Monday, September 3, 2012

How Can I Teach My Child While They Are Playing?

Being a parent of a young child can be very stressful. Many experts say that the first five years are the most important. Children have so much to learn in those first years. What can you do as a parent to help your child achieve all of those skills? Well, its probably easier than you think. There are two major ways to help your child. The first is by helping them role play. Young children learn by watching the people around them, especially their parents and older siblings whom they trust. This is why children role play, such as playing house, doctor, school, fire fighters, etc. As hard as this might be, invite your child to cook, clean, and do other chores around the house with you. They will be learning valuable skills and creating a good work ethic, as well as learning a lot about you and your role in the family. Also, explore places like fire stations, police stations, construction sites, schools (if they aren't already in school), doctors offices, etc. Talk about what the "workers" do there. This will help with role playing, especially if your child can't quite get the concept of pretend play (which is not all that uncommon) They learn so much from just playing.

The second way to help your child is by providing the toys that will help them learn. So, are there certain toys that are better than others to help teach my child the skills he/she needs? The answer is yes. Keep your child away from the TV and computer screen as much as possible. While these can be very valuable tools, it is so important for your young child to touch, see, smell, (even taste, if they are young enough) and fully explore their toys. Wooden building blocks are really great for this. They last long and build the imagination. They also help build motor skills, problem solving skills (Why does my tower keep falling down?), and hand-eye coordination. Mazes, puzzles, and sorting games are also really great for hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills. Bead and wire toys (or rollercoaster toys- the kind you find at the doctors office) are also really great toys to have around and you would be surprised how long your child will play with a toy like that- one that doesn't light up or have any kind of special effects. Which brings me to my next point about educational toys.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back to School Essentials List for Mum and Dad

Preparing for the new school term can be so much fun. For most families, the end of the summer holidays goes hand in hand with a shopping spree. Whether you treat your kids to a day out at the shopping centre complete with an ice cream stop, or go shopping in secret, some items are essential to prepare your children for the autumn and winter period at school. Many parents and relatives like to give these as gifts so the kids have even more to look forward to about going back to school after the long summer holidays.

One of the key items every child needs is a spacious school bag for books, stationery, science projects, lunch boxes and the like. To avoid having to invest in a new bag every year, abstain from buying into trends that are likely to change in the space of a few months. Instead of a pink, celebrity-themed messenger bag, for example, buy a classic leather or canvas backpack that will last longer both in terms of practicality and trends.

Smaller must-haves like lunch boxes and pencil cases can be more trend-lead as these are relatively inexpensive and so can be replaced more often.

Any back to school shopping spree should include a trip to your local sports store. Every child needs a comfy pair of trainers for P.E. classes. These should be suitable for all sorts of sports, not designed with a specific use in mind, such as football.

The considerably colder and wetter weather in the autumn and winter months won't stop most children from mucking around outdoors. In fact, they should be encouraged to spend time in the fresh air just as they would during the spring and summer months. As long as they're appropriately kitted out in rain gear, they'll be absolutely fine, and likely to be fitter and healthier than if they're sat indoors all day. Mum and dad should just be prepared to deal with a bit more mud in the house.

Invest in sturdy rain ponchos or quilted jackets to keep your little ones dry and toasty. Make sure they have pockets for things like gloves, handkerchiefs and pocket money.

Kids' wellies are essential for the autumn and winter months. The walk to school in the morning and back home in the afternoon is so much more fun if it involves a bit of puddle jumping! Wearing a pair of wellies is also the perfect way to brighten up an otherwise dull school uniform.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Play - Giving Childhood Back To Children

I grew up in an upper middle income community in South Florida on a lake and many of our neighbors like us had maids and yard men, which in those days meant your family was doing pretty well. We had the nice pool that all the kids come over to in the afternoon for a dip when the weather was too hot to ride bikes to climb trees. It was a real neighborhood where the families talked to each other and watched out for each others kids. And more important kids were able to be kids and play.

Finding someone's bike left out behind our car in the front driveway seemed almost a daily occurrence. It seemed that when their mom's would holler for them to come home for dinner they would run off with their sisters or brothers and skee dattle home leaving their bikes behind.

We had the house where all the kids loved to come and hang out. It was fun. My father even built on to the house and created a game room with pool and ping pong tables to gather and socialize with our friends. It would have seemed like we had the ultimate family until that dreadful day.

My parents gathered my sister, brother and I together and sat us down to tell us their news. Dad and mom were getting a divorce and dad was moving out. That day my world changed. I went from being a happy go lucky child, not having a care in the world, to a child who felt the stress of her parent's adult world.

I grew up in that moment. I became serious. I was given a pen and piece of paper at age five and told to write down my new chores because mom was going to need extra help and many things were going to change. Boy, was I unaware of just how different things were about to become.

Childhood after that day was no longer carefree. I was told I had to grow up and become responsible. I took what they said seriously and after my father moved out I began taking on a lot of the rolls that our maid used to fulfill. I began cooking, cleaning, and being the older sister even though I was the youngest of three.

We no longer could afford the house with all the luxuries that once was ours when both dad and mom lived under the same roof. We eventually had to sell it and move to a house my mom could afford. Mom also had to get a job to support us which was tough back then for women because they made peanuts for their hard work. She worked two jobs many times just to make ends meet. There wasn't much time let to nurture us when she came home most night clasping from exhaustion.

Mom was taken to a hospital due to a nervous breakdown. I was so sad to see her in such pain but on the outside I wanted to act big and not cry so that others would know that I was not being responsible. She finally came home and returned to work but it took her a long time to recover and the scars it left on me still continue.

