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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

When Parents Should Be Concerned About Early Reading Skills

As the parent, you play an important role in your child's development. Children are continually gaining important knowledge and skills that will help them learn to read, write, and succeed in school when they get older. It is important that you observe your child carefully and regularly share your observations with teachers, caregivers and health care providers. Sharing information about skills and about possible concerns will avoid later frustration, if your child shows signs of struggle.

Early is Better

If your child is having difficulties learning, it's never too early to start looking for ways to help him or her experience success. Maybe you think your child should be able to do something that he or she is not yet doing. And maybe you think that, overall, your child's development is right on the mark. In either case, you can take the lead to find out if your child would benefit from some extra or specially targeted help. There are many people who share your goal of helping your child succeed. You can ask a teacher, school, or pediatrician to point you in the right direction. Remember, with the right instruction and support, almost all children can become successful readers right from the start. Here's what you can do next.
Be an observer. Here are some things to watch out for as you observe your child:

  • Very small vocabulary and/or slow vocabulary growth.
  • Often unable to find the right word and speaks in very short sentences.
  • Even with age-appropriate instruction, struggles with learning the names of letters of the alphabet, matching letters to sounds, and rhyming.
  • Difficulty remembering sequences such as numbers, alphabet, days of the week.
  • Difficulty pronouncing simple words.
  • Difficulty understanding simple directions and following routines.
  • Difficulty learning colors and shapes.
  • Extremely restless and easily distracted, compared to other children of the same age. 
  • Fine motor skills slow to develop. Has difficulty holding crayon or pencil, picking up small objects with fingers, copying basic shapes. 
  • Strong avoidance of certain activities, like storytelling and circle time. 







Monday, December 14, 2015

Behavioral Milestones

The preschool years are an important time for developing healthy habits for life. From 2 to 5 years old, children grow and develop in ways that affect behavior in all areas, including eating. The timing of these milestones may vary with each child. 
Click the following link to read about these milestones for 2-5 year olds: Behavioral Milestones for 2-5 year olds.
Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on this topic. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Gift of Words: Reading and Games

Some children start kindergarten with double the vocabulary of others. Knowing many words and understanding them are important in developing thinking skills and in getting ready to read. Click on the following link to read some ways to add to your child's school readiness with the gift of new words: http://illinoisearlylearning.org/tipsheets/gift-reading.htm.
It's never too early to start! 

(taken from illinoisearlylearning.org) 

Also, check out the "Best Selling Children's Books" list for all ages on our blog. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

How to Deal With Picky Eaters

1. Respect your child's appetite--or lack of one

If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack. Likewise, don't bribe or force your child to eat certain foods or clean his or her plate.

Serve small portions to avoid overwhelming your child and give him or her the opportunity to independently ask for more.

2. Stick to the routine

Serve meals and snacks at about the same times every day. Allowing your child to fill up on juice, milk or snacks throughout the day might decrease his or her appetite for meals.

3. Be patient with new foods

Young children often touch or smell new foods, and might even put tiny bits in their mouths and then take them back out again. Your child might need repeated exposure, up to 15 times, before he or she takes the first bite.

Encourage your child by talking about a food's color, shape, aroma and texture--not whether it tastes good. Serve new foods along with your child's favorite foods.

4. Make it fun

Serve broccoli and other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce. Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters. Offer breakfast foods for dinner. 

If a child is served a variety, they are likely to eat more. Also, serve a variety of brightly colored foods.

Rename foods to make them more appealing, serve them "x-ray vision carrots" or "power peas," instead of carrots or peas.  

Place favorite character stickers on snack bags or fruit or vegetables and research shows that they will eat twice as much.

5. Recruit your child's help

At the grocery store, ask your child to help you select fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods. Don't buy anything that you don't want your child to eat. At home, encourage your child to help you rinse veggies, stir batter or set the table.

6. Set a good example

If you eat a variety of healthy foods, your child is more likely to follow suit.

7. Be creative

Add chopped broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce, top cereal with fruit slices, or mix grated zucchini and carrots into casseroles and soups. 

8. Minimize distractions 

Turn off all electronics/gadgets during meals. This will help your child focus on eating. Keep in mind that television advertising might also encourage your child to desire sugary or less nutritious foods. 

9. Don't offer dessert as a reward

Withholding dessert sends the message that dessert is the best food, which might only increase your child's desire for sweets. You might select one or two nights a week as dessert nights, and skip dessert the rest of the week--or redefine dessert as fruit, yogurt or other healthy choices. 

10. Don't be a short-order cook

Preparing a separate meal for you child after he or she rejects the original meal might promote picky eating. Encourage your child to stay at the table for the designated mealtime--even if he or she doesn't eat. Keep serving your child healthy choices until they become familiar and preferred.

In the meantime, remember that your child's eating habits won't likely change overnight--but the small steps you take each day can help promote a lifetime of healthy eating. 


Monday, September 28, 2015

Brain Building Basics

EVERY PARENT HAS WHAT IT TAKES TO BE A BRAIN BUILDER!

Brain building basics include:

1. Look- Make eye contact so you and your child are looking at each other. 

2. Chat-Talk about the things you see, hear, and do together, and explain what's happening around you.

3. Follow-Take your child's lead by responding to their sounds and actions, even before they are old enough to talk. When they do start talking, ask follow up questions like "What do you think...?" or "Why did you like that?" 

4. Stretch-Make each moment longer by building upon what your child does and says.

5. Take Turns-With sounds, words, faces and action, go back and forth to create a conversation or a game.

Check out this great new website called Vroom and sign up for their free App for Amazon Fire, Android, or Apple devices.

On your device you will receive one brain building activity a day for each child you have. These activities help spark connections in your child(ren)'s brain(s) that they need for development and future learning. 

Resources:
http://www.joinvroom.org/





Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Establishing Bedtime Routines for Children

Sleep is an essential part of our day to ensure we are healthy and ready to engage in what life has to offer.

Click on the link below for some tips on:
  • Establishing a specific bedtime and a bedtime routine
  • Helping your child feel comfortable for bedtime 
  • Ensuring that your child is safe while sleeping alone
  • Helping your child become more independent in sleep

Below is a Sleep Guidelines Chart for Different Ages of Children

Thursday, July 30, 2015

7 More Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent (Six Part Series-6/6)

Health Advice All Parents Should Follow

1. Get your children vaccinated. Outbreaks of measles and other diseases still occur in our country and throughout the world. 

2. Protect that smile. Encouraging your child to brush twice a day with a dab of fluoride toothpaste will guard against cavities.

3. Be vigilant about safety. Child proof your home thoroughly, and never leave a child under 5 in the tub alone. Make sure car seats are installed correctly, and insist that your child wear a helmet when riding his bike or scooter. 

4. Listen to the doc. If your pediatrician thinks your child's fever is caused by a virus, don't push for antibiotics. The best medicine may be rest, lots of fluids, and a little TLC. Overprescribing antibiotics can cause medical problems for your child and increase the chances of creating superbugs that resist treatment. 

5. Keep sunblock next to your child's toothpaste. Apply it every day as part of the morning routine. It'll become as natural as brushing her teeth. 

6. Put your baby to bed drowsy but still awake. This helps your child learn to soothe himself to sleep and prevents bedtime problems down the line. 

7. Know when to toilet train. Look for these two signs that your child is ready to use the potty: He senses the urge to pee and poop (this is different from knowing that he's already gone), and he asks for a diaper change. 

Resources:
Easy Ways to Be a Fantastic Parent