Betty and Doniese

Family Life Instructors at Avera McKennan

Doniese Wilcox:

As a child development and family relations major at South Dakota State University, I knew I wanted to work in the childcare education field after my first human development course. And now I have been working with children and families in various settings ranging from preschool to parent education for more than 35 years. I love my job as a Certified Family Life Instructor at Avera McKennan because I have the opportunity to work with both children and adults in diverse situations. Some days I might be teaching babysitting courses and others I might be presenting a puppet show to children to educate them on burns. Every day is different and I love that.

My husband and I have three grown daughters and we are the proud grandparents to two young grandsons. In my spare time I enjoy reading, baking, sewing, traveling and relaxing with our family cat, Callie.

Betty Barto-Smith:

I believe that parents are a child’s first and most important teachers, so I am happy to be providing knowledge as a Certified Family Life Educator at Avera McKennan. With a BSN from the University of Texas at Arlington and graduate work in human development at SDSU, I have been working in parent/family education for more than 20 years. Having children of my own really helped me see how important the first years are in a child’s development and how choices parents make can direct their child’s behavior. I love helping parents understand ways to encourage their child’s growth and development.

I have three grown sons and one grand-dog, a black lab, and she and I are best buds. In my spare time I enjoy bicycling, reading and cooking.

Author Archive | Betty and Doniese

The Toddler Years: Guidance and Discipline (Part 2)

Let’s continue looking for opportunities to help guide toddlers’ behaviors.
Teach Trading
Sharing isn’t really possible for most toddlers. To them, sharing means giving up their possessions without getting them back. Trading is a good first step to learning about sharing. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

The Toddler Years: Guidance and Discipline (Part 1)

Toddlers think and learn very differently from older preschoolers, so we need to think differently about guidance and discipline for these little guys. When toddlers behave inappropriately, think about what is happening from their point of view. Avoid punishing them for things they haven’t learned yet. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

Boredom Breakers: Fabulous Fizz

Here is a fun, easy and inexpensive activity to do with your young children. With winter right around the corner, this indoor activity makes a great snow day science project! The supplies you need are commonly found around your house. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

The Toddler Years: The Fascinating Stage of Toddlerhood (Part 2)

Let’s continue our discussion about some of the characteristics of toddlers that influence their behavior.
Toddlers Are Concrete Thinkers
Little Jaxon is going to be the ring bearer in his aunt’s wedding, so his parents help him practice. On the wedding day, Jaxon starts walking down the aisle. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

The Toddler Years: The Fascinating Stage of Toddlerhood (Part 1)

Let’s continue our discussion about some of the characteristics of toddlers that influence their behavior.
Toddlers Lack Experience in Human Relations
Toddlers do not yet understand that others have feelings or feel pain. They begin developing empathy, but it’s not consistent. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

The Toddler Years: Exploring the Big World

Maya is sitting at the table coloring with crayons, humming softly and talking to mom who is nearby. In flies 18-month-old Joey. He grabs the crayons and starts coloring on the nearest chair. Mom manages to get them out of his hand but not before he knocks the chair over. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }