Thursday, September 28, 2006

Raise a Reader

September 28th is Raise

a Reader Day in Canada

Happy Thursday everyone! Because today is officially Raise- A- Reader Day in Canada I thought it appropriate to blog on the subject of literacy. I was shocked to find that inadequate literacy levels are linked to low employment and may even be the cause of higher crime rates . The CanWest Raise-A-Reader program is designed to increase awareness and raise money and resources to support family literacy programs but there is also a lot that we can do as parents to get our children not only to read but also to love reading just for the sheer joy of it.
We all know how important reading is for our kids but not all children love reading. There are many distractions such as video games and television that a child may find much more enjoyable than curling up with a good book. The good news is that parents can do a lot to get their kids interested in reading. Let your kids see you reading for pleasure and also make it a point to read to your kids on a regular basis. Studies show that the more a child reads the better he/ she will get at reading and the more they will enjoy reading. Children who rarely read do not improve on their reading skills and consequently struggle at reading so tend to avoid it.
If you set aside a special time for reading and make it a family affair such as half an hour before bed or after dinner. It only takes as little as ten minutes a day to improve your child’s reading skills and help him to develop a love for reading. You can also try to limit the time your kids watch television or play video games to make time for reading but do not make the mistake of using these activities as a reward for reading or as a punishment for not reading.
Happy Reading and look for upcoming articles in our KidsGoals newsletter to help you get your kids to love reading.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It's the Little Things That Count

It’s the Little Things That Count

During a walk to the corner store yesterday afternoon, my son happened to notice all the garbage lying on the roadside. He asked me why people litter when it would be so easy to hold on to it until you can find a trash can? Sadly, I did not have an answer for him but suggested we take a few trash bags and clean up the roadside this weekend, which he thought was a great idea.
The environment and how we are contributing to its destruction with greenhouse gas emissions has been a hot topic in the media. The big news is that Californians are suing six major car manufacturers for damage to the environment, economy and public health, caused by vehicle emissions. We may not have the time or energy or funds to do anything quite as drastic but keep in mind that it is the little things that count.
Show your kids that a few changes can make a big difference such as
  • Turn off lights and other appliances when they are not being used
  • Replace old light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • Don’t leave water running when brushing teeth
  • Recycle as much as possible
There are many wonderful sites that will give you and your kids more ideas on how to be more energy efficient such as Spend some quality time together researching all the ways that your family can help. Children learn by example, so show your kids that you care about the future of the planet and they will too. Let's all do our own small part
Happy Tuesday

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Have Fun in the Kitchen

Have Fun In The Kitchen
Lately I have decided that I need to give my fifteen-year-old daughter  more responsibility. I want her to learn all the basic skills such as washing her own clothes basic housekeeping and cooking. In learning these skills she will become self-sufficient and it will better prepare her when she is on her own. We have decided that she will prepare some of the meals for the family and I am learning to let go enough to let her make mistakes in the kitchen because that is a big part about learning.
Children seem to really like helping in the kitchen. Whether it is opening a can or helping to crack eggs for a cake they are more than willing to lend a hand. Why not use this time to bond with your kids. Cooking can also be educational because a child will learn about counting, measuring, fractions and time. Your child will be learning and having fun at the same time.
Even children as young as three or four can be join in on the fun. Pick out a kid tested recipe and decided which parts of the recipe is age appropriate for your child always keeping in mind that safety is a factor.
For some great you can make with your children, visit the KidsGoals web site.
Happy Cooking

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Help your kids with homework

My nine-year -old son has procrastinating down to a fine art and up until now was able to get away without completing some of his homework because frankly, he is one cute kid!! However, since he has started grade four he has learned the hard way that his cuteness won’t cut it with his male teacher.
This Wednesday he was given an assignment and told that it had to be completed by Monday. He has just learned cursive writing and so the process of completing his writing assignment was painstakingly slow. My son put off working on his assignment until Friday when I questioned him on how much he had completed which was very little. I decided to get strict with him and told him he would have to start working on it immediately or he would not complete it on time. He started on it rather reluctantly and I could tell that he was really struggling. It took him most of the weekend and it was not easy for him but I am proud to say he persevered and completed the assignment on time. He later told me that only eleven other students were able to do this. He was very proud of himself and I could see that he had learned a valuable lesson about putting things off. Suffice to say that when he came home from school the first thing he did was complete the homework assigned for that day.
I think it is very important for parents to take your child’s homework seriously. By showing your child that homework and studying are an important part of education and that you care if they complete assignments on time you are showing your child that you care and that in turn will make them more likely to care too. Children are also more likely to study if they see you reading or writing rather than watching TV. By keeping your home quiet and distractions to a minimum you will help your child to concentrate on the task at hand.
Cheers, Monicka

Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Supernanny" style assault in nursery???

This interesting article in yesterday's paper is about a nursery owner - just down the road from where I live - who is accused in court of common assault after she allegedly "dragged" a two year old girl to the "naughty chair", shouting at her.

The toddler was said to have hit a younger child on the head with a toy brick.

My hubbie read the article and said "When I was a lad I'd get caned at school and come home and tell my Dad, and all he said was ' you probably deserved it'."

