Swim Safe this Summer

As the heat continues to rise for the summer, many of us will find ourselves seeking relief in water activities. Great memories can be created with water. You might have childhood memories of spending weekends at the lake, vacationing by the ocean or simply running through a sprinkler on those extra hot summer days. When…

Summer Heat: Always Check the Back Seat

It is that time of year for cookouts, baseball games, swimming, and many more activities that are fueled by the summer sun. This time of year is certainly preferred by many individuals as it lacks the bitter winds of winter and gloomy skies. Children especially appreciate this season as they can enjoy the warm weather…

Tier 2 Premium is Almost Here!!

Hopefully Spring is here for most of us…along with the newness and change the season brings. As the grass turns green and the flowers begin to bloom, it seems like the perfect opportunity to announce the birth of a new product from GKI. It’s official…GKI will be releasing our new Tier 2 Premium(T2P) this month!…

When the Crisis Point Leads to Physical Child Abuse

  At GKI, our vision is to “protect children and their childhoods, while giving every parent the opportunity to feel confident and competent.” With April kicking off Child Abuse Prevention Month, it seems like the perfect opportunity to focus on the roots of what guides our practices as home visitors. As each of you enter…

Staying Safe While Keeping Warm

  January has arrived and It is officially the new year! For many, the month of January represents a time of newness and change. January is famous for hosting the New Year holiday, but it is also well known for bringing about freezing temperatures, snow, and ice. Throughout the country, many have witnessed a dusting of…

America Is Far From Smoke Free…

Sitting down to write this December blog was more difficult than anticipated. Even though it is officially the holiday season and tons of topics are relevant to this time of the year, it was overwhelming to pick just one subject for this month. As I explored the past blog topics written around the holidays, I…

Pregnancy…Making It Last 40 Weeks

Today we are going to start our discussion by painting a picture with our minds. Envision the sights, sounds, and even smells of this description and drift into the shoes of this couple that is about to be described. It’s the beginning of November, the air that once felt like fall now brings about the…

When Toxic Stress is Rooted in Domestic Violence

October is often associated with fun fall activities. Those who celebrate Halloween will fill their front porches with decorative pumpkins, while others will head to the nearest apple orchard to pick the fresh fall fruit. The sports fans will cheer on their favorite football teams and others will find themselves getting lost in the fun…

Fall Season Means Flu Season

As summer comes to an end, fall quickly approaches. Many people await the season with excitement as the leaves begin to change and the temperatures slowly drop. Despite the refreshing changes the season brings about, it also comes with lots of sneezing, sniffling, and coughing. Yes, the fall season is infamous for the flu. Though…

Supporting Homeless Families and Children

“As Ben and his mom walked to a store, they saw a woman sitting on the sidewalk with a young child hugging her.  The woman had a box of candies and a container for money in front of them. As soon as Ben realized he could help the family, he turned to his mom and…

Reducing Risks of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death

Today we are going to put a spotlight on a topic of critical importance to all parents of newborns…reducing the risks of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID). To enhance our understanding around this issue, we will review recent research and statistics along with recommendations from the experts. We will also talk about Baby Boxes, a new…

The Power of Praising the Effort

Not all praise is equal! Most of us have probably heard this phrase, but do we all know what it really means? Today’s blog will discuss the power of praising and its impact on child development. We will start our discussion by highlighting the 4 Steps to Success Daily Do, one of the most important…

3-Generation Families

Today’s blog will highlight a topic that comes up in GGK Seminars quite frequently — How to support 3-Generation Families. It’s not unusual for a home visitor to have several 3-Generation Families they visit who are looking for effective strategies for creating a healthier balance with care-giving tasks and relationships.  We will enhance today’s discussion…

Successes and Next Steps

Partnering with families is at the heart of the Growing Great Kids Curriculum. Today’s Great Vine blog is devoted to one of the most important and useful modules for Partnering with families—Successes and Next Steps. We will review this module’s design and structure, content, and how to use with families to enhance our partnering relationship…

When Parents or Parents-to-Be Experience Depression

Pregnancy is a natural state that is usually experienced as a happy, healthy, and exciting time for expecting parents.  Undoubtedly, it is also a period of significant changes in parents’ physical, emotional, mental, and even financial lifestyles as they adapt to meet the needs of a new baby. These adjustments, along with the typical hormonal…

Mindfulness and Its Role in Parenting

As we all work to recover from one of the busiest times of the year, we will devote our first blog of 2017 to the concept of “mindfulness.” Specifically, let’s think about mindfulness from the perspective of parenting and its association with parent-child relationships.  We will explore research-based information about the topic, the value of…

Keeping Your Child Safe during the Holidays

The holidays are exciting times of the year for parents and children, but it can also be very stressful if safety is not included on the top of the list of a family’s holiday priorities.  Today’s blog is devoted to tips and recommendations for keeping infants and young children safe while enjoying celebrations, gatherings, traveling,…

Consoling a Crying Baby

In today’s blog, we will explore a topic of interest to all new parents – crying babies and how to console them. We know babies cry for different reasons, and most parents recognize that babies’ crying sounds different in different situations.  Certainly, as parents, we experience many different feelings when we hear our babies cry.…

Breastfeeding-Lots of Benefits!

Breastfeeding is a very broad topic that has been rigorously researched in the United States as well as throughout the world. In today’s post we will anchor our discussion around the current US statistical information and the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby, mom, and the family as a whole.  Given that breastfeeding is a…

More About the Impact of Media on Kids

In our last blog, we discussed the negative impact of technology and use of electronic devices in promoting bonding and attachment, learning, and school readiness. Today, we will expand on this topic by exploring the specific developmental and health consequences related to exposing infants and young children to television, whether used as foreground or background…

The Challenge of Kids, Learning, and Technology

There’s no denying that technology has enhanced our lives in many ways, however it also brings with it certain challenges.  Unfortunately, parenting has not escaped those challenges that accompany our ever-changing technological world.  In today’s blog, we will explore why parents should encourage play through parent-child interactions versus the use of media and technology to…

Lead Exposure…. What Are the Risks?

