The Happy Mommy Handbook…Real Help for Real Moms

I’m so very excited today!  Do you know why?

It’s because I’m reviewing a fantastic book that will help EVERY parent of toddlers and preschoolers: The Happy Mommy Handbook by Katie Norris (a real mom with two small children) and Susan Case (a retired kindergarten, Special Education and early childhood teacher).

And, if you click on this link, you’ll be able to take part in an amazing LIVE Google+ broadcast…there will even be a chance to interact with the authors when the short presentation is over.  It starts on Wednesday, August 22 at 11am CDT (Texas time).  Susan and Katie will be uploading the broadcast to YouTube, so if you miss it, you will be able to see it at a later time.

 

 The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn

Written by Katie Norris and Susan Case

Themes:

Toddler & Preschooler Activities, Real Help for Real Moms, Nuturing Yourself So You Can Nuture Your Children, Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten, Helping Your Child Learn to Read and more.

Synopsis:  

Real moms have real problems as they parent their children.  The Happy Mommy Handbook begins each section with Mommy’s Dilemma…a common scenario any parent might experience.  In Chapter One, a mom is overwhelmed with all that she has to do…ready to turn on the television AGAIN to keep her toddler busy while she starts dinner.  Instead, she opts to set her child up with a bunch of cups and a bowl of sand at the kitchen table.  After sitting with her child for a few minutes, showing her how to fill the cups and transfer the sand from one to another, the mom was able to leave the child, happily “playing” while she went to make dinner…and she even had time to sit down at the table and pay the bills.  In each chapter, Mommy’s Dilemma is followed by Teacher’s Advice,…a simple explanation of the theory behind the activity and why a child needs to have time doing that particular activity.  The book is filled with dozens of simple fun-filled activities, suggestions for books that build self-esteem, recipes for staples like clay and lists of materials to have on hand that will encourage your child to grow in learning and confidence.  The authors also address topics such as fine and large motor skills and the importance of play, both indoors and outside.

Why do I like this book

I love this book because it gives quick and easy solutions to problems that parents face every day.  The explanations will help a parent understand the importance of each activity.  The book encourages moms to keep it simple and positive…which makes for a happier home for everyone.  I even love the size of the book…small enough to slip into a handbag…but chockfull of everything a parent needs to know about keeping young children happy and busy.  This is a book I wish I’d had when my kids were little!  I’m so thrilled that it is available now…what a great gift for any busy mom or grandmom…and a wonderful resource for babysitters, daycare providers and nursery and preschool teachers!

The Happy Mommy Handbook is available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle.  If you’d like to know more about Susan Case, you can check out her blog, Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers.  If you want to meet Katie Norris, visit her blog, Mommy With Selective Memory.

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.

And remember to tune in Wednesday, July 22 at 11am CDT to the LIVE Google+ broadcast of The Happy Mommy Handbook with Susan Case and Katie Norris.

If you come by my blog on Friday, there will be another treat in store for you.  Do you want a hint?  Another book review…this time it’s a brand-new chapter book for kids ages 7+ by a fellow SCBWI member, Marty Banks…and there will be a code available for a FREE download of the ebook ALL WEEKEND!  Don’t miss it!

 

 

 

Is Your Child Ready for School?

 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/she 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 he/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.

3. How well does he/she 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 during the day 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.

 

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.

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.   Visit my website or Amazon to buy a copy of Show Me How! Build Your Child’s Self-Esteem Through Reading, Crafting and Cooking.   This unique activity book/parenting resource/memory book 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.

In my next post, I’ll give some simple steps parents can take to get ready for the new school year…whether their children are toddlers or teenagers.

The Show Me How! School Initiative

Please don’t forget to leave a comment, nominating a school or other childcare facility you would like to receive a free copy of Show Me How!  We’ll be collecting nominations through the end of September…and will award a dozen books to schools across the country.  If you can spread the word via Twitter, Facebook or Pinterist, I would appreciate it.

Do you know a teacher who would benefit from having this award-winning book? 

Just leave a comment with the name of the school!

