Zoodles Blog Learn and Play Every Day

July 31, 2010

How to Deal with Sibling Rivalry

Filed under: Parenting Tips,Personal Stories — Tags: , , — Erin @ 12:17 pm
kids mean

Sibling Fights Picture courtesy of Teeny! Gee It's Been Awhile

Guest Blog by Kelly Wilson

If you have more than one child, the following strategies may help everyone in your home deal with sibling rivalry.

Embrace the Inevitable

Your kids will fight with you and with each other. They will alternate between playing like the best of friends and yelling at each other over who got the biggest piece of the candy bar that they had to share. And it can happen within moments.

The nice part about this kind of conflict is that it’s totally normal. Competition between siblings for attention from parents and others is not enjoyable, but developmentally appropriate behavior.

Anticipate Changing Needs

Understanding the foundational reasons for sibling rivalry can help increase the patience required to deal with it. Sibling rivalry develops for a variety of reasons.

Courtesy of Chapendra

Siblings Picture Courtesy of Chapendra

* Age Differences – unless you have a set of multiples, your kids are different ages with varying developmental needs and skills. This can create questions about why older children in your family have more independence or get certain privileges and younger kids in your family don’t.

* Personality Differences – my boys are totally opposite in every way when it comes to personality characteristics. The oldest is cautious and the youngest is a risk-taker. The oldest likes to plan out everything, and the youngest is go-with-the-flow. In our family, this can be wonderful and also the greatest source of fighting.

* Developmental Differences – My boys are three years apart, which means they have a variety of different needs and require different parenting. My oldest receives an allowance that he splits into sharing, saving and spending, and this allows him to buy toys and candy with his own money. This can be hard for the youngest, who doesn’t have a big allowance because he’s not yet ready for the responsibilities that go along with it.

Set Up Ground Rules

Since kids will fight for a variety of reasons, they need a collection of tools to be able to fight well. I like to teach my kids the following strategies to help the process along and prevent physical or emotional injury.

* “I feel” messages – set up a sentence that can be used anytime where kids learn how to share their feeling about an event. The sentence I use is “When you _______________, I feel ______________________.”

* Quiet Time – it’s difficult to come to a resolution when emotions are high. Encourage kids to time themselves out when they’re too angry to talk, and come back to resolve the problem after calming down (I’ve found this takes ten to twenty minutes).

* Make a Deal – if there’s something that one child wants, chances are good that there’s something the other one wants as well. Talking about the wants or needs of each person can help work out an arrangement that benefits both children.

* Apologize and Be Done – I remind my kids that holding a grudge works for no one. Once the problem has been discussed, apologies and forgiveness need to be shared. The situation is then officially over.

When to Get Involved

I try not to involve myself in my kids’ fights. This doesn’t mean that I sit by and let them say or do anything they want to each other. Instead, I listen and wait. Sometimes all they need is a little coaching, so I may give them a verbal cue, like “When you-“ which reminds them of the “I feel” strategy. If emotions run high, I may enforce a time out for all parties involved for about fifteen minutes. Usually my kids are ready to talk it out after some quiet time.

If kids really struggle with working out a problem, it helps to ask them questions. Start with one person at a time, stating that each person will get a turn and requiring absolutely no interruptions.

Ask for basics – what happened? Who was involved? How do you feel? What do you want or need right now? Move on to the next person, asking the same questions. By the end of this process, the kids can move on to actually solving the problem – all you’ve done is help clarify the situation for them.

Employing these strategies to deal with sibling rivalry take extra time and effort to begin with, but benefit everyone in your home for years to come.

Author byline


Kelly Wilson, Editor, Teaching Resource Center

Kelly Wilson is an editor for Teaching Resource Center, supplying classrooms with Teacher Supplies and Teachers’ Lesson Plans for over 25 years.