I went on to buckle down in school and graduate early because I thought school was a waist of time and I should get on out there and work. I missed out on many things by this sentence that seemed to have been placed on me. I am sure it was my own perception of that day that cost me like many other children, their childhood. But like so many other kids from broken homes, two parent working homes, or other hardships to where growing up in the world today surely seems certainly difficult.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Phys Ed Has Left The Building - What We Need to Do Instead

If you have a child in the public school system of virtually any state, you are being confronted with serious to-the-bone cuts at your local school. It's not just administrative, it's the teaching staff.

Many school systems are utterly at sea in the midst of the changes and their profound inability to respond. The cards are stacked against success. Yet, most teachers are in the field for the love of teaching. The salary level isn't their great motivator. They persevere with the patience of saints.

As parents, we can help them by making an extra effort at home. Parents need to pay attention and fill in the blanks, the holes left in the present circumstances of their child's schooling. Physical education, "phys ed" is an important and now missing, link.

That Phys Ed promotes fitness of the body and mind is a simple truth. Sports and exercise are key to keeping everything in top condition.

The reasons are so compelling: Phys Ed fights childhood obesity which is known to be a precursor to heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Various Phys Ed activities burn calories and fat, build muscles, strengthens the immune system and increases stamina and the mental concentration that goes along with it.

Your child may not become an Olympian, but their study skills will improve with their continued dedication and stamina developed by playing sports--it's a fact.

Participation in sports teaches life lessons that may not be learned elsewhere. How to win and lose with grace. How to collaborate as a team. When to be a leader.

This kind of activity goes hand in hand with healthy eating habits. Anyone who works out or plays sports regularly fully appreciates how much better everything works when their diet is full of healthy choices- fruits as opposed to high sugar snacks.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How to Make Your Child Study Well

Apparently, all parents want their children to study hard and in the majority of cases they get dejected when their efforts prove to be damp squib. What is to be done then? Blowing one's top and make them study forcefully is a futile exercise. What is the possible way out then to make them study well? The answer to this is simple. Just apply a little child psychology and get wonderful results.

It all begins with the preliminary years of child rearing. All children have an inquisitive mind and as they start growing they want to discover and know more. It is this trait of child psychology that can be traded on. Be very careful to satisfy their quest, however stupid it may appear to you. Indulge with them in their formative years and make learning a fun-filled exercise of them. It can be done easily by telling them the colors of all the objects that they play with. Make numbers easy for them by making them count their toys time and again.

Children should be made to learn naturally by their mothers. Next is the stage when the child begins to read and write. It is the time when they should be bought interesting and colorful story books to them. Children love to read stories and it is the best way to build their vocabulary, grammar and sentence formation. Once this habit of reading story books is inculcated, they would always look forward to read the prose of their text books. Also, let them copy the text of these story books and let them draw the colorful pictures on their drawing notebooks. They would do so with interest.

Mathematics, which is considered to be a haunting subject, can be made easier. Apparently, mathematics can be learned with much ease when its applications are used in day to day life. Play riddles with your children. Let them do the simple calculations that they often come across. Make it a fun by playing number games with them. Ask them to count the objects on their disposal. They would just love to count them. When they grow they would love to indulge in intricate mathematical calculations and it is the time to get them the gadgets which can make learning of mathematics a real fun.

For the reasons so apparent, children always want to keep their textbooks at bay. Please put yourself at ease when they do so repeatedly. Instead let them discover their own ways of learning and you would just be enchanted by the results you get.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Herbal Remedies for Back to School Worries

For parents, children, and young adults, the beginning of fall means a return to school. It also means the return of early mornings, tough homework assignments, and flu bugs. When facing the stress of excelling in class and spending all day in close quarters with other people, herbal remedies can help students and parents stay well-rested, alert, and healthy.

Stress Relief and Sleep

Restful sleep is the foundation of both good health and academic excellence. A few simple herbal products can help you take full advantage of precious downtime. Utilizing herbs such as passion flower, valerian, and catnip, can soothe anxiety and promote deep recuperative sleep. Lavender Essential Oil can be placed in an oil diffuser, dropped on to pillow cases, or massaged into the temples or feet for a gentle aromatherapuetic relaxation aid. For adults and college students, a few drops of Kava tincture can help reduce anxiety and relive stress.

Mental Focus and Alertness

Even after a good night's sleep, students and parents can always use a little extra push to get through a tough assignment, long lecture, or busy after school program. Herbs such as gingko and gotu-kola are being researched for their benefits to memory and logic - plus it has a delightful lemony flavor. Yerba Mate is a lightly caffeinated and anti-oxidant rich alternative to coffee, great for all day energy. A traditional South American drink, it comes in two tasty varieties: Green or Roasted. The roasted variety can be added to homemade lemonade for a sweet tasting healthy beverage

Immune System Support

Students of all ages are exposed to a wide variety of pathogens in classrooms and cafeterias, in crowded hallways, and on buses. Staying healthy is crucial to learning, and everyone's immune system can use a little support sometimes. Rosehips and Hibiscus make a delicious red tea chock full of Vitamin C. Astragalus in a traditional Chinese herb to regulate and strengthen the immune system, and scientests are now studying its beneficial effects in fighting pathogens. If a nasty bug does slip past your defenses, Elderberries in a tea or syrup nourishes and enhances the immune system's ability to fight influenza, colds, and infections. Osha root can be very benefical to helping any cough or congestion in the lungs

Back to school season can be a real challenge, but with a little help from Mother Nature, we can all look forward to a healthy and successful school year.