Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Teaching Our Children: 4-5 Years Part II

Yesterday we discussed how 4-5 year old children are experiencing being more independent. They are ready for more responsibilities, but where do we draw the line. We don't want to expect too little or too much from our children. According to the December 2009 issue of Parents magazine, below safety experts help you set smart limits for tasks that preschoolers want to do on their own.

Answering the Door:
Your fear: Your child could be snatched or let a stranger in the house.
Good fix: Tell your kids that they can ask who it is, but should never let anyone in without your permission, says Greg Oliver, a pediatric psychologist at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. Oliver suggest role-playing to make sure your child understands these rules an taking turns pretending to be the stranger. "If someone comes to the door and says, "I'm a friend of your mom," teach your child to keep the door locked and say, "I'll get my mom for you," or if someone comes to the door and says, " I'm the mailman and I have a box for your dad,: teach your child to say, "Please leave it there and he'll get it later."

Filling the Bathtub:
Your fear: Your child will scorch him/herself, slip, or get water everywhere.
Good fix: Make sure your home's hot water heater is set to 120 degrees F or below so there's no chance of getting burned. Once you've done this, it's safe to let your child help you fill the tub. Perhaps let him/her turn on the cold water and you can adjust the hot. You can even let your child put in the plug. Make sure you always are there during the bath.

Buckle Up:
Your fear: Your child will buckle it wrong and the buckle will open while you are driving.
Good fix: Tell your child to go right ahead, but you must check it to make sure your child is safe. It's also okay for your child to unbuckle once the engine is off, but remind him/her to never do it while the car is in motion.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Teaching Our Children: 4-5 Years Part I

"Children this age go from 0 to 60 on the independence scale, so it its vital to talk to them about safety rules before they get any big ideas," says Daniel Coury, M.D., chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital, in Columbus Ohio. The most important thing is you don't want to scare them to death. They are ready for responsibility and you need to teach them where to draw the line. According to an article in the December 2009 issue of Parents magazine, there are some tips below that will help your child become more independent, but teach them the boundaries and dangers.

Taking Care of the Pet
Your fear: Your child will over feed the fish or dog.
Good fix: Rather than having your child shake the fish food from the container or try to handle a big bag of dog chow, make a few proportioned bags or bowls for the child. Tell your child that the bags contain the exact amount of food the pet needs to eat, and if the pet gets more it might get sick. If your children wants another task, encourage them to fill the dog or cats bowl with water, or brush the dog or cat (only if the pet enjoys being brushed). Then sit back and watch. If your child remembers to do a task day after day, let him/her keep doing it. If he/she forgets, scales down to a once-a-week chore and try again in a few months.

Making Breakfast
Your fear: Your child will get hurt or start a fire.
Good fix: Reorganize your kitchen so there are no-cook breakfast options your child can easily reach, suggest Nancy Prisby, a social worker at the Beech Acres Parenting Center, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fill a low drawer or bottom pantry shelf with cereal, granola bars, whole-grain crackers, peanut butter, child-safe utensils, and tableware. Keep a fruit bowl in a place your child can reach apples, pears, and seedless grapes. Make sure it is fruit they will not have to peel. Also, you can put a no-spill cup or water bottle filled with milk, juice, or water on the bottom shelf of the fridge so your child can pull it out. If your children ask about using the microwave or toaster oven, tell them you'll teach them when they get older.

Read my blog tomorrow for hints for 4-5 year old on answering the door, filling the tub, and buckling up in the car.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Teaching Our Children: 2-3 Years Part II

You can teach your child with little or no effort. "Toddlers learn best when they use their senses," says Dr. Ellis, M.D., medical director of the Phoenix Children's Hospital's Neuro-Developmental Evaluation Program. Even the most mundane experiences help build important skill. An activity as simple as folding clothes can teach children preliminary lessons in counting and sorting, while also strengthening motor development. Below are more suggestions on "everyday lessons" from the December 2009 Parents issue:

Shopping School:

1. When choosing food at the grocery store, point out, for example, how the skin on an apple is smooth, while an orange fells bumpy. Identifying items in your cart by their proper name as well as describing them with one or tow adjectives will help boost language development.

2. Pick up two boxes of crackers. Talk about what they have in common ("Both contain smacks that are shaped like small squares") and what are different ("This box is red, that one is yellow").

3. Two and three year olds may be too young to grasp what a quarter is worth, but they are old enough to learn that it cost money to buy things. This can build into discussion about needs and wants. Example: "Is ice cream something we need to live, or is it a treat we'd like to eat after dinner?"

