Growing Patriotic Children

June 29, 2011

I often hold the opinion that we make things more complicated than necessary but that we overlook how deliberate and purposeful we must be to accomplish our desired goals with our children. Teaching children to be good citizens truly begins by showing them how to function in the family, in their small group of friends, in preschool, and eventually in the community in which they live.

However, if we are going to teach our children about our great country, we must be deliberate about the process. We cannot assume that our children will just eventually learn everything that they need to know about becoming a great citizen from school. I believe that it begins early and that our teaching must be purposeful. What would you like for your children to know about our country? Here are some ideas that you might want to consider:

  1. Make a list of sites that you deem important and consistent with your family’s values and have a 10- to 15-year plan of the cities, monuments, national forests, and other places where you want to take your children. Involve them in the discussion and introduce these sites by reading about them long before you actually invest in traveling to them.
  2. You can go so many places with books; travel isn’t always necessary. Just because you cannot travel does not mean you cannot nurture a deep appreciation of great places in your children.
  3. Seize each teachable moment and define it for your child:
    1. If you participate with your child in cleaning up a city park or another community area, let your child know that this is “being a good citizen.”
    2. Take the opportunity to go to the airport and wave a flag to welcome home soldiers who have served our country well. Show them real heroes.
    3. Teach your child the art of conflict resolution in the home. This is crucial to becoming a great citizen.
    4. Even very young children can learn the Pledge of Allegiance. Be purposeful in teaching them patriotic songs and rhymes. Do not assume that they will just one day “catch” the ideas on their own.
    5. When you see someone who is not obeying a law, take an appropriate moment to explain why it is important that we have laws in our country, city, community, and/or family. Just remember that the younger the child, the simpler the explanation.
    6. A birthday party for our country is a concept that any child can understand…it might be a tradition worth implementing with your children.

Happy Fourth of July…SAFETY FIRST! Remember children need constant adult supervision around ANY fireworks.



Happy Birthday America!



Written by: Donna McClintock, COO Children’s Choice Learning Centers


Bernadette Fusaro is named Director of Choice4Care® Backup Care

June 22, 2011

Bernadette FusaroChildren’s Choice Learning Centers is excited to announce the addition of Bernadette Fusaro to our corporate team as Director of Choice4Care® Backup Care.  Ms. Fusaro has over 20 years of experience in the work/life field.  She began her business career at Merrill Lynch where she was Vice President of Global Work/Life Strategies.  In that position, Bernadette was responsible for all work/life programs offered to employees including an on-site child care center in Hopewell, NJ and nationwide backup care program for children, adults, and elders. Through her efforts, Merrill Lynch was the first Wall Street Company to be recognized by Working Mother magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers in 1996.

After leaving Merrill Lynch in 2003, Bernadette continued in the work/life field as a Senior Account Manager for Work Options Group where she specialized in backup care programs for leading corporations.  She continued in this role when Bright Horizons acquired Work Options Group in 2009.  Her extensive experience on both the corporate and vendor side gives her a unique understanding of what employers need in a quality backup care program.

Prior to her business career, Bernadette was an early childhood educator in New York City for 5 years.  She has her Master’s Degree in Education from Fordham University.

Bernadette’s current role is the Director of Choice4Care® Backup Care at Children’s Choice Learning Centers where she is responsible for all aspects of this unique program.


About Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.®

Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.®  is the nations premier corporate-sponsored child care, early education and Choice4Care® backup care provider. Children’s Choice serves clients across the United States with programs including child care, early education and backup care for children and adults/elders.

Encourage Independence and “Save Your Back”

June 22, 2011

Sometimes we miss the obvious, and we need someone to point it out to us. Whether you are home all day or just in the evenings, assigning tasks to even the youngest child who might be right under your feet can benefit both you and your child. This could be labeled as “intentional parenting.”

We know that we need to equip children early with self-help skills. We already understand the value of allowing them to do small tasks that give them a feeling of self-confidence. Have you thought about these simple ways for your child to help?

1.     Your toddler would love to push the laundry basket down the hall thus saving you from lifting it.

2.     A young toddler or two-year-old would be happy to hand you laundry from the floor or basket to load into the washer thus saving you from bending over.

3.     Make picking up toys a competitive game between siblings or between you and your child. Leave toys that are easiest for him to reach thus saving you from bending and stooping.

