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
Warning for Choking Hazard

Safety First: How to Protect Infants and Young Children from Suffocation and Strangulation Hazards

“Accidents happen” is a common phrase that suggests there is not much you can do to prevent injuries to your child. In reality, the opposite is true. We now use the phrase “unintentional injuries” instead of accidents. In many cases, these injuries can be prevented. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

Safety First: Could Your Child’s Toys Be Dangerous?

An average of 450 children require medical treatment every day for injuries related to toys. Almost half of these injuries are due to choking. Children ages four and under are at the greatest risk for toy-related injury.
While toy safety standards have been improved in recent years, we can’t assume that all toys are safe. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }
crib safety

Safety First: Using the Right Crib

Since 2007, 11 million cribs were recalled in the U.S. and 32 deaths were related specifically to drop-side cribs.
On June 28, 2011, new federal crib safety standards went into effect for manufacturers, retailers, importers and distributors in the United States. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }
childbirth ed photo

Childbirth Education – Guest Post with Deb Vigness

Our blogs usually deal with child development and parenting topics. Parenting actually begins before your child is born. We have invited Avera McKennan’s Childbirth Education Coordinator Deb Vigness, RN to share some information about opportunities for expectant parents.
People rarely feel fully prepared for a new situation, and childbirth is no exception. Read More »

Child Development, Pediatrics, Pregnancy · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

Understanding Your Child’s Temperament: Adaptability

Of all the temperament traits, slow adaptability is probably the one that gives kids the hardest time. This is especially true if the parents aren’t familiar with adaptability.
Adaptability refers to how easily one adjusts to changes. Some kids are able to “go with the flow” – when plans change, they are willing to be flexible; when someone unexpected shows up, they’re delighted; when there’s a new experience to be had, they’re all over it. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }

Reading with Your Children: How to Keep Your Older Child Engaged

In our last blog, we talked about the importance of reading. Children develop a variety of learning skills when they are read to regularly—vocabulary, memory and comprehension are a few. Reading to kids requires adults to turn off the “screens” and give kids undivided attention. Read More »

Child Development · McKennan · Comments { 0 }