Waiting Game:
1. This is a great activity to play while standing in line. Suggest that your child look at people's faces and tell how how he/she thinks they are feeling: Are they happy, sad, or bored? When you reach the checkout person, make sure you and your child say hello and goodbye.

2. Count the people standing in line. Then ask questions to sort them into categories. "How many people are wearing glasses? How many people are shopping alone?"

3. While waiting in the doctors office, play a version of "I Spy." Without telling your child what it is, choose and then describe an object in the room. Ask your child to guess what you are looking at.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

Making your own ice cream is easier than you think. Especially when it doesn't require a fancy machine. This delectable four-ingredient treat whips up in 10 minutes flat and freezes into scoopable sweetness in an hour. This ice cream has a mere 70 calories per serving and less than 1/2 gram of saturated fat.


1lb. frozen strawberries
1 c. 2% plain Greek yogurt
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract Strawberries, for garnish

1. In food processor with knife blade attached, pulse 1 cup strawberries until finely chopped. Transfer chopped berries to large metal bowl.

2. In food processor, puree yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and remaining strawberries until smooth. Transfer to bowl with strawberries; stir until well combined. Cover and freeze about 1 hour, until firm but not hard. Garnish with strawberries.

Each serving is about 70 calories, 3 grams protein, 14 gram carbohydrate, 1 gram total fat (0.4 gram saturated), 1 gram fiber, 1 milligram cholesterol, 10 milligram sodium. This treat will be so much better for your entire family then other sugar and saturated fat filled ice cream.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Would A Bet Help You Lose Weight?

Diet bets are popping up everywhere online, in gyms, at weight-loss classes, and as informal wagers among friends, spouses, and coworkers. They are big because they work. A multi center study of 57 dieters found those who stood to lose money if they didn't succeed in shedding weight were about five times as likely to reach their goal as those with no financial stake in the outcome. Half of the bettors dropped 16 pounds in 16 weeks, compared with just 10.5 percent of the no-wager group. In a study of more than 200 dieters at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, those who were told they'd pocket $14 for every 1 percent of body weight they shed were nearly five and a half times as likely to take off 5 percent of their body weight as participants not offered cash. Some people are in it to win the money and it works for those kind of people. According to an article in the July 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping, researchers, diet veterans, and founders of betting Web sites say wagering might be ticket to weight-loss success if:

1. You thrive on friendly competition: A bet is not touchy-feelly, emotionally supportive buddy system. If you feel energized by rivalry, you're ready to gamble.

2. You're out to win: Whether it's at sports, board games, or simply making the best dish for the neighborhood potluck supper. Or you like competing against yourself.

3. You know how to lose weight: But you have trouble sticking with your plan. Betting works with any diet or exercise plan, and can keep you motivated for the long haul.

4. You need a Wake-Up call: You think you're following a good weight-loss program, but the scale isn't budging because you're letting yourself cheat or you slack off on exercise too often.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Teaching Our Children: 2-3 Years Part I

According to December 2009 issue of Parents magazine, you don't have to sign your child up for pricey classes. Teach him/her ABCs, colors and more while playing, shopping, and tackling task. Karen Bannen states that the world is a stimulating place for a toddler and everything is new and exciting. The more your children see, feel, hear, and manipulate things, the better the lessons sink in. Below are some of the smart strategies suggested that will turn your daily routine into fun learning games.

Kitchen Classes:
1. Children as young as 2 can understand the concepts of big and small. When cooking, ask your child to help you choose the right container for what you will be serving.

2. While kids may not be able to tell you which note is an A versus a high C, they do understand that different tones sound different. Clink an empty glass with a spoon, and then tap on a full one. Talk about the difference in sound.

3. Set the table by numbers. Ask your child how many napkins and forks you will need for everyone to get one. Take it a step further by asking, "If Dad doesn't eat breakfast with us tomorrow, how many spoons will we need?"

Car Talk:
1. You can ask your child to tell you when the light turns green. Another idea is to ask your child to count all the red cars. When he/she spots five, tell him/her to shout "Bingo!" Repeat with blue, black, or green vehicle.

2. As you pass billboards, signs sides of trucks and storefront, ask your child to shout out the letters in the order of the alphabet.

3. Kids love pointing out all the shapes they spot from their car seat. Your steering wheel is a circle and a sign is a square. Show your child a stop sign and explain that it's an octagon, while a school bus might look like a rectangle.

