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Snow Day Fun

Hello all

I know it’s been a while. I took some time off to have my baby (who’s 14 months old now!). 

Today is a snowy day! I am so excited to show my baby girl the fun things you can do in the snow. Staying in it’s an option but outside in the snow you can play (and learn!) too!

Snow games

1. building a snowman – while building your snowman talk about body parts or talk about the steps it takes to build the snowman

2. snow angels – after making snow angels you can talk about how our different body parts made different shapes in the snow

3. snow ball fight – well this is just fun!!

4. explore the snow with your senses – if you have toddlers (like me!) talk about the snow, how it feels, what it looks like, you can smell it, hear it (maybe?), and even taste it! (it’s up to you). Use as many descriptive words as possible!!

Ok, so now i’ll go out and play with my baby!! What other games/activities do you do with your kids? Share with us!

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How do kids (and we) learn? Part 1

Have you ever wondered why there are certain subjects you or your children, can do better than others? That’s because we all learn in different ways. Learning styles entails how a person best takes in, understands, and remembers information. In most children, one sense is usually more finely tuned and influential for learning than the others. We receive information in different ways, auditorily, visually or tactile, so if you know which way your child learns better, then you could use that to help them in areas that are difficult for them.

There are 7 learning styles. Today we will learn about 3 styles: Linguistic, interpersonal and intrapersonal.

  • Linguistic: This type of learner loves to read, write, and tell stories. They tend to memorize places, dates, names, and trivia very easily. They have a remarkable ability to repeat back everything you have ever told them, word for word. These children learn best by saying, hearing, and seeing words. When they write down a word or a phrase, it is forever locked into their memory. As a parent or teacher we should encourage them to participate in spelling bees and creative writing courses.  

 

  • Interpersonal: These are the “social butterflies”. They adapt easily to any type of social situation, have many friends and are excellent leaders. They are patient, understanding, and very empathetic, which makes them a favorite among their playmates. They generally make good leaders because of their ability to mediate conflict, and are often referred to as the Peacemaker of the family. As a parent or teacher, we should encourage their love of people, and allow them to be with many different types of people. They will likely have a variety of types of friends and it is important to support and accept all of them. This type of learner will do best in a group situation as they compare, share, relate, and interview other people. If no group is available, don’t be surprised to see them create one in their animals or toys!

 

  • Intrapersonal: These strong willed people work best alone. They pursue their one interests and have a deep understanding of themselves. They are independent and original, and they tend to stand out from the crowd without even trying. They are the strong, silent type. They do best in self paced instruction, individualized projects, and working alone. Because these children work best alone, they often need to be encouraged to socialize.

Next week we’ll talk about spatial and logical learning styles.

Do you think you or your child has strengths in either one of these styles?

Back to school! Are you ready?

In the next few weeks most kids will go back to school! Woohoo! Time to make new friends, learn new things and have new adventures! But…

…going back to school can be challenging and stressful as well. For both children and parents! There are many things that can be stressful for children: new environment, new teacher, new peers, new routine, homeworks, tests, etc. But parents can help children feel less stressed about the challenges and changes that come with the new school year. Here are some ideas:

  •  Be positive! Every time you talk about school do it in an exciting/positive way. You can talk about the excitment of meeting new friends, wearing cool clothes, and even the new cool school supplies!

 

  • Encourage them to talk to you, when something is not ok. Kids need to know that they can come to you for whatever reason they don’t feel comfortable or something is happening at school. This will make them feel less anxious about the new experience!

 

Also, start adjusting the routine before school starts. Did you know kids need to sleep 9 or more hours? Lack of sleep will impact school performance in a negative way (and will make them grumpier!). Also, make sure you change your schedule to be more available the first few weeks of school.

Do you have any other ideas? What has worked for you?

Is your child ready for Kindergarten?

August arrives and parents start getting ready for school…well, and the kids too! But when you have a child who is just starting in Kindergarten, parents can get stressed about how ready their kids are for school. Do they know the numbers? colors? letters? write their names? But, should they know these skills before they enter school? Isn’t that the reason why they go to school, to learn these things?

Let’s review some definitions of school readines.

The Maryland Model for School Readiness defines school readiness as the state of early development that enables an individual child to engage in and benefit from early learning experiences. As a result of family nurturing and interactions with others, a young child in this stage has reached certain levels of social and emotional development, cognition and general knowledge, language development, and physical well-being and motor development. School readiness acknowledges individual approaches toward learning as well as the unique experiences and backgrounds of each child.

Experts say no single or simple factor determines whether a child is ready for kindergarten. Instead, a child’s development needs to be evaluated on several fronts. Their ability to think logically, speak clearly, and interact well with other children and adults are all critically important to success in school. A child’s physical development also needs to be considered. (http://www.babycenter.com/0_kindergarten-readiness-is-your-child-ready-for-school_67232.bc)

Scientists describe a school-ready child as having the ability to experience, regulate, and express emotions. Also, to form close and secure personal relationships, explore the environment and learn. 

Did you notice they NEVER mention how many colors, letters or vocabulary words they should know? That is because it is more important how they learn the information than what they learn. So kids have to be emotionally ready to the demands of school or they won’t benefit from the learning!

So forget about the colors and the numbers! Here are some things the child needs to do in order to be ready for school:

  • Work independently
  • Attend or listen to what someone else is saying
  • Get along with other children of the same age
  • Learn and participate in structured situations such as play and story reading
  • Focus and listen to one  person in the classroom
  • Learn in a co-operative learning environment where children learn from teachers and form one another
  • Play with other children (wait their turn in line and so on)
  • Here are some things parents can do to help their children be ready for school:

  • Teach them to pick up their clothes
  • Teach them to put their toys away
  • Give their children the opportunity to listen to and learn language through story telling
  • Provide a daily routine that includes regular times for meals
  • Establish a bedtime that gives your child eight or more hours of sleep at night
  • Provide opportunities to play with other children
  • For more tips visit this website!

