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!

Sunday Post: Toys…Top Ten Toys for Young Kids

My grandson at 6 months…the stuffed bear belonged to his momma…my daughter

 

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

As parents, our goal is to provide our children with everything they should have.  Nourishing food – A safe place to live – Clean clothes to wear – Love and compassion – Reassurance when they are afraid – Consistency – An atmosphere that encourages learning.

Sometimes, parents feel they have to give their children EVERYTHING…and stores and the media encourage that belief…offering toys of every size and shape.  Many parents spend more than they can afford to provide their kids with expensive electronic gadgets and ‘must-have’ items.

How much is too much?

To be honest, many young children would prefer the box that the toy comes in!

Here’s a list of my top 10 picks of what belongs on a young child’s toy shelf:

  • Stuffed animals/Dolls
  • Books
  • Blocks
  • Art supplies like crayons, paper, glue stick, safety scissors, markers, clay, paint
  • Pretend play clothes
  • Puzzles
  • Musical instruments like drums, bells, triangles
  • Matching games like dominos
  • Sports equipment like balls, hula hoops, bowling pins
  • Flannel board pieces and puppets for storytelling and role play

What have I forgotten?  What would you add?

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

How to recognize if your child is being bullied…9News Report

I just got back from the 9NEWS TV studio in Denver and wanted to share with you the piece we did on bullying.

Here’s the link to the video clip of the show…it’s only 3 minutes long…but packed with critical info on bullying: http://www.9news.com/video/default.aspx?bctid=1808390606001

With the new school year just getting underway, kids need to be prepared with more than just a new outfit and a shiny backpack!  Parents also need to be aware of the subtle signs of bullying and what they should do if they suspect a bullying problem.

Bullying is a problem that has been around forever…but the effects on our children seem to have intensified, especially with texting and social media available to the bullies.

How to recognize if your child is being bullied

 Written by

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in th...

Physical bullying at school, as depicted in the film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

–>KUSA – Denver Public Schools started back on Monday. Even though many kids are excited to see friends who were gone over the summer, some children are dreading returning to school due to bullying.

So, how do you know if your child is being bullied if they won’t tell you? Vivian Kirkfield joined 9NEWS at 8 a.m. on Monday to discuss some warning signs that your child may be a victim of a bully.

“There are a couple of subtle signs, and some not-so-subtle,” Kirkfield said. “One of them would be a child coming home scratched or bruised. Another might be a child coming home with belongings missing, like their new bookbag is gone, a jacket or some of their books perhaps.”

Kirkfield says another sign may be your child not wanting to take the bus to school or are walking a different route to school. But the signs may not just be from your child returning or going to school. The issues may permeate into family relations also.

“Maybe they always gotten along with siblings and now, all of the sudden, they are fighting with brothers and sisters,” Kirkfield said. “Maybe they are having trouble sleeping … or bad dreams.”

Kirkfield says sudden complaints of health conditions like a headache or a stomach ache may be a sign too.

“Although all of those symptoms could be caused by other problems, a parent really needs to be sensitive to it and act upon it,” Kirkfield said.

A lot of times, a school will notice a problem on a playground and give parents a heads up. However, if that’s not the case, how does a parent confront their kid about possible bullying?

“Most of the time, children do not want to talk about the bullying because either they’re embarrassed or they’re afraid,” Kirkfield said. “Maybe they’ve been told ‘I’m really going to beat you up,’ or ‘kill your brother.’ Parents can speak with their child and ask direct questions such as ‘Is somebody bothering you at school?’ And ask indirect questions such as ‘Is there anybody at school you don’t like?'”

Kirkfield says a child might be much more willing to talk about something like that than to come straight out and admit they are being bullied.

“Even after your child doesn’t come out and say it … definitely talk to the school staff,” Kirkfield said. “Talk with your child’s teacher, with the child’s principal, guidance counselor, because they are there. Police really need to form that connection with the school early on, even if there isn’t a problem with bullying.”

Kirkfield says parents need to stay involved in their child’s school.

Sunday Post: From a Distance…Parenting Solutions

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

Are you wondering how I will connect this theme to an aspect of parenting?

Family dynamics are constantly in a state of change.

We shouldn’t expect everyone to get along all of the time.