Make sure you read my blog on Monday and get some teachable lessons your 2-3 year old can have while shopping and while you are waiting or standing in line.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Teaching Our Children: First Years

According to December 2009 issue of Parents magazine, toddlers aren't going to stroll over to strange child in the park and say "Wanna play?" So it's up to you to set the stage for them.

1. Arrange play dates with no more than four kids.

2. If you can make sure your child is familiar with the kids you invite over.

3. Play peek-a-boo and share toys with your child.

4. Avoid scheduling a play date less than two hours before nap time.

5. Keep the play date around 30 minutes. Anything longer and your child will get tired or lose interest.

6. If you notice your child is starting to get upset, take him/her aside and figure out whether he/she is sleepy, thirsty, or needs some Mommy time.

7. If you know your child has a favorite toy, leave it at home or put it away when a friend is over.

8. When there is a teachable moment take advantage of it. For example, if your child grabs a toy from another child, this is the time to explain why the friend is upset.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Teaching Our Children: 12-24 Months

According to Alice Sterling Honig, PhD., your baby is a born explorer. Encourage his/her curiosity with these imaginative ideas. In an article from October 2009, Scholastic Parent & Child, children are like little scientist that begin to solve mysteries of their strange world by observing and experimenting, and your home is the laboratory.
12 to 18 Months

At this stage, children start to use more abstract thinking skills. During bath time, give your young one a variety of playthings, some that float and some that sink. Plastic cups that hold different amounts of water will help your little one learn how different quantities can or cannot be poured from one container to another.

18 to 24 Months

Sand play helps toddlers learn about different substances and gives them an early lesson in chemistry and physics. For instance, your toddler can pack wet sand into a pail, turn the pail over, and make a mud pie. In the kitchen, let your child learn about cause and effect by seeing the way dough changes in the oven to make a cookie. Ask your child to predict what will happen when eggs are boiled or when pancake batter sizzles on a griddle.
Tommorow I will be reporting on 24 to 36 months, so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Teaching Our Children: Birth To 12 Months

According to Scholastic Parent & Child October 2009, every baby has an innate urge to learn and to experience new things.
Birth to 6 Months

Having toys scattered around your home is a good thing! A mobile over the crib exercises your baby's legs and teaches eye-limb coordination as he/she kicks at it. A squeezable ball on the floor strengthens fingers and helps your child to roll an object and move it from hand to hand.

6 to 12 Months

Like most babies, yours probably loves peek-a-boo. Hiding games can energize your child's desire to seek things out and help him/her learn that objects still exist even when they're not visible. Hide a favorite toy under a cloth. As your baby flings off the cloth and finds the prize, celebrate with him/her, she's learned that items out of sight can be searched for and found. When your little on begins to pull up by holding onto furniture, set out an assortment of toys on your sofa just barely withing reach. Your child will practice standing , grabbing, and critical thinking skills.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow and find out some good tips for 12 to 24 months.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Teaching Our Children

A parent's responsibility is to love, protect, teach, and guide their children into becoming independent, productive, adults. The sad thing is so many people don't take any thought about bring a child into this very challenging world and what it takes to being a parent in 2010. For the next week I'm going to write about things that need to be addressed from ages 1-8 years old. These ages are the most important in developing the character and social well being of a child. I hope it will assist you on your journey of good parenting or grand-parenting.

I hope that you are planning on keeping your children engaged academically over the summer break. A good program should include plenty of physical activity, academic enrichment, and nutritionally balanced meals. If the summer program your child is in is strictly physical activities, make sure he/she is reading or being read to at night for 15-30 minutes for young children and 30-60 minutes for older children. You can purchase reasonable activities books for whatever grade level your child is going to or if he/she needs to improve on last years skills, get the activity book for the grade just completed. Just require they work in the book for 20-30 minutes and then let them read. Try to check their work and make sure they are completing it correctly and neatly. Don't let them get away with doing substandard work. It will make all the difference for the coming school year.

Make sure you and your child enjoy the summer break. Do something special and create memories!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Lap Up Weight Loss

According to an article in the July 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping, you can swim your way to slim. An exercise physiologist, Richard Cotton, M.A.of the American College of Sports Medicine recommends swimming as a way to lose the extra pounds. As you do the freestyle stroke with your right arm, kick your feet three times, then for the same on the left. Swimmers usually kick only one to two times per stroke; by kicking it up a notch this way, you can increase your burn by about 38 percent (that amounts to about 131 calories instead of 95 for just 10 minutes or 394 calories instead of 286 for half an hour). Isn't that COOL!!!

