Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Reading is one of the most important things a child will learn. Many parents want to know what they can do to help their child become better readers. While there are many options for caregiver to choose from, I love the 3 B's suggested by Jim Trelease, author of "The Read Aloud Handbook. "

The first B = BOOKS
Children need to be exposed to reading materials in their home. They need to see books on a daily basis. They have to be read to on a regular basis. Most importantly, a child needs his or her own book, with his or her name inscribed inside the book.
The Second B = Baskets
A basket full of books located in different areas of the home will give children the access to reading they need. Place these baskets in areas where they will be used most often. A few suggestions include: the bathroom, on or near the kitchen table, or in the car.
The Third B = Bed Lamp 
Allow your child to read before he or she goes to bed. Give them a lamp and the option to read a little bit past "bedtime." I know that my little girl will look at books before she goes to sleep, so her "bedtime" is about 15 minute early. I love checking in on her and seeing her soundly sleeping next to a pile of books. I hope she is dreaming of adventures with the nutcracker, peas and princesses, elves making fancy shoes, and cleaver cats who talk.

7800 hours

Did you know that a child spends about 900 hours a year in school, and 7,800 hours outside of school? Who do you think has a greater influence on that child? The teacher in the class room or the "teacher" they see every day and with whom they spend a majority of that 7,800 hours?
The most influential education a child receives is in their home, from their caregivers. And that education is rarely taught in a formal sit down situation. It is soaked up in every-day experiences.
Makes you stop to think about what lessons your child is learning every day. Are they learning respect and kindness because of the way we treat and talk to them and others? Are they learning manners because we say "Please and Thank you" to strangers and most importantly to them? Are they learning the value of books because we read to them, or take them to the library? Are they learning the importance of health and fitness because we eat healthy foods and participate in physical activities? What about forgiveness, tolerance, optimism, hard work, responsibility?
While parenting a child is one of the most difficult things a person will do, it is also one of the most rewarding and important things they will ever do. And evaluating ourselves and the lessons we teach will greatly benefit our children.


I recently read an interesting Time magazine article entitled "How America's Children Packed On the Pounds" It was disturbing to read the statistics. Jeffrey Kluger writes that an estimated 32% of America's children are overweight or obese. Along with the extra pounds, young children are being faced with diabetes, high cholesterol, heart problems, liver disease, and gallstones. Kluger states that "health experts warn that the current generation of children may be the first in American history to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents'".
After reading this article, I evaluated my children's health as well as my own. Understanding the importance of eating and living healthy is the most important step in fighting obesity.  
Being willing to take an honest look at our eating and exercise habits is crucial.
I've come up with a game plan I believe will help my family and especially my children fight off obesity and live healthy well rounded lives. Over the course of the next few months, I'd like to share this game plan with you. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what you are doing to keep your children healthy.


When my first child was 6 weeks she would not sleep. Not during the day and never at night. I cried a lot those first 6 weeks. Then a friend suggested "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child" by Marc Weissbluth. It changed my life.
A few things I learned and love about this book:
*Every child is different so it is imperative that I understand my baby's sleep needs. I have to watch for cues she gives as she is getting tired. When my 3 year old has a meltdown, I obviously missed her sleep cues she gave an hour previous.
*Sleep begets sleep. This was eye opening for me. When my baby (newborn to 12 months) would take a longer afternoon nap, I still put her to bed between 6-630. She would go back to sleep easier and would sleep all night. On the flip side, Dr. Weissbluth writes, "Fatigue causes increased arousal. Therefore, the more tired your child, the harder it is for him to fall asleep, stay asleep, or both."
* If it is 5:30 pm and my 3 month old is cranky and crying, 9 times out of 10, she is tired. Putting her to bed as early as 5:30pm usually doesn't invoke an earlier wake up time (it never did with my babies).
*Allowing my baby to learn self soothing skills was harder on me than it was on her. And it proved to be invaluable.

Check out his blog: weissbluthmethod.wordpress.com
Babble also posted a wonderful interview with Dr. Weissbluth. You can read it here.

letting children choose

I want my girls to be happy. I don't want them to experience some of the heartaches and disappointments I have seen in my life. I definitely don't want them making the same mistakes I did.
If I could just say to my girls "Jane, you will want to do A, B, and C. Never go near D and don't even think about E." Wouldn't it be wonderful if they would listen and follow my instructions exactly? Fortunately, they are individuals who want to explore and discover things on their own. Most likely they will forget about A and B, maybe do C, try out D and go straight for E. And that's OK. Throughout that process they will grow from their mistakes, just as I have grown from mine.
I've decided the best thing I can do for them is to fervently teach them right from wrong and then allow them to make their own decisions. They will love me for it, and I won't give myself an ulcer trying to control something I have no business controlling. So when my 2 year old is adamant about wearing bright orange and black cat printed pants with a blue and yellow flower shirt, I'll let her. Then I'll take a picture and post it on her Facebook page when she is 16.

seven minutes

"You need to spend 7 minutes with each child every day." When I first heard this, I thought, That's a silly thing to say. I am a stay at home mom. I spend all day with my kids. Every day. But then I sat down and thought about how I spent that time with them. It was always in-between things. In-between washing dishes, cleaning the house, changing diapers, doing laundry, cleaning up messes, making beds, paying bills and working my at home business. I was saddened to realize the time my children received was sometimes leftover and in-between.
So we began 7 minutes with mom. I ask my 3 year old what she wants to do with mommy. And I do whatever she wants. I turn off the phone and computer. I give 100% of my attention and time to my girls- one at a time. We've read a lot, colored, built towers, and played horsey. It has been amazing to see her light up when I tell her it's time for 7 minutes. It has become the most precious time of the day.
The key is to give 100% attention and to do whatever your child wants to do. Try it for a week and see what it does for your relationships.


We each have a dominate learning style, do you know yours? What about your child? As a parent and teacher of my kids, knowing how they learn best can be of great value. The three basic learning styles are audio, visual and hands on
Here is a little trick to discover your child's dominate learning style.
Ask her to describe something from memory. Maybe how her bedroom looks or what she wore yesterday. Then observe her eyes. If she looks straight at you or side to side while describing her memory, then she is an audio learner. If she looks up at the ceiling, she is a visual learner. If she looks at her hands or talk with her hands, then she learns best by being hands on.
When your child has a difficult concept to learn or is struggling with a subject, try reviewing the material in the manner that suits her dominate learning style.

Keep in mind that even though we have a dominate leaning style, we learn best when we combine all three styles together.

Friday, 14 September 2012

independence thanks

Throughout the United States today there will be parades, bbqs, camping, parties, and fireworks celebrating 235 year of independence. The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays-- and not just because I absolutely love all types of summer activities. I love celebrating our country's freedom. I appreciate the holiday to reflect on the sacrifices of so many. My deepest gratitude goes out to the men and women of the military. You, who leave your families; your parents, your friends, your babies. You, who leave the comforts of home to selflessly serve and put yourselves in harm's way. To the moms and dads who send their children away, constantly praying for their safety. Awe and Adoration for the wives and husbands who stay home and survive single parenthood. To the little boys and girls who say goodbye to mommy and daddy for months at a time, I admire you. Thank you for your sacrifice.
So today while I am enjoying corn on the cob, watermelon and bbq chicken, I will take a few minutes and talk to my little girls about why we are able to have a big party with fireworks in the middle of the summer.

*photo taken by Emily Aldrich, http://relivingthemoments.blogspot.com/