Siblings do fight…and parents do disagree.

 

Hopefully, harmony prevails in your home most of the time.

If it doesn’t, perhaps you want to change that.

Do you feel like you are constantly yelling at your kids?

Are you dealing with a family issue that seems to be getting out of hand?

Sometimes it ‘s helpful to take a step back.

FROM A DISTANCE, we can view the situation from a different perspective.

When we are in the middle of the problem, it is hard to think clearly.

Here’s a thought:

  • Take a time out…tell your child or significant other that you need a few minutes.
  • Go for a walk…family walks are a wonderful bonding activity…but walking alone allows you to think without distractions.
  • Consult a professional…an objective observer can guide the conversation or help with alternate responses.

To strengthen family bonds, why not plan activities that the family can do together. 

We had an evening reading time when our children were small.  Books are enjoyed by children of all ages and the older ones still love being read to.  They also like to read to younger brothers and sisters.

Here’s a plan:

  • Set aside some time after dinner for family reading.
  • Children need to see their parents reading for pleasure.
  • Choose a picture book and read it with your young child.  If you have older kids, they can take turns being the reader.

If you need help picking great picture books: Show Me How!

Or visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.

 

Schools are opening all over the country and we’d like to give a free copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cookingto your favorite school or classroom.  Nominate your child’s school or other childcare facility in the Show Me How School Initiative by leaving a comment and telling us why you’d like them to have this book.  If you don’t have young children, but know people who do, please tell them about the free book their child’s school can receive!

Have you checked out the new book by children’s author Marty Banks?  The Adventures of Tempest & Serenais a wonderful chapter book for readers ages 7 and up.  I reviewed it the other day and want to remind you about the free download…Sunday is the last day for that!

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

The Adventures of Tempest & Serena: A Chapter Book Home Run!

As a child, I loved books in all shapes and sizes. 

I remember the summer between third and fourth grade, I would go to the library and take out piles of books…and sit reading in the back yard…all day long!  Black Beauty, Little Women, Nancy Drew…as soon as I turned the last page, I would start another book.

About two years ago, there was a controversy about “chapter” books…are they replacing picture books for young children and when should parents encourage their kids to read them.  I have to admit that I wasn’t quite sure what they were talking about…were “chapter” books some new electronic age phenomenon? 

Luckily, I met children’s author Marty Mokler Banks at a local SCBWI meeting last weekend.

 And now I know all about chapter books because she wrote one.

And it was just published.

And she graciously gave me a copy so that I could review it.

And I LOVED it.

And I remembered those wonderful classic stories I had read years ago…the forerunners of today’s “chapter” books.

And here’s something awesome for all of you…other than my wonderful review, that is.

The author is offering a FREE DOWNLOAD of The Adventures of Tempest & Serena for the entire weekend (Friday, August 24 to Sunday, August 26). Just click on the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Tempest-Serena-ebook/dp/B008SV7UZG/ref=la_B004OB10M8_1_1_title_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1345468668&sr=1-1

I know you won’t want to miss reading it…and then you can click over to where the paperback copy is for sale on Amazon…believe me, this book is a GREAT gift for any young boy or girl…the holidays are coming sooner than you think and it’s all about encouraging children to READ!

And after you read this review, I know you will want to pick up several for your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or any kid age 7 and up.

 

The Adventures of Tempest & Serena

Written by Marty Mokler Banks (she also did the inside illustrations!)

Themes:

Sisters, courage, valuing one’s own strengths and qualities, friendship, bullying/teasing, magic, adventure, travel.

Synopsis:  

From the Amazon site: “Wild, brave Tempest wants summer to last forever. Her calm, timid sister, Serena, can’t wait for the start of the new school year. On the first day, Tempest decides to skip fourth grade, seek adventure by using magic to sprout wings, and fly away to exotic places. As she waves good-bye, Serena promises to save her sister’s seat on the bus. Will Tempest make it home? Can Serena keep her promise? As each sister battles bullies, disasters, and loneliness, they discover they’re more alike than they know.”

Why do I like this book

I don’t only like this book…I love this book!  It kept me turning the pages and wanting to find out what would happen next…I couldn’t put it down once I started it.