So make swimming a part of your family's activities this summer. You and your children could become healthier and thinner to boot.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Father's Day

Sunday is Father's Day! So many times fathers and grandfathers are not shown appreciation. If your children's father/grandfather are good to your children, encourage them to tell him how much they love and appreciate them. Below are some suggestions for Father's Day. Get going because it's still not too late!

Have your children pick one or two of the suggestions:

1. Buy or make cards

2. Write letters to Dad and/or Granddad

3. Make a video with the children talking about Dad or Granddad

4. Take Dad or Granddad to his favorite restaurant

5. Fix Dad/Granddad his favorite meal

6. Buy Dad/Granddad a round of golf or bowling

7. Buy Dad/Granddad a ticket to see his favorite college team or pro team.

8. Fix a basket full of Dad's/Granddad's favorite treats

9. Have the children help with the yard or garden

10. Ask Dad/Granddad what they would truly like

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Get The Kids Cooking

I feel that the summer time is a good way to get your children involved in cooking and other family activities. This Web site is worth repeating. According to an article in Better Homes and Gardens, April 2010 issues, kids' culinary site Sticky Fingers Cooking has a recipe-of-month club, and membership comes complete with recipe box, a mixing bowl, and measuring spoons. Each month one recipe (on spill-proof paper) arrives in the mail addressed to or child. It even includes allergy-minded substitutions and variations so your young chef doesn't get bored. It cost $36 a year and you can check it all out at

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Teaching Your Children Tolerance: Part 2

Yesterday we discussed the importance of teaching our children tolerance and talking about the world and all the different people who live in it. In an article from Parent, December 2009 issue, Katherine Whittmore wrote about "forgetting color blindness" and not waiting for your children to bring up the topic of race. Below, Katherine discuss two important issues to assure your children are tolerant of others' differences:

1. Walk the Walk: Books and festivals are great, but true respect sinks roots when diversity comes in the form of friends and neighbors. Cynthia Garcia Coll, PhD., a psychology professor at Brown University states, " I've been thinking about this for a long time, and I believe that modeling is more powerful than teaching." If you have friends from all different racial and ethnic backgrounds, it shows your children more about tolerance than talking about it. But if not, and you live in a homogeneous community, then teaching tolerance will be a lot harder.

2. Give kid the confidence to ask questions when they are confused: Make sure you are comfortable with the topic of tolerance before confronting the topic of race with your children. This is for parents of all races. Many times we think we are more tolerant then we truly are. Search your own heart and truly face the prejudices that are within before trying to teach our children about race and tolerance. A parent must be honest about instances, historical and current, when people have been mistreated because of their difference. If you see characters on TV or in movies that offend you, Bring It Up and talk about it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teaching Your Children Tolerance!!!: Part 1

According to Parent Magazine, December 2009 issue, imagine a world where child of all races and backgrounds understand and respect each other and grow up to be adults who do the same. It is possible with a little help from you.

Below, Katherine Whittmore gives some practical advice on how to achieve such a goal:

1. First, forget about "Color Blindness". The truth is that unlike parents of color, who probably encounter issues of race more often than they'd like, white parents can largely avoid the subject, if only because you think you don't call attention to racial differences, your children will stay "color blind" for as long as possible. Children notice race when they're babies. We all must talk to our children about race and prepare them for handling racist comments.

2. Don't wait for your children to bring it up: With other loaded topics like sex, drugs, bullying, etc., we might want to wait for a teachable moment or signals that our kids are ready to learn more. This strategy doesn't work for teaching tolerance. Micheal D. Baran, PhD., states that you must give your kids tools to understand the complicated social world. Talk to them about all the different people and bring books homes if you must. Starting at age 3 is not too young. A booklet recommended was Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent's Guide to Preventing a Responding to Prejudice, from The Southern Poverty Law Center's Teaching Tolerance site.

Read tomorrow and get more ideas on teaching tolerance to your children.

Monday, June 14, 2010

How to Lock in the Memory

According to the July issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine, to help lock in the memory of something you've just learned, simply relax. For years, scientist have known that "sleeping on it" improves recall, but now researchers at New York University have used brain scans to show that a waking rest can also help you consolidate new memories and more accurately retrieve them when needed.

