them how they were disciplined as children. And they always come up with horrific things: spankings, beatings, choosing their own switch, kneeling on rice, having their mouth washed out with soap, being yelled at, threatened at, all kinds of things. And that is not really discipline – that’s punishment.

Discipline is comes from the Latin, “to teach”. And what discipline is a setting boundaries and making it safe for us all to live together. So, I think one of the problems is that we have to filter our discipline strategies through our emotional memory of punishment. And we have to make connections between how we feel with what we do. And that’s very tricky. And you’re right, being alone with it is hard. And teachers are alone with it.

So, I recommend journaling, I recommend reading things. And, of course, if you can get a little group together to talk [then that] would be absolutely fabulous. I mean, I would love to facilitate groups like that for teachers now, especially in my retirement.

A lot of it depends on our mindset and world view, as well. I mean, were we brought up to think that the world a harsh place and therefore we should be very strict with children so they know how to deal with the harsh world out there? Or were we brought up with sort of a lot of hope and benefit of the doubt and trust and compassion, or maybe something in between? All of this affects how we’re going to think about children when we discipline them or when they ask for attention, for example.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

It’s a very enlightening conversation for me because they feel like…

JACOBSON:

Are you heading off to therapy, Ron?

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, I might be, right after this podcast!

JACOBSON:

Excellent, excellent! I think anybody who’s been brought up by an adult needs therapy.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

And it’s not just in the early-childhood education environment. Of course these things affect all of our decisions and behaviors in life. So, it’s quite interesting. So, you mentioned your book, so let’s talk about that. So, that could be a great place for people to start. Tell us more about your writings on this subject and where people can access those resources.

JACOBSON:

Yes, and I thought about facilitating that support group for my dissertation for anti-bias. So, my first book was about confronting our discomfort [Confronting Our Discomfort: Clearing the Way for Anti-bias in Early Childhood], about prejudice and bias and the way we were brought up and the prejudices that we developed as children and how that affects our interactions with others.

And during that support group a lot of not bias came up – I mean, that came up – but a lot of other things came up like anger, for example. Many of the teachers expressed anger and not knowing how to express it in ways that were appropriate and so forth or how they felt about children’s anger.

And that led me to think about discipline because discipline is a big, big part of classroom management. In fact, as a chair of the teacher education department our student teachers always wanted strategies for classroom management. It was one of their top priorities. They were very worried about that.

So, I decided that I wanted to write a book called Don’t Get So Upset: Help Young Children Manage Their Feelings by Understanding Your Own. And that would be simply about the way we were disciplined and how that affects our disciplining children, if we can feel comfortable with the strategies we use and if we don’t feel comfortable, why [not], and how we could get in touch with those things.

And when I went around the country presenting and doing professional development based on that book many people said, “But what do I do with children who need my attention?” And the way they talked about it was as if this attention-getting or needing attention was something very negative.

And so I asked the publisher, Redleaf Press, if I could just add another chapter and we could republish the book, Don’t Get So Upset. And they asked me, “No, please write a whole book about that.” So, last June, this book came out called Everyone Needs Attention: Helping Young Children Thrive. And there I go in-depth about the concept of self-regulation and children needing to have some self-control and how we deal with that and, again, bringing us back to our own childhoods and how we sought attention, how we didn’t receive attention and what people thought about us wanting attention if they were good about it.

And [on] one of the pages in the book, I suggested that, “What would happen instead of saying, She’s just doing it for attention, we said, She’s just doing it for relationships?” And that seemed to strike a chord in many people. Apparently, that page went viral on Facebook and Twitter and somebody posted it. I didn’t know about it and thought it was [viewed by], like, 20,000 people and then it was, like, 100,000 people.

And NBC News asked me to write an opinion piece for their website called NBC News Thinks, which I did in June. And actually, that that opinion piece, if you could find it – I can’t give you the link through a podcast – but if you just [web search] my name, Tamar Jacobson and NBC News, that opinion piece comes up. And it’s a nice little summary of all these things that I’m talking to you about on the Podcast. So. you might mention that, if you like.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Oh, interesting! And your books, where can folks go to access those if we want to buy them?

JACOBSON:

Well, www.RedleafPress.org is a good way to get them and also [on] Amazon, you can get them, too.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

Yeah, I mean, if it’s a way for people to get access to the resources they need to continue to grow and develop as people then absolutely. And just a reminder to everybody, so, to recap, there’s three books that Tamar has published: one, Confronting Our Discomfort: Clearing the Way for Anti-bias in Early Childhood; the second, Don’t Get So Upset; and the third, Everyone Needs Attention. You can find those through Amazon, Redleaf, press, Google as well, which I think we’re all familiar with.

This is this has been a really, like I said, enlightening conversation for me and I think really hits home the importance of understanding yourself and what’s driving you to behave in certain ways. And I like the way that you framed it as, especially if you’re working with young children, you kind of have a responsibility to understand that. And I think that’s a good way to position it.

JACOBSON:

Yes, yes. I like that you say that.

SPREEUWENBERG: 

So, check out these books, check out these resources. You can do journaling, talk to your peers or set up a support group, all great recommendations from Tamar. Tamar, thank you so much for joining us on the Podcast. It’s been lovely having you as a guest!

JACOBSON:

Thank you so much, I appreciate it!

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