Parenting Tip – How To Teach Problem Solving

What do you get when you give two seven-year olds some construction paper, markers, scissors and tape?

Parenting Tip - How To Teach Problme Solving

You get the most amazing creations! And you get happy kids!

I encourage parents to keep simple arts and crafts supplies on hand. Paper, scissors, markers and glue are imagination enablers. Kids can spend hours, happily engaged in expressing their creativity, exercising their problem solving and critical thinking skills.

Last week, my son and his family stopped by.

Knowing that my grandchildren LOVE making things, I had put a few arts and crafts supplies on the dining room table. After we visited for a while, I asked the kids if they wanted to sit down and use the materials.

Before I had even finished the sentence Continue reading

Sunday Post: Hope…The First Step to Success

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is HOPE. To hope is to have a wish to get or do something or for something to happen or be true. Hope is the first step to success. It’s important to take other steps to make sure what you hope for will actually happen.

Hope, First Step to Success, Show Me How Build Your Childs Self Esteem, www.positiveparentalparticipation.com

Many years ago, I hoped to write a book for parents and teachers. That was the first step and, in 2011, I went to Chicago for a book event at Lollie’s, one of the stores that sells that book.

This year, I hope to have some of my picture books published.

But hoping for this is only the first step. There are other steps that must be taken if I want to succeed.

One of those other steps involves Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Picture Book Writing Challenge. Last month I submitted a picture book query for a special critique from author Emma Walton Hamilton. This month, as a Golden Book member, I was able to submit a full picture book manuscript, The Boots of Dylan McGee, to agent Stephen Fraser.

Another step I’ve taken towards realizing my hope of having my picture books published is to take Emma Walton Hamilton’s online picture book writing course, Just Write for Kids. I’m only on lesson four out of eight…but I’ve learned lots already.

Entering contests and writing challenges is another important step in making this hope become reality. Last month I sent a children’s story to the Highlights Fiction Contest. In addition, I entered Nancy Hatch’s Writer’s Desk Contest with a poem about why and where and how I write.

The seven finalists were announced yesterday…and yes, I am one of them!!!!

For those of you who might not have seen it:

goals,writer's desk competition,vivian kirkfield

I WRITE, THEREFORE I AM

A writing space by any name does serve me well.

By lamplight or with sunlight streaming

Ideas flourish while I’m dreaming.

From mind to pen words quickly teeming

Pages fill with stories beaming.

In quiet or with children screaming

Cluttered desk or table gleaming

I’ve found my heaven…not to write would be my hell.

If you would like to vote, you can go here. All of the entries are great…I am honored to be among them.

As parents, we also have to instill hope in our children…and then offer them opportunities to realize those hopes. If you have the time, please watch this video of Jarrett Krosocska’s TED talk on ‘How a boy became an artist’…it is inspirational and educational and Jarrett is an amazing speaker!

http://pinterest.com/pin/470274386059243757/

How can a parent instill hope in a child?

  • Be a good role model…be hopeful about your own life
  • Encourage your child to try new things…go to museums, read books, etc.
  • Provide support when your child fails…but please allow your child to fail
  • Allow your child to pursue his or her talents and gifts
  • Spend positive time with your child

My book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, is a wonderful resource for parents and teachers that build self-esteem, develops better literacy skills and creates a life-long parent-child bond. Isn’t that what we all hope for our children? It’s a one-stop book that provides quick and easy activities. Grab a copy! Engage your child, encourage creative expression and, most of all, have fun together!

 time after time, positive parental participation

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

Sunday Post: Focused Attention…Does Your Child Get Yours?

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is FOCUSED ATTENTION.

01-ural-owl-670Photo by Sven Zarek for National Geographic

Birds do it!

 bumblebee from Malou

Photo by Malou of the Netherlands

Bees do it!

Jeremy cleaning house with vacuum

Even precious little kids do it!

Have you ever watched young children coloring a picture? Head close to the page, crayon gripped in their fingers, tongue clenched between their lips…they are focusing every fiber of their attention on what they are doing.

Merrimack-20130127-01478[1]

Observe your children next time they are learning a new task or playing ball or dancing…you will see how their entire body is involved.

Do you give your children YOUR focused attention when you are reading a story with them or participating in some activity or just listening to them tell you about something that happened at school?

So often, parents are busy and listen with ‘half an ear’.

320925_10151303564318046_1899968953_n All dressed up in her Easter finery…Carrie at age 3.

