November 9, 2011

Guest Post: How To Nurture Your Young Child's Writing Skills Early

Posted by Becka 0 comments

How To Nurture Your Young Child's Writing Skills Early
Submitted by Sarah Morris, on behalf of Primrose Schools- a mom's top preschool choice for a high quality education.
When teaching children how to write, it is important to focus on portraying the enjoyment of writing. Making writing a fun activity will encourage young children to want to learn this skill as a new venue of communication. When children are first learning how to pick up a pencil and put it to paper, parents and teachers should remember not to force penmanship too early. If the children are too focused on proper formation and staying between the lines, they become easily frustrated and view writing as a laborious task rather than an enjoyable activity.

Parents who want to teach their kids how to write early should make paper and writing instruments readily available to the children at all times. If the kids have paper and crayons next to their toy box, they will be more likely to want to express their creativity and learn how to write. Children learn by mimicking the activities that they see their parents or siblings do, so writing in front of the kids will encourage them to want practice what they see. Young kids are eager to ask questions, and parents can take this opportunity to educate their children on writing skills while explaining how fun the activity can be.

Another tip for helping kids want to write is by exposing them to books and magazines on a regular basis. If the child sees words written on a page, he or she will begin to recognize different letters and associate them with communication. Some parents and teachers have found success in allow children access to computers and writing software. Even if the child does not know how to type, he or she can play around with the keyboard to form different combinations with the letters. Using a keyboard may also be helpful to kids who have not yet developed the fine motor skills required to handle a pencil and form letters gracefully.

Children are curious by nature and have a strong desire to please their parents and teachers. Exposing them to various forms of writing will motivate them in pursuing these skills to impress others. The best methods parents and teachers use involve making writing materials available to children and encouraging them when they demonstrate a desire to learn. 

October 28, 2011

The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution-A Review

Posted by Becka 0 comments
Elizabeth Pantley Wow! Thanks for the great review Becka ~ :o)

All of us have dealt with a picky eater (or 2) in our parenting adventures. A few months back, I was asked by Elizabeth Pantley, author of the No-Cry series of books on parenting issues, to review her brand new book, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution. Having read (and currently own) all of her books, as well as being a test family (along with my son, Wyatt, then a toddler) for The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution, I gladly accepted.

    Many families go through/hear the same things night after night. Upon hearing "Mom, what's for dinner?" we are looked at with blank stares, grimacing faces, or flat out screams of terror! Elizabeth Pantley helps us virtually eliminate this from our lives in this book.

    Considering, according to the book, that a typical person from birth to age 104 (if our kids let us live that long) will consume about 189,000 meals and snacks, it seems that we would want those meals and snacks to be at least somewhat healthy! (At least in the formative years)

    Pantley gives some wonderful tips throughout the book, including giving children portions of each course in fist sizes (a good portion for a child is the size of their fist, NOT the adults!) on child-sized plates, eating the RIGHT types of foods for their growing bodies, and avoiding too much sugar, salt, and eliminating soda from their diet.
She also reminds us to look at ourselves in many aspects: were WE ourselves picky eaters? How do we approach mealtimes (are we too strict, do we force them to clean their plates, etc...) and to make sure we realize that picky eating is a normal part of growing up.

    In the book, parents are also reminded (and this to me, is very important) that tastes are formed at a young age. So those children that start out with processed and packaged foods are going to have a taste for those types of foods. But a child that is introduced from day 1 to whole foods, homemade baby foods, and the like, will tend to prefer those types of foods.

    Elizabeth reminds us that we need to be, as parents, role models for our children. If they see us eating fruits and vegetables, then they will want to eat them. If they see us willing to try a food that they have never tried before, then they will be more willing to try a new food as well.

    There are a ton of wonderful tips and tricks and strategies to get your child to eat healthy and make mealtimes pleasurable for all! The #1 tip, for me, is to make sure that (usually dinner) make it a point to eat one meal as a family every day/night. There are also some mealtime "rules" that we, as adults, have learned/heard over our lives that may or may not be good to break.

This was, by far, one of the BEST books on getting kids to eat healthy that I have read yet! I am glad I had the opportunity to read and review it! (And hey, who doesn't like a free book!!) So if you have a picky eater (or think you might have one in the future) go pick up this book or download it to your digital device today! You will be glad you did!

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