December 5th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Reading
Reading is an important skill that will help your child succeed in school and throughout life. But how and when do you start teaching your child to read?
Learning to read starts younger than you think. Very young in fact, because learning to speak is actually the foundation for learning to read. Children develop important language skills from birth – and early language abilities are directly related to later reading abilities. The connections in the brain that develop when a child learns to talk are the same connectors that will help them learn to read.
Did you know… At 4 -5 months old, a child can start to recognize their name. At 8 months old a child can start to distinguish word patterns. At 3 years old a child can start to repeat simple rhymes. At 5 years old, a child can start to match sounds with letters.
So, to begin with, an easy way to help your child learn to read is to help them develop their language skills.
Here are a few ideas to help build your child’s language proficiency and boost their reading abilities as well.
1. Talk with your child. Encourage them to answer and ask questions. Instead of listening to the radio on the way to the store, turn it off and talk to them about their day, their favorites, their friends, etc.
2. Point out and identify new objects around them. Let them feel, taste, and smell the objects when appropriate for multiple sensory identification.
3. Sing with your child. Many times a small child can repeat a long line of words in the form of song before they can speak a full sentence. Sing them your favorite nursery rhymes or lullabies as they fall asleep.
4. Make up rhymes with your child. Be silly while teaching them how to rhyme. They will love it!
5. Tell them stories. Ask them questions or make predictions about how the story will end.
6. Read them books. Have them retell the story to you at another time. Discuss story elements, cause and effect, orders found in the book, main ideas, characters, and details.
7. If a child is interested in a certain book, read it over and over to them. Point out words in the book as you read them.
Speaking and listening are the building blocks of early literacy. Children whose parents read to them, tell them stories, talk and sing songs with them – develop larger vocabularies, become better readers, and do better in school. So speak your way to reading with your child today.
November 28th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
Research is continually finding that expressing thanks can lead to a healthier, happier, and less-stressful life. That sounds good to me, so let see what we can do to become more grateful and improve our overall lives.
Here are 7 habits can help cultivate gratitude on a daily basis.
1. Keep a journal. It’s no secret that our brain naturally focuses on the negative in life. Writing in a journal can help reinforce the positive things that happen. Take a minute everyday to record the things that you are thankful for and how they have affected your life in a positive way. Chance are, it will be hard at first. And it may take some time to be able to pick out the good things that happened in your day, but as time goes on, it will become easier and you’ll start to notice the good things more and more throughout the day.
2. Embrace setbacks. Grateful people can always look back at the hard times in life and see how they have grown because of them. Learn from the bad times and accept them as part of the overall journey. Instead of getting stuck in a rut because of some hard turns, accept it and figure out how to get to higher ground.
3. Keep good company. Spending time with those you love will strengthen those relationships. And strong relationships can help you deal with stress. Surround yourself with positive, upbeat people that can encourage you and try to do the same for them.
4. Use social media positively. You can criticize social media because it creates a society that is less connected, but if used correctly, it can be a positive boost in your life and the lives of those you love. Have you ever noticed that positive comments spread faster than negative ones? Use that theory to someone’s advantage today and post a positive comment.
5. Stop and smell the roses. Notice the value of the little things in life. Little acts of kindness, simple compliments, gifting “just because”, and expressing uncomplicated gratitude can all be monumental to someone who’s day could benefit from just a smile. Don’t take for granted the little things you do, or the little things others do for you.
6. Volunteer. Volunteering can result in lower feelings of depression and increased overall well-being. Help some out today and lose yourself in their problems. Suddenly your life won’t look so bad.
7. Exercise. You may not think that exercising and gratitude have anything in common, but exercise has been proven to clear the mind and reduce stress, creating a healthier mind and body. Get moving and become healthier all around.
November 13th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Reading
Helping you child put their best foot forward at school is a priority of every parent. Do you know what book your child is reading in class, or when their science project is due?
Here are a couple pointers to help ensure their success at school.
1. Be involved. Talk to your child about their assignments, what’s going on in class, and how things are going with their friends. Communicate with teachers as well to make sure assignments are getting done and behavior in class is appropriate. Many schools have grades, attendance, and even behavior logs in the internet now. Good communication is always the first step toward improvement.
2. Make a homework spot. Designate a place in the house for each child where they can do their homework. It should be free of distractions and noise. But make sure it’s a place close enough to where you will be so they can ask you for assistance if necessary.
3. Uplift them. When it comes to a child’s self-esteem, it takes 10 positive comments to make-up for just one negative one. So instead of adding to the cruel comments that they may hear at school, give them uplifting, positive comments instead.