I remember, years ago, when our daughter was about 6 years-old. She had come home from school and her father, who was sitting at the kitchen table reading the newspaper, asked her how her day had gone. Carrie began telling him what she had done in school. After a minute or so, she stopped. “Daddy” she complained. “Listen to me!” “I am listening to you” replied her father. “No, Daddy!” our pig-tailed poppet responded as she pulled the newspaper away from him. “You have to look me in the eye when I talk to you!”

Five Tips for Great Parent-Child Interaction

1.     Give your child your focused attention

2.     Maintain a positive up-beat attitude

3.     Choose an activity that is age-appropriate for your child

4.     Communication is a two-way street…TALK AND LISTEN

5.     Have FUN!

If you need a book that will give you and your young children many positive, age-appropriate quick and easy activities, please buy a copy of my award-winning parent-teacher resource, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.

And, if you didn’t see the video of Ray Bethell, grand world-champion multiple kite-flyer, you MUST watch this: http://youtu.be/E69flRylQRo  His performance is a perfect example of FOCUSED ATTENTION.

You will be entertained for five minutes…and inspired for the rest of your life!

time after time, positive parental participation

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

  1. http://imagesoftheheart.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/sunday-post-focused-attention/
  2. http://wp.me/p2d9xu-ly
  3. http://artifactsandfictions.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/focused-attention/
  4. http://piecesofstarlight.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/sunday-post-focus-on-little-yellow-plane/
  5. http://playamart.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/the-rain-stopped-get-outside-now/
  6. http://ohmsweetohmdotme.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/sunday-post-focused-attention/
  7. https://campanulladellaanna.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/sunday-post-theme-focused-attention/

Sunday Post: Concept…Are We Teaching Our Children to Gossip?

are we teaching our children to gossip,positive parental participation,show me how build your child's self-esteem

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is CONCEPT, which the dictionary defines as “a guiding general principle that determines how a person behaves.

 

What concepts…or guiding principles…are we teaching our children?

Is gossip one of them?

I watched an old Andy Griffith Show last night called, “Opie’s Newspaper”.

Young Opie has trouble getting customers for the little newspaper he and his friend have published and his dad advises him to use the daily city paper as a model and write stories that will be of interest to the general public.

Looking through the city paper, Opie realizes that the stories that are of interest to the adults in his town are the ones filled with scandalous gossip…so, in his little newspaper, Opie reports all the tidbits from conversations he has overheard.  Fortunately, his dad reads what he has written before many of the town’s residents get a copy and they destroy the newspapers before anyone’s feeling are hurt.

His dad asks him why he wrote such stuff.   Opie replies, “When I put in the nice stories, nobody wanted to buy it.”

That episode was filmed over fifty years ago…but times certainly haven’t changed.  If anything, they have gotten worse.  Many people LOVE to hear juicy tidbits about famous people.  It seems that hearing horrible things about ANYONE seems to be a national pastime around the world.  That’s why all of those court shows and expose shows like Jerry Springer and Morey Povich are so popular!

As parents, we have to remember what the pencil maker said to the pencil before he put it in the box, “Everything you do will always leave a mark.”   Our children are like a piece of blank paper…and the concepts or principles we teach will have a lasting impact on them and will determine how they behave.

As Opie’s Aunt Bea said, “If we want the boys to behave better, we’d better set them a better example.”

What example are you setting when it comes to gossip?

 

show me how build your child's self-esteem, positive parental participation

Are you done with your holiday shopping?  Do you want to make a positive impact on your young child?

Please remember that Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is a super cool book and makes a PERFECT GIFT:

  • For parent, teacher, grandparent or daycare provider of children ages 2-8!
  • Provides 100 classic picture book story suggestions!
  • Gives a summary, age-appropriate craft and simple recipe for each title!
  • A great resource for fun-filled educational self-esteem building activities!
  • No fuss or muss…everything is quick and easy!
  • Buy the book today and help several children’s organizations!
  • We donate a portion of the proceeds to Reach Out and Read, JDRF, KidsAreHeroes, Books for Africa and BesstheBookBus.
  • 45% off the list price!  Check the prices on Amazon, Alibris and ABE Books…everyone (except the publisher, MoneyPenny Press) is charging MORE for USED copies!
  • There is a special PayPal button for Canadian residents!