July 27, 2010

When Routines Aren’t Enough – Alternative Options For Better Toddler Sleep

Filed under: Parenting Tips — Tags: , — Erin @ 6:00 am

Guest Blog by Susan Long

Child Sleeping Tips

Child Sleeping Tips

While difficult routines and erratic sleep patterns are expected early on, sleep problems in older toddlers and young children are harder to understand, predict and manage. Once you eliminate illness, lack of routine and troublesome milestones such as teething or growing pains, it’s hard to know where to turn next.

Be realistic

Like just about everything with small children, it can be a case of trial and error until you find something that works for you and often, solutions need to be incorporated into the child’s usual routine for some time before really taking effect. So, be patient, realistic and remember that it would be abnormal for your child to sleep perfectly, every night of their childhood; some minor sleep problems must be expected.

Alternatives to medicines

There are 1001 solutions offered by all kinds of medical and non medical professionals and parents can be forgiven for becoming a little skeptical but some attract more anecdotal (and scientific) evidence than others. Some of the more popular ideas are:

• A large serve of protein and a glass of milk before bed makes for deeper sleep
• Avoid cheese at bedtime to avoid nightmares
• An organic diet or a diet free from artificial preservatives and other “numbers” minimizes the risk of chemical hyperactivity
• Low GI cane sugar alternatives can keep moods stabilized and prevent bedtime tantrums
• Massage relaxes muscles and minds
• Gentle, rhythmic stroking or patting can help induce sleep
• A chamomile tea bag on the pillow and a pep talk about how it’s magical in inducing sleep is enough to induce sleep
• Lavender, Melissa, Jasmine, Neroli and Sandlewood dabbed on a pillow can induce sleep
• A mirror on her bedroom furniture will kill a monster under a bed
• Finding the source of any noise or light and eliminating it is the quickest way to kill a ghost
• Bed time hypnosis tapes, specifically designed to enhance sleep can work after several weeks
• Favourite pajamas and bed clothes pre-cuddled by parents (leaving a parent’s smell) makes for a more relaxed child.
• CDs containing rhythmic ocean sounds or the sound of an engine humming can induce better sleep.

These “quick fix” options are often not enough for children with serious sleep issues but anecdotal evidence suggests that they may help.

When the worries of the world on her little shoulders….


Too Worried to Sleep?

Determining why a child won’t sleep can be almost impossible but parents of sensitive or emotional children may find that their child has something on her mind that is causing sleeplessness. This may also be helpful during stressful life events such as a new sibling or troubles at home.

Try incorporating a “worry time” into the bed time routine. Ask her about her day how she felt about its events. Discuss anything negative at length and help her to find a solution or better understanding. Once she indicates that she feels better about her worries, close the worry time (this can be done symbolically with a hand movement or prop such as a “worry box”). Tell her that she shouldn’t think about her worries any more for the day and introduce a fun, favorite bed time story, free of negative emotions or scary themes.

When life is too wired for sleeping….

For some children, the world is far too interesting and too exciting to waste time sleeping. It is up to parents to literally make life a little boring around bed time but if your child is passionate about her favorite sources of stimulation, this can make things worse and even turn excitement into over tired tantrums. It’s time to fight fire with fire.

Consider DVDs and computer games designed to be part of a bedtime routine. Many of your child’s favorite characters feature in stories about routines and bedtime and there are even dedicated programs designed to do nothing but put a child to sleep. The BBC broadcasts In The Night Garden, a program targeted at babies to 4 year olds where characters relive their day and then go through a bed time routine – it is extremely effective in moving children into the calm and sleepy mode. And of course, ensure there are plenty of books available to her to encourage quiet time, in lieu of play.

When she’s a bright spark

During the day, you’ve probably switched to media, activities or games that involve higher levels of physical activity in a hope of exhausting an energetic child. With the growing obesity problem, many games and TV producers now offer “get up and get involved” versions of kid’s favorites to burn that physical energy away but for bright children, brain activity can cause sleeplessness too.

Finding the balance between mentally tired and over stimulated can be tricky. For children who can’t help but lay awake thinking about stuff (as opposed to worrying or feeling fearful) try introducing an educational afternoon activity. Learn a new skill or visit somewhere interesting in the early afternoon and help your child to fully explore what they are seeing and experiencing. Ask questions, look at examples, and practice difficult words or aspects of the activity until she has a thorough understanding of it. Once her attention begins to wander, change to physical play to clear her mind and burn any extra energy ready to start her bedtime routine.

It’s hard not to feel completely helpless when a child struggles with sleep issues. Always consult your doctor and consider joining a parents’ discussion forum to gather ideas and get emotional support if things get hard.

Author Byline

Susan Long is a mother of three difficult sleepers and a wife to one snorer! She spends her nights looking for inventive ways to keep kids in bed and her days finding inventive solutions to keeping families happy at Rent To Buy

July 26, 2010

10 Free Phonics Techniques Blogs


26 Letters, 44 Speech Sounds, & 70 Common Spellings for those Sounds

Guest Blog by Margo Smith

Phonics is the system of relationships between letters and sounds in a language and will help your child learn to read and spell. Think of the written language as a code. If your child knows the sounds of letters and letter combinations, this will help your child decode words as s/he reads. This will also help your child know which letters to use as s/he writes words. Did you know that the  26 letters of the alphabet give us 44 English speech sounds and about 70 common spellings for these speech sounds? Our little ones have a lot to learn!

Start exposing your child to phonics at an early age.  Zoodles is a free educational resource with hundreds of fun Early Reading/Phonics Games and Decoding/Word Recognition Games for children ages 2 to 8.  Our unique child interface adapts to each child’s age and cognitive abilities, so Zoodles will grow right along with your child. For additional resources on Phonics Techniques, please review the below list of  free blogs provided by Guest Blogger, Margo Smith.

Your Friends at Zoodles

  1. Phonics resources help parents and teachers assist children to learn and love to read by the use of phonics. Make the most of all the beneficial data on this site to find the best books to read to your child to promote a love of learning and start them on the road to a lifelong love of reading. This site offers free teacher and parent resources.  You can also be inspired by the real life success stories found here to help you be motivated as you help your child learn to love books.
  2. Phonics and Teaching Decoding Skills focusing on the age range of kindergartners through third graders, this blog advocates that students in this age range who are taught explicit phonetic strategies for decoding and encoding words have a stronger basis for later literacy learning. They strongly feel that during these years children benefit the most from having precise phonetic strategies modeled for them. Such a strategy helps children to decipher word meaning and provides them with a secure basis for later literacy as they grow older and gain more reading skills.
  3. How to Help Your Struggling Reader is a very suitable site that points you to an article on how to intervene if your child is having difficulty reading, with realistic tips of parents of children who struggle with reading.
  4. Home School Blogger is a teaching blog that gives you a review of different phonics teaching methods available so that you can make a more educated decision when choosing a phonics program. Be sure to take a look over all the pertinent information you’ll find on this blog when deciding which program will best suit your needs.
  5. Phonics Reading provides help for anyone taking on the challenge of learning English as their second language. This style is an exemplary phonics based classification for demonstrating the English language. It has been in use for more than 30 years in the U.K. This procedure was implemented to help teachers explain the nuances of written English, well known for its rules and their exceptions, in a child-centered manner.
  6. Teaching Phonics targets the particular needs of parents choosing to home school their children.  Specific advice is provided for all homeschoolers.
  7. Learning to Read with Phonics examines the usefulness of phonics when learning to read. This site offers other articles on this topic. Be sure your children and loved ones have all the help they need in the area of reading.
  8. Building Blocks of Reading stresses phonemic awareness, known to be at the root of spoken English,  this site will definitely assist you as you work to help your child recognize words.  Find answers to any phonics question you may have.
  9. Phonics Kids provides you with helpful overviews of the usefulness of phonics. Get to know about various downloadable programs for your use.
  10. English Pronunciation Site offers videos detailing examples of English words and phrases. You can chose to maintain your skills by following the blog or subscribe for apps free of charge to keep up the pace with these valuable complete video segments. Be certain your English passes with flying colors by making use of this helpful site.

Author Byline

Margo Smith graduated with a B.S. degree from BYU. She enjoys writing about a wide array of topics from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) to online classes to reading and phonics. She draws from her own education, her years in school and an author’s view on life when compiling articles.

July 23, 2010

7 tips to protect your child from obesity

Filed under: Parenting Tips — Tags: , — Erin @ 6:00 am

Guest blog by Alex C.
obesity-advertisingObesity is one of the most serious problems of our century and unfortunately it affects people of all ages. Childhood obesity is a growing problem and research shows that the percentage of overweight children has doubled in the last decade. The health problems created from obesity are a lot (diabetes and heart disease to name a few) and it is vital that care is taken by parents to protect their children from this nasty disease. The good news is that there are various ways to help your children lose weight from an early age and avoid becoming obese when they grow up and this is exactly what we are going to discuss in this article.

The first thing that you need to be aware of is that the fat cells are present in children from the age of two. At this early age this is normal but if this trend continues as they grow up they end up with a high percentage of fat in their body that is difficult to get rid of. It is thus very important to deal with this situation from an early age and take all the necessary precautions to prevent this from happening.

One of the measures you can take is to help your children minimize the consumption of sweets, soft drinks and generally food and snacks that are high in fats and sugars. These items contain a lot of “empty calories” meaning that they do not have any nutritional benefit to offer to the body other than adding to the fat cells. Many of the foods offered in fast food restaurants fall into this category as well as deep fried food and food that is full of  saturated fats. Instead you should guide your children to consume more fruits and vegetables, natural and organic food, non-processed foods, fish, poultry and legumes.

While the above suggestion may sound very hard to implement since it covers nearly everything that your children may be eating, you can succeed when you approach the whole process correctly. As a start you should not try to restrict your children from eating what they want by force but you can try the following tips:

  1. Remove any sweets, chocolates, and sodas from the house. Make sure that when you visit the grocery store you buy only healthy food.
  2. Start eating healthier yourself leading the way to a healthier diet. Children are influenced by their parent’s habits so you should lead by example.
  3. Try to explain to them the dangers from eating unhealthy and how difficult this will be when they grow up.
  4. Give them alternatives where possible; for example a bag of popcorn is much healthier than a bar of chocolate.
  5. Encourage your child to play fun health and nutrition games to reinforce good food choices and healthy eating, as well as demonstrate the importance of exercise and fitness.
  6. Reward them when they are moving in the right direction. Although some experts suggest that you should not associate food with punishment or rewards, sometimes it can be beneficial to give a prize to your child when they start making healthier choices.
  7. Teach them to drink a lot of water. Water is great for many reasons and when they are accustomed to drinking a lot of water from an early age this will make a lot of things in the process easier.

Finally, the earlier in a child’s age you address the problem of obesity the better. If it’s possible you should start thinking about this during pregnancy by taking care of your eating habits. Remember that the effort you need to take as a parent when your children is still young will help them a lot in the course of their life and protect them from many unwanted situations.

alexAlex C. writes about healthy weight loss topics. All of his articles are based on healthy ways to lose weight and he has dedicated articles for weight loss tips for kids.

July 22, 2010

The Morning Routine You’ve Been Overlooking

Filed under: Family Activities,Parenting Tips — Tags: , , , — Erin @ 6:00 am

Guest blog by Logan Lindabury.


5:00 AM

I’m a 20 year old entrepreneur and also a full time college student. I have no children. I have no wife. At least, not yet. And now you wonder, “What could he possibly know about what I’m dealing with? How can he possibly think he can help me when he can’t even relate to me?”

Well let us let the judging end here. Because here are your answers: Just because I’m young does not mean I have no knowledge. Just because I don’t have kids does not erase the fact that I myself was once a kid (and at many times, still act like one.) And although I may not have been in your shoes, chances are I have been in the shoes of the other person you are “dealing with.”

So give me a chance. Give me a try. What’s the worst that could happen? I’m offering ways to find happiness in your life and you want to pass that up? Really? Have you thought about what’s really important to you?