Despite improvements in environmental policies, lead exposure prevention programs and implementation of surveillance systems at local and state health departments, lead poisoning remains one of the top childhood environmental health problems. According to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control Prevention National Surveillance Data report, in 2014, a total of 12,885 children in the United States…

Strategies for Staying on Top of Documentation

Today’s blog is devoted to Documentation –  one of the most important tasks of our day-to-day responsibilities.  Each of us takes on this task with different attitudes, feelings, and even with varying levels of personal commitment and accountability.  Those variations are impacted by multiple factors ranging from professional writing skills all the way to the…

Good Nutrition for Toddlers……Food for Thought

As parents, we worry when our children don’t seem to have a good appetite. But have you noticed that there are other times when they are very hungry and eat a lot?  Toddlers’ appetites change from day to day. This week’s topic is Nutrition For Toddlers. We will explore: the transition to solid foods; what…

Mind-Minded Parenting that Supports the Development of Self-Regulation

We talked in an earlier post about the connections between heredity and self-regulation (https://www.greatkidsinc.org/blog/providing-the-right-environment-for-your-family-tree-self-regulation-and-heredity/). In that article we discussed the idea that parenting plays a large role in the development of self-regulation. Today, we will spend a bit more time exploring this idea. We’ll look more specifically at the kind of parenting and early home…

Flexibility is Our Strength

In our work, the cause and effect nature of parenting is really at the heart of all we do. Supporting parents to gain the understanding that their behavior today, even prenatally, has a huge impact on who their child will become is critical in motivating positive parenting. Today we will discuss an important aspect of…

When ACEs meet Poor Diet the Brain Loses

We’ve discussed in previous postings the impacts of early adversity on health and brain development (Great Vine Blog: Parenting Kids Who Are Ready to Parent, 2015). We’ve also talked about the impact of early adversity on our food preferences (Great Vine Blog – Food for Thought: Connecting the Dots Between ACEs and Food Preferences, 2016). Today…

The Magic of Nurturing Touch

“On my way back to the train station after a tearful goodbye at the orphanage, my rickshaw stopped to let a buffalo cart go by. To my right was a shanty- just a few boards and some canvas- where a family lived by the road.  A young mother sat in the dirt with her baby…

Living Without: The Effects of Poverty on Child Development

For many decades we’ve known that poverty can have a negative impact on child development. The existence of federally funded programs like Head Start and Early Head Start is a testament to the fact that even our legislature understands this at some level. Recently, however, research has led to evidence that the direct relationship between…

It Takes a Village…Helping Families Grow their Support Systems

This week, we are going to put a spotlight on the value of helping families grow their social connections. Having social connections is an essential characteristic of strong families. Some families, on your caseload, might have a well-defined support network that includes family members, friends, neighbors, etc., while other families might have very limited or…

Understanding Temperament…What are the characteristics?

We all are born with a unique disposition or way of responding to other people and situations- this is our Temperament.  Research indicates that temperament appears early in life and is significantly influenced by environmental experiences even before birth. There is also a lot of research suggesting that even though each person is different, most…

Love in Many Languages…Supporting Bilingual Families

Hi (English); Hola (Spanish); Aloha (Hawaiian) Ahnyong (Korean); Bonjour (French)…Today we will discuss some advantages of children learning more than one language during early childhood, and how the Growing Great Kids curriculum can help. In November 2015 the United States Census Bureau released data tables showing that at least 350 different languages are spoken in…

Babies and Over-Stimulation: What are the Cues?

Have you ever felt overwhelmed or insecure at overcrowded, noisy places such as sports events or concerts? Sometimes these exposures make us feel so uncomfortable that we want to run away or escape. Have you ever considered that babies feel the same way when they are over-stimulated? It is not uncommon for parents to miss…

Let’s Talk Tummy Time

Last week we talked about physical activity and how important that is for both health and early brain develop. Today let’s expand that a bit and talk about one specific physical activity for our tiniest humans…Tummy Time! Helping parents understand why this is such an important part of their baby’s development will hopefully encourage them…

Physical Activity…It’s a Family Affair!

The importance of making sure that we all get some physical activity every day is not news to any of us. The struggle to make this happen is not easily overcome, however, for many of the families that we work with (and possibly even our own families). As you know, one of the biggest challenges…

Opening Doors by Showing You Care…

Theodore Roosevelt is often quoted as saying “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care?” (Dickenson State University, 2015) Do you think this idea relates to how program families connect with you as a home visitor? You bet! It really rings true for all of us, but we can never…

Becoming a Parent: Everything Changes

The artist Sarah Walker is quoted as saying “that becoming a mother is like discovering the existence of a strange new room in the house where you already live.” (LaFrance, 2015) Research tells us that many of the emotional changes that occur during pregnancy and after are largely changes to the mother’s brain. In her article on this…

The Art of Building Trusting Relationships

Forming trusting relationships with parents is essential to keeping families interested and engaged in program services.  The Growing Great Kids Curriculum provides a few modules to use at the onset of services that support families in gaining an understanding of the program design, the structure and flow of home visits, and what they can expect…

Language Differences that Matter a Lot

When people discuss the disparities in opportunity among socio-economic groups, the research done by Betty Hart and Todd Risley in the 80’s and 90’s often comes up (Hart & Risley, Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children, 1995). These researchers carefully studied poor children and school success. In order to do this they…