“A wonderful resource for people who care for their children.” – Norman Bridwell, creator of the Clifford the Big Red Dog series

“What a lovely book! Parents will find inspiration in this delightful guide.” – Katherine Holabird, author of the Angelina Ballerina series

I wish Show Me How had existed when my children were young.” – Suzanne Williams, author of the Princess Power series and over 20 other books

Show Me How is an must-have resource for parents and teachers.” – Marilee Gruber, kindergarten teacher and grandmother

“Fun and practical for anyone fostering self-esteem in children.” = Joan Fleischer, co-founder of Creative Arts Therapy Center, New York City

“Invaluable tool for children to become life-long readers and lovers of books.” – Dr. Jodi Harap, clinical psychologist, Chicago, IL

Don’t wait…buy your copy today to make sure you get it in time for the holidays!

Show Me How is also available from the publisher (MoneyPenny Press, Ltd.) on Amazon and Amazon Kindle, for U.S., Canadian and international customers.

time after time, positive parental participation

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

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PPBF: Parenting Advice from Andy Griffith…Set the Rules!

Today is Perfect Picture Book Friday where I link up with Susanna Leonard Hill’s fantastic group of picture book writers, illustrators, librarians and others who contribute a picture book review.

Before I get to the picture book review, I wanted to share some thoughts about parenting.

Last night, my husband and I enjoyed watching an old Andy Griffith  Show from the 1961 season…”Opie’s Hobo Friend”…guest starring Buddy Ebsen.

These days, single parent homes are pretty common.  But the Andy Griffith Show, starring Andy Griffith as single dad Sheriff Andy Taylor and Ron Howard as his son, Opie, was a ground-breaking concept for television in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

Every episode was filled with warmth, good humor and the charm of a bygone era.  Amazingly, every episode was also filled with sound parenting advice.  Unlike many family situation comedies we see on television these days where the mother and/or father are portrayed as bumbling fools, Andy Griffith was a strong, compassionate and loving father, not above making a mistake and saying he was sorry, but always cognizant of his role as the parent and all that entailed.

In this particular episode, Opie becomes enthralled with a drifter and starts to imitate him.  Andy insists that the drifter leave town, but the drifter challenges him and says that Andy should let his son decide what kind of life he wants to have.

Andy’s reply is one that every parent needs to take to heart and remember.

“You can’t let a youngun’ decide for himself.  He’ll grab at the first flashy-with-shiny-ribbons-on-it-thing he sees.  It’s difficult for him to tell the difference between right and wrong.  When he finds out there’s a hook in it, it’s too late.  The wrong kinds of things come packaged in so much glitter, it’s hard to convince him that the other thing might be better in the long run.  All a parent can do is say, “Wait…trust me”…and try to keep temptation away.”

This single dad was not afraid to set the rules and enforce them…he always did it with love and compassion, but he was never swayed from being the parent.

I know this is ‘only’ an old TV series…but I believe this is a powerful message for all parents today…set the rules with love, enforce them with compassion and remember to be the parent!

Our perfect picture book today is about another single-parent family.

A Chair for My Mother

Written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (1984)

Ages: 4 and up

Themes:

Single-parent family, working together, believing in yourself, surviving hard times, loss, patience, goal-setting

Synopsis:

When all of their possessions burn in a fire, a little girl and her mother and grandmother begin saving their coins so they can buy a special armchair that they can all sit in.  Each day they add coins to the jar until it is so full they cannot put another one in.  The chair they buy is gloriously colorful and it epitomizes the hope they have for the future.

Why do I like this book:

This book is a Caldecott Honor Award winner!  The illustrations are glorious…the sweet story relays how resiliant children are…the shared goal brings the family together and strengthens them.  A lovely story-time choice for any child, but especially powerful for single parent families or those who have experienced the disasterous loss of fire or flood.

Related Activities:

SHOEBOX DIORAMA

Photo courtesy http://www.firstpalette.com

One of my most favorite memories is sitting at the kitchen table with my mother, working together on a diorama.

You will need: 1 shoebox, small boxes and/or styrofoam, construction paper, scissors, glue stick, magazine pictures.

  1. Decide what scene the diorama will portray.
  2. Cover the ‘walls’ of the room (shoebox) with decorated construction paper or pictures cut from a magazine.
  3. Help your child cover the boxes/styrofoam with construction paper to form ‘furniture’.
  4. Glue the pieces in the box.