And now we begin, with the topic of this article:

Finding some happiness in your everyday life; Morning Routine Version.

You wake up each morning with a slight feeling of discontent because you know your child will stall, yet again. You have the everlasting feeling that the coffee will not be to your liking. That you’ll have forgotten to prepare lunch for the second time this week.


Your child stalls getting ready, who hasn’t? I do it myself some days. But get this, when I incentivize the situation I tend to move a LOT quicker. “Hey, if I get done and out of the house in the next 10 minutes I can take the scenic route today!”

Get it? Offer your child something that he/she wants in turn for him/her getting ready on time. Do yourself a favor and come up with a few things that are both fun and free – like extra Zoodles playing time! You do that enough times, and you won’t have to give them the rewards anymore; though you still should.

But then there’s you, on your third cup of coffee before 9am. And boy are you tired! But guess what? Natural energy works so much better and has NO tired feeling afterward.

“But I’m too busy to do a workout or join a gym.” Good. Well, not good. But, OKAY. That’s fine. Here’s YOUR answer:  Sing and dance.


Sing and Dance

Literally everywhere you go, sing and dance. No music? Who needs music. You’ve got the lyrics and the beats in your head. Come on, you remember Mr. Roger’s Happy Feeling Song, don’t you?!?! And when you can’t think of the lyrics, you can just mumble words together. I do it all the time.

So now you’re thinking, “Great, I’m taking advice from a crazy man who sings and dances no matter where he is. And this is supposed to help me?” Well first off, making my own fun does not make me crazy. And second, this will help you.

When you’re singing and dancing to music that you like you find happiness at a much more rapid pace than when you’re thinking about where the sugar is for your next cup of joe. So, give it a try. If it doesn’t work you at least know that you gave it your all.

But to be honest, I can’t tell you a single person that sings and dances at any given time and is NOT happy during and afterward.

That should tell you something. So, finish reading this and go give it a try. You don’t even have to thank me; just come back and keep reading.

Stay tuned for my next article about letting the kids join in the fun. Thank you.

Author Byline


Logan Lindabury

This article was written by Logan Lindabury, the Happiness Coach from HappinessCanHelp.com. Do you want to enjoy your life? Do you want to find happiness no matter what happens? Then go to HappinessCanHelp.com and get started today.

July 21, 2010

How to make your iPhone kid friendly

Contributed By Ginny Haynies Zoodles Marketing Team

Contributed By Ginny Haynies Zoodles Marketing Team

According to reports, there are an estimated 40 million plus iPhones in circulation and 4.8 million Android devices activated per quarter. In addition, more than 3 million iPads were sold before July 1st. The sales only continue to grow and as the numbers increase so do the number of children with easy access to the Internet. With these devices comes the introduction of mobile applications for our children. As of September 2009, iPhone and Android users were downloading an average of 10 apps per month and iPod Touch owners at 18 apps per month. (http://blog.7touchgroup.com/tag/how-many-apps-sold-per-user/) A quick count of my own iPhone reveals 50+ applications with a large percentage of them being games, both fun and educational for my children.

According to Education.com there are currently over 3,400 education apps available for download at the iTunes store, with a large number of them targeted for children between the ages of two and five. They note that the top selling iPhone education app continues to be Wheels on the Bus and that “13 of the 20 top paid apps in this area are clearly child-directed.” (http://www.education.com/magazine/article/smartphones-kids) A quick search of the Android marketplace reveals the same trend occurring there. The preschool and young child market is clearly a hot topic and a market that is being heavily targeted.

Two great parent resources for finding great Smart Phone applications for your children are theiphonemom.com and momswithapps.com. While the iphonemom focuses more on iPhone/iPad applications, momswithapps also features Android applications. Their reviews and suggestions often lead you to some fantastic applications. While using discretion in selecting which mobile applications you choose to install on your device, you might also implement the 3 C’s approach to evaluating media for children as suggested by Lisa Guernsey, Director at the Early Education Initiative:

* Content – What is the basic premise of the app? How is it designed? Is it research based? Is it age appropriate? Does it come from a trusted source such as Sesame Workshop? There are a few great resources to help parents evaluate content, such as Common Sense Media and Children’s Technology Review.

