We all want to be great parents with super confident kids. Build confidence in your kids. We all want our kids to have it. We hear tons about HOW to improve our child’s self-esteem but not much about what can hurt it. When my daughter was young, I planned to be the perfect mother. I always wanted her to feel secure and happy. What I didn’t know is that a lot of what I did that I thought would help, actually hurts kid’s self-esteem.
Archive for Child Development Information
Social skills come naturally to some of us and not to others. It can be tough to teach kids how to get along with other kids. Helping kids learn to get along and build relationships is one of the most important things caregivers can do for them. Social skills are the key to a successful future.
Sometimes it seems like kids just go nuts for no reason at all. Your calm, well-behaved sweetheart turns into a lunatic for seemingly no reason and spoils a perfectly good day. You might be surprised to learn that food and behavior problems in kids go hand in hand. There are so many things that kids eat that can affect their behavior.
How much does my child need to eat? It’s so hard to know what is enough and we worry our kids are not getting the nourishment they need. Many times we think kids aren’t eating “anything” when in fact, they are eating the appropriate portion sizes for their age.
Why do kids act so bad when parents are around? Are kids fifty million times worse for parents than anyone else? What Can You Do About It? Why is it that a child can be perfectly fine and then their mom or dad walks in and they go nutso in seconds flat? If you are a teacher, childcare provider or a parent, you have seen them phenomenon over and over again. It baffles parents and providers worldwide.
Moms and Dads, there is nothing more frustrating than a child with a strong will. How do I know this? Well, I’ll tell you a secret…I was a strong-willed child. Not only that, I raised one. I have kept over 80 children in my 22-year career as a childcare provider. I have seen strong-willed children. I have loved strong-willed children.
Reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do for their development. It has so many benefits for children. The more you read and the earlier you start, the better for children’s learning.
Sometimes it’s hard as a daycare provider or a parent to find the time to read to your children every day. It’s super important to MAKE that time. Your children will be better off for it and in turn our future will be as well. Click here to check out my favorite children’s books.
Spending time reading with your child creates bonding with them.
Do you have a favorite reading memory as a child? Mine is when my 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Nelson would read to us at circle reading time every day. She read us the Ralph books and the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. Recently, she celebrated her 100th birthday. Click here to see more about it. Bonding through reading helps kids to learn to build healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are the foundation for success. It also helps them learn and understand interactions with others. This even further helps with building healthy relationships. It helps improve social skills which are the foundation to school success.
Reading to your child helps their brain develop.
There are pathways in your brain that are formed through experiences upon which future learning follows. If those pathways aren’t built, future information cannot travel on them. Reading helps build these pathways. The more you read to your child, the more pathways are built. The earlier you begin, the more pathways are built. Children learn 50% of what they will learn in their entire lifetime by the age of 3, these are critical times to build on. Reading is a great way to build them. Cognitive skills are greatly improved by reading.
Reading helps children develop creativity.
Books take people on adventures to faraway lands. They teach life lessons. Reading helps us imagine or even travel through time. Reading to your kids early will give them amazing ways of looking at things. It will help them develop a sense of wonder.
Reading books to kids helps them develop literacy skills and language.
Children who are read to have higher vocabularies and develop earlier speech than they would if not read to. Vocabulary is linked to IQ and other types of intelligence.
Reading opens the door to a promising future.
The lack of strong reading skills gives kids many challenges in life. Studies show children who aren’t reading at grade level by third grade have a higher rate of continued struggle with reading as adults, are more likely to drop out of school in later grades, face unemployment and even jail later on.
The root of many problems for people who fail to succeed is social issues. Many of them are rooted in lack of education. Reading can stimulate a child’s readiness for education. Literacy boosts economics, keeps families together, and reduces poverty. Reading is even shown to help reduce gender inequality for women in the work place.
All further learning is affected by a child’s ability to read. Reading to children can stimulate the desire to read, the understanding that words have meaning, and the comprehension of what is being read and how to read themselves.
Reading helps with language skills and helps children communicate.
It is vital for success in school and college. It also is vital for success in the work place.
Reading is fundamental to so many other forms of learning. It’s necessary to cook a recipe, read a prescription label, operate equipment and so many other things that are vital for life. It’s the basis of everything else around us. Click here to read more about the importance of reading.
Grab a book and put a child in your lap for a story today. You will be making a huge investment in the future.
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You won’t believe what my kids are learning through simple outside play. Being outdoors has positive effects for physical and mental health in all ages of people. We need more time outside!