Great diorama crafts here: http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/dioramasartscraftsideasprojectskids.html

More wonderful diorama crafts here: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/diorama/

And more here: http://familycrafts.about.com/u/sty/craftstechniques101/Publish-Your-Craft-Projects/Shoebox-Diorama-Craft.htm

Lesson plan here: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/a_chair_for_my_mother.php

Printables here: http://printables.familyeducation.com/mothers-day/general-skill-builders/55053.html

Because November is such a special month and there is so much going on, I want to reshare some links to wonderful events going on in the kidlit/picture book community because I never know when someone new visits my blog who might not know about them.

  1. Picture Book Month: Visit the website of Dianne de Las Casas to join in the month-long celebration of PICTURE BOOKS!  Every day, a different picture book champion (author, illustrator, etc.) is guest posting…you won’t want to miss these….they will inspire you and help you remember just why you love to read and write picture books.
  2. Picture Books and Crafts for Kids: This Sunday I will be sharing “Gift Bear for the King”  and we will be making a king/queen crown.  Each YouTube segment highlights a parenting problem such as setting up good bedtime routines or a children’s challenge like learning to be a good friend and believing in oneself.  Last week’s link: http://youtu.be/jMvyNgM2wiM
  3. PiBoIdMo:  Picture Book Idea Month is the brain-child of children’s author,Tara Lazar.  If you signed up, you are already immersed in the world of picture books…trying to come up with 30 fresh ideas for picture book manuscripts during this month.  But, even if you have not joined the challenge, please run over there…don’t walk… to read an AMAZING guest post EVERY DAY this month…these posts will instruct and educate you…as well as motivate you to write the picture book that every child will want to read over and over again.
  4. Please don’t forget about Reach Out and Read…we need to GAB (Give a Book) before they can ROAR (Reach Out and Read).  If everyone who loves to read donates enough to buy just one book, the New York City Bellevue Hospital program (one of the largest in the country) will be able to replace the books that were lost in Hurricane Sandy.

 

HOLIDAY GIFT IDEA

Young children don’t need fancy electronic gadgets…they only need a good picture book, a few simple inexpensive art supplies (like paper, crayons or markers, safety scissors and glue stick) and your positive participation.  If you are looking for a great resource that will give you 100 picture book summaries and easy matching craft (like the diorama above) and cooking activities, you can purchase a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.  At $19.95, this book makes a PERFECT gift for any parent or teacher of children ages 2-8…as well as for daycare providers and grandparents.  No batteries required…powered by a child’s imagination!   Buy your copy today!

Are you still hesitating?  Author/illustrator/humanitarian Lesley Fletcher just did an amazing review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/461240610

Sunday Post: Wonderful…Show Me How Picture Books and Crafts for Kids on YouTube

Jake at Time after Time has a Sunday Post Challenge and every week he provides a theme…this week’s theme is WONDERFUL.

Sharing a WONDERFUL picture book with a WONDERFUL group of children is a WONDERFULLY magical experience.

Cuddling with a WONDERFUL child and reading a WONDERFUL picture book provides a never-to-be-forgotten WONDERFUL experience for both reader and listener.

November is children’s author Dianne de Las Casas Picture Book Month…a time to celebrate the importance and WONDER of picture books in the lives of young children.

So this past Sunday was a WONDERFUL time to kick off my new Google+/YouTube series: Show Me How: Picture Books and Crafts for Kids.

http://youtu.be/8hqUZBSSMN8

I’d love to know what you think of it…and welcome suggestions that will help it be better!

I plan to present a different story and craft each week.  I had a lot of fun and I am hoping to provide a quick and easy fun-filled educational self-esteem building activity for parents to do with their kids.  Most of the stories and crafts I will use come from my award-winning book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking

I just checked the Amazon site for the book and there are three sellers who are offering the book USED for $60+…we are selling the brand-new copy, signed (and inscribed for the holidays if you wish) for just $19.95 on Amazon.  I think that is pretty WONDERFUL!

Parenting is a difficult job…and many parents these days are overwhelmed and tired.

But just 15 minutes a day is enough time to read a picture book story.

And just 15 minutes a day is enough time to do a quick and easy craft project.

In fact, the entire video with both story AND craft is just 12 minutes.

Do you have 12 minutes to give to your child?  Do you read to your child every day?

Now THAT would be WONDERFUL!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/

By the way, I had to reinstall the flag counter on my right sidebar and start from zero…something strange happened a couple of weeks ago and the flag counter (with over 110 flags and over 14,000 page views) disappeared, along with my blogroll and a bunch of ‘buttons’ I had from blogs I follow.  You’ve gotta love computers, right?

Holiday Parenting Tip: “It’s OK NOT to Share”

parenting, sharing, preschoolers

I have been blogging about two years now.  I started because I wanted to share my passion for using picture books to help young children build self-esteem.   I also wanted to spread the word about my book, Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking”, and make it available to parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and others who work with kids.

It’s been an exciting journey…and a satisfying one.  I’ve connected with the most fantastic people all over the world.  I’ll even be meeting one of them in person next May in Singapore when I participate at the 2013 Asian Festival of Children’s Content.  I’ve also exchanged books with many authors and have enjoyed reading and reviewing their works.

Today I am thrilled to be spotlighting “It’s OK NOT to Share…and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids”, written by Heather Shumaker.

Heather is a journalist…so she knows how to write.  Heather researched dozens of child psychologists, educators and other experts and she is a mom herself…so she knows what she is talking about. 

This book provides a no-nonsense commonsense approach to parents…a definite breath of fresh air.  As you read this book, you will begin to feel the stress of parenting melt away…and the joy returning!

In Section I, she talks about “Reviving Free Play”…do you know that many preschools and kindergartens are curtailing play time so there is more opportunity for sitting the kids down with dittos and computers to learn to read and write?  But taking away free play has the opposite effect and the long-term results show that young children would benefit more from playing with blocks.

The other day, I did a post on the top ten toys for young kids.  Heather encourages parents and teachers to ‘Welcome Free Play’ with this list:

1.     Make literacy joyful: read with them, sing with them, do finger-plays, let kids fall in love with words now…and reading will follow after.

2.     Go outside: walk in the woods or the neighborhood, play with balls, sand and water.

3.     Choose open-ended toys that promote imagination: blocks, play-dough, non-branded stuffed animals and dolls, cardboard boxes, dress-up clothes, bells. (Our lists for this are almost identical!)

4.     Offer space: kids need room to play…move or remove furniture if necessary.

5.     Cut structured activities: kick a ball around with your child, make up your own games…when I visited my grandson, we took a big ball and walked over to the tennis court (which has a high fence all around it and a gate that locks…no worries about balls rolling into traffic) and played kick the ball and run after it for an hour.  When we needed to take a break from running, we walked around the inner perimeter of the court and observed bugs, leaves and puddles…taking time to jump in some of those, just for fun!

6.     Look for a play-based preschool: look for schools where at least ¾ of the time is devoted to free play and play-time in at least one to two hour blocks of time.

7.     Slow down: both you and your child will be happier and less stressed.

free play, outdoor activities for kids

In Section II, Heather explains that “It’s OK Not to Share.”  If you have younger siblings, I’m sure you will remember having to give up a toy to a brother or sister because they clamored for it and your mom told you, “Give it to your sister…she’s just a baby.”  Does that encourage love between siblings?  NO!  Does it help the younger one learn to respect others? NO!  Does it teach patience? NO!

In Section V, the author spotlights “Creativity, Persistence and Empty Praise”.  At workshops and school programs, one of the things I share with parents is that they can encourage their children by allowing them to create art as they see it, not as the parent thinks it should look.  As Heather says, “Art doesn’t have to be pretty.”   According to Heather, “Showering kids with praise is NOT the same as building healthy self-confidence.”  Acknowledging what the child has done, instead of saying things like “Good job or very pretty or that’s nice”, is much better for their inner self-worth.  With so much focus on bullying and how we need to stop it in schools and playgrounds, we must pay attention to this advice…helping children develop a positive self-image and true self-esteem is crucial!

Each of the eight sections of the book is CHOCKFUL of real-life scenarios involving kids and adults.  Perhaps you’ll see yourself in some of the examples…I know I did.  However, the author does not make us feel badly…she provides simple tips, techniques and examples that will help us engage in meaningful interaction with our children, creating balance and harmony for the entire family.

You can find copies of this book for sale on Amazon (what an amazing holiday gift for any parent or teacher), or go to the author’s website where you can find many other purchasing options and learn how to connect with her.  The book was a joy to read and I will be passing my copy along to my daughter who has a four-year old son…I know she will love it.

Don’t forget that Wednesday is the Halloweensie Contest on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog…I’ll be posting my Halloween Picture Book story…in 100 words or less…I’ll include the link to the page where you will be able to read all of the other entries.  There are so many amazingly talented writers and illustrators out there…it will be great fun!