How to Teach Your Kid to Read

It’s always fun watching your child learn something new. Their face lights up and they are excited, and in return so are you! Reading is one of those things, and from a young age most children are fascinated by books and the big pictures, all the colors, and when mommy or daddy read to them before bedtime. While it’s completely normal for most kids to start reading around the age of 6, it’s never too early to introduce books to get their excitement roaring. Today we are sharing ways to make reading fun for your toddler!

 

  1. Begin Young: During infancy, your baby begins to recognize sounds and words. By reading to them, or singing lullabies you are expanding their brain development and language neurons. Studies show reading to your child at a young age exposes them to language and helps develop speech. Reading can also start the special bond between parents and their children, and furthermore it’s calming, and when made a routine it helps kids fall asleep more soundly. In addition when you start reading to your child at a young age you are promoting listening skills and imagination. If you’re thinking about reading to your baby we suggest starting off with singing lullabies before bed!
  2. Make Reading a Routine: Adding reading into your daily routine when your child is still young can be very beneficial. First of all it promotes mental stimulation and reduces stress because you child will be prepared and know exactly what is going to happen during their day. One of the biggest reasons to add reading into your routine is the vast vocabulary and knowledge your child will gain from it. Reading also promotes memory and concentration.
  3. Play with the Alphabet: Learning the alphabet isn’t just important for beginning school, but it will help children recognize words from practicing the alphabet. This is a great thing to sing along to in the beginning during infancy and throughout toddlerhood.
  4. Use Rhyming Words: Rhyming words are fun. It inhibits imagination, creativity, and the brain. Rhyming is not only a fun way to teach reading it also improves spelling, pronunciation, sounds, and vocabulary.
  5. Read Books with Lots of Colors and Big Pictures: Books with lots of colors and pictures helps visualization. Children, and most adults, learn better when they can visualize what is going on in a story. They become more captivated and interested in the material!
  6. Read Books with that Allow Your Child to Touch: There are lots of benefits to sensory play! When you involve material that encourages all of your child’s senses they will have a better engagement in what you are trying to teach them.
  7. Ask Questions While You Read: This is a great thing to do as your child grows into toddlerhood. Asking questions while you read to them will help them think and connect themselves to what they are reading. When you ask question your child will become more aware of what is going on in their book and they will begin evaluating what they have read afterwards.

 

Back to School: Getting Yourself and the Kids Ready

It’s back to school time! The summer is almost over and your little ones have, or are about to embark on another school year. Depending on their age and personality some children may have a harder time grasping on to the reality of going back to school, or starting school for the first time. As parents it’s helpful to ease our children’s anxiety by preparing them for what’s to come. Getting yourself and your child ready ahead of time will diminish the stress and fear the first day of school can bring.

Today we are sharing helpful tips on how to prepare yourself and your child for school:

 

Preschool

Preschool is a big step for your little one. It means they are growing up and taking on new responsibilities. They will be interacting with other children on a daily basis and learning new things such as, sharing, reading, art, and learning how to be polite. Before your child begins school it’s important to be aware of their schools curriculum, and how you will prepare yourself and your child for what’s to come. Preschool will bring new, exciting, and also intimidating factors your little one might not be used to. They will be around other children their age more, and they will be taking orders from someone else besides their mommy. It’s important to make them aware of this before they begin school.

A great way to do this is by talking and reading books about school with them, teaching them the importance of patience and how to follow rules, planning play dates with other children during the summer, teaching them how to share with others, and most importantly, urging them to be creative and themselves. Giving your child a sense of what they will expect will make those first couple weeks a little easier for the both of you.

It’s also very important to think about how you’re going to say goodbye that first day. It’s more than likely your child, and even you, will become upset when it’s time for you to go and say goodbye. You’re little one will assume you’re leaving them to a room full of strangers, and may become frantic. It’s vital you stay calm and remind them you love them and will be back as soon as school is over. Think about creating a goodbye ritual before school starts to practice with your child. This way they will be a little less nervous when it’s time for you to go.

 

Kindergarten and Elementary School

The anxiety might have resided a little from preschool, but starting Kindergarten is still something to plan for. While preschool was only a half day, your child will have to sustain a full day away from mom, and Kindergarten will bring another new set of responsibilities and assignments for them to master. During the summer think about practicing simple guidelines your child will follow in school such as, following bathroom rules, spelling, reading, writing, remembering their address and phone number, and counting. It’s also fundamental to encourage them to be social at school. Get them involved with extracurricular activities during the summer where they are participating with kids in their classroom. If they are shy, talk to them about it. Inspire them to put themselves out there and always nurture their independence, even though it might seem hard.

Just like Preschool, it’s important to teach them the importance of patience and sharing. Go over the same things as mentioned above. A few weeks before school starts reestablish some of their school routines to get them ready, like waking up a littler earlier instead of sleeping in.