A number of timely topics such as girl empowerment and bullying and teasing are addressed.  In addition, the story takes us to distant lands and enables the reader to see how the various characters face their fears and conquer them.  Children need great roles models and they will find them in Tempest and Serena and some of their friends.

Author Banks has certainly stepped up to the plate with her debut chapter book…with The Adventures of Tempest & Serena, she has hit a homerun, right out of the park and into the hearts of her readers!

The Adventures of Tempest & Serena is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Tempest-Serena-ebook/dp/B008SV7UZG/ref=la_B004OB10M8_1_1_title_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1345468668&sr=1-1.

If you’d like to know more about children’s author, Marty Mokler Banks, you can visit her website at http://martymoklerbanks.com/index.html.

And if I may impose on your patience another minute, I need to mention three quick items of importance:

1.      Please don’t forget we are accepting nominations for your favorite school or classroom to win a copy of Show Me How!  All you have to do is leave a comment on one of my posts…telling which school should get a copy.  At the end of September, we will select a dozen winners using Random.org.

2.      On Wednesday, I watched the LIVE Google+ broadcast of The Happy Mommy Handbook with Susan Case and Katie Norris.  It was lots of fun…and I joined the after-hangout chat when the program was over.  I don’t know if any of you have done Google+ Hangouts…it was kind of like Skype…real-time face-to-face interaction.  All three of us agreed that we’d like to do a program together…perhaps addressing the subject of bullying.  I’ll let everyone know when that will happen.

3.      Regarding bullying…I will be interviewed on the 9News morning show on Monday, August 27th at 8:20am (Mountain Time).  If you click on their link, I think it will be able to see it…unless, of course, you are in Denver and get that channel and can watch on your TV.  We will be talking about the Subtle Signs of Bullying and what steps parents can take.  This is an important topic, especially with school just starting.  Let’s stop bullying in its tracks!  I’ll be doing an article about it next week.

Back-to-School Jitters…Get the Inside Scoop on How Teachers Feel!

 

Back-to-School Jitters are experienced by many children.

Even parents have them.

But did you know that many teachers also fall prey to Back-to-School Jitters?

If you’d like to find out what some teachers are thinking before the first day of school, please check out some of the teacher blogs that are part of the linky party organized by “A Turn To Learn”.

I joined in on the fun also!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to copy with linky picture AND put my own words in…tech savvy I am not…although A Turn to Learn did provide a great tutorial…I’m sure almost everyone else would have been able to do it.

So here are my answers to the categories:

I’m excited for…sharing my passion for picture books with eager kindergarteners.

I’m nervous about…finding the time to do school visits and write picture books and work for a living.

I’m loving…encouraging children to become lovers of books and reading.

I need to remember…to speak with each child individually during the storytelling and crafting time.

I’m looking forward to a new year of school visits…this year I plan to include my own picture book stories in the list I provide to the teachers.  Last year I had the privilege of reading The Balloon Man to a Montessori Early Childhood class…the children LOVED it…and I was thrilled to share the story of the balloon salesman whose encounter with a mouse almost ended his career.

Please check out the link to A Turn to Learn.  Her blog provides amazing content…she sounds like a super teacher…the kind we all wish our children could have.  I’ve also put a link to the Back-to-School Jitters linky party on my sidebar…you’ll get the inside scoop on lots of others teachers’ feelings, hopes and dreams if you click on there.

The Show Me How School Initiative is still looking for nominations.  If you’d like your favorite school or classroom library to receive a free copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking, please leave a comment on this post.  At the end of September, we will choose a dozen winners using Random.org.

I hope you’ll be back for my next post in the Back-to-School Series…Tips on Having the Healthiest School Year Ever!

Sunday Post: Water…and Some Summer Water Safety Tips for Parents

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

 

WATER: provides a wonderful intergenerational recreational opportunity.

 

WATER: gives parents a chance to help kids master skills and develop an appreciation for preserving nature and the environment.

 

WATER: Kids and water go together like peanut butter and jelly…it’s cooling, refreshing and so much fun!

With the official start of summer only several days away, kids will be home and enjoying many water-related activities.  Water is one of the most ominous hazards your child will encounter because young children can drown in only a few inches of water, even if they’ve had swimming instruction. 