"Just because you feel you're not doing anything doesn't mean your brain is also idle," says senior author Lia Davachi, PhD. "Really important memory processes occur while you rest." A good rationale for grabbing a cup of coffee after a meeting or lecture? Perhaps, but it's the vegging out that's important: Instead of chatting with or surfing the Web while you sip, let your mind wander for 10 minutes so the new info can percolate through your brain. Better yet, why not teach your children to relax and learn!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Project Plan

In the July 2012 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazines, Marnie Soman suggest that during downtime, nudge your kids to create a family history. She states that it will not only capture important info on your family, but it's also a terrific way to get the generations bonding. Below are a few suggestions:

1. You can go low or high tech: Your child can call Grandma and take notes as they talk.
2. They can chat with Uncle Ted via iChat (on your Mac).
3. Google Voice (which works with your existing phones) and record the conversation.
Here are the favorite questions to get the dialogue going, courtesy of StoryCorps ( a nonprofit that's recorded more than 30,000 stories of American life that are now in the Library of Congress:

1. How has your life been different from what you'd imagined?
2. What was my mom and dad like when growing up?
3. What's your very first memory of me?
4. How would you describe a perfect day when you were young?

Just get started and the ideas will come while you and your children begin to capture the history of your family.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

How to Save Mildewed Books

I was reading Ask Helosie in the July 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping Magazine and a retired kindergarten teacher asked her about some old storybooks she had stored in her basement for her first grandchild. When she went back to look at the books she noticed they had a mildewy smell, but did not notice any mildew on them. Helosie gave her three very good suggestions on getting the mildew smell out of the books.

1. Fan open the pages, sprinkle in some baking soda, and set the books outside in the sun until the smell is gone. (this may take a couple of days, so bring them in at night; also she said not to try this with antique or delicate books). Shake out leftover baking soda and brush off the pages with a microfiber cloth.

2. Put each book (without the baking soda) in an open plastic bag and place it inside the freezer for a few days.

3. Put some activated charcoal (sold for fish tanks)which neutralizes bad odors. Put some in a plastic tub (from margarine, yogurt, etc.); poke holes in the lid. Place this and a few books inside a large plastic storage container for several days or until your books smell fresh.

"The freezer method worked best for me," Gregerson told Helosie after a week of testing. She now stores the books in a better place.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nature Smart Children Looking to the Future

So what can your child do with their Nature Smarts when they get older? A lot of very different things. Some of the careers he/she might look at are below according to Thomas Armstrong, PhD.:

1. animal trainer
2. archaeologist
3. astronomer
4. beekeeper
5. biologist
6. botanist
7. chef/cook
8. ecologist
9. entomologist (someone who studies bugs)
10. environmental/ecological advocate
11. farmer
12. fisher
13. forensic scientist
14. forest/park ranger
15 gamekeeper
16. garden nursery owner/ employee
17. geologist
18. herpetologist (someone who studies reptiles such as lizards, snakes, and crocodiles)
19. landscape designer
20. marine biologist
21. mountaineer
22. sailor
23. tree surgeon
24. veterinarian
25. zookeeper

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What If You're a Nature Smart Natural?

Maybe your child has been a vegetarian since the age of 6, takes care of the family cat, and recycles anything he/she can get their hands on. What else can you do? Your child can always learn more about environmental causes around the world and take advantage of volunteer opportunities where you live. Your child's Nature Smart skills can help build the other intelligences. Below are some Nature Smart ideas you can help your child understand and develop the other intelligences in school and in life according to You're Smart Than You Think, by Thomas Armstrong, PhD.
1. Word Smart: Raise awareness about environmental causes that are important to the child by encouraging him/her to making presentations in class, writing letters to the editor, or making up raps. Your child can write poetry about the favorite things in nature or keep a journal about what he/she observes in nature.
2. Music Smart: Your child may already hear music in nature, so try having him/her listen for nature in music. Let nature inspire your child to make music with improvised instruments ( Example - sticks, stones in a container, or water in a glass).
3. Logic Smart: Ask your child questions about and look for answers in nature. Those observation skills that makes your child so good at solving math or logic problems. Or he/she can combine math and logic with nature by looking for examples of math and patterns in nature and then researching to come up with their own theories.
4. Picture Smart: Have your child pay attention to what they see in nature. (Example - colors, patterns, and textures). Suggest your child use these things in nature to practice art skills (Examples - favorite flowers, make a model of a favorite place in nature, or draw your cat or dog).
5. Body Smart: Encourage your child to get out in nature as an excuse to get some exercise. (Examples - hike, bike, run, skate, or walk in nature). There are other ways to get active in nature like digging a garden, training a dog, or helping to clean up your favorite park where he/she plays or runs.
6. People Smart: You can have your child use the things that are important to him/her like animals, the environment, or gardening to reach out to others. A good way to get started is by volunteering time and energy to work with others on environmental causes.
7. Self Smart: Have your child use nature to help him/her to understand what they are feeling. Have your child pay attention to what he/she is thinking about the next time they are taking a walk in nature.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What If Your Child Is Not Wild About Their Nature Smart Skills?

