Hello Friend! Great to see you here today. We're going to talk about toddlers and how we can have fun exploring their identities. And how this can help them to feel good about who they are.
So let's start with attitude. Children learn by example and they're always listening. Everything we say about people we know and strangers is absorbed by them. When we talk about others with an open mind and a helpful attitude, our children can't help but learn from us.
I wonder if that child's crying so much because they're tired.
What a brat, I'm glad you're not crying like that!
Kayla hasn't learned to take turns yet, but we can help her by using a clock and being patient.
instead of: Kayla doesn't share. Maybe we shouldn't invite her over again.
Since each child is different, let's celebrate that. It's fun to compare and describe different skin colors.
Since color mixing with tempera paints is fun but more appropriate for pre-schoolers, here's something you can try with tots. Finger paint with brown, white, yellow, and red. You might start out by adding a blob of each color to the paper and letting them mix. The key to this activity is to talk about the colors of their own skin and to be very complimentary to all of the colors they make as
well as all of the colors they are!
Remember to honor the process over the product and let them explore freely.
Make sure everyone is represented through books and dolls. Get some dolls with different skin tones that can be bathed lovingly by the toddlers. Talk about skin colors with admiration and love. If you think these activities won't make a positive difference, then you really don't understand toddlers. They're very open to new ideas and learn through watching, listening, and repeating.
Here's one more easy activity. Focus on one child each day, and make a list of good things about them. Spend the day asking everyone to contribute. Talk about attributes and differences in positive ways. If you're motivated, you can trace each child's body on a large
piece of paper and write the positive attributes on it before you color on it and hang it up.
If you happen to live in a homogenous neighborhood or teach in a homogenous classroom, get out and explore the world! Take a bus, go to a different playground and help the children you care for see the world in a new light. Meet new people and try new things. And while
you're at it, ask a nosy question with good intentions and you just might learn something new.
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Nanci J Bradley is an early childhood and family educator, author, teacher, SELF-care facilitator, family aerobics instructor, and an all-around fun-loving person. She believes in the power of sleep, healthy eating, lifelong learning, and most of all, PLAY! She studied early childhood ed at Triton College and received her BS in education in 1986 from NIU. She received her MA in human development from Pacific Oaks College in 2011. She lives and teaches in Madison WI.