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

Understanding Your Child’s Temperament: Intensity of Expression

Ever notice how some kids can stub a toe and cry for half an hour while another can fall and bloody his nose, but just gets up, wipes his nose and goes on as if nothing happened? These would be examples of the opposite extremes of the intensity temperament trait. Read More »
Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

Understanding Your Child’s Temperament: First Response

I observed a group of kids playing the other day and commented to one of the moms how wonderful it is to see a group of little ones playing so well together. “It hasn’t always been that way. When we first joined this group, my son, Jackson, wouldn’t have anything to do with the other kids. Read More »
Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

Understanding Your Child’s Temperament: Distraction Level

Distractibility refers to how easily one can be drawn off task or how much concentration he can apply to the task at hand. Some children may be right in the middle of something interesting and their attention gets pulled away by something else entirely. Read More »
Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

Understanding Your Child’s Temperament: Daily Biological Cycles

Do you go to bed and wake up around the same times every day? Are you hungry for meals around the same times every day? If so, your temperament score on daily biological cycles would be very regular. Children have the same temperament issues as well. Read More »
Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

The Spanking Dilemma

Spanking children is deeply ingrained in our culture. Most adults remember being spanked as a child. Today, physical punishment of a child is legal in all states and many states also allow the use of an object — paddle, switch, wooden spoon, strap — for reasonable supervision and control of a child as long as it is not “excessive” and does not cause injury. Read More »
Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

We Have Too Many Toys! Alternative Gifts for Kids

The holidays are fast approaching and our thoughts turn to the frenzy of buying gifts. It’s always a joy to select gifts for friends and family, and watch their (hopefully) delight when the gift is opened. Buying toys for kids and hearing their squeals of delight is especially satisfying! Read More »
Child Development · Avera Health · Comments { 1 }