Maybe animals makes your child nervous, and camping makes him/her queasy. The most important thing is that your child can become more Nature Smart by being observant. Encourage your child to notice everything around him/her. Being more observant will not only help your child become more Nature Smart, it can give him/her writing ideas and inspire the other intelligences. Your child can always use the smarts they are strongest or most comfortable in to become more Nature Smart according to Thomas Armstrong, PhD.:

1. Word Smart: Get closer to nature by reading about or reading stories with animals as characters. If your child wants to write a story encourage him/hr to write about nature settings or environmental issues.
2. Music Smart: Let your child listen to music in natural sounds like wind blowing, birds singing, or even cars whooshing by.
3. Logic Smart: Have your child look for patterns, numbers, and logic in nature. Nature also provides a lot of opportunities to solve problems in real-world settings.
4. Picture Smart: Your child can use natural materials in their art projects. Leaves, flowers, seed pods, and feathers are just a few things they can use for art.
5. Body Smart: Take your child for a walk, jog, in-line skating, or biking through the neighborhood, a state park, or another area with family or friends. It can be a lot of fun visiting new places or nature areas and get some fresh air.
6. People Smart: Your child can combined their love for people with nature by enjoying the outdoors with others. Go hiking or for a walk with friends in a local park.
7. Self Smart: Nature can be a great place for your child to think about what's important to him/her. Bring a journal or sketch book along to write down any thoughts about nature and what he/she sees.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

How Can My Child Become More "Nature Smart"?

According to You're Smarter Than You Think, by Thomas Armstrong, PhD., here are some ways that you can help your child enjoy and expand their Nature Smart skills. Try any activity that appeals to your child no matter how Nature Smart you think he/she is:
1. Notice nature wherever you are. Maybe watching ants being industrious on the playground blacktop, noting the different flowers and vegetables growing in the community garden, enjoying the changing of the leaves.
2. Plant something and watch it grow. Your child can plant flowers, a pepper plant, or any plant that interest him/her.
3. Lie down in the yard and look at the sky. On a sunny afternoon, notice the different kinds of clouds in the sky.
4. Look at the sky on a clear night. What color is the sky? Look at the moon and see if your child can tell what stage it's at.
5. If your child looks at the stars, have him/her learn the constellations.
6. Start a garden. If you don't have a yard, try growing a window-box garden of flowers or herbs. Start a community garden with other kids or grown-ups.
7. Go bird watching. Get some binoculars and go out to the wooded area near home or school and observe the different types of birds.
8. Watch nature shows on television. Nature, Nova, and National Geographic on PBS are good places to start.
9. Read books and magazines about nature. Look for books about animals, dinosaurs, or rain forest (or any part of nature your child is interest in).
10. Get involved with an environmental organization. You can work with local groups.
11. Volunteer for a "green" school or community project. Work with a recycling program or raise awareness about saving the rain forest.
12. Take care of a pet. Suggest your child is in charge of raising and taking care of a family pet or classroom pet.
13. Build your own ecosystem. Put together an aquarium, terrarium, ant farm or some to her portable ecosystem with your child.
14. Look at the ground beneath your feet. Your child can learn a lot about where you live from the dirt and rocks.
15. Start a collection. Bugs of all kinds, leaves, flowers, and rocks can be good things to collect.
16. Learn how to cook. There are lots of fun things your child can learn to make and cook.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Nature Smart Children

Being Nature Smart means that you are curious about and understand the environment you live in. You notice what's around you and enjoy identifying and classifying things like plants or animals. Maybe it means collecting bugs, watching birds, or studying the rocks on the grounds. According to Thomas Armstrong, PhD., if you answer yes to any of the questions below, then your child might be identified as Nature Smart.

Does your child:
1. like animals?
2. have a "green thumb"?
3. care about nature and environmental causes?
4. like going to parks, zoos, and aquariums?
5. enjoy camping or hiking in nature?
6. notice nature wherever you are?
7. have a garden at home or in the neighborhood?
8. adapt to different places and events well?
9. enjoy taking care of pets (at home or in the classroom)?
10. have a good memory for the details of places where you've been and the names of animals, plants, people, and things?
11. ask a lot of questions about the people, places, and things you see in your environment or in nature so you can understand them better?
12. have "street smarts" (the ability to understand and take of yourself in new or different situations or places)?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Your Child Should READ This Summer

Summer is officially here! Most of the schools in the South are already out for Summer break! All parents should be thinking about what their children will be doing this summer. Below are a few suggestions:

1. READ! READ! READ! Make sure your child is reading or being read to at least 15-30 minutes a day. Older children should be reading 30-60 minutes. If children don't read during the summer they will lose grounds on how many words per minute they were reading during the school year. This will effect the start of the next school year and put them behind. Research shows that student will lose 10-15 words per minute if they are not reading during the summer.

