April 7, 2014

Product Review for 50 Development Activities For Kids Ebook

I am always looking for an easy resource that has lots of different activities for my kids that are developmentally appropriate and don't involve too many expensive or hard to find "crafty" things. I like simple, people! When I found 50 Development Activities for Kids” I was so excited because it is a fantastic book that is a stop shop that provides the perfect solution for those rainy weekends and school holidays or the "I'm Bored" moments we all know the kids have far too often! These fun-filled activities are easy for parents to prepare, and will keep the kids busy for hours. (Seriously, they get so excited about this little activity gold mine that they don't want to stop!)

Even better, these 50 activities have the added benefit of helping your child develop and grow with age appropriate developmental activities. Each of the activities adheres to one of the following developmental milestones which are important for growing children to help them with refining the skills needed for these milestones. Practice, practice, practice! 

  • Gross and fine motor skills
  • Balance and coordination
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Muscle development
  • Spatial awareness
  • Analytical and problem solving
  • General fitness and well being

Physical activities like home-based obstacle courses, ball skills and balance exercises will hone their gross motor skills, eye-ball co-ordination and special awareness, plus keep them fit and happy. 
Creative crafts hone fine motor skills and gets their imagination flowing. 
Educational activities focus on building problem solving skills and analytical thinking.

The best part is all these activities have been designed to use materials that you will probably have lying around your home, so there is no need to buy expensive supplies. Supplies like old cartons and shoe boxes, left over wrapping paper, crayons and paints, random buttons and old scraps of material are all put to good use. So not only are you keeping your kids entertained, you’re also recycling old household items by finding a useful activity for them! What else would you do with those old things anyway?

Before “50 Development Activities for Kids” was published, it was edited by three childcare specialists (a leading child psychologist, a preschool head teacher and a “Moms and Tots” instructor) all who absolutely loved the fun activities and recommended them to any parent who wants to work with their kids with their development and growth at home with easy to do activities.

Every activity is accompanied by a full color picture demonstration so it is easy for those that need a visual. Also, a summary is provided that illustrates which developmental milestone your child has worked on by completing the activity.

I hope that you will find this review useful as you think about purchasing products for activities and creative play for your kiddos!

If you are interested in purchasing this product, you can purchase it here

That's all for now!

April 4, 2014

How To Raise Kids Who Love Reading

Ok, so we all agree. A love of reading is one of the most amazing gifts we can give to a child.

Even better, it's budget-friendly! You’re giving your child the power to visit castles, islands, rivers, oceans and beyond. They can dance with kings and sail with pirates, or travel to outer space without even leaving the house! Reading allows your child to experience a variety of things without even having to be there. It’s a rare magical feeling that books can bring into the mind of a child.

Here are a few tips easy tips to encourage a love of reading in your children:
Read in front of your kids. Kids love to copy their parents.  So even if your child can’t read a single word, show your kids that you love to read books.  Curl up with a cup of coffee on a Saturday morning and enjoy a book, or keep the books you read by your bedside.  Have some kids books in the same room where your books are kept.  The goal is simply to show your child that you love reading. You can even encourage your child to sit beside you and pretend they are reading too, even if they are just telling a story based on the pictures in the book, this is an early reading skill and encourages learning.
Everyone says this, and it’s true:  Read with your child from an early age! Make reading out loud to your child a part of your daily routine. Studies have shown that listening to sounds is one of the earliest ways a baby can learn, especially when the sound they hear comes from their parent. When you read to your child, you are not only utilizing your  voice to connect, but you are also incorporating a visual aid by pointing to the pictures. I remember watching all three of my kids grab books and look and point at the pictures, before they could even speak!
Keep kid's books all over the house. Give your child easy access to books by having books all around the house. Have a couple of books on their bedside table, in the living room and all the other places where they spend time. Exposing your child to books is one of the best ways to develop her interest in reading. Don’t be surprised if your child has a favorite and wants to keep coming back to the same book. The goal is to ENJOY the reading.  If your child is picking a book out by themselves you’re winning at this goal!
Let your child drive the bus.   Have your child choose which books she likes when you go to the bookstore. Engaging your child in decision-making when it comes to books/ reading will make them feel that you are asking for their approval and not merely pushing them to read books. You can also have your child flip the pages of the book and make sure to give them enough time to look at the pictures and ask questions. Most often your child will be drawn to a specific book because of it's cover picture, so take this as an opportunity to open the book and explore it before you purchase.
Interactive reading makes it FUN.   Young children have short attention spans, so you need a couple of things on your side.  First – pictures!  Kids love pictures, and the visual stimulus helps hold their attention.  Second – use interruptions to reset their attention!  Stop the story after a couple of pages and ask questions about what’s happening, or talk about the picture. Re-telling the story is a skill they will need in school starting in kindergarten, so why not get a head start!
Choose books according to your child’s interest. Children always have something that they’re crazy about – dinosaurs, dolls, Dora the Explorer. Choose books that you know your child will be interested in reading. It will be easier to interest them in a book about dinosaurs, if that’s what they’re into, instead of making them read books about planets.  My boys are obsessed with bugs, so many of the books in our collection are bug stories and non fiction books for them to learn more about bugs.
Your child is never too young for you to begin reading to them. There are tons of developmental and age appropriate books out there starting with newborns on up. Think about it, every basic skill that a child needs in school, begins with reading. It your child loves to read, then all the other subjects will be more interesting because they will enjoy learning by reading about them!
That's all for now! Keep following for more posts in the Teaching Your Child To Read series!

