Labor Day is this upcoming Monday, Sept. 5. As a child, I remember that we didn’t start the school year until after Labor Day due to no air conditioning in the school. I really looked forward to this holiday but I didn’t know why we celebrated it.
This is a perfect time to emphasize to your young children what community helpers do as we approach this day off for many of us. Emphasize to them this holiday makes our workers feel special as we celebrate their achievements.
“The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it,” said Mother Teresa.
Take time to explain to your child the different jobs our community helpers do. Talk to them about the jobs of the police officers, fire fighters, doctors, nurses, teachers, utility workers, mail carriers, bakers and the list goes on and on. As a teacher and children’s director, my mindset is “someone’s trash is a teacher’s treasure.”. I love to do crafts with these treasures. Children love making unusual hands-on crafts. A collage requires no expense but just pictures from magazines, glue and a piece of paper. Look in your closets for old shoeboxes to make entire towns, fire trucks, police cars and more.
Young children get so excited when they have made their own crafts. They cherish items that they have made. They will learn so much about the people in the community who make their world better.
Here at the beginning of the school year, I would like to point out some safety lessons young children need to know. September is recognized as Baby Safety Month. There are key lessons that all young children need to know. They should learn how to call 911 when there is an emergency, buckle up for safety in the car, not to wonder off, not to talk to strangers, how to prevent poisoning, bicycle and water safety.
Parents, it is so very important for young children to be taught how to dial 911, including fire, accidents and sudden illnesses that may strike a parent or caregiver. Present this safety lesson to your young child in a calm, non-threatening manner. As a teacher, I use a toy telephone to teach children to learn how to dial 911. Children enjoy playing with old cell phones or home phones. I love to sit back and hear “pretend conversations” that children have on toy or old phones in the nursery. Toddlers can practice writing 911 and use their pointing finger to trace the number. Go over, especially with your young child, the situations that warrant using 911. Put a sticker on your phone with 911 so your little one will remember the number to dial.
We used to have a song, “Buckle up for safety, buckle up” to remind young children to put on their safety belts. The best way to teach this lesson is to have your child simply practice buckling, and unbuckling the seatbelt in the car.
Teach your child not to talk to strangers by using the story “Little Red Riding Hood”.
Books can be checked out of the library and many adults have memorized this story to share. Teach your children not to get into the car or go with strangers. In teaching my young students I instruct them not to accept candies or go away from the sight of their parents. Develop a security system with your child.
With poison prevention, the best home policy is to put them up, out of your young child’s reach. Tell them not to touch or drink anything with a skull or an “X” on it, which means poisonous materials. Parents and teachers should also know when a child is allergic to certain foods or has certain conditions. It is the parent’s responsibility to let a teacher or director know about allergies so the information can be noted on a card. There are children who are allergic to certain cleaning products, dust and mold. Let the caregiver know this right away. This is all a part of safety.
When your young child is riding a bicycle, even with training wheels or skateboarding, be sure your child is wearing a helmet. A local safety officer, such as a police officer, would welcome the opportunity to explain this to your child like they do in a classroom. Out of courtesy, get an appointment well in advance. Have a fire escape plan in your home as well. “Stop, drop and roll” is what local firefighters teach our children when they come to the classroom, or when we go on field trips. Visit the local fire department to find out the best way to explain to your young child how to survive in this emergency. Again, be sure to make an appointment.
In review, I want to gently remind families that September is “Better Breakfast Month” like I do every year. National Waffle Week deliciously sails in Sept. 4 through 10.
As the hint of fall blows in, on many evenings we can hear the bands practicing their music on the football fields for halftime programs. I love to hear their music as I walk my little dog. This same band in winter months will be entertaining us with orchestras and symphonies, which is called classical music. September is noted as Classical Music Month and National Piano Month.
September has many days to celebrate but my favorite is Sept. 16, “National Play-Doh Day.” This is a creation truly enjoyed by children all around the world. Play-Doh was invented by a teacher as a creative challenge for her students. We all love to roll out the Play-Doh and create flowers, animals, pretend meals, Play-Doh jewelry and more.
And being a Baby Boomer myself, I want to share that this month is National Senior Center Month. A senior center is a type of community center where older adults congregate for fellowship with others to fulfill many of their social, physical, emotional and intellectual needs. Our community and countyare so blessed to have many of these centers. You can call Lee/Russell Agency on Aging to locate a center at 334-749-5264.