Thu
25
Aug
2011

Getting Your Kids Interested In Learning

For any parent, nothing is more exciting than seeing a child with a keen interest in learning more about the world. Most small children go through a period of curiosity and questioning, and you need to show your child that this is a very healthy way to live. When your child questions everything and takes nothing for face value, he or she will grow up to be a very brilliant individual. There are many ways that you can foster this kind of attitude in a child, and you should do your best to encourage it in all of your children, if possible. Read on to find out some tips as to how you can do this.

First, you need to start incorporating books into the lives of your children from a very young age. Even before your child can understand what you're saying, you should read picture books and describe what is going on. This may seem pointless, but studies have shown that it will lead to a more eloquent and verbose child. As the child gets older, start reading more complex books. Don't worry about getting out of his or her reading level.

Make the library into a fun outing for you and your kids. Go once or twice a week to get new books, and encourage your kids to finish the books before the next outing so that they can exchange the books for other ones. Sometimes libraries offer some summer programs where the kids log their books and receive rewards. If you feel your kids have a real passion for reading then this is a great way to get free ice cream every once in a while. Otherwise you should skip these programs, since they have the potential to make reading into something that is done simply for the prize at the end.

As your kids become more proficient readers, you need to push them to higher content levels. It doesn't matter if your kindergartener is reading at a 10th grade level as long as he or she understands the book and isn't exposed to anything that you wouldn't want him or her to read. As long as you keep upping the ante and complexity of the books that your child reads, you will see growth in leaps and bounds. You should be wary of something that is frequently a result of advanced children, and that is a lack of interest in school. If your child is reading adult-level fiction and non-fiction books, it isn't likely that public school will offer enough of a challenge. Many advanced children do better in homeschooling or private school, or even simply pursuing their own passions.

The journey through parenthood is different for everyone, and reading is just one aspect that you have to pay attention to. Keep a healthy relationship with your kids always, and they will grow up to be healthy individuals. This is rewarding enough in itself, and should inspire you to try your best as a parent.

 

Sat
9
Jul
2011

Preserving Your Baby’s Dental Health

When it comes to caring for an infant, most parents are well aware of the need for routine pediatrician visits as part of their baby's health care regimen. What's less well-recognized is the importance that early and regular dental care plays. For optimal oral health, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that dental visits begin with the appearance of a child's first tooth as an effective way to kick-start a lifelong program of preventive dental care.

One Baby Tooth + One Pediatric Dental Visit = Zero Cavities
"The 'first-tooth visit' lets the pediatric dentist check for proper oral and facial development, see if the teeth are growing in properly, and detect early tooth decay," says H. Pitts Hinson, president of the AAPD. "It also gives the dentist a chance to walk parents through a complete program of home dental care for the child."

Tooth decay, even in the earliest stages of life, can have serious implications for a child's long-term health and well-being-and it's becoming more of a problem every day. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention comparing the dental health of Americans in 1988-1994 and 1999-2002 found a 15.2 percent increase in cavities among two- to five-year olds. In addition, the U.S. Surgeon General has identified tooth decay as the most common childhood disease.

A possible contributor to this trend is the fact that only three out of five children visit a dentist at least once a year. While parents may avoid taking a child to the dentist to save money, studies show that children who have their first dental visit before age one have 40 percent lower dental costs in their first five years than children who don't, making preventive care a sound health and economic decision.

Without preventive care, the impact of tooth decay on child development can be striking. A study in Pediatric Dentistry showed that children with cavities were significantly more likely to weigh less than 80 percent of their ideal body weight. Even more disturbing is evidence that the effects of poor oral health may be felt for a lifetime. Emerging research suggests that improper oral hygiene may increase a child's risk of having low-birth-weight babies, developing heart disease or suffering a stroke as an adult.

Sun
3
Jul
2011

Tactics for Tackling a Toddler’s Temper Tantrum

Even the best behaved toddler has an occasional temper tantrum.  A tantrum can range from whining and crying to screaming, kicking, hitting, and breath holding. They're equally common in boys and girls and usually occur from age 1 to age 3. Some children may experience regular tantrums, whereas for other children, tantrums may be rare. Some kids are more prone to throwing a temper tantrum than others.

Toddlers are trying to master the world and when they aren't able to accomplish a task, they often use one of the only tools at their disposal for venting frustration – a tantrum. There are several basic causes of tantrums that are familiar to parents everywhere: The child is seeking attention or is tired, hungry, or uncomfortable. In addition, tantrums are often the result of children's frustration with the world.  Frustration is an unavoidable part of kids' lives as they learn how people, objects, and their own bodies work.

Tantrums are common during the second year of life, a time when children are acquiring language. Toddlers generally understand more than they can express. As language skills improve, tantrums tend to decrease.

To avoid tandrums:

  • Keep off-limits objects out of sight and out of reach, which will make struggles less likely to develop over them.
  • Distract your child. Take advantage of your little one's short attention span by offering a replacement for the coveted object or begin a new activity to replace the frustrating or forbidden one.
  • And choose your battles: consider the request carefully when your child wants something. Is it outrageous? Maybe it isn't. Accommodate when possible to avoid an outburst.

Make sure your child isn't acting up simply because he or she isn't getting enough attention. To a child, negative attention (a parent's response to a tantrum) is better than no attention at all. Try to establish a habit of catching your child being good ("time in"), which means rewarding your little one with attention and praise for positive behavior. This will teach them that acting appropriately makes mommy and daddy happy and proud, and they'll be anxious to do it again and again.

Fri
1
Jul
2011

Encouraging Play Encourages a Child’s Development

We've all heard the term, "Oh, that's child's play."

It implies something is easy, frivolous and unimportant in the overall scheme of things. But to a child, child's play is essential to their mental, social, emotional, and physical development. 

We all know that children like to play. But what we may not know is the importance of play in a child's life. Play is essential to every area of a child's growth and development.

Play provides a means for energy to be put to use. It strengthens and refines small and large motor skills, and it builds stamina and strength. Sensory learning develops mostly through play. Play is significant to physical development in that without it the body could not grow and develop normally.

Children possess a natural curiosity. They, explore, learn and make sense out of their environment by playing. Parents and educators alike can support this learning activity by ensuring age-appropriate toys, materials and environments are available to the child.

Play enables children to know things about the world and to discover information essential to learning. Through play children learn basic concepts such as colors, counting, how to build things, and how to solve problems. Thinking and reasoning skills are at work every time a child engages in some type of play.

Children learn to relate to one another, negotiate roles, share, and obey rules through play. They also learn how to belong to a group and how to be part of a team. A child obtains and retains friends through play.

Play fulfills many needs including a sense of accomplishment, successfully giving and receiving attention, and the need for self-esteem. It helps them develop a strong sense of self, and is emotionally satisfying to them.  They learn about fairness, and through pretending learn appropriate ways of expressing emotion such as anger, fear, frustration, stress and discover ways of dealing with these feelings.

So encourage your child's play. 

Color pictures, make finger paintings, build buildings and imaginary cities with blocks, and build a tent in the middle of the living room and go camping! And as we all know, childhood is fleeting, so let them enjoy being a kid while they are one!