As caring adults in young children’s lives we play a major role in setting the stage for lifelong learning, discovery and success. Nebraska Extension is committed to providing research-based strategies to help you support the holistic development of the young child in your care.

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Early Childhood

The challenges that we have all faced since the onset of COVID-19 are still present. The holiday season is upon us and for some us the holiday season adds to one’s stress level. As individuals and families plan holiday gatherings, many are wondering how topics about politics, health, wealth, or a favorite sport team will come up in conversation. Additionally, children and young people may experience a variety of emotions during the holidays and have a difficult time expressing themselves in words which can lead to misguided behaviors and hurt feelings. Whether it is an adult chat after a holiday meal or a conversation with children after opening presents, using good communication skills can prevent misunderstandings and avoid heart ache. Below are some strategies to help youth (and adults) communicate throughout the holidays.
The holidays are often a time filled with joy as many reunite with family or friends not seen on a regular basis. Holiday gatherings are time to share special traditions such as favorite recipes, playing games, watching movies or just “catching up”. This year might be particularly special since families may have been unable to gather last year due to COVID-19. Holiday gatherings help children, youth, and adults create social connection whether meeting face to face or virtually. Intentionally building connections can make gatherings with family or friends more impactful.

By Jill A. Goedeken, Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development

While connecting in person may not be possible right now, maintaining positive social connections for youth is important for supporting their social and emotional well-being. These connections are critically important for all youth – those who appear to be doing okay with these uncertain times and for those who may be struggling. Certainly, everyone is experiencing the sudden disruptions in routines and being with friends.

By Dr. Michelle Krehbiel, Nebraska Extension 4-H Youth Development

“I don’t like this!”

Children or youth might say this during a heated game, when being asked to correct unwanted behavior or when plans change. Young people who were looking forward to milestones like field days, end of school year celebrations, prom, or graduation, have reason to believe that life can be sad, frustrating, and difficult. How can nurturing adults help young people cope with these emotions and equip them with the skills they need to be caring, connected, and capable adults?

By Jackie Guzman - Learning Child Educator, Nebraska Extension in Scotts Bluff County

When parents or grandparents find themselves working from home with kids, your work world is bound to collide with your family life.

By Jackie Guzman   Extension Educator – Learning Child

As parents, grandparents and other relatives and care-givers are home with children because schools are closed due to Covid-19, it is good to remember the importance of play to the growth and development of every child.

Play is a crucial part of a child’s development. It starts in infancy and should continue throughout his or her life. Playing with your child not only helps build a positive relationship and strengthen bonds with the child, but it has additional benefits as well.