I’d also like to recommend another great resource for parents AND teachers…Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents  by Susan Case…I’ll be reviewing this book in the next couple of weeks.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0937660965?ie=UTF8&tag=awoccomthewriter&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0937660965

 

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.

Is It Too Early To Begin Planning For The New School Year?

Group of children in a primary school in ParisImage via Wikipedia

I know that summer has just begun.  Many of us are thinking of poolside parties and frozen pops and Fourth of July parades.

But if your child is starting school in August, or if there were problems adjusting to the classroom routine last year, it’s not too early to think about how you can insure a smooth transition from home to school.  This holds true for older children as well as for those of preschool age.

What can parents do during the summer to prepare for the new school year?

1.    Have an upbeat, matter-of-fact, positive attitude about school.

2.    If your child has not been there yet, arrange for a visit before school starts.

3.    Connect with parents of other children in the class and have play dates with your child’s classmates…children feel more at ease when they see friendly faces in the classroom.

4.    If you don’t have a routine in place for bedtime and getting-ready-for-the-day-in-the-morning time, put them in place now.  Make it a habit to discuss plans for the next day in the evening and lay out clothes and anything else needed the night before.  When school starts, your child will be used to getting things ready and you won’t have that last minute rush in the morning to find the missing shoe or backpack.  Regarding bedtime, please make sure you are allowing plenty of time for your child to get ready (brush teeth, wash, lay out clothes and necessary items, story-time, etc.) and still be getting to bed at a reasonable hour.  I know that it is tempting to let young children stay up later, especially in the summer, but when school starts, it will be a difficult habit to break…and young children need more than 10 hours of sleep at night.

5.    Make sure your child is eating a good breakfast in the morning…when school starts, this will be even more important.  And what is a good breakfast?  My younger son loved pizza for breakfast.  Some children might prefer eggs and toast, cereal with fruit and milk, French toast and bacon or pancakes with fruit toppings.  How about peanut butter and banana on whole wheat bread for a highly nutritious breakfast?

Do you have some super breakfast menus that your children love?  Please share!  We all need fresh ideas.

Many times, children who are fussy eaters become better eaters when you let them help out in the kitchen.  If you are looking for some easy child-friendly recipes, Show Me How! has one hundred of them and teams each cooking activity with a picture book suggestion and an easy eco-friendly arts and crafts project.  Head on over to my website to take advantage of the Jump Into Summer Special…50% off the cover price.  The book makes a great gift for any parent, grandparent, expectant parent, babysitter, nanny, daycare provider, preschool teacher…and there is an additional discount if you buy two copies…only $20 per copy!  You will be getting two copies for less than the cover price of one!  And, if you order by June 30th, we are including a bonus sheet of self-stick gold stars that can be used on goal charts and more! 

Studies show that the quality time you spend with your young children now has a positive impact on their school performance in later years.  This is a great opportunity to get a wonderful resource you can use on a daily basis, year after year.  Show Me Howis an award-winning book endorsed by parents, teachers and national organizations such as the JDRF.  To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you need to be in their lives today.  This is a book that makes it easy and fun to be in your children’s lives today!  It is the ONLY book you will need to buy to plan educational, self-esteem building activities for your preschoolers.  Don’t put it off until tomorrow!

15 Minutes a Day: Do You Care Enough?

Unidentified Mother & Child

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

When I was young, I wanted to become a teacher.

I believed I could help children step confidently onto the path to a successful and happy life. 

I cared enough about reaching that goal to study hard in school so that I could graduate and then pass the licensing exam.

As a kindergarten teacher, I cared enough about my pupils to spend many hours after school, choosing the best books to read to them and creating projects for them to work on.

As a parent, I cared enough about my own children to listen when they had something to say and to talk when they needed to hear me.

As a daycare provider, I cared enough about the children in my group to devise a program that provided a balanced and harmonious day of indoor and outdoor activities.

As an author, I cared enough about the future of today’s children to write a book that provides a winning combination of picture book story recommendations, simple craft projects and easy cooking activities that work together to build a positive self-image, develop pre-literacy skills and create a life-long parent-child bond.

