By Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer
1. Bonding – When you sing to your baby, she bonds with you and your voice. Singing makes yours the first and most important voice in her life. Your baby learns that you LOVE her!
2. Transitions – Babies feel safe when life is predictable. A song for waking up, sleeping, and other routine transitions and activities helps them know what comes next.
3. Language – Language is in itself musical, and when you sing and speak, your baby learns about words, language, and communication. Through your singing, baby’s language comprehension begins.
4. New words – While you sing and hold your baby, you introduce new vocabulary. When you hold up a stuffed dog as you sing about a dog, baby learns to associate the name of that toy with the words you sing. When you sing about parts of the body and kiss your baby’s feet or tickle his tummy, he learns new words.
5. Rhythm and rhyme – Music includes rhythm and rhyme, again, part of our language. In time, babies will recognize rhymes and rhythms.
6. Play – Singing is one of many methods of play and “sing-play” is a fun way to interact with babies.
7. Family fun – Singing is a great way to involve older siblings in welcoming a new baby to the home. Singing to and playing with the baby builds a bond between siblings. Make singing a family activity.
8. Singing names – A baby can learn his name by hearing it in songs. Try substituting your baby’s name for other words in songs so he hears his name sung over and over again.
9. Listening skills – Like reading, singing is an activity that requires listening. It’s another opportunity for your baby to begin to understand language and feelings expressed through language and sing-play.
10. LOVE – All of the above boils down to using your singing voice as a way to express love. Babies don’t care if you are a great singer. They only care that you are singing to THEM! In their eyes (and their ears), you’ll be a star!
Cathy and Marcy are trailblazers in children’s and family music. They play dozens of instruments from banjo and mandolin, to electric guitar, steel drum, and ukulele. Learn more about them online at http://www.cathymarcy.com/.
By Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer
It’s never too late for a fresh start. Have you thought about setting New Year’s resolutions with your child, but weren’t sure where or how to begin? Start by telling him the purpose of setting resolutions or goals.
There are short term and long term benefits for teaching kids to set goals. In an article on goal setting the author indicated that, “…kids can use goal setting to do well in school, to accomplish things in sports, or even to learn to play an instrument” (www.more4kids.info/2910/goal-setting-for-kid/). In the long run goal setting will help kids learn about achievement, motivation and organization.
Are you ready to start setting goals or resolutions? You may have heard often that goals should be specific, measurable and achievable. Much of the information I came across about setting resolutions also indicated that resolutions should be set based on your kids’ ages.
Resolutions can be set for kids as early as preschool age. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, resolutions for this age child should focus on things such as cleaning up toys, brushing teeth and being kind to pets. Examples of resolutions for children five to twelve years of age included: commit to drinking more milk and water on a daily basis, wearing a seat belt and being friendly to all children (www.pbs.org/parents/special/article-winter-making-new-years-resolutions-with-your-child.html). Resolutions for teenagers could include: “I will not use a cell phone or text while driving or I will choose non -violent TV shows and video games and limit screen time to one to two hours each day.”
When setting resolutions with your child it is good to serve as a role model or lead by example. Parents could reflect on things they want to accomplish in the coming year. Include your child in your resolution. It could be as simple as saying, “I am going to exercise more this year, would you like to join me by going for a bike ride?”
Make your goal specific, measurable and achievable by stating, “I am going to exercise three times a week for 30 minutes.” It may be fun for children if you set up a reward system for their accomplishments. Perhaps your child’s goal is to complete his homework as soon as he gets home from school. After a couple of weeks of accomplishing this you could have a family game night with pizza.
Don’t forget to revisit your goals or resolutions after a set period of time. Encourage your child to be flexible. After all resolutions should serve as a guide to reaching your accomplishments, they are not written in stone. There’s no time like the present to set a new goal.
Angela Verges is a writer and mom of two boys who inspire her daily to remain courageous. She is the author of a forthcoming picture book, Abby and Zach Pray through the Alphabet. You can find her blogging through the corridors of parenting at www.mamaprayed.blogspot.com.
World Read Aloud Day is an awareness day advocating for literacy as a right that belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another. By raising our voices together on this day, we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world. Celebrate World Read Aloud Day on March 6, 2013. Visit litworld.org to learn more and join the story.
By Julia Luckenbill –
We all know that it’s good to read to our babies. But what exactly are they learning? Here are just some of the things your baby can learn as you read together.
1. Books contain wonderful stories and songs that I can hear over and over again.
2. Reading time is a time when I am held and loved.
3. You tell me the names of my body parts, the sounds different animals make, and that animals go to sleep too.
4. Some books are especially enjoyable and I can hear them again and again.
5. Every time we read I hear how words are used, listen to rich language, and learn new words.
6. The letters, words, and pictures you point to, all have meaning.
7. I can explore how books are the same and how they are different by tasting and touching them.
8. There is always something hiding behind the flap; my favorite pictures are always in the same place in a book.
9. Listening is part of communication and language includes listening and understanding.
10. Things come in different colors, sizes, and shape.
11. It’s fun to play with language, and explore rhythm, rhyme and humor.
12. When I do something, another thing happens; if I point at a picture, my mom or dad will tell me its name. If I drop the book, we might stop reading.