2. Take your child to the public library. Most have special programs weekly for children and it doesn't cost any money. Sign your children up for a library cards and let them check out books to read weekly. It can be a lot of fun visiting the library.

3. Make sure your child is active. Don't let them become couch potatoes during the summer or computer addicts. Get them outside for at least 30-60 when it is not too hot. Suggest they ride bikes, take a brisk walk, jog, play ball, swim, or cut the grass. Getting active can be a family goal and fun for everyone.

4. Eat healthier. Take a close look at what everyone in the family is eating. Cut out junk food, sugar drinks, and process foods as much as possible. Have the kids get involved in making up healthy menus and let them get involved in preparing the meals. It will pay off for the entire family.

5. Plan time to enjoy the summer. If you can go on a vacation. If you can not just plan to have fun right where you are. Check out what is going on in your community and take advantage of as many free activities as possible. If it is no more than taking a walk in the neighborhood and having pleasant conversations it is worth millions. Make sure your family is building memories.

To find out more information on what children can be doing during the summer, purchase my book, A Parent's Handbook: How to Get the Best Education Possible K-6. You can order my book from .

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Self Smart Children Looking to the Future

So what can you do with your Self Smart child can do when he/she gets older? A lot of very different things. Some of the careers your child might look at according to You're Smarter Than You Think, by Thomas Armstrong, PhD., include:
1. actor
2. artist
3. chaplain or member of the clergy/theologian
4. comedian
5. crafts person/artisan
6. detective/investigator
7. film maker/director
8. entrepreneur
9. guidance counselor
10. holistic health practitioner (massage therapist, acupuncturist, herbalist)
11. inventor
12. leader (business, political, social)
13. performance artist
14. personal lifestyle coach
15. personal trainer/therapist
16. philosopher
17. poet/writer
18. professor
19. psychiatrist
20. psychologist
21. research scientist
22. self-employed business person/venture capitalist
23. social worker
24. teacher
25. time management consultant

Friday, June 4, 2010

My Child Is Self Smart Superstar!

If your child is really a strong Self Smart child that's great! The Self Smart skills can help your child build the other intelligences. Here are some Self Smart ideas you can use to help your child understand and develop the other intelligences in school and in life according to Thomas Armstrong, PhD.:

1. Word Smart: Have your child write an autobiography. Talking to members of your family can help your child with their autobiography by giving him/her information about your family as a whole as well as your and the child's part in its history.
2. Music Smart: Encourage your child to create a musical autobiography using their favorite songs from when they were younger.
3. Logic Smart: Let your child look for patterns in the things he/she likes. It can be a lot of fun to learn about how our mind works, so let your child the science of the mind. Find out what the different parts of the mind are and the different functions they perform.
4. Picture Smart. Have your child experiment with the different arts to express how they feel or to create a self-portrait. Painting, drawing, collage, and paper-mache are just a few of the ways you can let them express themselves.
5. Body Smart: Let your child do physical activities that let them express how they feel, like dance, acting, mime, or fine arts such as sculpture. There are many physical activities that you can get involved with that let your child focus their mind or even meditate while they get exercise, like running, bicycling, yoga, martial arts, or swimming.
6. People Smart: Tell your child to use how well they know themselves to get to know others better. Find people with common interest to do things with.
7. Nature Smart: Go for a walk and take a good look around you. How does being in nature make you and your child feel. Use objects fond like pine cones, leaves, and feathers to create an art piece to express how nature makes you feel.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

What If My Child Has Self-Doubts About His/Her Self Smarts?

Maybe your child doesn't fell too Self Smart. Almost everyone has certain amounts of Self Smart ability whether he/she realizes it or not. Everything that your child is already strong in can help him/her learn more about who he/she truly are, how your child feels, and what is important to him/her. Below are some ways your child can become stronger or more comfortable in becoming more Self Smart, according to You're Smarter Than You Think, by Thomas Armstrong, PhD.

