If you’re little one is about to start school, you are probably going through a lot of emotions from fear to excitement to sadness. Read up on 5 things to do to get ready and have fun without any stress or worry!
1. Read to them often and ask them to read to you. Have them make up stories using picture clues and sight words that they recognize. Talk about what you read. Ask questions. Don’t worry so much about what you are reading just read as often as you can. This way they will go to kindergarten with a basic understanding of print, text and books as well as a love for literature.
2. Introduce them to basic mathematical concepts. Don’t just teach them their numbers. Make sure that they understand what the numbers symbolize by counting and teaching one to one correspondence.
3. Socialize them as much as possible. If they are in daycare or preschool then they will more than likely get a fair amount of social interaction with other kids their age. If they are home with Mom or Dad, then make sure they are going out for play dates, involved in activities and that you train them in basic manners and etiquette.
4. Talk about school often in the 6 months to a year before they start. Play up how much fun it will be and how much they will learn. Introduce them to other young children who are attending school already. Get them excited about Kindergarten!
5. Don’t stress out about them starting school. Show them how excited you are and let them know that you are very proud and excited that they are becoming so independent and grown up. When you are reading or working on math or other skills, try not to say things like, ” You have to know this for Kindergarten…” because that will put too much pressure on what should be fun quality time between parent and child.
Most parents these days are aware that they are supposed to read to their child every day. We hear this message in parenting magazines, on TV and from teachers and schools all of the time. “READ! READ! READ!” they tell us! However, you may not totally understand why.
There are lots of reasons why reading with your little one is so important. It helps them gain print awareness (they understand that the words on the page mean something and are meant to be read), they can learn sight words (words that they can recognize on sight) and they become interested and excited in reading! These educational benefits are fabulous and, just as importantly, reading and story time are great bonding for parents and child.
How to Do It
Here are some great, simple ideas for making story time fun and educational:
Let your child choose books based on their interests. If they are excited to learn about animals then they will be excited to read all about them!
Read in a comfortable spot like a big chair, a bed or a special reading area. Make reading an enjoyable, relaxing experience.
Allow them to “read” to you. Let them use picture clues or the words they recognize to make up their own story and read to you.
Buy some books that you don’t mind them destroying. They may not be able to play with books without chewing on or tearing them up. Get some books that you are fine with them slobbering on so that they can hold, love and enjoy without you having to worry about ripped pages or ruined covers.
Let them see you reading for leisure. Pull out your own books in the evening and read side by side.
Talk to them about what you two are reading. Keep up a running discussion about the characters, plot, pictures, vocabulary, etc. It is a great way to start conversations and also to help them understand and comprehend the books that you are sharing.
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If you have a young child chances are good that you are struggling to teach them manners. This is because manners are a social norm that we learn. We aren’t born knowing that spitting out our food or pulling hair is rude (which is why toddlers and small children do these types of things so frequently). We must be taught how to be polite to others.
There are two main things that you should do if you want your child to say, “Thank you” (and “Excuse me,” “Please,” and so on).
Model Manners for Them
Your child will emulate what they see you doing. If you want them to be polite, respectful and kind to others then you must be all of these things! Say, “Thank you” to everyone… including your little one. If they hand you their cup, say “Thank you!” and smile brightly. They will quickly associate saying these words with receiving something positive. It won’t be long until they are thanking you for handing them a cup, cracker or toy. Model being polite in public by thanking cashiers, waitresses, strangers holding doors and so on. Never miss an opportunity to show gratitude to others. Not only will this be great for your child to see, it will make you and others feel great!
Remind Them Often
Once they know that saying “Thank you” is the polite thing to do they will still need plenty of reminders. Remind them at every opportunity. Have them thank the bank teller themselves, teach them to thank others who provide them a service (i.e. the pediatrician) and remind them to say “Thank you” to you when you bring them their lunch or share a bite of your ice cream. When they say it you should praise them, praise them, praise them! You will be thrilled with the results! Soon it will be a habit… the kind of habit you WANT your kids to have!
If you invest a little bit of time early on, you will have the best mannered kid on the block. The key is setting a great example and then giving them opportunities to emulate and practice what they have seen you do. Small children want nothing more than for you to be pleased and proud. Let them know they are on the right track with lots of positive reinforcement like praise, smiles, kisses and hugs! The kissing and hugging part will be fun for you too!
If you are considering sending your child to preschool, you are probably nervous and excited. Your children are the most important thing to you and you want to make sure they are prepared for this big step. There is no magic secret for getting your little one ready and each child is different. They are ready for preschool at different ages, have different interests, and have different personalities.
The most important thing is to let them see that YOU are excited since children look to their parents for cues about these types of things. If they sense that you are nervous or apprehensive they will become uneasy themselves. While showing them that you are excited you can work on skills that will help them to be prepared for the big first day of preschool!
Here are some ideas:
Get excited about books and reading. Read together every day and talk to them about how many great new books they will read in preschool. Talk about letters, words and pictures that you see in their books. Encourage them to make up their own stories or to read simple sight words that they may already recognize.
Math should be incorporated into their daily lives. Show them how fun math is by counting Cheerios at breakfast or talking about the numbers that you see on the price tags at the grocery store. Always remind them that when they get to preschool they will learn more about math and numbers!
Give them opportunities to socialize with other children. Often, children come to preschool having never been out of their mother or father’s care. Socialization is so important for small children and when they get to preschool they will be expected to play nicely, share and be kind. Teach and reinforce these social skills. Keep reminding them of all of the great new friends that they will make when they start preschool!