* Context – Who is interacting with the child? How do parents talk about what’s on the screen? Is the child learning through a game, then applying that in another activity? Is the child telling stories about what he or she has experienced?

* Child – How much stimulation can this child take? What types of media trigger the most curious questions, playful reenactments, engagement and joy? What is she missing out on by spending time on the device – is she still exercising, socializing, and doing her schoolwork?

Apple reports that more than 1.7 million iPhone 4 phones were sold in the first week and that more than 75% of the devices sold were upgrades for existing customers. Which leads one to wonder: what is being done with the old phones? While many may be donated or resold, another use is to modify a few settings on your older model iPhone and let them function as an iPod Touch. Many of the current application offerings rival those of other popular hand held gaming systems and are quickly becoming more popular among elementary age children.

These same settings and suggestions are also easily applied to your own iPhone, iTouch, or iPad and will allow for some added security and protection if you choose to allow your child to play with your phone or device. These are all located under Settings -> General -> Restrictions.

photo 1photo 2

The first step is to apply a passcode that you will remember, but your child does not know so that you can keep the restrictions in place.

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Then you will see a list of choices of things you can either disable or set limitations to restrict. If you choose to use an alternate web browser application such as Mobicip or SafeEyes on your mobile device you will want to disable Safari so that you children will not get an unfiltered web browser. I also suggest you turn off YouTube. This will take away the button for YouTube, however, you would still be able to watch videos you have direct links to and through child safe video filters. This will keep little hands from navigating into Lady Gaga’s most recent music video accidentally. I also highly suggest you turn off In-App purchases. This will prevent your child from accidentally upgrading an application or purchasing something from within an application that they did not understand. Also located under settings are options for Music, Movie, App, and Podcast age ratings. Obviously the level that you choose to put these settings at would depend on if the device is being used by you primarily or if you are turning it into a dedicated child safe device.

photo 4photo 4

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As always the best advice is to closely watch your little one, but these precautions and settings can help to make your iProduct a bit more child-safe.

July 20, 2010

Despicable Me Movie Review

Filed under: Family Activities — Tags: , , , , — Erin @ 6:00 am

Guest blog by Rachel Akers dis

In a happy suburban neighborhood surrounded by white picket fences, sits a black house with a dead lawn. Hidden beneath this home is a vast secret hideout of a super villain.

Steve Carell stars in Despicable Me as Gru, a villain whose main goal is to go down as history’s number one bad guy. Past evil plans have not worked out so well for him so Gru decides he needs to reach for the moon.

With his army of faithful yellow minions, underground lair and even his trusty car-plane, Gru sets out to steal the moon, literally. To get the moon the size of a grapefruit he needs a special shrink ray. Enter the villainous rival, Vector (Jason Segel).  Gru plans to steal Vector’s shrink ray and use it to steal the moon.

Along  the way Gru adopts a triodis2 of lovable orphan moppets from a girl’s home to use in his evil scheme. But slowly the girls start to see something in Gru that he never knew was there. The ability to be a dad.  By the end of the film, Gru has warmed up to the girls and learns that as long as you have love, you really don’t need anything else.

There is no arguing that Despicable Me is a kids adventure movie complete with rocket ships, shrink rays, tea parties and dolls. But while catering to children it is entertaining to adults alike.  Showing that even the bad guys have redeeming qualities. Despicable Me does contain a little bit of toilet humor.

Despicable Me stars Steve Carell, Jason Segal, Russell Brand and Julie Andrews. It is rated PG with a running time of 95 minutes.

Author Byline


Rachel Akers

Rachel Akers is a full time stay at home mom and the owner of the blog Yellow Tennessee. She blogs about life, deals and saving money.

