Blog - Early Childhood

Blog Kathie Sarles

Emotion Regulation

A meltdown, the typical response from a two year old when he is unable to have the thing he wants, can be the ultimate problem for parents. Couple that meltdown with a public display, and a seemingly calm and confident parent turns into a whining, bribing, pleading yelling out of control adult! Why?

Blog Kathie Sarles

Should I Spank?

Is It Ever Alright to Spank?

Over the years in my work with children and families I have heard many parents say,“ I spank my child when they misbehave; it works,” and then add defensively, “I was spanked when I was a child and I am well adjusted.”

Blog Kathie Sarles

How to Follow Your Child’s Lead.

Following Your Child’s Lead

What does it mean to follow your child’s lead when engaging in play?

Although the concept is easy to understand, the practical application is difficult. We have many “schemas” or play plans already completed in our minds. We know what we can do with Legos or blocks or how to place the animals in the zoo or barn. We have had past experience with these toys and feel competent at completing our game plan. Our children however, still enjoy experimenting and randomly placing a variety of toys in many different areas and seeing how it looks or feels. When we interfere with this experimentation the child looses his motivation and creativity. In other words, we spoil their fun. Do that too many times and they don’t want to play with you or worse, they think YOUR way is the only way.

Blog Kathie Sarles

Scary Separations

Scary Separations:

“It’s natural for your young child to feel anxious when you say goodbye. Although it can be difficult, separation anxiety is a normal stage of development”.

Separations are hard on both, the parent and the child. Babies need our complete care and attention. We do everything for them and respond to their differing cries and celebrate their milestones. We build an attachment over time with our child that is like no other. When the time comes to separate from one another, even momentarily, it can be very difficult. One of the hardest parts of being a parent is to allow your child’s independence to grow.

Blog Kathie Sarles

Bedtime and Toddlers…


Everyday routines can be hard when you have a toddler whose growing independence craves the safety of the routine, but often responds negatively to it. His outward need for control thwarts his inner need for regularity.

Blog Kathie Sarles

Sharing and the World of Mine!

Sharing and the World of “MINE”

Kathie Sarles M.Ed.

As parents we want to raise our children to be respectful of others and learn how to be social. We try to model many social norms like greetings, being polite and sharing. We expect that once our child interacts with others that he/ she will begin to follow that model while interacting. Toddlers and preschoolers will fall short of this expectation, and that is due to their social / emotional development. These toddlers are egocentric, which means they feel they are the center of the world and no other perspective is valid.

Blog Kathie Sarles

Summer Sensations

Summer is here! Older children are out of school and younger children are excited and/ or anxious to have their sibling home. The entire family may also be looking forward to a vacation away from the daily norm. Whatever it is, very young children can feel the change in the air and may act in ways we do not expect. Being a prepared parent can help us get through a long, hot summer!

Blog Kathie Sarles

When a Child Is Aggressive

When a Child is Aggressive:
We all know the feeling. It comes upon us like a wave. Our body changes: the heart pounds, face flushes, words are lost and thinking is impaired. Are we angry, frustrated, embarrassed, anxious, or over stimulated? Does it matter? At that moment we are so overwhelmed and our bodies are so uncomfortable that we could just …… (spit,…bite, hit)?

Blog Kathie Sarles

Limit setting

Why Set Limits?

Children need to feel safe and secure in order to learn. When a child has no boundaries, he/she feels out of control or anxious. Boundaries are not punitive, they are comforting and offer a place to try new things and explore safely. John Medina author of Brain Rules for Babies states, “ …need for safety is so powerful, the presence of rules themselves often communicates safety to children.” Parents easily set boundaries for infants, but find it harder once the child is mobile and becoming more independent.

Blog Kathie Sarles

Toileting: What’s the Fuss?

Toileting: What’s all the fuss….

There are many good parenting articles, blogs and DVDs that address this very natural and routine milestone,( look for these in our resource center). There are also many sage and “helpful” relatives and friends that offer advice on this issue. When it comes right down to it there are only 2 people who matter in this specific skill development: the child and the caregiver (s). It is up to you and your child to decide when you are ready and what method to use.

Blog Kathie Sarles

The Calming Force of the Daily Routine

By Kathie Sarles, M.Ed.

As an early childhood educator, I have often discussed the need for routines with many parents. Some parents tell me that they used to have daily routines but once their first child came along their routines were gone. Children, they claim, change the trajectory of the day. Other parents have never seen a reason for routine and often feel it is wrong to impose a structure on a toddler. Although I understand that each family must find their own system to cope with daily life, structure is not just a good idea, it is necessary. It is a fact that children who understand what is coming next in their day are more secure and calm and therefore ready to learn and develop, than those who are unsure and therefore anxious about what is coming next. “Consistent routines, activities that happen at about the same time and in about the same way each day, provide comfort and a sense of safety to young children.” (Zero to Three: This is especially true for children who are already experiencing a challenge with development.

Blog Kathie Sarles

Sensational Play

As an adult looking at a child painting at an easel, you see the physical attributes of the child standing at that space putting color onto paper. You may also note other specifics, like the color being used, whether the strokes are circular or straight or how much of the paper the child is using. Adults often also “see” a representation, something you think the child might have created. It is the perspective of someone who has experienced this activity many times.

Blog Kathie Sarles

Why Doesn’t My Child Listen To Me?

Whenever I ask a parent if their child responds to their simple requests, I often get the answer, “Oh she/he has selective hearing.” We all know what that means; your child does not want to respond to you because they are having too much fun doing what THEY want to do. It is important however to teach your to respond to a request even if it is to negotiate for more time. Ignoring us is not an option. Of course if we expect this of our children, we need to reciprocate and respond to our children’s requests. Communication is a two way system: speaking, ( or gesturing) and listening,( acknowledging what has been communicated). This does not mean that we will respond in the way the child wants; it just means we will listen and acknowledge their request.

Blog Kathie Sarles

IPads for babies?

What do you think of the products out there such as the IPad bouncy seat? Developmental specialists are worried about the effects of products such as this one:

Blog Kathie Sarles

You Are the Expert

How many of us take the time to think about parenting? We are parents, we love our children, but the “how to” and the “what to do” get lost in the” just getting it done.” Who has time to think about parenting, while you are in the midst of parenting!

Blog Kathie Sarles

Postive Parenting the Young Child

New class for parents of HRC clients ages 1-5 years.

Create a positive atmosphere while setting limits that allow your child to develop internal controls. Using the STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) curriculum our early childhood educator will present research tested, effective strategies that you can use immediately in your home with your child.

These five session classes will be offered four times a year alternating between HRC’s Torrance and Long Beach locations.

Blog Kathie Sarles

What to say instead of saying NO!

Parents: Below is an article I wrote to begin this Early Childhood Blog. Those of us working with the 0-3 population are often asked questions about early childhood development and behavior. We would love to answer your questions. Please feel free to ask questions here or comment on what is written in this blog. We can all learn from each other. 
Kathie Sarles, Early Childhood Specialist