Change can be difficult, especially for young children who are not quite developmentally ready to regulate themselves and their emotions independently. Change can bring about feelings of fear, anger, distress, and excitement, and knowing how to help children navigate these big emotions takes patience and practice. One important skill for children to develop is self-regulation.

Self-regulation is the ability to manage our emotions and behavior to respond best to the situation at hand. This could look like deep breaths to calm yourself down, sharing your feelings with another person, or an expression of frustration without an outburst. 

The Early Childhood Development Association shares four ways to help support children as they navigate through change.

  1. Establish a healthy attachment relationship: Strong attachments help children learn how to depend on others and feel safe. When children feel safe and cared for, change is easier.
  2. Establish an ongoing routine for your child: Daily routines help children build a foundation for change in the future. 
  3. Be patient: Being available to children during their meltdowns help them to feel safe and understand that it is okay to have big emotions. 
  4. Hold steady boundaries during emotional moments: Being emotionally present while maintaining firm boundaries helps children learn that reactions to change can be tolerated and handled well.

Open Ended Play

Celebrate the growth and renewal of Spring with a spring-themed story and activity! 

Follow along with Teacher Shannon as she reads And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano, a story about a young boy and his dog who decide to plant a garden after a long, snowy winter.

Then, join Teacher Cheryl for an imaginative activity about the potential every seed holds. Start by scavenging for a seed or imagining your very own, then ask yourself, “What is my seed going to grow into?” Imagine what you want to grow, and draw it into reality using pencils, markers, and watercolors. 

In The Community

Women’s History Month

Throughout the month of March, we are invited to honor and celebrate the achievements of women throughout history who have fought for a just future for women everywhere. Over the last century, women have had to fight for the right to vote, the right to education, the right to safety, and the right to equal pay and opportunity. 

The theme for Women’s History Month 2023 is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories,” and we encourage families to take this as an invitation to learn about influential women in Washington State’s history! Here are five influential Washington State women to get you started.

Dr. Dolores Silas was one of the first Black teachers in Tacoma, the district’s first Black principal, and the first Black woman to be elected to the Tacoma City Council. Throughout the years, she focused on public safety, economic development, and neighborhood development with a vision for the rebirth of Hilltop.

Vi Hilbert was a tribal elder of the Upper Skagit tribe who dedicated her life to the preservation of the language and culture of the Lushootseed, co-authoring Lushootseed dictionaries, story books, and books of place names.

Bonnie Dunbar was the first woman from Washington state to orbit Earth and the first woman hired full-time in the Boeing Space Center. She logged more than 50 days in space and later became CEO of Seattle’s Museum of Flight. 

Josephine Corliss Preston became the first woman to hold public office in Washington in 1913 when she was elected superintendent of public instruction, leading public education and reforming housing for rural teachers.

Bertha Campbell influenced the Seattle civil rights movement by founding the Christian Friends for Racial Equality and Seattle Urban League. She also became the first black woman ever to exercise the right to vote on the local YWCA board. 

If you’re looking for in-person events and activities to engage in Women’s History Month, check out these offerings at Tacoma Public Library and Puyallup Public Library!

Read Across America Day

This holiday on March 2 celebrates our ability to learn and grow through reading and was established by the National Education Association to get children excited about reading! 

Reading to children supports cognitive development, improves language skills, deepens caregiver-child bonds, and increases concentration, imagination, and creativity. Here are four extra special storytimes happening around Pierce County this March. Hover over the images for details.

USO member reading children's book

Discover What Your Name Means Day

Do you know what your name means? 

Our name follows us throughout our entire life and is an incredibly important part of our identity. Names help us define who we are and often carry personal, familial, cultural, and historical connections. On March 8, people in the United States are invited to learn what their name means. You can learn about your name by researching online, checking out a book about name origins from your library, or even asking your parents why they gave you the name they did! 

Check out this episode of Look, Listen and Learn to celebrate your name and learn why saying the names of others correctly matters. 

Or, check out one of these children’s books to celebrate names!

First Day of Spring

On March 20, the sun will cross the equator (an imaginary line around the Earth’s belly) and the northern hemisphere (all of the places above the equator) will begin to tilt toward the sun. More sunlight means longer days, budding trees, and blooming flowers are on the way! 

Join us at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma to celebrate the coming of Spring! March 16 – 20 supplies will be available in the Art Studio to create painted flower blooms.

Make Up Your Own Holiday Day

From National Cereal Day to National Spinach Day, there are special observances for SO many things, and on March 26, each person gets to decide what they want to celebrate. Below are some open-ended questions to help your little one think about what their perfect holiday would be.

What is the name of your holiday?

What does your holiday celebrate?

How do people celebrate your holiday?

What do people eat on your holiday?

Who will you invite to your holiday?

National Transgender Day of Visibility

Trans Day of Visibility is an annual awareness day celebrated on March 31. People around the world celebrate transgender and non-binary people and acknowledge the courage it takes to live openly and authentically. 

When someone identifies as transgender, it means their gender identity, or their sense of their gender, does not correspond with the sex registered for them at birth. Transgender people face discrimination in employment, housing, and public spaces, and this holiday aims to elevate and celebrate the voices and identities of all trans people. 

If you or someone in your family has questions about gender identity, the Rainbow Center in Tacoma is a great resource and safe space to learn, advocate, and find acceptance. 

Caregiver Corner

Transitioning to Preschool

One of the first big changes in life and routine that young children face happens when they transition into preschool. Separation anxiety, inflexibility, and a lack of understanding can all contribute to an emotional, drawn out transition into early childhood classrooms. Check out the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s tips for starting preschool to help your family make a smooth transition.

If you’re looking for an early learning program for the 2023-2024 school year, registration is now open for Preschool Powered by Play at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma and Hoyt Early Learning Center.

Care for Caregivers

While big changes to routine or responsibility can be difficult for children to navigate, it can also be hard on caregivers! Making space to acknowledge your struggles and learning how to best express and mitigate emotional responses to changes in your child’s life will foster a healthier, happier family dynamic. 

If you’re looking for resources to help you navigate early childhood transitions, Perinatal Support Washington and the Pierce County Early Childhood Network offer a variety of resources for parents and caregivers. Some Perinatal Support resources include a Warm Line offering free telephone support for parents and their families, support groups, and a resource page. 

Another great resource for families is Washington State’s Paid Family and Medical Leave. You can take paid time off to bond with a new baby or child in your family, care for a family member, or for certain military and health events.