 Here are few important water safety tips to keep in mind from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

  • Be aware of small bodies of water your child might encounter, such as bathtubs, fishponds, ditches, fountains, rain barrels, even the bucket you use when you wash the car. Empty containers of water when you’re done using them.
  • Children who are swimming—even in a shallow toddler’s pool—always should be watched by an adult, preferably one who knows CPR. The adult should be within arm’s length, providing “touch supervision” whenever infants, toddlers, or young children are in or around water. Empty and put away inflatable pools after each play session.
  • Enforce safety rules: No running near the pool and no pushing others underwater.
  • Don’t allow your child to use inflatable toys or mattresses in place of a life jacket. These toys may deflate suddenly, or your child may slip off them into water that is too deep for him.
  • Be sure the deep and shallow ends of any pool your child swims in are clearly marked. Never allow your child to dive into the shallow end.
  • Backyard swimming pools, (including large, inflatable above-ground pools), should be completely surrounded with at least a 4-foot (1.2 meters) high fence that completely separates the pool from the house. The fence should have a self-closing and self-latching gate that opens away from the pool, with the latch at least 54 inches high. Check the gate frequently to be sure it is in good working order. Keep the gate closed and locked at all times. Be sure your child cannot manipulate the lock or climb the fence. No opening under the fence or between uprights should be more than 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Keep toys out of the pool area when not in use so that children are not tempted to try to get through the fence.
  • If your pool has a cover, remove it completely before swimming. Also, never allow your child to walk on the pool cover; water may have accumulated on it, making it as dangerous as the pool itself. Your child also could fall through and become trapped underneath. Do not use a pool cover in place of a four-sided fence because it is not likely to be used appropriately and consistently.
  • Keep a safety ring with a rope beside the pool at all times. If possible, have a phone in the pool area with emergency numbers clearly marked.
  • Spas and hot tubs are dangerous for young children, who can easily drown or become overheated in them. Don’t allow young children to use these facilities.
  • Your child should always wear a life jacket when he swims or rides in a boat. A life jacket fits properly if you can’t lift it off over your child’s head after he’s been fastened into it. For the child under age five, particularly the non swimmer, it also should have a flotation collar to keep the head upright and the face out of the water.
  • Adults should not drink alcohol when they are swimming. It presents a danger for them as well as for any children they might be supervising.
  • Be sure to eliminate distractions while children are in the water. Talking on the phone, working on the computer, and other tasks need to wait until children are out of the water. 

 

Children love to mimic the behavior of their parents…use this to your benefit and always follow good water safety rules yourself and your children will naturally copy you.

I hope parents (and others who know people with young kids) will check out my book for great summertime activities that the whole family will enjoy!  Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking is a treasure-trove of classic picture book suggestions, quick and easy eco-friendly arts and crafts projects and simple healthful child-friendly recipes that will make planning for the summer a snap!  Check out this recent review from Tom at Your Family Book Club.  His library in Katona, Iowa is receiving a copy of Show Me How!  The book is available on my website or on Amazon.

Want more information about Jake’s Sunday Post?

 http://jakesprinters.wordpress.com/ 

And here are some other bloggers who are doing Jake’s Sunday Post:

http://p0nky.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/sunday-post-water-sunset-in-water/

http://jmeyersforeman.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/3183/

http://northernnarratives.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/sunday-post-water/

http://myphotoyear2012.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/9th-june-2012-sunday-post-water-h2o/

http://alicethroughthemacrolens.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/sunday-post-water-h2o/

http://firstandfabulous.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/sunday-post-water-h2o/

http://motherwifestudentworker.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/weekly-sunday-post-water/

http://catbirdphotography.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/sunday-post-water-h2o/

http://abusymom.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/sunday-post-water-h2o/

http://jayjaysfavorites.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/waterdragon-weekly-sunday-post-water-h2o/

http://justfletcher.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/sunday-post-water-h2o/

http://50yearproject.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/sunday-post-water/

http://blueberriejournal.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/water/

http://rondomtaliedraai.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/sunday-post-water-h2o/

http://pollysspace.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/sunday-post-h2o/

http://africatoalgarve.blogspot.pt/2012/06/water.html

http://francineinretirement.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/sunday-post-water/

http://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/sunday-post-water-h2o/

http://tostir.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/sunday-post-water/