Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah: Time & Love

A friend recently asked me, “Tell me the most important thing I need to know about raising children in the next 15 seconds.” The question caught me off guard and I ended up responding with this, “Well, your child will start learning the moment they are born and the best way they learn is through play. Oh and you can never spoil your child with too much love!” My friend then responded, “Hmmm, time and love, I can do that!” Our conversation soon turned to other things and we carried on our merry way, but since then I have thought often of his question.

I am a firm believer that one of the most important gifts you can give your child truly is your time and your unconditional love. In the long run those two things will make more difference than anything else, and it’s those things that your child will remember.

With the holiday season upon us, I think we can all agree that no matter what you celebrate there is a definite feeling of love and family togetherness in the air. As a community we tend to be more kind, more patient, and have more feelings of gratitude for the people around us.

This time of year provides us with a chance to let those pleasant feelings spill into our family relationships. Take time this month to spend quality time with each of your family members, especially your children! Don’t hesitate to tell and show those around you that you love them. These really are some of the best gifts and you can give them all year long.

Happy Holidays!

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison


Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah: Checking in on Development

Early childhood is a critical time in your child’s development. There are a lot of exciting things happening from birth to age 5! The skills your child builds during those years form the foundation they will build on for the rest of their life. Nearly every aspect of your child’s adult life begins in those early years, so it’s important to give them a great start! The World Health Organization has said “The early child period is considered to be the most important developmental phase throughout the lifespan…What happens to the child in the early years is critical for the child’s developmental trajectory and lifecourse.”

As a parent you are your child’s nurturer and you will guide them through these exciting developmental times. It’s easiest to do this when you feel you have all the tools you need, one of these tools is knowing what milestones to expect as your child develops.

I want to share with you a simple tool that you can use right now to check in on your child’s development, and the best part is it’s as easy as playing with your child. Help Me Grow Utah offers parents access to a developmental screening for children 0-5, at no cost. This is a simple questionnaire that you can fill out to see how your child is doing across all areas of development! You can use this screening to highlight your child’s strengths, discover new activities they are ready for, and to see what skills they may need practice with. After submitting the screening Help Me Grow will talk over the results with you and provide age appropriate activities to continue your child’s progression. Click here to fill out a developmental screening today! http://bit.ly/HelpMeGrowASQ

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison

Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah: Dealing with Fear

Unfortunately our world today is full of tragic and scary events. I remember many years ago when Elizabeth Smart’s kidnapping took place my little brother, then 5 years old, was so affected by it he slept in my parents bed for a solid year. I also remember watching The Mummy at a friend’s home when I was in elementary school and being so freaked out by the flesh eating beetles I had to sleep in long sleeves, long pants, and socks for the next few months. In both of these instances our parents played a crucial role in helping us work through our fears. Whether it’s a big traumatic event playing out in the media or a stressor found closer to home, children don’t react the same way as adults do and often need help making sense of the situation.

The Help Me Grow team recently did a blogpost on this subject, check out this list of tips we complied to help parents help their children.

Tips for discussing a tragic event with your child

  • Be the one to explain the event to your child when possible, so that they don’t overhear it from media or other children. Explain the event as briefly and accurately as possible, without including graphic details or giving more information than your child needs or asks for.
  • Be honest and tell them the truth about what happened.
  • Encourage them to express their feelings and fears – Some will be afraid for their own safety even if the tragic event didn’t happen in their own state.
  • Let them know that you’ll do everything you can to keep them and your loved ones safe.
  • Don’t project your own fears onto your children.

Tips for helping them cope with a stressor

  • Keep a normal routine.
  • Allow children to use pretend play to cope.
  • Correct inaccurate conclusions that they have made based off the traumatic event.
  • Limit media exposure.
  • Help your child come up with a “coping toolkit” of activities and strategies they can use when they become anxious.

For more tips on this subject and others contact Help Me Grow here or call 801-691-5322.

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison

Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah: Routines

The school year is now upon us and getting back into a consistent routine is important for your family and quite possibly your sanity as a parent. Although they can sometimes be rough to establish, especially after a long fun summer, having routines throughout the day is something that children actually crave!

Routines provide children with stability and security, both of which help a child build a foundation for self-discipline. Having a routine can help eliminate the power struggle often associated with bedtime, mealtime, and homeworktime, just to name a few. This is because children know what to expect and it actually gives them a sense of control in their ever-changing world.

Figuring out routines that work for your family is up to you, every family is different and you are the best judge of what will work, but here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Be consistent! Your child may not take to a routine as quickly as you would like, but preserve!