4. Eat healthy. Make sure everyone starts the day off with breakfast. If possible, opt for something that is high in protein instead of a sugary, carb-loaded cereal or toaster pastry. It will help satisfy them for longer and eliminate that mid-morning “blah” feeling. Offer healthy options for lunch and dinner as well, and drink more water!
5. Get moving. Being more active will help not only their bodies but also their minds grow and develop. It will also give them an opportunity to let off some steam and balance their bodies energy.
6. Get a good nights sleep. Recent studies show that most kids ages 2 – 18 need 10 hours of sleep a night. I know what you’re thinking…impossible! Right? With busy schedules, getting just 8 hours is hard enough as it is. Maybe your goal can be to simply increase it, even if just a little. Turning off electronic devices earlier in the evening can help kids wind down faster. Try reading a book as an alternative.
7. Read a book. Reading is the key to all learning. Read to your children often and have them read to you. Encourage them to always have a book that they are reading on the side. Take them to the library and attend reading hours or book tours if possible. You can even swap books with friends. Use the books that you are reading to come up with places to visit or things to see or learn more about. Make books fun.
October 22nd, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
Although stress is a fact of life for most us, here are a few things you can do to live a longer, happier, healthier, and less stressful life.
1. Make time for yourself. Do more of the things that you enjoy and less of the things that drain your energy. Read a book or exercise. Take a stress management class or practice some relaxation techniques. Take time to take care for yourself and your health. Make it a priority to relax or even take a nap.
2. Find some support. Confide in your spouse or a good friend. Find a good listener and ask them for help getting through tough times.
3. Know your limits. Learn to say no. Don’t stress yourself out by trying to do more than you can. Do fewer things and do them better.
4. Plan ahead. Plan your day, week, and month ahead of time and be sure to include breaks. Especially during or after stressful times or events.
5. Make goals. Have something that you can work toward. Make goals that are challenging but realistic.
6. Avoid stressful situations. If you know that a certain situation always gets your blood boiling, try to avoid it. And if you can’t, decide ahead of time how you are going to handle it.
7. Express your feelings. It’s ok to cry when you are sad or upset. We all have bad days. But try to laugh a little every day. If you have a hard time expressing your feelings verbally, try writing them in a journal.
8. Be positive. Have you ever heard the quote, “Fake it till you make it!”? Try it with your outlook on life. Smile more often. Laugh and spend time with upbeat people. Adjust your view of the stress in your life. Try to see the good in all things.
9. Be grateful. Instead of complaining about things that you have no control over, count the many blessing that you do have…and tell them you love them right now.
July 16th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
Chances are, every person in your family has a different temperament and personality. Is achievement linked to personality? And can negative personality traits automatically set your children up for failure?
First lets look at several different characteristics of personalities. Steven Pinker, who writes about mental capacity and personalities, says that personalities differ in at least five major ways:
1. Sociable (extroverted) or Retiring (introverted)
2. Constantly Worried (neurotic) or Calm and Self-satisfied (stable)
3. Courteous and Trusting (agreeable) or Rude and Suspicious (antagonistic)
4. Careful (conscientious) or Carless (undirected)
5. Daring (open) or Conforming (non-open)
You can probably look at the above personalities and claim several of them for yourself and pin several more on your children.
Moderation may be the key when it comes to having a “likeable” personality. I can think of several people that I’ve known over the years that have extreme mannerisms and it always seems harder to get along with them.
Maybe it’s not so much about which personality your child has that makes them hard to get along with, as it is more about if they are willing or able to conform and be flexible when necessary.
Stephen Pinker, believes that achievement is not dependent upon personality. He believes that it is possible for your children to change or moderate the tendencies that they were born with and adapt them to achieve success. As parent’s, it’s our job to help them with this obstacle.
To do this you must concentrate on what they can do instead of their limitations. I once read this statement by a wise person: “Remember, your only handicap is your opinion of yourself. If you think you are weak or stupid or maimed or downtrodden, you are.”
If you want your children to exceed your expectations, then encourage them to do their best no matter what personality they have. They may just surprise you and become the best.
July 2nd, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
Children compete with each other for multiple things, and a parents attention and approval is no different. In fact, this is totally normal. Even as adults this can still happen.
Your job as a parent is to model good behavior and give each child positive attention.
Here are some ways you can cut down on the sibling rivalry in your home.