1. Word Smart: Think about what your child likes to read and reflect on what that says about your child. Does he/she enjoy flights or fancy or does your child have more interest in the world around them. Writing is a great way to explore the answers to the questions about what your child is interested in. Keeping a journal about the things that are important to your child - his/her hopes for the future and how he/she feels, and goals.

2. Music Smart: Use music to reflect, relax, and give your child thinking time by listening to it or playing it. Many musicians find their music helps them understand how they're feeling or what they're thinking about. Set practice goals for your child and be patient, and stick with it.

3. Logic Smart: Encourage your child to explore the world of logic on their own by working on individual logic and puzzle books. Logic Smart skills can help your child break down goals into logical and methodical steps.

4. Picture Smart: Find time for your child to create artwork by him/herself. While he/she is creating, have him/her reflect on their goals, their thoughts, and their ideas. Art journals are a good way to explore and reflect on your child's emotions, thoughts, and fears.

5. Body Smart: Have your child try out different solo sports (biking or swimming for examples), instead or a team sports. When you find a solo sport your child enjoys, use the time when they practice alone have him/her think about the day, problems, or goals.

6. People Smart: It is great that your child gets along with other people, but try to use that understanding of others to better understand who he/she really is. Ask your child what qualities does he/she admire in others? Do you find these qualities in yourself? What positive traits do you think you have?

7. Nature Smart: The next time you take a nature hike or walk, use that time to encourage your child to think about what is going on in his/her life. Try taking the time to reflect and even journal while outside in any environment.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My Child Is Not Self Smart! What Can I Do?

If your child know him/herself really well that is great! Fortunately, there is a lot for your child to know about him/herself, and he/she should always have a chance to become more Self Smart. Your child can always explore new ways to express him/herself and his/her feelings. Your child's Self Smart skills can help him/her build the other intelligences. Below are some Self Smart ideas your child can use to help him/her understand and develop the other intelligences in school and in life according to Thomas Armstrong, PhD.:

1. Word Smart: Have your child write an autobiography. Talking to members of your family can help.

2. Music Smart: Have your child create a musical autobiography using favorite songs from when your child was younger.

3. Logic Smart: Encourage your child to look for patterns in the thinks he/she likes. Have he/she answer the question, "Do your favorite things have anything in common? If so, what?"

4. Picture Smart: Let your child experiment with the different arts to express how he/she feels or to create a self-portrait. Let your child design an original invention by sketching it out, and if he/she can, build it.

5. Body Smart: Have your child do physical activities that let him/her express how he/she feels, like dance, acting, mime, or fine arts such as sculpture.

6. People Smart: Encourage your child to get to know others better. Find people with common interest to do things with your child that would include volunteer opportunities.

7. Nature Smart: Go for a walk with your child and take a good look at everything around. Ask your child how nature makes him/her feel?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How Can My Child Become More "Self Smart"?

According to You're Smarter Than You Think, by Thomas Armstrong, PhD., below are some ways you can help your child expand and enjoy his/her Self Smart skills. Have your child try any activity that appeals to him/her no matter how Self Smart you think your child is.

1. Have your child ask him/herself, "Who am I? At the top of a sheet of paper, write the words, "Who Am I? Have your child write down as many answers to this question. Your child can list likes and dislikes, hobbies, and anything else that comes to mind.
2. Keep a journal. Encourage your child to write down feelings, ideas, memories, or anything he/she can think of.
3. Make a self lists. Your child should make a list of all the things he/she does well.
4. Set goals for themselves. Pick a regular time each day, week, or month to set up specific goals that your child like to reach over a given period of time.
5. Put together an autobiography. Have your child create the story of his/her life so far.
6. Create a self-collage. Use pictures from magazines, photos, or art materials.
7. Remember your dreams. Find a way to keep track of your child's dreams at night. Write them down if you wish. Then spend time discussing the dreams and what they mean to your child.
8. Think about the day. At the end of each day, reflect on the great thing that happened, or what didn't go so well, or what was learned, and what can be improved in the future.
9. Take a look in your Self Smart "tool box". Make a list of all the "tools" your child has to help deal with problems and stress in his/her life.
10. Read self-help books. A lot of books can help your child learn about self. This can include reading biographies about successful people.
11. Do something your child loves. Spend time each day or week by letting your child spend time by him/herself doing something they love.
12. Start something important to your child. Your child might invent something that fixes a common problem, or might start a business base on one of their ideas or inventions.

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This weblog seeks primarily to be a resource to parents and their children facilitating, "Empowerment & Personal Responsibility through Education."

This weblog is an extension of BestEducationPossible-theCommunity an online community dedicated to Parents and their efforts to empower their children through Education.

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