Prepare for upcoming transitions. When the time to stop playing and start getting ready for bed is near, give your child fair warning to ease into the routine. Make this transition time a consistent part of the routine.

Accept that there will be times the routine fails. Whether its staying too late at a family party, being out of town, or the day is just not going your way. It’s ok to have those off days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t continue with the routine the next day.

Freetime is still vital! Not every moment of your child’s day should be structured. They need time to explore and make their own decisions about what they do. You can easily have routines while still allowing for freedom and growth.

Still have questions about routines? That’s ok! Help Me Grow is here for you. Call 801-691-5322 or visit helpmegrowutah.org to talk to a Care Coordinator about how to establish routines and the benefits of them.

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison

Early Childhood Connections by Help Me Grow Utah: School Readiness

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Kali here, from Help Me Grow Utah! I am so excited to be joining you each month to share tips about early childhood. I love working at Help Me Grow because of its mission. Every member of our staff loves families and wants to do everything we can to support and empower parents by connecting them to the knowledge, information and resources they need.  If you haven’t already heard about Help Me Grow, I promise it’s worth checking out! Where else can you check your child’s development through a simple questionnaire, find age appropriate activity ideas, get reliable answers to any parenting questions you have and so much more; all for free? Find out more about what we can do for your family here.

With summer coming to a close, school is on everyone’s mind. Without a doubt, going to school is a big part of every child’s life! Think about it: children spend a good portion of each weekday, from age six to 18, sitting in a variety of classrooms. Because of this, preparing them is at the forefront of most parents’ minds early in a child’s life. However, school readiness means so much more than being able to count to ten and say the ABC’s. Let me share a secret with you: the BEST way to make sure your children are ready for school is by helping them in all areas of development (including: physical, cognitive, communication, and emotional) from the time they’re born. Why? Because one skill builds on another! Being ready for school is a product of the first five years of your children’s lives.

While this may sound overwhelming, it’s actually much simpler than you think. What you need to do is turn everyday moments and experiences into something more. For instance, when your child is excited about a bug he saw on the driveway, kneel beside him and look at it. Talk about it. If you dare, touch it. Take a moment to live in your child’s world. I know it can’t always be done. But believe me, it can have a significant effect when you have those few moments and make the best of them! Some of you reading this probably aren’t quite sure how to do this. Well, that’s one of the ways that Help Me Grow Utah is here for you! To learn more and see what we can do to help with school readiness, call 2-1-1 and ask for Help Me Grow or visit our website helpmegrowutah.org!

Kali Iverson—Community Liaison



Early Childhood Connections: Milestones

July 2015, marks the one year anniversary of Discovery Gateway Early Childhood Connections blog posts! Milestones play an important role in our everyday life, especially as children grow. We mark birthdays, graduations, and other critical accomplishments with celebrations and reflections. Once a child enters the world and begins growing, knowing exactly what milestones a child should be making and when, can be challenging for parents and caregivers. Help Me Grow Utah is a FREE information line connecting families to community resources and child development information. Help Me Grow Utah is one of Discovery Gateway’s valued community partners, and this year we’ve invited Help Me Grow Utah to share their valuable information with you each month. For more information on Help Me Grow Utah visit www.helpmegrowutah.org

Discovery Gateway’s Sixth Annual Children’s Festival – Entertainment


A Special Fundraising Event to Benefit Discovery Gateway’s Programs and Exhibits

Discovery Gateway is proud to partner with the Utah Foster Care Foundation’s Chalk Art Festival, the same day.

Saturday, June 20

11 am – 7 pm

Members: $5

All events listed below are included in admission*
The Chalk Art Festival is FREE and Open to the General Public


Mike Hamilton Magic with a Message 

Kem and Carolyn Gardner Theater

12:00 pm

Join award-winning magician Mike Hamilton as he reveals the magic of reading! Hamilton’s Magic with a Message® has been enjoyed by children all across the Wasatch Front and is filled with tons of mind-boggling illusions.

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World Stage – Courtyard

12:00 pm & 12:30 pm

About MusicGarage.Org:

MusicGarage.Org is a Utah-based agency whose staff have trained and placed hundreds of youth, ages 6-19 in bands to perform at hundreds of venues, fairs and festivals since 2009. Hosted in the state-of-the-art 3,000 sq ft facility that includes a concert venue, recording facility, and rehearsal and lessons studios. Call 801-577-BAND to take advantage of the free teacher referral service or join jam night; where kids can come by and jam with other kids and learn more about MusicGarage.Org

Club Quetzalcoatl

World Stage – Courtyard

1:00 pm

Irish Dance Utah

Rinceoiri Don Spraoi – Irish Dance Utah

World Stage – Courtyard

2:00 pm & 2:30 pm

About Rinceoiri Don Spraoi – Irish Dance Utah:

Pronounced “rin-cory don spree” in Irish Gaelic, our name means “dancing for fun”. We are an inexpensive performance centered school that provides an Irish dance education solely for the love of Irish culture and dance. We have dancers of all ages and abilities, ranging from 5 yrs to 50 yrs! We love to perform for local events. We are not a competition school, we truly dance for fun! RDS is a local organization that supports itself from tuition, grants, and contributions. By taking classes, you support our mission of bringing a cultural educational experience to those who may not have the opportunity otherwise. Incorporated in 1997, Rinceoiri Don Spraoi is Utah’s oldest Irish dance school.

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Starz Unlimited Dance Studio

World Stage – Courtyard

3:00 pm & 3:45 pm

About Starz Unlimited Dance Studio:

Starz Unlimited Dance Studio is located in Salt Lake City and offers daytime and evening classes in ballet, clogging, jazz, ballroom, pointe, hip hop and tumbling for ages 3 – adult. Since 1995 Starz Unlimited has been offering quality instruction, affordable classes and modest costumes, music and choreography.  We are a non-profit, volunteer run co-op of families, working together for the common goal of enriching children’s lives and self-esteem through DANCE!  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and for more information on Summer and Fall classes visit us at starzunlimited.org


Utah Children’s Theatre

World Stage – Courtyard

4:30, 5:15, & 6:00 pm

To Bee or Not to Bee – written by Youthstage Students

Izzy Bee is next in line to be Queen, but she isn’t sure she wants to take on the responsibility. Since her mother is so busy with royal responsibilities, Izzy turns to her best friend Dizzy for support. With her friend’s help, Izzy is introduced to other professions that might be a better fit. Meanwhile, neighboring Cuckoo Bees, Thorn and Thistle, are planning an invasion of Izzy’s hive. When Izzy discovers the plan, she unites the citizens to thwart the invasion and learns some lessons about herself in the process.

 About Utah Children’s Theatre:

Utah Children’s Theatre has excelled at bringing family-friendly entertainment to the stage for over 28 years. As Utah’s premiere theatre for young audiences, its mission statement is “inspiring children to cultivate creativity through the theatrical arts.” Utah Children’s Theatre has five distinct programs to accomplish this: Theatre school, Youthstage performances, Mainstage performances, a Shakespeare Festival for Kids and school field trips.

Recent awards received by Utah Children’s Theatre include:

  • Best of State 2014 in Children’s Theatre and Playwriting
  • Best of State 2013 in Community Arts
  • 2013 Mayor’s Award for Design Excellence (for the renovation of the historic Avalon Theatre
  • Salt Lake Magazine’s Best of the Beehive 2012: Best Kid’s Entertainment by Kids (Youthstage)
  • Nickelodeon’s Parent’s Pick award for Best Summer Camps (2009) and Theatre for Children (2010).

For more information on summer camps, tickets to the Shakespeare Festival for Kids or other upcoming events at Utah Children’s Theatre, please go to our website at www.uctheatre.org or call the box office at 801-532-6000.

Discovery Gateway- Bumblebee Bash

Changing Faces: Face Painting


11 am – 7 pm


Balloon Granny: Balloon Art

Carol Wilson


11 am – 1 pm

Discovery Gateway- Bumblebee Bash

Changing Faces: Balloon Art


11 am – 7 pm

Selfie Photo Booth

Birthday Room

11 am – 7 pm

Take a selfie in front of the Discovery Gateway backdrop with props and post them to your Facebook or Instagram with #DGChildrensFestival

Free programming; admission not required.

Discovery Gateway Educational Programming: Art

Beverley Taylor Sorenson ArtSpace for Children

11 am – 7 pm


Super Hero Name and Super Power Art

Generously supported by Salt Lake City Arts Council, Salt Lake County’s Zoo, Arts and Parks program, and Sorenson Legacy Foundation. This project is supported in part by the Utah Arts & Museums, with funding from the State of Utah.

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Discovery Gateway Educational Programming: Wacky Science Experiments

Lower Atrium

11 am – 7 pm

Corn Starch Suspension – Exploring why this mixture sometimes acts like a solid and sometimes like a liquid

Stereo Hangers – Listen to and create sound waves just using a coat hanger and a string

Dry Ice Bubbles – Ghostly bubbles that disappear as fog when popped

Water Wall – Explore gravity through flowing water. Use various found materials such as water bottles, pipes, and funnels that kids can play with and manipulate and then watch the effects of their adjustments to them.