April 3, 2014

Top 3 Tips To Teach Your Child How To Read

Hi All! So, my youngest child is in Pre K this school year (I still can't believe it!), and obviously the big focus is preparing for those reading skills for Kindergarten (they really hit the ground running in Kindy!). This is a huge task and, as an educator, I know that this task can be daunting but it can also be smooth if you follow a well thought out prescription for teaching pre  reading skills. For this reason, I have decided to do a Learning To Read series by a friend of mine who is a reading interventionist on the blog for those of you who also have kiddos getting ready to enter Kindergarten, or for those of you who want to start those pre reading skills at an early age (It's never too eary)! This is the first of the series, I hope you enjoy! Thanks! 

Learning to read at a young age is important for the development of the child. It helps them develop a better understand of their surroundings, allows them to gather information from printed materials, and provides them with a wonderful source of entertainment when they read stories and rhymes. Children develop at different rates, and some children will develop reading skills quicker than other children; however, what's important is that as the parent, you are keenly aware of your child's maturity and reading level to provide them with appropriate books and activities to help them improve.
As parents, you are the most important teacher for your children. You will introduce your child to books and reading. Below we have some tips to help you teach your child to read.

Teach Your Child How to Read Tip #1
Teach your child alphabet letters and sounds at the same time. Studies have shown that children learn best when they are taught the letter names and letter sounds at the same time. In one study, 58 preschool children were randomly assigned to receive instructions in letter names and sounds, letter sound only, or numbers (control group). The results of this study are consistent with past research results in that it found children receiving letter name and sound instruction were most likely to learn the sounds of letters whose names included cues to their sounds. [1]
When teaching your child the letter sounds, have them slowly trace the letter, while saying the sound of the letter at the same time. For example, if you were teaching your child the letter "A", you would say:
"The letter A makes the /A/ (ah) sound."
Then have your child say the /A/ sound while tracing the letter with his or her index finger.

Teaching a Child How to Read Tip #2
When teaching your child to read, always emphasize with them that the proper reading order should be from left to right, and top to bottom. To adults, this may seem so basic that anyone should know it. However, our children are not born with the knowledge that printed text should be read from left to right and top to bottom, and this is why you'll sometimes see children reading from right to left instead - because they were never explicitly taught to read from left to right. When teaching your child how to read, always emphasize this point with them.

Teach Your Child How to Read Tip #3
Teach final consonant blends first. Teaching words such "at" and "and" can lead your child directly to learning words that rhyme with these. For example, for "at", you can have:
For "and", you can have these rhyming words:
and so on...

You can start teaching blends once your child has learned the sounds of some consonants and short vowel sounds. You don't need to wait until your child has mastered the sounds of all the letters before teaching blends.
Learning to read is a long process, but it doesn't have to be a difficult process. Broken down into intuitive and logical steps, a child as young as two years old can learn to read, and older children can accomplish even more.

September 10, 2013

Give Yourself Permission to Take Care of You

As parents, self care is something that is often put on the back burner. We are all spread so thin between  careers and work, keeping up a household and raising our children, that we forget about our own personal needs far too often. Sometimes we may feel guilty to just stop and do something for ourselves because it feels like we are taking away from our children or our family and the things that need to get done to keep your lives running smoothly. I know that is how I feel at times anyway.