Look at this picture of my kids playing outside, and let’s talk about all the things that are being learned here. There is so much learning going on, and these are all things we are pressured for our kids to learn, things they are tested on, things they are drilled in school. These kids are getting all of these benefits without feeling pressure or anxiety, they are HAVING FUN!
Let’s start with the two kids in the front on the teeter totter, what are they learning? Teeter tottering teaches kids how to balance their weight against another child’s weight which is a math skill. It also teaches them balance in their physical bodies as well as multiple other physical development skills they need. In addition, the back and forth motion the kids experience as they go up and down fires synapses in their brains which form brain connections for them that lay the foundation for further learning such as reading, math, and science.
Okay, now let’s look at the next group of children on the swings, what are they learning? They are developing large motor skills like the two kids on the teeter totter, as well as learning balance. They are learning how to make the swing go back and forth which is simple physics. They are learning gravity. They are learning coordination. Their brains are firing synapses that will form pathways for later information to travel on as well. Physical activity teaches children SO much!
Now let’s check out the kids at the back table. They are scooping gravel and filling the top of the table with it. What could be learned from scooping gravel? They are developing fine and gross motor skills as they scoop up gravel and pack it into their prescribed areas on the table. They are learning math skills such as volume and measurements. They are using their imaginations and building critical thinking and problem solving skills as a group. They are also learning social skills. The scope of what is happening in this picture is immeasurable and what I have mentioned here only scratches the surface.
These kids are having a great time, doing healthy things, and their brains are exploding with learning and pathway formation for future learning. This is a miracle to watch every day. They are developing balance, muscles, control, coordination, critical thinking, problem solving, math, science, colors, language, social skills, and the list goes on and on. And guess what? They are LOVING what they are doing!
Active play makes kids smarter! It just does. Where did we come up with the idea that learning is supposed to be miserable? Learning is supposed to be fun! Let them play!
Let them play, inside and OUTSIDE. There are so many extra benefits to active play outside. When the kids are super crazy active outside it saves wear and tear on my house and furniture. My house is small and if they are flipping and running inside the house, someone always gets hurt. Outside there is room to run and play actively without risk of slamming into a wall or a piece of furniture.
There are other great benefits to being outside. There is so much more to explore and learn about outside. There is sensory stimulation from the breeze, grass, trees, animals, bugs, rocks, dirt, and so many other things that are full of learning opportunities. There is so much to see and do. There is so much to find out. Check out the amazing benefits of gardening outside with kids. Click here to read about it or here to watch a video on the benefits of getting kids in the garden.
Outside there is plenty of fresh air and sunshine which gives kids vitamin D, a vital nutrient for health. There is also immunity boosting power in the outdoors. There are mental health benefits from soil touching the skin. I don’t know how it works but somehow, the beneficial microbes that naturally occur in the soil, make the chemicals in our bodies work more like they are supposed to and helps keep our mental health on track. Also, getting dirty outside may actually strengthen a child’s immunity and overall health. Talk about wow! Click here to learn more about it.
In the past twenty years, we have become and inside society. The average child in the US spends as few as 30 minutes of outdoor play each day and more than seven hours in front of an electronic screen. EVERY. DAY. What’s even worse, some children get even less time for active play, as little as 15 minutes.
Active play is vital for children’s academic success. Kids cannot learn if they are not moving. Why? Children are unable to blow off steam without playground time. Behavior problems arise in children who don’t get enough recess. In addition, children must engage in active play for optimal brain function. Physical activity sharpens their minds. Extra homework does not help children advance in school, the brain-body connection is stronger than we realize. Children who are allowed to run for more than an hour a day, have increased cognitive skills including focus and multitasking.
People were made to move, but today most of us are sedentary. We were created to work to get food or travel, and historically had to perform physical tasks for our own survival. Movement, or lack thereof, is shaping children’s brains.
Physical activity boosts overall health, strengthens muscles (the heart is one of those muscles) improves brain function and thinking skills. We must exercise our bodies in order to exercise our intellectual potential.
Regular participation in physical activity helps cognitive skills because of increased blood and oxygen to the brain. Increased growth factors that help create nerve cells and keep our brain synapses plastic, (or flexible) which strengthens interconnections and protects them from damage. Physical activity, also increases endorphins and norepinephrine which improves our mood and reduces stress.
Numerous studies have been done on children, adults, and animals and they all come up with these same results, we need to move and we need to get OUTSIDE!
Click here to learn more.
Play is important in the lives of every person, young or old. We should spend time every day doing something we enjoy and the more of it that is done outside the better. The benefits that help children develop, help us adults to function better as well. We get positive mental health benefits, enhanced mood, better ability to concentrate and focus on the tasks we have at hand, and a plethora of other benefits for our bodies, minds, and spirits.