July 19, 2010

6 Signs That Your Child Might Be Gifted

Guest post by Chris Brantner

giftedThis week, July 18 – 24,  is National Parenting Gifted Children Week. In an effort to raise awareness, The National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) has outlined a number of opportunities for spreading the word in your community about gifted children and the importance of high quality education.

Gifted and talented children often show signs that go unnoticed for years. Everyone likes to believe their children are gifted. But how do you know if a child is truly gifted and talented? Here are a few signs that a gifted child might show.

  1. They find beauty where others don’t Often visually gifted kids will see the world differently than the average child their age. Where a normal child sees a tree, the gifted child might take note of the way the leaves dance in the wind. They might even grow emotional over the beauty they find.
  2. They love to argue Don’t confuse this with being spoiled or rebellious. Gifted children often have impressive control over spoken word. They’re able to manipulate language and persuade. And they certainly want you to know when and why they believe they’re right.
  3. They search for the meaning of life You might find your child asking questions that seem above their level. They might ask what this all means or why they’re here. Such existentialist leanings could even make them prone to depression later on in life if they aren’t taught how to direct their thoughts.
  4. Impatient and disrespectful Some gifted kids just know things and have a hard time understanding why others don’t. As a result, they have little patience for those who don’t understand what they consider simple logic. These gifted children might be seen as disrespectful, as they have a hard time not challenging authority when punishments are deemed illogical.
  5. Bored in school Gifted kids often find school too easy. They coast through their activities just to sit and stare. Or worse, they refuse to do their assignments because they seem pointless. Often these students end up acting out and getting themselves in trouble. They’re labeled “trouble makers” but really all they need is a good challenge.
  6. They disassemble things and put them back togethercamera Some gifted students share two qualities. They’re curious and gifted with their hands. As a result, you might find them taking your cell phone apart, studying it, and attempting to put it back together. Meanwhile, their friends are playing with stuffed animals. Don’t get mad. Try to find ways to satisfy their curiosity and mechanical prowess. Try out this Design a Cell Phone game instead!

Keep in mind that the above signs don’t guarantee a gifted child. They also may occur independently in children. Or your child could show all of them. Whatever the case, if you think you have a gifted child on your hands, talk to a gifted specialist at your child’s school. They can perform the necessary tests and give you advice on how to handle your potentially gifted and talented child.

Author Byline


Chris Brantner

Chris Brantner is a father and a teacher. He also heads up his own agency that offers copywriting services.

July 16, 2010

Top 10 Sites For The Best Children’s Picture Books

Guest blog by Margo Smith

1. American Library Association (ALA) affords you all the very best picture books for over 70 years. Now that’s a lot of child_reading_arkworld_flickrbooks! The Caldecott Medal (the prize for exceptional illustrations for children’s books) was originally bestowed in 1938. Obtain all the winners here and begin building a library of incomparable art work in book form.

2. Reading Rockets Introduce yourself to recent Newberry and Caldecott medalists and over a dozen more award winning categories for children’s literature. Parents’ Choice Awards can be found here as well. Keep your children reading continually all summer long with this helpful list.

3. About.com has a compilation of noteworthy works in a state by state list. They also provide a gathered list of awards won by authors from Canada and the United Kingdom. You will find enough quality works here to delve into for quite some time.

4. Childrens Picture Books Picking just the right book for your child’s needs has never been so easy as it is with this site. Find assorted do’s and don’ts to enable you to make the most of your reading sessions with your child. And don’t forget to make reading fun! No matter whether you are a teacher or a parent, you will find applicable resources here to increase a child’s ability to learn by drawing on books of interest to the child.

5. Rif points you to a variety of significant blogs where you can become acquainted with outstanding childrens’ literature to trigger your child’s appetite for the written word. Remember, if you want to get your child to more fully participate reading, engage them in great writing games such as Sagwa’s Storymaker.

6. Kane Miller The superlative caliber of reading material reported here will furnish reading material for years to come. cute bookDiscover just how many books you and your child can learn to love from this inclusive list!

7. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh will assist you by making books easier to find by their carefully sorted categories. Selecting the best book, from A to Z has never been as easy as this. Locate book reviews here to acquaint yourself with the literature available.  One more distinguishing feature of this website is its list of any and all authors from Pittsburgh.

8. Top 10 Picture Books for Preschoolers is a fun site to use to find recommended picture books for toddlers. It will give you a traditional go-to reference to assist you in starting your valuable reading collection for your child.

9. University of Connecticut will assist you in finding that book where you can recall the author, but not the book title. It delivers a continuously revised and complete selection of authors of great children’s books. This amazing site will also direct you to other spectacular places to find children’s books.

10. Semicolon affords you an introduction to a series of books and gives ideas on how to use books in any unit being covered for children. Enjoy books this season and become familiar with the vast helps available to broaden your range of authors, books or subjects you choose to read to your child. Make sure the door to the world of reading is opened wide to your child!

Author Byline

Margo Smith currently lives and works along the Wasatch Front. She earned her B.S. degree from BYU. She reaches into her experiences as a modern day children’s governess, her venture to New England, her years in the corporate world and an author’s perspective on life when writing articles about a plethora of topics from organic food to online classes to worthwhile children’s literature.

July 15, 2010

Baby Talk: Sign Language for Infants

Guest blog written by Kyle Simpson

Have you ever felt frustrated by the fact that your child seems to be trying to cryingcommunicate with you but you have no idea what it is they want?  Chances are that they’re equally upset…you can tell because it usually leads to wailing.  Many people have made the claim that babies can communicate prior to formulating words, through the pitch or duration of their cries or in the way they move their bodies.  But until recently, nobody realized that you could teach them a better way to communicate before they ever say “mama”.

As early as six months of age, your child can begin learning American Sign Language (ASL) as a way to effectively communicate wants and needs.  You can begin by teaching them simple signs like hungry (hand rests on throat, then slides down to stomach), thirsty (index finger points to chin, then slides down throat), diaper (put hands on hips, fold ring and pinky fingers closed, and spread and bring together index and middle finger and thumb several times),  pacifier (make a closed fist with your index finger pointing out, then touch your thumbnail to your lips),  chinese signingand sleep (place open palm on face with fingers touching forehead, then draw fingers down to chin, simultaneously drawing them together to close the hand).  Modified baby sign language may differ in some respects from ASL due to the fact that your little ones are still honing their motor skills (and certain movements or combinations may be too complex for their unwieldy digits).  But babies will certainly be able to manipulate their hands before they learn to verbalize their thoughts and feelings, so sign language seems like a natural method of communication.

Although many parents look at this as a positive step towards understanding the needs of their child earlier than expected, some people have concerns.  Many wonder if it actually works.  While there will certainly be variations amongst children as to how quickly they adopt signs and their willingness to use them, most babies should be able to use sign language before they learn to speak verbally because of the way their minds and bodies develop.  Another fear that most parents face is speech delay.  If babies can simply use sign language to get what they want, will they even try to learn to talk?  The truth is, unless your child has some sort of disorder that precludes them from learning to speak (in which case teaching them sign language may be necessary anyway), they will develop just like every other child, precisely when they are ready.

So if you’re tired of spending sleepless nights listening to your baby cry and wishing you could do something to calm them, consider sign language as a viable option.  Many of the hand signsigns are easy to learn and teach and they can be modified for your child’s skill level (as long as you understand them, that’s all that matters).  You may be surprised by many of the things they can learn to say (such as pleasethank you, and I love you).  They will quickly go from simple desires like eat to more complex requests like banana, and they can even express emotional states like happy or scared.

As your child gets older, use a child-safe web browser like Zoodles to play fun, educational games and videos that teach children how to sign while learning the letters of the alphabet, as well as the signs for numbers and colors.  The thing about baby sign language is, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by implementing an additional means of communicating with your young child.  And everyone will be happier when baby gets what s/he wants!

Author Byline

Kyle Simpson

Kyle Simpson

Kyle Simpson writes for Medical Coding Certification where you can find more information about a career and training in the medical field.

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