4.     Your young toddler can help dust, carry out trash, put things in the car, and genuinely assist you if you inspire her and choose activities that are appropriate for her age.

5.     Older children can learn to make simple dishes for dinner and perhaps even take charge of certain meals. Don’t limit them—you might be surprised.

6.     Family discussions can be very valuable. Inspire children to be responsible by asking them what they think they can do. It’s amazing what they will take on if you let them.

The key is to turn the work into fun. Relax and enjoy each experience. Remember that every time your child is successful in helping you, he gains confidence and learns a life skill. And perhaps along the way, you have given yourself a little break, as well.

Try it…you might find that all of you enjoy this “teamwork.”

As parents, we tend to assume that our child is “too little, too young, or too fragile.” Be aware of tasks that your child CAN do that will give her a sense of pride and also contribute to the overall health of your family.

Children Become What They Live

June 15, 2011

“Children Learn What They Live” is a poem that has been around a very long time. I have included a short version in this blog for those who are not familiar with it. I believe that we sometimes make parenting so much more difficult than it has to be. I believe that every parent wants to be a good parent. Every parent wants to raise a child who becomes a loving, caring, and productive member of society. So often we drag our troubled children to professionals “to be fixed,” and yet we are unwilling to look inside our own lives at what we could improve. We resist changes that would create the right environment for our children to become what we dream they could become.

More often than not, our children become who we ARE…not what we TELL them to become. Read this beautiful poem and perhaps take a personal inventory. Determine who you want your children to become and then work hard to BE that person. You will be astonished at the changes you will see, even in the youngest child! Good parenting is truly about being the best that you can be and being honest about what your children experience daily. Great parenting doesn’t just happen. It requires a personal dedication to excellence. I do not mean perfection…but rather a genuine commitment to make adjustments in one’s self as needed.

Children Learn What They Live
by Dorothy Law Nolte

If children live with critisism,
They learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility,
They learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule,
They learn to be shy.
If children live with shame,
They learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement,
They learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance,
They learn to be patient.
If children live with praise,
They learn to appreciate.
If children live with acceptance,
They learn to love.
If children live with approval,
They learn to like themselves.
If children live with honesty,
They learn truthfulness.
If children live with security,
They learn to have faith in themselves and others.
If children live with friendliness,
They learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972/1975 by Dorothy Law Nolte

Children’s Choice puts CHILDREN FIRST!

June 9, 2011

Children's Choice Core Values“CHILDREN  FIRST…Children’s Choice ADDITIONAL CORE VALUES:

Children’s Choice is dedicated to and guided by our Core Values. Our Core Values are not just words that hang on the wall. Our Core Values are “committable” Core Values. “Committable Core Values” means that we hire and fire by them. We BELIEVE that our Core Values are critical to the on-going success of Children’s Choice.

While Children’s Choice realizes that there is NO way to include every key success factor on a single sheet of paper, we felt that there were some key Core Values that we needed to add. Our current Core Values are Compassion, Honesty, Integrity, Loyalty, Dignity, Respect, Enthusiasm, and Niceness.


We have added Fun, Innovation, Relationships, Social Purpose, and Trust.

Fun: We believe that you must keep the fun in childhood, and adults who know how to laugh and smile make life so much more enjoyable for everyone. And of all industries, fun should be at the top of our list. We want you to dance to work, dance at work, and dance home. If we will allow them, the children will teach us the art of having fun and the magic of joy.

Innovation: Children’s Choice is constantly seeking new ways to meet the changing needs of America’s families. We offer 24/7 care in accredited centers, iPads in the classrooms, and notifications when babies are fed that push out to moms’ cell phones immediately in some markets. We are always looking for new technology and new ideas. We will continue to find innovative ways to support our families.

Relationships: We know that our mission is about caring for people. We have to show how much we care in   everything that we do. Everything we do must be wrapped by a spirit of caring.

Social Purpose: Children’s Choice is determined to have an impact on the needs of the communities we serve. We added this to our Core Values so that our leaders will remain focused on creating opportunities to serve their communities.

Trust: Every stable relationship is built on trust. We realize we have to earn it, and we will. We then have to live in a way to maintain it, and we will.

Children’s Choice believes that these additional Core Values with our existing Core Values more accurately reflect who Children’s Choice is, who Children’s Choice strives to be, and what values Children’s Choice commits to living by each day.