Get outside and get moving today, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel when your lungs and pores are full of fresh air!
Next week is EARTH DAY! Here are some great Earth Day activities to get you playing outside from Ever Change Productions: 12 Outdoor Activities to Celebrate Earth Day
What is the best way to teach a child? Model behavior! Children will repeat behaviors they see. If you want to see who you are, spend time with kids.
Do you wish your kids showed more kindness? Do you want them to have good manners? I don’t think there is any better way to see who you really are than to spend time with children. It’s amazing the way children take in your every word and action and spit it back out to you in mirror form. If you don’t want to see your ugly side, make sure you don’t model it to your kids!
Words! They mean so much! Mastering language is of utmost importance for kids.
1. The first step in creating an environment that is great for language development is to show children that words have meaning. When you read a book, point to the words as you read them, as you cook a recipe, show the kids that they words on the page tell you HOW to create the recipe.
2. Reading to kids is the number one way to encourage them to master language. It’s also the best way to help kids become great readers. Children should be read to daily, in a positive way with physical touch. I try to touch all the kids as I read to them, I might put my arm around one, sit next to one, have one on my lap and hold another one’s foot or hand or rest my hand on their leg as we read. It’s not always possible to touch them all, but it’s a way to communicate positive memories with kids about reading, so I do it as much as I can. Click here to read more about the importance of reading to kids.
3. Another great way to improve children’s language skills is by talking to them. If you are a parent or a childcare provider, you should be talking all day long! You should listen to kids intently and look them in the eye when you listen to them or talk to them. Even holding their hands in yours so you can make them understand they have your attention and you want to hear them. You should talk about what you’re cooking for them, what you’re doing when you help them in the bathroom with potty training or changing their diapers, when you are getting prepared for an activity, when you are doing anything with them. We have to model good language skills if we want our kids to have them. Click here to read more about the importance of talking to kids
4. Music helps children develop language skill. The rhythm of music enhances all types of learning for children, and adults incidentally. Listen to all kinds of music with your kids. Click here to read more about how music enhances children’s language and other developmental skills.
5. Tell made up stories to your kids and listen to theirs. Imaginative stories are not lies, they are fantasies that help children discover life and the world around them. Tell your kids silly stories, a lot!
6. Cut down on screen time. Children under two should have no screen time and children over two should not be viewing screens for more than two hours a day. That programming should be quality educational programming as well. Children need interaction and response in order to learn language. Screen activities such as video games and television shows are not able to provide that to children and should be limited.
7. NEVER criticize how your child speaks. If someone mispronounces a word, just repeat it back to them correctly and praise their efforts. Do not say negative things about how children speak or shame them in any way.
8. Watch out for ear infections! Ear infections cause hearing loss and language delays in many children. Make sure you keep an eye out for them and look for warning signs such as pulling at or rubbing on their ears, drainage coming out of ears that is an off color, or the child complaining that their ears hurt. Ear aches are incredibly painful as well, so if you suspect your child could have an ear infection, get them the medical attention they need immediately.
9. Make sure to present plenty of activities to your children that stimulate language development. We do language experience sheets at Little Sprouts. I have a photo of each child doing something at daycare. I glue the photo to a blank sheet of paper and bring the child to the table. I ask the child to tell me a story about the picture and I write down exactly what they say how they say it. I give the kids as much eye contact as possible while I’m writing and I smile at them and encourage them with positive reinforcement. They love telling me their stories. I hang these on the wall at daycare until a month or two later when we make a new one so the kids can look at them and remember back about the story we wrote together. I give each mom a notebook at mom’s night out to keep the sheets in so she can look back and see how her child’s language has progressed over time. They are one of the most treasured things the families have commented on from daycare.
Another activity we do is use the Clifford my big world books to read together each day. The sets come from scholastic classroom magazines and have a large book and a set of small books that are the same. We tape the large book to the wall and the kids get out the small books daily at story time. We read the book together out loud with them repeating what I read as I point to the words. Hopefully by the time we have been reading them for two weeks, the kids can tell what the books say. This is a great pre reading practice activity as well as a great self-esteem builder. To check out how to get your classroom magazines, click here.
Describing what you are doing or toys or materials children are playing with is a great way to increase language throughout the day. Make the most of meal times for pleasant conversations. We have the BEST discussions during meals at Little Sprouts. All kinds of things come up, even some parents would rather didn’t. Use your imagination to think of ways to add language experiences into every part of your day. Your kid’s language will develop right before your eyes. What do you to do encourage language with your kids?