13. I love books and one day I will love to read on my own.
© National Association for the Education of Young Children — Promoting excellence in early childhood education
Children’s Education Initiatives in the USA | Early Childhood Education
The littlest learners, the greatest gains.
Young children are sponges for learning. From birth to age five, they’re making giant developmental strides, more than at any other time in life. In fact, the brain forms as many as 700 neural connections per second before the age of five.1 It’s a lot easier to influence the developing brain than it is to rewire it later.
In this critical window, education is the key to unlocking their potential. Young children who are given the right support and stimulation arrive at school excited to learn and ready to thrive—academically, emotionally and socially.
The influence of these early experiences can be felt for decades. By age 40, adults who attended high-quality preschools as 3- or 4-year olds were more likely to have graduated from high school, held a job, and earned a higher income. 24% were more likely to own a home and 53% were less likely to have multiple arrests.2 In other words, early education leads to more successes with fewer setbacks [...]
[Read the FULL ARTICLE HERE]
For some, school has already started. For others, it’s just around the corner. Between trips to the mall and baseball practice, have you forgotten anything? Use these guidelines to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
Visit the pediatrician.
Find out whether your child needs immunizations or a physical exam to participate in school activities. Make an appointment with a pediatrician, if necessary.
Plan transportation and child care.
Arrange a carpool and/or after-school care for your child. Even if you don’t plan to carpool, gather contact information for neighbors and other parents who may be able to help when needed.
Mark school events on the calendar.
Create a master family schedule and add each person’s appointments and activities. If you have children at more than one school, plan ahead to make sure a parent is available to attend each open house and family night.
Stock up on school supplies.
Besides buying the supplies on the list provided by your child’s teacher, get extras of items your child is likely to misplace, such as glue sticks or scissors. Think about the items your child may need while doing homework and keep them in a central location.
Talk It Over
Review the rules.
Get a copy of the school’s guidelines and go over them with your child. Make sure he understands all the rules he’ll be expected to follow.
Check in regularly.
Ask your child how she feels about starting school. If she’s nervous about making new friends, consider arranging a play date with classmates. Talk over any issues she’s concerned about, such as bullies or cliques.
Evaluate extracurricular activities.
Talk with your child about extracurricular activities. Select fun activities that teach new skills, but avoid overscheduling your family or your child. Taking on too many activities can cause anxiety and distract children from schoolwork.
Meet Teachers and Staff
Visit the school before classes start.
Call the school to arrange a time for you and your child to meet his new teacher. Take your child on a tour of the school so he knows how to find his classrooms, his locker, and the cafeteria.
Talk with the teacher.
Find out whether the teacher prefers to communicate by phone, e-mail, or written notes. Let the teacher know about things in your child’s life that may affect her performance, such as health problems, a recent move, or family changes. You might also mention your child’s hobbies or special interests.
Learn about school resources.
Find out which professionals the school has on staff and what services they provide. Ask about the best way to get in touch with the principal, school counselor, or other staff members you may need to contact.
Make contact with the parent group.
The PTO or PTA will have lots of information about the school, including nuances and tips that aren’t written down anywhere else.
Review the Routine
Discuss safe travel routes.
Make sure your child knows how to get to and from school safely. If your child walks or rides a bike to school, review the route with her until you’re sure she knows it. If she rides a bus, remind her where the bus stops and where to get on the bus after school. No matter how your child gets to school, remind her of safety issues she is likely to face, such as how to cross the street.
Go over after-school plans.
Remind your child where he will go after school, whether it’s home, to an extracurricular activity, or to an after-school program.
Adults accept that doing household chores are a part of life, but did you know that children can learn valuable lessons from doing them, too?
Chores teach children to work as a team. When you get the job done faster as a group then there’s more time for family fun. They may not realize it, but when your kids contribute by unloading the dishwasher or gathering the recycling, they feel like a valuable part of the family.
Assign chores that you know your kids can manage. For example, matching up dad’s work socks becomes a color-sorting game for elementary-age kids. The benefits reach school, too.
Teachers recognize and respect students for pitching in to accomplish projects in their classroom. Chores also help your kids develop a strong work ethic that will serve them well as young adults when they’re securing their first job.
They may grumble now but in the long run participating in routine chores will help mold your children into mature and functioning adults.
From sun up to sun down, fill your child’s day with predictable routines. As a parent, you see the value of routines. When the day is organized and predictable, your child thrives – and so do you. Ever wonder why? Here are a few basic reasons …