Starting School Jitters Be Gone!

COLORADO SPRINGS PARENTS/GRANDPARENTS/TEACHERS OF PRESCHOOLERS

SAVE THE DATE

STARTING SCHOOL JITTERS BE GONE!

THE SHOW-ME-HOW STORY-TIME PROGRAM

Saturday, August 6th

THERE WILL BE TWO IDENTICAL PRESENTATIONS

11:30am to 12noon and 12:30pm to 1pm

Family Christian Bookstore: 7560 N. Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Bring your young children and listen to a story
  • Help your child make a simple craft project
  • Get a free flyer: 5 simple steps to a smoother school year
  • Enter to win free preschool craft supplies

 

Local author, Vivian Kirkfield, is a former kindergarten and Head Start teacher and mom of three. Her award-winning parenting book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource of story suggestions and educational fun-filled activities for preschoolers – a true shortcut for busy parents and teachers.

For more information: 237-3111 or vivian@positiveparentalparticipation.com

Small Investment = Big Rewards

I just finished reading a classic in self-help literature – One Minute for Myself – by Dr. Spencer Johnson

The book was published in 1985, but the simple underlying truths put forth are as relevant today as they were then.

According to Dr. Johnson, the one minute you spend taking care of yourself is a small investment with a big reward.

In the same way, the 15 minutes a day you spend participating positively with your child is also a small investment with very big rewards.

THE INVESTMENT

  • Read a picture book story with your child.
  • Do an arts and crafts project with your child.
  • Prepare a recipe together.

THE REWARDS

  • Build your child’s self-esteem.
  • Develop your child’s pre-literacy skills.
  • Improve your child’s school readiness.
  • Create a life-long parent-child bond.

 

Do you feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities of parenthood?

Take a minute (or a few minutes) for yourself – refresh, rejuvenate, relax.

And then spend 15 minutes with your child – reading, crafting or cooking.

Visit my website to find out more about Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  Buying a copy of this award-winning book is a very small investment with a very big reward.  If you have a Kindle, you can make an even smaller investment…just $9.99 at Amazon’s Kindle Store.

Just 15 minutes is enough time to read a classic picture book story.

Just 15 minutes is enough time to make one of the easy craft projects.

Just 15 minutes is enough time to prepare one of the simple recipes together.

Looking for something to do with your young children on Saturday, August 6th?

If you are local to Colorado Springs, please stop by the Family Christian Store at 7560 N. Academy.  I’ll be there from 11am to 1:30pm and there will be two identical presentations for parents and children.  From 11:30 to 12 and from 12:30 to 1pm, I’ll be reading a picture book story that will help young children deal with school anxieties.  Then we will be doing a simple craft that each child will be able to take home.  There will also be a free hand-out for parents on Five Steps to a Smoother School Year.  Parents will also have the opportunity to fill out an entry form to win a craft kit for their preschoolers.

We all want our children to have the best school year ever…whether they are in daycare, nursery or preschool, kindergarten or first grade.  This will be a fun-filled experience for all!  Please spread the word!!

National Ice Cream Day

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream…when I was growing up, that was a popular ditty.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. For more information and some special today-only offers, click on this link: National Ice Cream Day

For me, every day is an ice-cream day.  I’ve always loved ice-cream.

When I was a little girl, I remember going to the park across the street with my best friend, Jane.  Each of us would clutch a precious nickel in a little hand and eagerly await the Good Humor Man who would pedal by with the large freezer box attached to the front of his bike.  My favorite was a toasted almond bar!

Years later, on summer evenings, we would sit outside, listening for the calliope sound of the ice-cream truck.  You would hear children shouting, “Mommy, mommy, I need a quarter…the ice cream man is here!”  My dad, who also loved ice cream, would ask me and my sister what we wanted and he would run out into the street as soon as the truck stopped so that he would be the first to give in his order. 

These days, my husband lovingly provides me with a wonderful variety of exotic flavors…double fudge brownie, French silk, coffee with almonds and chocolate morsels…and I treat myself to a small dish of ice cream topped with a spoonful of whipped cream and seven almonds every evening…my reward at the end of a busy day.

Do you like ice cream?  What are your ice cream memories?

Among the 100 simple healthful child-friendly recipes in Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking you will find several for ice pops, sorbet and ice cream treats.  You can buy a copy NOW for 50% off the cover price!  Don’t let the summer pass you by without SCOOPING UP this incredible guide of fun-filled activities and picture book recommendations.  Did you know there is a money-back guarantee?

Is Your Child Ready for Preschool?

Preschool

Image via Wikipedia

 

I speak with parents of preschoolers all the time. 

One of the questions that I hear very frequently is, “I want to send my child to preschool.  How do I know if he (or she) is ready?”