I don't have a problem with a child who has misbehaved having to have a time-out, but what really upsets me is that there is no need to lose one's temper. I think if we lose our temper when disciplining children then we have lost control - and it is a very bad example to set. If this woman, at 56 years old, feels the need to "drag", "push" and "shout at" a 2 year old, then she should not be working with kids!

She could learn a lot from Monicka's suggestions on positive reinforcement for kids!

She denies the charge of common assault but faces up to six months in prison if found guilty. I will be watching the case with interest...


Saturday, September 16, 2006

"Emotional Mastery", Goal Setting Kids

Hi everyone ... I have been thinking a lot lately about EMOTIONS in general. We all have challenges in life, some of which are inevitably going to be upsetting. Sometimes seemingly small things can upset us a lot, probably because they are associated unconsciously with major upsets in the past.

I was very sad the other day and a dear friend of mine helped me feel better by gently leading me through a process like this:

1. Recognize the emotions you feel.
2. Allow yourself to feel and express them. It is OK to cry if you are sad!
3. Remember that you have other emotions inside you, like Happiness and Resourcefulness. And allow those emotions the space to come out too.

It's not always easy, but better I think than bottling things up.

What a great thing it would be if we could give kids the tools to master their emotions. A child who can recognize and express his or her emotions, and realize that it is possible to choose other emotions when they are ready to, will be a strong child indeed. That can only help with Kids Goal Setting and other achievements!

What do YOU think??


Sunday, September 10, 2006

Teach Your Kids the Importance of Goal Setting

Goal setting for kids is such an important skill that it's always a good idea to be on the lookout for opportunities to talk about goals. In some ways, the smaller the better as it enables your child to learn a great habit - to think of all that they do in terms of goal setting. It will help them grow up as productive, high-achieving people!

You can talk to your tiny child in terms of goals every day. On the way to nursery, you could ask, "What is your goal at nursery today?" He might say, "To play in the sandpit". That's fine! It means he is learning to think about what he wants, and to experience pleasure and pride when he achieves it. These tiny steps will help him achieve more and more impressive things as he grows up.

Happy goal setting with your kids!


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Kids, Exercise and Buggies

This interesting article points out that older children are now routinely being pushed around in buggies rather than walking. In the good old days :) prams were much heavier and were usually ditched once a kid was about 2 years old. Now it seems lots of parents simply find it more convenient to push a child about up until school age - with some reports of parents even bringing the buggy to school to pick the 6 or 7 year old up in!

Frankly, I'm shocked. I can't agree that safety is a reasonable excuse for this behavior. We can either use reins or hold an older child's hand. Kids are designed to be on the move! How else will they develop properly - muscles, balance, co-ordination and metabolism?

In addition, while children's diet is obviously another major concern, this increasing restriction of kids' movement can hardly be helping the trend towards childhood obesity.

Back-pain specialist Dr Alison McGregor, of Imperial College in London, says "Children need to be upright and walking about to strengthen their back muscles and their abdominal muscles, in order for the spine to be properly supported." Hear, hear!

Want to hear YOUR thoughts please?!?!


Friday, September 08, 2006

The Importance of Sleep

Goal Setting for Kids

Having experienced jet lag for myself I can say first hand how detrimental sleep deprivation can be on a body. Due to lack of sleep I was much more susceptible to illness and sure enough caught a nasty flu bug.
Children actually need more sleep than the average adult and without it they cannot function at their best, which for growing children is about 10-11 hours for 7-12 years of age and 8.5-9.5 hours for ages 12-18.
While it may be a bit difficult to control the amount of sleep your older teen may get, you do have a bit more of a say when it comes to the younger ones. The most important thing is to try to remain on a schedule. Children thrive on consistency. If they know they will have their bath at a for instance 8 PM or they have a bedtime snack at 8:30 PM and then pajamas are on and teeth brushed by eight thirty they will develop a routine that they can look forward to. The story you read before lights are out will be something that will be most anticipated and you may find that you enjoy it just as much as your children. Once they are all tucked into bed it will give you a needed break and perhaps make it possible for you to get to bed so you get the recommended amount of sleep for adults which is approximately 7-8 hours a night.
Please look for upcoming issues of the Kidsgoals newsletter for tips on making your child love to read.
Cheers, Monicka

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Goal Setting for Kids

Goal Setting for Kids

I have now been away from my children for eighteen days and although I am having a wonderful time visiting my dearest friend in England, I find that I am missing my family terribly. It just goes to show you that you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, or in my case until you have had a break from it for a little while.

I can remember thinking before I left for the UK how uneventful my life had become and how I felt so taken for granted. This little respite I have had from the same old, same old routine of my life has shown me how truly blessed I am. I have also noticed that my family has also had a bit of a revelation themselves.

It will be interesting to see if they pick up after themselves and help out a bit more without being asked but I guess time will tell. The bottom line is that having this time to myself to take care of my needs and my needs alone has made me realize that I am where I need and want to be.

I think all Mothers need to take time for them. Even if it cannot be three weeks in London, a few hours to yourself once in awhile may be just what the Doctor ordered. A bubble bath without the kids bothering you for half an hour, or just a day out with a girl friend will rejuvenate and restore you. It is important that you do things for yourself. It may seem like you are being selfish but in reality you are doing the best for your family. By taking care of number one you are giving your family a better you and that is a very loving thing indeed.

Have a stress free day.