That book is now available!

You can grab a copy at half-price on my website!

The question is…DO YOU CARE ENOUGH?

I care enough about the future of today’s children to offer parents and teachers a ONE YEAR MONEY-BACK guarantee!

Buy a copy of the book and use it for 15 minutes a day for a whole year.

If, after using it for a year, you don’t feel it:

  • Helped build your child’s self-esteem
  • Developed your child’s pre-literacy skills
  • Created a positive bond between you and your child

Please return it to me for a FULL REFUND!

Do you care enough about the future of your child?

I know that being a parent can often be overwhelming.

There are bills to pay, laundry to do and dishes to wash.

Many of you have jobs outside the home as well.

Parents today practice a juggling act…trying to balance so many things.

But your responsibility to your children has top priority.

Do you care enough about the future of your child?

Buy a copy of the book and use it for 15 minutes a day.

The schools and society are often blamed when children are led astray.

But we, as parents, are the first influencers of our children.

We, as parents, are their original mentors.

Do you care enough about the future of your child to get a copy of the book and use it for 15 minutes a day?

Read one of the suggested stories and talk about it with your child…that takes only 15 minutes.

 

Get some construction paper, glue, scissors, an old magazine and some crayons and make one of the simple craft projects…that takes only 15 minutes.

Let your child help you prepare one of the easy healthful recipes…that takes only 15 minutes.

How important is your child to you?

Important enough to invest 15 minutes a day?

Here is a chance for you to help your child grow up to be successful in life…a person with a positive self-image.

But you have to be willing to invest the time.

Just 15 minutes a day

Use the book and see noticeable results.

But the key is in using the book.

Many products come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

I care enough about YOUR child to give you a 365-day money-back guarantee.

Do YOU care enough to give it a try?

Please stop by tomorrow…I’ll be sharing some of the comments from parents, educators, self-esteem experts and picture book authors who have already read the book.

WE ALL NEED A CHEERING COMMITTEE AND PARENTS ARE A CHILD’S MOST IMPORTANT FANS!

6 Tips for Safe Toy Selection This Holiday Season

With holiday toy shopping just getting underway, here are six tips that remind gift-givers to keep safety in mind when selecting toys for preschoolers.  Many of these tips come from the American Academy of Ophthalmology www.eyenet.org

  1. Select only toys and gifts that are appropriate for the child’s age and maturity level.  Check the packaging for age recommendations.
  2. Avoid toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
  3. Check labels for the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) approval to be sure toys meet national safety standards.
  4. BB, paint or pellet guns and airpower rifles are classified as firearms and make dangerous gifts in homes where there are preschoolers, even if the gift is intended for an older child.  Similarly, darts and bows and arrows are also dangerous when they fall into the hands of a young child.
  5. Younger children are now participating in sports such as baseball, football, hockey and soccer.  If you are giving sports equipment, make sure to include the appropriate protective headgear such as helmets and facemasks or goggles with polycarbonate lenses.
  6. A picture book, whether an older classic or one of the newer additions to bookstore shelves, is always a safe and welcome gift.  Reading the story to the child will add so much value to the gift…it costs you nothing, but means the world to the listener.  Choosing which book can be a daunting task.  There are several sources you can consult.  THE READ-ALOUD HANDBOOK by Jim Trelease is an excellent guide.   You can also check out The New York Times Parents Guide to the Best Books for Children and quite a few other resources for choosing books for children at LibraryThing http://www.librarything.com/work/273100    For a list of 100 picture books every preschooler needs to hear, find a copy of SHOW ME HOW!  BUILD YOUR CHILD’S SELF-ESTEEM THROUGH READING, CRAFTING AND COOKING.  This ultimate resource for parents and teachers of preschoolers also provides a story summary, parenting note, eco-friendly craft project and child-friendly healthful cooking activity for each recommended title. http://www.amazon.com/Self-Esteem-Through-Reading-Crafting-Cooking/dp/0967014751/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289532916&sr=1-1