There are several key indicators we can look at that will help us answer that question.  You need to observe your child to see:

1.    How well does he interact with others?

If you feel your child has not had enough opportunities to interact with others then:

START SMALL: arrange play-dates with neighbor children of a similar age and attend library story programs.  The summer before our youngest son was going to start kindergarten, we enrolled him in a three week nature class that was held every morning at a local nature center.  He had not attended preschool or daycare and we wanted to give him a chance to be in a “classroom” setting.  This worked out very well and he adjusted to kindergarten very well.

2.     Has she been away from you?

If your child has not been away from you at all then

START SMALL: arrange to leave your child with a trusted friend or relative for an hour or so (take a walk around the block or a bubble bath) and enroll her in a library story hour or other local program where she will have other adults who are in charge.

3.     How well does he transition from snack to play to story to craft to quiet time?

If your child has not had any experience with this or does not transition well then

START SMALL: during the day, let your child know you will be turning off the TV at the next commercial…tell him it will be naptime after the last page of the book is finished…find opportunities to have your child transition from one activity to another.

4.     Can your child’s speech be understood?

Your child should be able to speak in simple sentences of three to five words and be able to describe an activity or event that recently happened.  If you think there is a problem, then speak with your pediatrician.  If there isn’t a problem, perhaps your child hasn’t had enough opportunity to verbalize.

START SMALL: Give your child opportunities to express himself…when reading a picture book, have your child tell you what is happening on the page and then let your child retell the story to you from the pictures…at the store, encourage your child to describe what he sees.  It is so important for us to listen to our children…they really have a lot to tell us.

5.     Does your child follow directions?

If your child does not seem able to follow directions then

START SMALL: give your preschooler easy tasks to do…put the plates on the dinner table, help fold the clean towels…when cleaning up the toys, ask your child to put the blue blocks away first or tell her to pick up the book and put it on the couch.

There are two other factors that may have an impact on whether your child is ready for preschool: potty training and age.

Many preschools require students to be potty-trained or almost there.  Your preschooler should also be able to put on and take off her shoes and coat, zip up her pants and wash her hands.  These are some of the early life-skills your child needs to learn…please be patient…it takes time and practice to grow up and master these tasks.

Regarding age, educators define preschool as the two years before kindergarten.  The age minimum differs in preschools…some want the child to be three by December of that academic year, while others will accept two year olds.

Whatever your decision is about sending your child to preschool, spending time with your child will result in life-long benefits…building self-esteem, developing pre-literacy skills and strengthening the parent-child bond.   If you visit my website and buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, you will be getting a unique activity book/parenting resource/memory book that will provide you with picture book summaries, easy crafts and healthful recipes…even an hour-by-hour schedule that will simplify your day.   Using Show Me How will definitely help you achieve your child’s school readiness goals.  We offer your money back if you are not satisfied with the contents and the results and the book is on sale now for 50% off the cover price…only $22.50 per copy.

Some MoreThoughts on Healthy Eating…for Summer-time and Beyond

Small child with head down on highchair.

Image via Wikipedia

As parents, we are responsible for what our children eat…at least when they are little.

We plan the meals, shop for the ingredients, prepare the food and serve it.

So every young child should be eating a healthy balanced diet, right?

Unfortunately, many young children are NOT eating a healthy balanced diet because:

  • Many parents didn’t have a healthy diet themselves as children and don’t really know what to serve!
  • The media overloads us with commercials about fast food and sugary desserts!
  • Young children can be fussy about eating and concerned parents just want them to eat SOMETHING!

Here are some simple steps parents can take to help:

1.     Plan regular meal-times…if children know they can get something to eat at any time of the day or night, they will not be motivated to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  And having family meals together provides so many other emotional and social benefits as well. 

2.     Snacks are important additions to a young child’s daily food intake… provide nutritious ones like veggie sticks dipped in hummus, cheese cubes with whole grain crackers and fruit slices in yogurt.

3.     Serve small portions…young children can be overwhelmed when a plate piled with food is put in front of them…for instance, if your child is having a sandwich, cut it in quarters and serve one quarter at a time.

4.     Use your imagination to make meals pleasing to the eye…attractive plates and servings arranged in an interesting way…for example, a small bowl of spaghetti with two meatballs for the eyes, a steamed baby carrot for the nose and several steamed green beans for the smile.  What fun!  You can always add a new “nose” and new “smile” when your child finishes the first ones.   Or how about using cookie cutters to make interesting shapes of sandwiches?

5.     Avoid processed foods as much as possible…they are usually filled with salt, sugar, preservatives and artificial colors and flavors.  When your children become accustomed to these, they can lose their appreciation for the flavor and goodness of wholesome natural foods.

There are many websites that can help with nutrition information and meal planning.

http://nutritiondata.self.com/

http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/nal_display/index.php?info_center=4&tax_level=1

http://www.mealsmatter.org/

http://www.healthy-eating-made-easy.com/healthy-meal-planning.html

For more meal-planning tips, fresh ideas and simple recipes that your children can help prepare, you can get a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking…now on sale for 50% off the cover price on my website.  For only $22.50, you will have 100 child-friendly recipes, 100 arts and crafts activities and 100 picture book summaries that all build self-esteem, develop pre-literacy skills and create a life-long parent-child bond.  Did you know that this great resource is also a memory book…with lined spaces on every other page for you to record your child’s highlights?

Watch The Sweets This Summer: What Are The Alternatives?

An arrangement of confections

Image via Wikipedia

We are a nation that loves sweet things.

If you read the ingredient label of almost every boxed or packaged food (we’re all reading the labels, aren’t we?), you’ll find that sugar, or some sugar substitute, has been added.

Cereals, breads, macaroni and cheese, beverages, frozen dinners…the list is endless and I’m not even talking about “sweet” treats like cookies, candies and ice cream.

“Today, (beet and cane) sugar has become a devastating American habit; it is quite impossible to find a commercial or canned food of any kind that does not contain it.  In a lifetime, the average American eats three tons of sugar.  Sugar injures the heart, causes overweight, decays teeth and creates diabetes, yet once upon a time it had no place at all in the American diet.  When sweetening was confined to honey and maple syrup, the American was indeed a healthier being.”

This quote is from Eric Sloane’s Once Upon A Time: The Way America Was.  It was published in 1982 and the sugar situation has not gotten better…it has gotten worse and many of the artificial sugar substitutes turned out to be worse than the product they were replacing.

Parents have an obligation to “raise up their children as they would have them go on” in life.  The time to set the parameters of what is good to eat and what is not is when children are young. 

How can we help our children avoid too much sugar and develop good eating habits?

  • Read the ingredient labels and put back a product that has unnecessary sugar.
  • Know that “sugar” comes in many forms and is called by many different names: glucose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, maltose, crystalline fructose, polysaccharide, monosaccharide, galactose, dextrose, corn syrup…you get the picture.
  • Try making at least some of your menu items from “scratch” because then you will know exactly what you are putting into the food your family is eating. 
  • Get into the habit of offering water when children are thirsty…flavored beverages and soda are FULL of sugar…empty calories and no nutrition.  100% juice has lots of “natural” sugar as well…try using ½ juice with ½ water…you will have a healthier, cheaper and more thirst-quenching drink.  Pour this mixture into ice-pop molds and you will have inexpensive and refreshing pops.
  • Put a limit on the number of “sweet” treats…keep cut up carrot and cucumber sticks in the fridge.
  • Be a good role model…does your child see you having a donut with your coffee, spooning sugar on your morning cereal, eating a chocolate covered ice-cream pop after lunch and then sitting down with a piece of cake after dinner?

If you are looking for some simple healthful recipes that your child can help you prepare in the kitchen, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking provides 100 of them.  Head over to my website and buy a copy of this award-winning book at 50% off the cover price.  You won’t be wondering what to do with your little ones this summer because there are also 100 arts and crafts activities and summaries of the 100 picture books every young child should hear.

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue: A 4th of July Dessert

Flag of the United States

Image via Wikipedia

 Happy Birthday, America…and Happy July 4th to all!

Whether you are on the road or close to home, enjoy the day and stay safe!

I looked through Show Me How! and found the perfect dessert to serve on this auspicious day…it’s quick, easy, healthy and…RED, WHITE and BLUE!

CHILD-FRIENDLY RAINBOW FRUIT AND RICE PUDDING PARFAITS

Color does lift one’s mood…help your child create a multi-colored dessert for the entire family to enjoy…when everyone compliments this delicious and beautiful treat, your child’s self-esteem will be lifted also.

You will need: 1½ cups cooked white rice (you can use brown rice for more nutrition another time…we want the white for the red, white and blue), ¼ cup honey, ½ cup coconut flakes, ½ cup sliced strawberries, ½ cup blueberries, 1 sliced banana, 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, a large bowl and 4 parfait glasses.

1.     Mix the rice, honey, yogurt and coconut in a large bowl.

2.     Drop a spoonful of this mixture into each parfait glass.

3.     Now spoon in some sliced bananas and cover with another spoonful of the rice mixture.

4.     Add a spoonful of sliced strawberries and cover with the remaining rice mixture.

5.     Top with blueberries.

6.     Makes 4 servings…refrigerate any leftovers.

7.     Creative tip: you can substitute other fruits and or yogurt flavors.

 If this is the type of recipe you enjoy preparing, treat yourself to a copy of my award-winning book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  There are 100 simple child-friendly healthful cooking activities AND 100 easy eco-friendly craft projects.  And that’s not all…you’ll find picture book summaries of the 100 books every young child should hear!  You deserve a hassle-free summer with your kids…be good to yourself and them and grab a copy at 50% off the cover price and you will have fresh ideas and activities for the entire summer and beyond!  Click on this link.