However, I also know that it important for us not to forget to take care of ourselves. When you neglect yourself physically or emotionally, you may not notice on a daily basis, but over time you will begin to feel the effects of lack of self care. Your patience will be less, your energy will lack, you may begin to feel overwhelmed or even resentful towards all of your other parental and life duties. When this starts to happen, clearly, it can be detrimental to your kids and family. Your children deserve to have the best you that you can be. The problem is, you can not be your best self if you are exhausted and overwhelmed due to lack of self care. We all need to find balance in our lives, I believe this is the only way we can embrace every moment of the life we live.

Give yourself permission to take care of you. Take the time to enjoy some great novels, indulge in some reality t.v., get a new hairstyle, get a manicure or a pedicure (or both!), buy yourself something nice, go to Starbucks and enjoy some quiet time while sipping your favorite coffee concoction. Do whatever makes you feel relaxed and gives you the feeling that you have truly taken time out for yourself. Take a mental vacation, regroup, take a deep breath and enjoy knowing that you are doing something good for you, and that is OK. Let go of the guilty feelings, let go of thoughts that you are not being productive. Take in every detail that you enjoy about taking care of yourself. It doesn't have to be an 8 day vacation, just something on a regular basis that allows you to feel taken care of.

When you get back to your daily routine you will feel refreshed, energized and ready to handle the normal daily stresses. Your kids will sense your relaxation and they will naturally be more relaxed. Your entire day will feel more manageable because you don't feel neglected or resentful at all that you give of yourself. You won't feel as though you have given every part of yourself away.

I also believe self care is important for your kids to observe. It will allow them to see that you value your own well being and the you are important too. They will learn to replicate this throughout life which is an important coping skill to have.

So, think about something that will make you feel relaxed and content and then make some time to do it. Your kids will be thankful, your spouse will be thankful and most importantly, YOU will be glad you did.

Take a moment for you and let go of any guilty feelings that try to emerge.

May 29, 2013

Do You Need a Wellness Makeover?? Read This!

Hi All! I have been absent from my blog for quite a while! Well, that has been with good reason... I have been diligently working on updating and improving my Lifestyle/Wellness Coaching company and I am ready to re launch!

I have added a new service to my business that I think some of you all may be interested in! 

Here's why:  Many of you have recently had a baby/babies, or maybe it's been a while, but you are still struggling with finding balance and getting back to where you want to be with your weight and your wellness. Maybe you have had a baby and you are just not feeling well, you may feel sluggish, bloated, tired, stomach achey. This is where I was a year ago, tired, overwhelmed and feeling like crap. I began searching for what I could do to help me feel better and I stumbled upon eating a Paleo Diet. I toyed with it for about six months in the beginning, but had a hard time making the full switch, I needed to work on the emotional side of my issues in addition to making a diet and lifestyle overhaul. You can read my full story here. So, I  sort of "coached" myself through my emotional issues with food and my body and finally I made the full commitment to the Paleo Lifestyle in January 2013. It has changed....my....life! I have energy, I can work out better, I am in a significantly better mood, I have less ups and downs with my mood, my bloating is gone, my skin is bright and best of all, I have lost 15 lbs pretty much effortlessly. Because of my experience with it and the success I have had, and because I 100% believe in this lifestyle for balance and wellbeing and overall health,I added Paleo Lifestyle Coaching to my coaching services. I want to help others discover the key to eliminating the added stress surrounding food and how it makes you feel.

If you can relate to any of the above mentioned, and are ready for a lasting change, then head over to Megan Githens Lifestyle and Wellness Coaching now! I will coach you towards your Healthy Diet, Healthy Lifestyle and Healthy Balance. This will be a life changing experience that you will not regret. I promise!

I am offering a 20% discount on the 4 week package for the first 10 people that schedule and pre pay for services. If you have a blog and agree to blog and social media promote about your experience, you will receive an extra 10% off! Think of it as a small investment in your 30 day mind and body makeover.

Don't wait a minute longer, get the balance you need and the body you want. Finally find a place where you are comfortable emotionally and physically for the rest of your life. No more stressing about food and calories and feeling like crap. You will be glad you did!

And that is the end of my shameless plug for my business. I have no shame because I believe in it and you will too once you see the difference in yourself...