Good Beginnings for Kaua‘i’s keiki

Here are seven ideas you can use to strengthen your relationship with the children (and others) that you care about:

• When upset, take that deep breath … and then another … (remember, breathing calms the mind) you are the adult in this relationship/ be a good role model; try not to yell/don’t hit.

• When you are taking that deep breath … try to think “what is my child hearing”; what do I want to teach about problem solving; about relationships.

• Count to 10 or better yet 25/ also the alphabet is good to do/ a song that’s special to you…

• Phone a friend….drink water…wash your face… most distractions are good distractions.

• Make sure the child is safe… someone else can watch baby for a few minutes/ baby can’t climb out of the playpen, etc….go outside/ walk to the mailbox/ go to the bathroom (cry if you need to).

• Hug a pillow; rip paper; sing.

Next time you are out in public and you notice a child and caretaker having a hard time you can:

• Empathize: children can sure be a challenge as well as a gift… and keep moving.

I remember when my son/ daughter/ grandbaby used to get upset like that, I wasn’t sure I’d make it through.

• Divert the adult’s attention: become a distraction for the adult to provide time for them to regain control of their feelings; start a conversation; ask a question

• Compliment the adult and/or the child: what a big boy, helping …; I admire you, taking the children shopping with you; she has such a nice smile just like you …

These thoughts are provided to assist all of us to be better parents and people with each other. Remember you are your child’s first teacher.

In Hawai’i approximately 6,000 cases of child abuse are reported annually. Only about 33 percent of all child abuse is ever reported, 66 percent never tell during childhood, 85 percent of all victims know their abuser. Last year the National Children’s Alliance served more than 160,000 children and their families. Some 70 percent of these cases were sexual abuse, 12 percent physical abuse, 10 percent witness to violence, and 5 percent neglect. Some 49 percent were family related abuse, 39 percent of the victims were under 6 years of age, 36 percent were 7-12 years old, and 24 percent were 13-18 years old. Help to stop the abuse.

The Friends of the Children’s Justice Center of Kaua’i is a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to the well being of children and youth who were physically or sexually abused, or who may have been severely neglected. Call 246-6214 to find out how you can support the Friends to continue to help these children.

For more ideas, information and resources on how to understand, help and enrich your child’s development, call Anna Peters, Kaua‘i Good Beginnings Coordinator at 632-2114 or Cathy Shanks, PATCH, at 246-0622.

• This article is provided by the Kaua’i Good Beginnings Council Public Awareness Committee comprised of KIDS School, PATCH, CFS-Healthy Start & Head Start and DOE- PCNC & PSAP.

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