Most parents are already doing most of these things. You probably read with your child, try and instill good social skills and practice simple mathematical concepts with them. You probably don’t even realize you are doing it but you are preparing your child for preschool every day. The most important thing is to get them excited about learning and about preschool so that they will enter that first day (tear!) with a great attitude and a big smile on their face.
This is a topic discussed frequently in our home. How about yours? An important concept we want to instill in our children is to always be thankful for family, friends and life. It’s important for their growth and maturity and is a quality I feel is somewhat lacking in today’s society.
Why do we feel it is important? It helps them in developing social skills which will be particularly important as they begin to form relationships. Learning to recognize and become sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others is a big one.
Another reason is when children are thankful they are less likely to always focus on themselves. As parents we do so much for our children and they should be able to respond with gratitude.
How can we teach our children to be thankful?
First start with teaching them to say please and thank you. Start at a young age so it becomes deeply set into their character. Remember children are sponges so “modeling” this behavior for them is probably the easiest way to teach them. Practice what you preach!
At mealtime make it a point to discuss what you are thankful for.
Talk about it often
Encouragement and praise have a dramatic impact on gratitude.
Ask them to help with age appropriate chores.
Incorporate gratitude during playtime.
Go to your local library and find books that are age appropriate.
What other tips have you found work well to encourage gratitude?
This post is a little different than our normal product discussions. I really wanted to share my thoughts lately on parenting and how dynamic it is. As most of you know I have a 4 year old and almost 2 year old. Both boys, yet so uniquely different. The lesson I have learned over the past few months and probably a little slow to pick up (smile) on is how many opportunities we as parents have to influence the lives of our children everyday. From the moment we wake and say that first “good morning” we are shaping how our children will react to daily interactions and situations. Both our boys are very active; love sports, trucks and trains. We keep television to a minimum and play with toys that allow them to create the scene. I have acquired the skill of building tunnels using building blocks for the train set and making the choo choo sound!
Ok, back to the point of this post. Part of what I have been feeling is not only our interactions with them but how we interact with them. I’m not exactly sure why this now is “really” just hitting me but I have a very strong sense of my responsibilities to my children. For me I learn something new about myself and my children every time I interact with them and so I felt compelled to ask you the same. Do you ever feel this way?
We wanted to take a moment to share with you all a new shopping feature added to our site last month. Over the past several months we had received several requests to be able to shop by price. We are always excited to add new site enhancements and hope this will help to create a positive shopping experience. Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated!
Send us your review and we’ll send you a 10% off coupon good on any order placed through August 2012.
We hope everyone is having a marvelous week. As we begin to near the Holiday shopping season (yes, oh my goodness) we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the free shipping we have available. Now through Dec 2012 all orders over $100 ship free!
In search of the perfect gift for a toddler please let us know. One of our trained staff would be happy to give you some ideas. Please contact us via email or phone.
“Wow!” is one thing I can definitely say about Namaste Kid’s Yoga Bundle. We bought this product initially just to review it for our store. Not being very familiar with yoga ourselves we were not really sure what to expect. To our surprise our three year old absolutely loved it. He was on the yoga mat the whole 35 minutes of the routine. He kept turning around saying “Look at me mommy I am doing the Airplane” when he was doing the airplane pose. As impressed as we were with this Yoga for kids DVD we had to write something about it.
Where Did Yoga Come From?
The word “Namaste” is a common greeting or introduction and can be used as an expression of respect. By practicing yoga from a young age, children develop core strength, balance and are able to focus their attention. These benefits have obvious life impact as your child grows into adulthood. Core strength helps develop good posture and breathing. Balance can help your child build self confidence. It can be a key component in many sports and dance activities. Finally, when your child develops the ability to focus their attention think of how much more they can excel in the academics of a classroom.
Just Like A Yoga Instructor In Your House
The Namaste Kid Yoga bundle contains, the Yoga Motion DVD, an apple green yoga mat and a blue shining star water bottle to rehydrate your little yogi. The Yoga Motion DVD is shot perfectly to capture the attention of your preschooler. The 35 minute video is broken down into 10 chaptered subroutines so even kids on the go can get in a yoga session if they don’t have time, or are too busy to run the full video. The video is just the instructor, “Lindsay” on her mat with a white back ground. She does a wonderful job keeping our three year old’s attention by keeping the focus on her. We found the relaxation routine to be a perfect pre-nap time ritual to get our three year old to go to sleep.
A Real Yoga Mat for Your Yogi
The kids yoga mat is high quality and does a good job defining the yoga space for a child. Our little yogi likes the process of setting up and putting away his yoga mat by carefully rolling and unrolling it on the floor before starting the DVD. He also loves to go to the refrigerator and take out the “Shining Star Water Bottle” filled with water. Then he sets the water bottle down next to his mat and says “Ok mommy I am ready for my yoga.” A side note on the water bottle is that it has become his favorite thing to drink out of. He has tons of water bottles and cups, but this one is his favorite. It goes everywhere with us, in the van, to the park, in the airport, and to the store. It keeps his water pretty cool and it is easy to wash so I am all for it.
First and foremost our business is committed to providing high quality kids toys and furniture! As most of our staff are also parents we are also very passionate on becoming a go to source for parenting topics; including health, physical fitness, fun home activities and product recalls. The easiest way to receive this information is to follow us through our RSS Feed.