1. Encourage better problem solving skills. Instead of deciding who is right and who is wrong, when a conflict comes up, concentrate on getting along. If someone tattles, encourage them to go back and solve the problem. Help them develop skills of compromise, fairness, and taking turns. Maybe you can institute house rules for what to do in certain situations. For example, a timer can be set when the need arises to take turns.
2. Don’t label your kids. Beware of labeling your kids “good kid” or “bad kid”. No child is all good or all bad. This will lead to attacks out of jealousy. It is likely that when a conflict occurs, everyone involved shares some responsibility. A danger in labeling a child as the “bad kid” is that they will give up trying to do anything right because they always get in trouble anyway.
3. Make everyone accountable for their own actions. Sometimes you may wonder if the “bad child” is teaching a younger sibling how to misbehave. You may blame and even discipline the “bad kid” for the behavior of a younger sibling. Teach everyone that they are all responsible for their own actions.
4. Role model good problem solving. As parents, be an example of how to resolve problems and disagreements in respectful and non-aggressive ways. In your dealings with other adults and in your dealings with your kids always find a way to solve the problem peaceably.
5. Give each child positive attention. Treat each child as a wonderful individual. Reduce the competition between siblings by treating each of them as a unique individual and giving each of them positive attention and affection. Maybe a monthly “date” between each child and each parent would be a good time to accomplish this.
Remember, the best way to combat sibling rivalry is to tell each of your children that you love and value them. Tell them that they are special to you and be specific about what qualities you love about them.
Read this related article. Tips on Teaching Your Kids to Be Nice
April 2nd, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
How many times have you heard the words “They did it, not me!” as your child points toward their sibling? If you have a 5-10 year old, probably often.
Most parents don’t like it when their kids are constantly telling on each other. Instead, we would prefer them to learn problem solving skills when it comes to sibling rivalry. We also want them to take responsibility for their own actions and deal with the consequences.
Tattling and finger pointing waste time. It hurts the whole family and causes an atmosphere of defensiveness. And in the end, it makes the problem that much more difficult to solve.
Understanding why children tattle, can help us diffuse the situation better next time. Maria Montessori found that children tattle because they are trying to figure out the difference between right and wrong. The result is, they have to question everything.
Between first and second grade is a prime time for this stage of development.
When children tattle, they are looking for a confirmation that the thing they are tattling about is wrong. They don’t need to see a punishment imposed on the offender, they just need to know if their anger toward the other person for the wrongdoing is justified.
Helping our children understand the differences between “Tattling” and “Reporting” can help them in the thought process of whether or not they should come to you to tell.
You can use the following lists when discussing this with your child.
It’s purpose is to keep people safe
They need help from an adult to solve the problem
It is about something important
It could be a harmful, dangerous, or threatening situation
The bad behavior is purposeful
It’s purpose is to try to get someone in trouble
They usually can handle the situation by themselves
It’s not really important
It is a harmless situation
The behavior is accidental
If we can understand why our kids are tattling and help them understand when the situation deserves your attention, hopefully, we’ll have less tattling and more time to give them the good attention they deserve.
March 26th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
Many characteristics of your gifted child may be causing difficulty at home and at school. Do any of these instances sound familiar?
They are bored with routine tasks, and refuse to do their homework because it’s boring.
They have difficulty moving into another topic because they get so involved in what they are doing.
They are self-critical and are impatient with their failures.
They are also critical of others, even you, their parent, and their teachers.
They often disagree vocally with others including adults.
They make jokes at inappropriate times.
They show intense emotional sensitivity.
They may overreact, get angry easily, or be quick to cry if things go wrong.
They may seem not to be interested in the little details of things.
They don’t like to get their hands messy.
They refuse to accept authority, are nonconforming and stubborn.
They tend to dominate others.
As you can see, sometimes a gifted child is thinking so far above and beyond the mundane that they miss the mark when it comes to common courtesy. Many times they suffer from plain old boredom. Your bright child may be exhibiting these traits if they are bored.
They may have a poor attention span.
They may daydream frequently.
They may have a tendency to begin many activities but the inability to follow them through to completion.
Their judgmental development may lag behind their intellectual growth level.
They have an intensity that may lead to power struggles with authorities.
They have a high activity level; they may seem to need less sleep.
They have difficulty restraining their desire to talk and they may be disruptive.
They seem to question rules, customs, routines, and traditions.
They lose their work or forget to do their work because of disorganization.
They may seem to be careless.
They have a high sensitivity to criticism.
Keeping your gifted child “entertained” with appropriate activities will help them focus and use their abilities for good rather than disruptive or difficult attitudes or behaviors.
