The Last Time

Posted December 18, 2017

by Jenny Kleppe

There’s a country song by Brad Paisley called, “Last Time for Everything” in which Paisley sings about how the last time something occurs, we often do not realize it is for the last time.

And how true is that? These instances are tiny, little ‘last times’ that completely escape our attention, like the last time a child writes the letter “a” backwards, asks for help to zip a coat or put their shoes. I can’t recall the last time my daughter wanted her favorite book as a baby read to her or the last time I fed my son a bottle.

My son, now three, was quite the snuggler as a baby. He loved to fall asleep on my chest, and I loved it, too. I would lie on the couch for his entire nap time at the expense of dishes that needed doing, his older sister’s 400th request for Goodnight Moon, or any other “urgent task.” I loved his rhythmic breathing and his sweet-smelling baby breath. Well, I can’t tell you the last time that he did this. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you the last time he had a nap at home. Often we just do not realize it is the last time.

There is a line in Paisley’s song that says, “Getting woke up at 5 a.m. to see if Santa came…there’s a last time for everything…” Right now, in my parenting journey, it’s hard to imagine the last time my children run to the Christmas tree or stockings with bated breath. But this last time will come. The holidays are magical for preschoolers and young children. By hustling and bustling and focusing solely on our massive to-do lists, we may miss these “last times.” Sometimes there are things we must do with our children that are tedious or even painful such as; waiting for the three year-old to put his shoes on all by himself, honoring a request for reading That One Book I Really Hate but They Love, answering another question that starts with “Why…” But even these will have a last time- will you miss it? Will you know that it is the last time?

My suggestion this season is not that quaint adage of “enjoy every minute!” (because you won’t), but instead slow down and enjoy something special with your child. We get so caught up in what needs to get done and all the places we need to go that we do not make time for the little things. Go sledding. Make a snowman or five. Bake anything. Sing. Who knows? This may be the last time they get frosting in their hair while decorating cookies, the last time they break an ornament because they wanted to see it bounce, the last time that they ask what makes reindeer fly, the last time they scream from the car seat at the top of their lungs that THERE ARE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS OVER THERE!!! (By the way, all these things have happened to me in the last week). So take the time to enjoy some of these last times. Perhaps it will be the last year they believe in something magical. Or the last year you can take your babies go see their great-grandmother. Take time for people, not tasks.

Every now and then life throws us a do-over. Last weekend my son had way too much sugar at a holiday party, stayed up way too late, woke up way too early, and fell asleep while I was reading him a book on the couch. I pulled that little guy onto my chest and I treasured every second of what will most likely be the last time..

Treasure your 2017 Holiday Season. From all of us at All Seasons, Happy Holidays!

Promoting Positive Mental Health in Young Children

Posted December 14, 2017

by Kylen Glassmann

We have all heard the phrase “children are resilient,” and to an extent this is true. However, with the growing pressure on children, both socially and academically, we want to do everything we can to promote positive mental health and to safeguard against depression, anxiety, and emotional behavioral disorders.

Recently, the staff at All Seasons Preschool attended a seminar on mental health. Kelly C. Peterson, a school psychologist, spoke about some of the newer challenges our children face in the current society, challenges that play a large role in why many children suffer from some type of mental illness. We were surprised to learn that 9.5% to 14% of children ages birth to 5 experience emotional/behavioral disturbance, and that about half of all mental illness cases begin by the time a child is 14. What was not surprising is that “mental health is directly linked to educational outcomes,” and frequently mental health problems are more apparent at school than at home. Anxiety, stress, depression, and grief affect how a child sleeps, eats, and performs at school.  Both an increase in screen time and a decrease in play time have contributed to this rise in early mental health problems.

As daunting as all this sounds, there are some simple things adults can do to support children and strengthen their mental health. One wonderful strategy is to allow time for play!  Yes, play – simple and incredibly beneficial for several reasons. Not only do we see children practicing early academic skills through  play, but it allows them a chance to socialize, which protects us from mental illness. Also, play physically changes the brain in positive ways; it can increase serotonin and decrease cortisol. Play also provides opportunities for appropriate risk-taking. Without taking risks and making mistakes, kids do not develop self-help and problem-solving skills without interference from an adult. Practice allows them to learn from their choices and feel empowered by their ability to do things on their own; authentic achievement is positively correlated with good mental health.

Additionally, screen time should be limited, as it has been proven to induce stress, overload the body’s sensory system, and disrupt sleep. Sleep is incredibly important for young brains — preschoolers should be getting 10-13 hours each night! Children who lack enough sleep can be impulsive, hyperactive, and show signs of anger and even aggression.  Screen time also reduces physical activity levels and increases the level of the stress hormone cortisol.

None of us are perfect and children are resilient! We can strengthen this resilience by promoting caring relationships, providing high yet attainable expectations, and allowing children autonomy.
Last but not least, take care of yourself! The above information also applies to adults. We are one of the biggest influences on children. So, please take care this holiday season and enjoy time with your family and friends!


*Peterson, K. C. (2017). Promoting the Social Emotional Development of Young Children. [PowerPoint Slides].