Elementary school is much like Kindergarten is many ways. You’ll want to prepare them for their school curriculum and remind them about their responsibilities as students. Establishing a routine on ways to study, organize themselves, and listen are major things to set in with your children. These skills will help them with the extra homework and other assignments they will be in charge of completing.

 

Middle School

Middle School is another big transition for your child. Instead of being part of one classroom they may now be part of a home-room, and will be switching rooms and engaging with new students. While their atmosphere is changing, so are their emotions. It’s important to be attentive to your child’s needs, but also give them the space they need. Always let them handle their own situations, unless you feel your presence is needed. By giving them their independence you are helping them grow and be responsible adults.

Begin the summer before school knowing what your child needs to know. Their levels of education will be expanded into broader and more complicated areas such as, the scientific method, nonfiction books, and current affairs. Start discussing these issues with your child to prepare them for the new school year. It could also be significant for you and your child to plan a visit to their new school where they can walk around and meet some of their teachers.

 

Transitioning for Parents

Parents, this will be an emotional roller coaster not only for your children, but for you as well. Every new school year brings a new and more mature child. It can be emotional watching your children grow and become their own person, but it’s also very exciting! As a parent it’s your job to be attentive to their needs, while encouraging them to succeed. Make it your mission to be there at the first day of school meeting, parent/teacher conferences, sports games, music recitals, etc. Make attendance a priority for both you and your child, and that tardy slips are a big deal.

Another important thing to remember is to be excited, but realistic when your child is beginning school. Talk to them about their concerns and their fears. Try to stay away from saying things like, “It will be the best time of your life!” or “There is nothing to be afraid of.” School can be an emotional time for some kids, and by giving unrealistic remarks can be a real let down.

 

 

No matter what grade your child is beginning, the best thing to do is encourage them to be themselves and be there for them as a parent, not a friend. Love them and cheer them on as they succeed and grow!

 

 

Life as a Single Parent

Life as a Single ParentFor whatever reason, you find yourself taking on the roles of being both mom and dad to your child. It can be a challenging position to overtake, especially if you are your only support system. Being a single parent, nonetheless, married and having the support of the other parent, means you must put your needs aside, and put all your efforts towards giving your child the best possible life you can offer them. We are in no way saying spend every penny you have to make them happy, but instead shower them with love and compassion as those are two very important qualities to instill on their cute little brains.

Life is notorious for throwing us curve-balls, and if you find yourself being the only outlet and means to your child’s future, the feeling can be extremely overwhelming. Although your responsibilities may have doubled, and the journey that awaits you will have its bumps, remember that when life gives us a curve-ball there is always a possibility of a grand slam. Today we are going to share some helpful tips to overcome some of the obstacles single parents may face:

Tip #1: “A Bad Attitude Won’t Get You Anyway!”

Being a single parent won’t be easy. It’s a constant emotional roller coaster that will have you at times so exhausted you might not know what to do. Take a breath, count to ten, and know everything is going to be okay! Even though you’re the head of the house and the one making all the decisions just remember that even though you might be alone raising your child, it’s still an awesome experience teaching and watching them grow up. Keeping a good attitude will not only keep you from feeling stressed, but it will also help improve your child’s attitude as well. When they see mommy happy, they will be happy.

A huge helpful hint is to never talk about your ex in a negative manner. A positive attitude is a healthy attitude, and something you should model for your child. If they occasionally bring up the missing parent try and keep it short and simple. Don’t dwell on the past and crush your child’s persona of their parents. Even though it might hurt you, you’re child had nothing to do with the past and whatever decision was made. Talking bad about your ex in front of your child is irresponsible and nothing good will come out of it.

Tip #2: Learn to Multi-task

You’ll become a pro at multitasking in no time. Learning how to make dinner, pack school lunches, and settle a meltdown will be so much easier to tackle in time. The key to this is practice. Learn how to practice patience and find the best ways to handle certain situations, like your child not wanting to eat what you made for breakfast when you have to get ready for work and ironing to get done. Make a schedule and a routine for them to follow daily. This way you’re always prepared and they always know what to expect.

Don’t burn yourself out with a million projects. Get done what you need to get done and then move onto another. Things will be a little difficult at first when your child is a baby and a toddler, but once they get a little older, and can take care of themselves things will get better. A fun thing to do when you have a bunch on your plate, and your child is having a meltdown, is to try and come up with a game to keep them preoccupied. For instance, if you’re folding laundry or making dinner try involving them into the process. Talk about shapes and colors and different foods. This will make things go a little smoother.

Tip #3: Find a Work Schedule that Works for You and Your Family

If you have a family member or friend who is able to pick up your child from daycare, school, sports practices, etc. that’s awesome! But if you’re not so lucky, try talking to your boss about a different work schedule. If you’re able to come in an hour earlier, work on your lunch break, or maybe take some of your work home with you, don’t be afraid to ask. Your child is your main priority and nine times out of ten your boss will understand.