Children’s Choice focuses on CHILDREN FIRST! Children’s Choice makes every decision on the side of the child.

Our educators live out each Core Value each and every day in their center.

The interactions between each child and their educator is nurturing, loving, developmentally appropriate, and positive. Our Core Values state the things Children’s Choice must be and do in order for Children’s Choice to be a safe, fun, educational environment for each and every child.

Summer of Discovery

June 8, 2011

Happy SummerThere are many casualties of a fast paced world, but one that you might not consider very often is how living so fast denies our children the TIME that they need to discover who they are, how they feel, and how to express those feelings.

Have you ever done this? You ask your young child a question. He tries to formulate the answer—you can almost see him putting the words in order in his little brain. But you are in such a hurry that, as soon as he blurts out the essence of his answer, you complete the sentence for him and move on. Perhaps you are not aware of it, but you have robbed your child of a very important process critical to his growth and development. While moving on quickly to the next task might keep the entire family on schedule, continual failure to allow him to fully formulate his thoughts and express them will impede his development. Sometimes we move so fast that we do not even realize what we are doing. We are just getting “life” done.

Children need TIME in every area. They need time to explore, to think, to discover, and to process what they uncover. Play is the way that children learn about themselves and others. Children need adults to take the time to observe their play. Sometimes adults need to engage in play with them, and sometimes it is best to allow them to play independently. There is NOTHING that replaces the gift of slowing down the pace and giving your child TIME…and FREEDOM…to discover and express who she is and how she feels. I am sorry to report that there is no substitute for allowing children this time of discovery. You cannot give them a crash course, graduate them early, or pretend that they do not need it. Trust me.

Most of us live very busy lives. As we enter the summer months, pencil in time every single day that you turn off the noise. Observe your child. Look your pre-teen in the eye. If you ask a question, WAIT on the answer. Slow down the pace. Our children are bombarded with noise, with stress, with deadlines, with schedules and demands. Schedule Discovery Time. Schedule Purposeful Discovery Time. Discover more about your child and the wonderful world you share together. It is an investment that will pay rich dividends.

“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

Happy Summer! Explore with new eyes!

The Numbers Tell the Story

June 1, 2011

Did you know that the leading cause of death for children ages 1-5 or 1-15; (the age range doesn’t change the statistic) is “unintentional harm”? A visit to the CDC website was sobering because it spoke of all the sorrow that parents, family members, and friends have experienced as a result of an unintentional action (or lack thereof) taken by someone.

The first “unintentional harm” cause of death is motor vehicle accidents. The second cause in both age ranges is accidental drowning. I had already planned to blog today about water safety; but when I saw this it made me realize that we can NEVER be too cautious or speak of water safety too often.

The CDC website has excellent information and I suggest that you visit it right away; at the beginning of your summer fun. Every day about 10 people die from accidental drowning and 2 of these are under the age of 14. Children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rates. The statistics speak of our need to be more intentional in our pursuit of safety.

The following verbiage is directly from the CDC website: PLEASE take a minute to remind yourself and your family of water safety…there are many things that you can do with your children but the responsibility rests with US; the adults. We must keep our children safe.

·       Supervision when in or around the Water.Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while in the bath and all children swimming or playing in or around water. Supervisors of preschool children should provide “touch supervision”, be close enough to reach the child at all times.  Adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children.

·       Buddy System.Always swim with a buddy. Select swimming sites that have lifeguards whenever possible.

·       Seizure Disorder Safety.If you or a family member has a seizure disorder, provide one-on-one supervision around water, including swimming pools. Consider taking showers rather than using a bath tub for bathing.

·       Learn to Swim.Formal swimming lessons can protect young children from drowning. However, even when children have had formal swimming lessons, constant, careful supervision when children are in the water, and barriers, such as pool fencing, to prevent unsupervised access are necessary.

·       Learn Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).In the time it might take for paramedics to arrive, your CPR skills could make a difference in someone’s life.

·       Do Not Use Air-Filled or Foam Toys.  Do not use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings”, “noodles”, or inner-tubes, in place of life jackets (personal flotation devices). These toys are not designed to keep swimmers safe.

·       Avoid Alcohol. Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing. Do not drink alcohol while supervising children.

There are many other facts, tips, and safety rules on their website. Please visit it and take extra precaution so that nothing “unintentional” occurs this summer that brings sorrow or pain to what should be a joyful time of discovery and fun.