The holiday season is in full swing: children show excitement when they see the lights on Main Street or Santa at the mall. Unfortunately, it is also a time when schedule changes may negatively affect the routines to which children are accustomed. However, there are ways to provide down time and activities that help calm children. Think of sensory activities: homemade warm playdough, shaving cream mixed with white glue (equal parts by weight) to make puffy snow, or by putting warm water in a water tub to play with and soothing storybooks on CDs
Making cooked playdough is easy and the texture is wonderful. You will need 2 cups white flour, 1 cup salt, 4 tablespoons of cream of tartar, 2 tablespoons of oil and 2 cups of water. Mix the first four ingredients together in a large saucepan; gradually, add the water and cook on medium heat until it looks like lumpy mash potatoes. Remove from the heat; cool until touchable and then let your child play with it. You may have to add a bit of flour to the table, so it doesn’t stick. Store in a plastic bag. When ready to use again, heat a handful in the microwave. Let your child use cookie cutters and other utensils to play with it. The warmth of the playdough will relax a child.
The holiday season is also a time to reflect on the friends we love and appreciate, the connections we have made within our community and the many opportunities we are given to grow as individuals. As we start to think about our New Year’s resolutions, let us make family education a priority. Danbury has a wealth of opportunities for families to participate in, such as Raising Readers (RR). RR is a free six-week family literacy program designed to encourage families to read to their children.
The evening classes begin on January 12 from 6-8 pm, in which families learn about reading, family feelings, celebrating diversity, what happens at the library and poetry.
Weekly, families receive free books for their home libraries. The class is free and childcare is provided. For more information, contact Francine Shoffner at the FACE Center, 203-797-4733.
The Parent Leadership Training Institute (PLTI) is another wonderful opportunity to learn about parent leadership, politics and policy. PLTI enables parents to become advocates for their children. It consists of 20 weekly classes covering diversity, parents as change agents, defining problems and action steps, the power of media, the life cycle of the child and the functions of the family, social and economic trends affecting children and families, how government works, local and state budgets and the magic of the unexpected—forming new alliances. PTLI begins with a Saturday retreat on January 21, followed by 20 Thursday nights. The Children’s Leadership Training Institute, for children ages 3-12, runs parallel with the program. For more information, contact Katherine Tucker at Families Network of Western CT, 203-791-8773.
For more information on other family educational opportunities within Danbury, call Anne Mead or Tatiane Reinert at the FACE Center, 203-797-4734.