Tip #4: Somethings You Can’t Control

Although you’ve mastered to ease the meltdowns and have finally found a schedule that works for everyone, realize not everything can be controlled with effort. Extra expenses are going to come up when your child is in school and they need field trip forms signed, sports registration payed for, camps, etc. Child support will help with the basic necessities, but much will come from you. Don’t stress yourself out over the little things. Learn to live within your means. Life will be a lot more comfortable and happy that way.

If your ex neglects your child remember it is their loss, not yours! Again, don’t stress over things you cannot change. Giving your child with love and stability is the best thing you can do for them. One day they will recognize your efforts and what is really right in the end.

Tip #5: Be Proud of Yourself!

Last but not least, don’t forget to be proud of all your accomplishments. While it can be a stressful road raising your child all by yourself, trust that you are giving it your all as a parent. Being a single parent isn’t an easy task, and at times you may be the only one there to give yourself a high-five when you’ve mastered a milestone with your child. Be proud when you reach limits you didn’t think possible because you will get there. When you believe you can achieve.

 

 

Benefits of Infant Massage

Benefits of Infant MassageDid you know that the sense of touch is your baby’s most developed sensation at birth? Touch gives babies and their loved ones the ability to connect. During the first year, or at least before they are able to speak, touch is their primary way of communication between you and your baby. When your baby begins to cry you usually pick them up and bring them to your shoulder, sometimes gently caressing their back as you soothe them. When they are hungry you bring them to your breast creating skin on skin contact as you breastfeed. Both of these are important communication situations where touch is used to make your baby feel both calm and secure. As they begin to grow they use their sense of touch to learn by feeling and observing objects, and their environment. This is where parents use phrases like “hot” or “cold” to describe certain things that could be harmful.

Touch is more than a comfort and a learning process; it can also help with your baby’s developmental progression by strengthening their body and their mind. Infant massages have amazing developmental benefits that can help your baby in many ways. Many professionals encourage mothers and care givers to practice infant massage with their baby almost every day to help boost and support their bodies. Here are just a few things infant massage can do for your little one:

 

Emotional Health Benefits

Infant massages are great for a baby’s overall health. Studies have proven that a daily massage has impacted an infant’s emotional health in such a positive way. Because touch is a baby’s first sense, massages can help them relax, and when a baby is comfortable and relaxed their body releases the “happy” hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin in turn lowers stress levels, decreases the feeling of fear and fussiness, and it enhances the feelings of love and security. When a baby or toddler feels safe they are able to feel more comfortable in their surroundings, which helps their ability to fall asleep faster and for longer periods of time. Infant massages also give the baby and their caregiver the chance to spend precious moments together they can both look forward to at the end of the day.

 

Developmental Health Benefits

Touch is the only way a baby is able to learn about their body and help themselves become developmentally strong. When a baby begins to recognize their legs and feet they will start trying to use them more and more, and soon learn how to control their muscle coordination. As you massage your infant you will play with their legs and feet stimulating their brain’s knowledge of their lower bodies and promoting their want to crawl and walk quicker. Infant massages also have huge benefits for babies who were born premature or those who are mentally fragile. Massage can help them become more alert and active, and for premature babies it can help them gain weight by strengthening their digestive, circulatory, and gastrointestinal systems.

 

Immune System Benefits

As your baby grows one of the things you will worry about is whether or not they have a healthy immune system. As stated above, infant massage can increase your baby’s overall health by strengthening their digestive, circulatory and gastrointestinal systems. It can increase an infant’s resistance to infections and enhance their body’s ability to get nourishment to important areas. Massage improves relaxation and decreases stress levels while their bodies produce more of the oxytocin hormone. It can also ease pain and increase a baby’s pain tolerance once they begin teething, or if they become injured or ill. Facial massages, just like adults, can help with sinus and head tension as well.

 

Mother and Baby Bonding Benefits

Bonding with your baby is very important. It increases a parent’s self-esteem and makes them feel they are really doing their best to love and provide for their little one. Through infant massage parents will be able to give their baby more attention they need to feel secure and loved. Many parents have found infant massage has made them more aware of their baby’s wants and needs and are able to tell certain cues apart and be more attentive of how to comfort them and ease their fussiness. Infant massage isn’t just time for mommy and baby but also a great way for dads, partners, and other loved ones to spend precious moments with their baby and strengthen their bond as well.

 

Practicing infant massages with your baby is a very smart and fun thing to do. However, if you are thinking about trying it out and are unsure where to begin, or what’s safe for your baby, make sure you search for trained professionals in your area that teach infant massage. Babies are delicate and the best way to care for them is to be 100% sure you know what you are doing, especially when it comes to massage.