    Do you have more ideas how to help your child get ready for Kindergarten?

    photo: iStock

    Moving with your children: The new home!

    A few weeks ago, I talked about tips to help parents when relocating with children. Today, I want to give you some ideas of how to make the transition to a new home easier.

    As we talked before, moving can be stressful for the children (and the adults). But there are few things you can do to make this transition easier for them (and maybe for you too!)

    So, what can you do once you are settled in your new home?

    1. Maintain their (and yours) daily routine as much as possible – This helps them (and you) feel more settled. It minimizes the impact of the change.
    2. For younger children, keep the new room as similar as possible to the old room. – This gives them a sense of continuity and they won’t feel scared to be in a new place.
    3. With older children, they can be part of the decoration of the new room – They will feel part of the decision-making. Plus, who doesn’t want to buy a few new things for their bedroom? (I do!)  

          

    4. Walk around the neighborhood together – Go to the park and participate in community activities as a family.

    5. Help them meet new friends – Maybe join a club or a sport team.

    6. Take some classes – Another oportunity to meet new friends. This is also helpful for the adults.

    7. If possible, visit their new school before the first day of class – This alleviates worries and anxiety.

    Although moving to a new home can be a stressful situation, it can also be fun! It is also an opportunity to grow closer as a family. Expect your children to be more comfortable after a few weeks, maybe few months.

    Have you ever moved into a new home with your children? What would you have done differently?

    photo: iStock

    Moving (as in relocating) with children!

    If you have ever moved at least once in your life, you know how hard, exhausting and anxious the experience can be, even if you are moving to your dream house, your dream city or your dream country! The experience is even more challenging when you are moving because you want to be ANYWHERE but where you are right now! I have moved quite a few times now and let me tell you, is not always as fun! Not only because of the physical labor of packing and moving boxes, but is the mental stress, (Will 20 pairs of shoes fit in this tiny box?), the emotional (Do I REALLY need 20 pairs of shoes?), and the heartbreak of leaving important relationships behind (or 20 pairs of shoes…), maybe family or close friends. And that’s for you the adult, who is the one making the decision of moving (hopefully!) and you know why you are moving.

    Now, imagine how hard it must be for your children! They didn’t make the decision, and they don’t understand why this is happening. But there are a few things that you can do to prepare them for this new adventure (let’s start using positive words!) and to decrease the anxiety of leaving their friends, school, maybe relatives and their whole world behind!!

    So, here are a few tips of what to do BEFORE you move to make the transition easier:

     

    • Tell them as soon as possible. Don’t wait until last minute. They need time to process the idea. Tell them why you are moving. Let them ask you questions and answer them as honest as possible. Don’t lie to them.
    • Involve them in the moving process since the beginning. Let them be part of the move and the decision-making as much as possible.
    • Let them give you ideas (implement a few so they feel they are part of it) about easier and better ways to pack things (Who knows, maybe they DO have better ideas!)
    • Let them pack their own stuff. Let them choose what to take to their new home, what clothes, toys, shoes. This will give them a sense of control.
    • Make a journal or scrapbook of the place you’re leaving and the new home! It’ll give them a chance to say goodbye to their current home and become excited about their new adventure! Gather some maps and brochures of the new place. Get them excited about what they are going to see!
    • Create a scrapbook or address book of the friends and family members they are leaving behind, so that they can keep in contact.
    • Have a special goodbye for your home and with friends.
    • Be positive! “We’re not just moving, we are going on an adventure” (that one has helped me more than a few times and it still works!), “we’re going on a journey, to a new world!”

    Well, I have to say these suggestions have worked for me! I think out of all the times I have moved, this is the one less stressful and I am a lot less anxious about! I am very excited and I can’t wait to start packing!! (Did I really just say that?!)

    Have you ever moved to another home, city, state with children? Did you do something that eased the transition? Let us know!

     

    photo: iStock

    Save the environment!

    April is Save the Environment Month, and we celebrated Earth Day’s 40th anniversary on April 22nd! Helping the planet is not something a few people or some governmental agencies should do, it’s something we all can help with! With a few easy tips you can teach your child how to do things that are more environmentally friendly.
    The first thing you should do is, Do-it-yourself. Your child will most likely follow your model at everything you do! If you want them to be more “green”, then you have to be more “green”. So, pick up that trash and turn off those lights! Let’s do it together!

    Here are some simple things that you can do:

    •  Donate– Pick up a few toys every year that the children don’t play with anymore. Let them choose which ones they want to donate! Not only you are reusing, but they will also learn the concept of giving!
    • Use reusable shopping bags– These bags are everywhere! Nearly every store has them! You will teach your children how to decrease the use of plastic bags and waste.
    • Do you have some half-used paper? Some old ribbons? old boxes? Glue? Maybe stickers and glitter? Make some craft, some art work, make a notebook! You will teach your children the concept of reusing and this helps with creativity and self-esteem!
    • If they are older, you can sit down and talk to them about the eco-friendly choices we can make every day, such as turning off the lights, turning off the TV, and turning off running water! 
    • Take a nature walk or ride the bike– It is safer for the planet, you are exercising and it is a great way to bond with your child!
    • Eat more salad– Have your child prepare it with you! Not only is better for the environment to consume less meat, it’s healthier!
    • Recycle-find out what can you recycle in your neighborhood and get some containers for each item.  Have a friendly contest with your children to see who can find more things to recycle at home!
    • Don’t throw trash on the street! Do I need to explain this one?
       
      No matter what you do, your child will learn it better because they are doing it with you!

               What eco-friendly choices are you making?