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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Teachable Moment

I was sharing a meal with a young man age 7 and my son age 6 and we were having an interesting discussion about school, friends etc. This little seven year old got upset when my son touched his shirt. Instead of using his words to simply say stop, he screamed and whined, a reaction I would think I would see from someone more like three or four years old. This reaction caught my attention and I asked him, why did you do that instead of use your words. He just looked at me. I asked him if anyone has helped him to know what to do if someone does something that bothers him. He responded no. That opened the door for me to offer some suggestions. We talked about using his words to get his wants out. I said be clear. "What do you want him to do, or not want him to do." He responded "to not touch me". I said "than tell him that directly". I also gave him two to three more steps to do if this does not work such as telling an adult, moving away or touching him back if he does not stop. When interacting with me and my son, I notice how he looks down a lot. I encouraged him to look me in my eyes when talking. Looking someone in their eyes when speaking to them shows you are interested, paying attention, confident and showing respect and expect respect back(though in some cultures this is the opposite). We practiced that the rest of our conversation and by the end he was smiling and had loosened up a bit. I felt the need to share this experience. It is so important that we are parents, educators, mentors and adults take the time to pay attention to daily interactions with children all around us and that any moment can be one to learn, grow and hopefully help or touch another. We can not expect that children no matter the age know what to do in each situation. We learn by observation, being talked to and with, by someone taking our hand and showing us what to do. We must also be sensitive to a child's emotional response to situations as they are just as important as the action its self and can play an essential role in how someone reacts.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tips for developing reading skills with your children

Share the love of reading with your child. Make time to read out loud to your child daily or if they are able to, have them read to you. This is a great way to bond and develop skills.
Kindergarten children should read books with not many words but with lots of pictures to support the words of the story. Ask your children to sound out words they don't know and use the pictures to help tell the story.
Reading out loud to your children while using your finger to track the words from left to right helps children bring attention to the words being read and helps them learn that reading from left to right is the correct way to read.
Another way to support reading with your children is to point out bulletin boards and signs while driving in the car or walking in your neighborhood.
Learning to rhyme is another important piece in learning to read and build vocabulary. Making up a rhyming game that ask your child to think of words that rhyme with "bat" for example but use a different letter is a useful and fun way to build vocabulary.
Supporting your child's comprehension of what they read is also important. Asking them questions when you read aloud such as, what is happening, what will happen next, why, who. Keeping these interactions positive and fun is important because we as parents want to make learning fun and non threatening.
Help your child learn to write letters. Reading and writing go hand in and hand. Encouraging your child to write their name and other words and phrases is another way to support their development and skills.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Children number 1 priority

Hello All. My name is Ms. B and I am based out of Minneapolis, Mn. It is cold and snowy here on this December early morning. We got dumped a few feet of snow and some of us are still buried in it. Schools are closed due to the below temps. Too cold to play out doors and the kids are bouncing off the wall.
I am a single mother who's world revolves around my child. I also am inspired by the eyes of a child and have worked with parents and their children in intervention and prevention child abuse programs as well as early childhood education programs. Children are our most important commodity in this life. We must nurture them, value them and raise them with their personal spirit intact. Each child is unique and their gifts and talents are their own. It is our job to expose them to as many opportunities and experiences which enhances their lives and helps their life take shape. Being a parent is the number one priority once you have a child. If you don't have any, being a good role model, friend or mentor is just as important as it takes more than one to raise a healthy and happy child. How do other parents feel about raising their children?