Service is a great way to encourage your gifted child to “look outside the box” and help someone besides themselves.
Having them help you out with chores and jobs around the house will also give them a purpose and a sense of accomplishment. Be sure to make sure that the chores don’t become “boring” by switching them up often, or adding something a little different.
Click here to read a related article: Your Children Crave Responsibility – Give It to Them
Gifted children can bring challenges into your life, but if you look for the good and steer them in the right direction, you’ll find that the rewards far outweigh the tough times.
February 5th, 2013 - Category: Behavior Advice
If you could have one wish what would it be? Toward the top of the list I’m sure we could find world peace. A grand idea, but it all has to start somewhere. How about in our homes?
Sometimes we may think that our efforts of teaching our children to be nice are futile, but the other day my daughter’s teacher pulled me aside and told me a story that brought me hope.
The teacher had brought signs for the kids to hold that were attached to popsicle sticks. Problem was, she happened to be 1 short, so everyone was able to hold one, except for the last little girl. The teacher told this girl that she would be able to help by holding up a different picture, but this little girl was upset that she didn’t get one with a popsicle stick. The teacher had greatly underestimated the worth of that popsicle stick to a 5 year old girl. The girl started crying as the teacher tried to calm her. Then my daughter stepped forward and offered the girl her sign on a stick. How pleased I was that she would do such a nice thing.
Now don’t get me wrong. That same evening she was antagonizing her little sister by taking her favorite bear away from her. But having her teacher comment on the difference my daughter had made to her day seemed to dampen my reaction to the later offense.
Teaching our children to be nice is something that takes time and patience. The biggest thing for them to realize is that kindness has value. It’s easy to think that the world isn’t fair, or they are being cheated out of something better by being nice, but in reality, everyone benefits when someone is nice. Here are some ideas to help your children be nicer.
Be nice to your kids.
Treat your children with respect and encourage them to do the same. There should still be discipline, but use words instead of force.
Pay attention to your kids.
Spend quality time with them. Let them know that you love them. A person is more likely to be nice if they feel good about themselves.
Model good behavior.
Let your children see you being nice. Volunteer, help your neighbors, and treat others with dignity and respect.
Use kind language.
Don’t treat someone nicely and then come home and talk bad behind their back. Everyone has a different idea of “good” words and “bad” words. I would suggest that any words that are not nice, are also “bad” words.
Reinforce good behavior.
When you see your child being nice, make a big deal out of it. Sometimes you may have to look long and hard to find something, but when you do, praise them heavily for it, multiple times.
Give your children chores.
There was a study from the University of Minnesota that showed children that did housework had better feelings of responsibility and self worth in their later years. Who would have guessed that chores could make your children nicer? MyJobChart.com couldn’t prove it till now, but we’ve known it all along.
Read about being kind.
We all know the importance of reading to our children. Add some books about kindness to your reading schedule and then discuss them.
Encourage them to make friends.
When you have a friend you tend to do things for them out of kindness. You also tend to sacrifice more for them than a stranger.
Get a pet.
A pet can make everyone happy. Except for maybe cleaning up after it, and then it will reinforce how to care for something that doesn’t always reciprocate it.
November 6th, 2012 - Category: Behavior Advice
Consistency is one of the most important factors in successful parenting. Being consistent teaches children what to expect. When they know what to expect they can predict what the consequences of their actions or behaviors will be. When they understand the consequences they tend to think more about their actions or behaviors and make better choices. And kids making better choices is fundamental in them developing into a responsible and mature adult.
Being consistent is just as important when you are reinforcing good behavior as when you are punishing bad behavior. When you consistently reinforce good behavior and make a point to notice when your children are cooperating or being nice, then the behavior will happen more often. Your child should definitely feel that your love is consistent and unconditional. And when you always follow through with a certain punishment for a negative behavior, then they can count on the consequence, and the behavior will stop.
Inconsistency makes children unsure of themselves and their surroundings. It makes them confused. When children are insecure or confused they tend to manipulate the situation or tease others or take advantage of the unclear situation.
It’s about the inevitability of the consequence, not the severity. Don’t think that the punishment needs to be severe for them to learn a lesson. If the punishment fits the offense, the most important thing to stop the bad behavior is to be consistent with the punishment. Being consistent will help them form patterns for them to grow from.
Now, being consistent doesn’t mean that you have to rule with an iron fist and be totally inflexible. But the key is to make flexibility the exception rather than the rule.
At MyJobChart.com we can help you be more consistent on chores with reminders sent to your email or phone. Lets face it, being consistent can be hard so every reminder helps.