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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

What parents need to know about the magical power of re-reading a book

Dell’Antonia writes about parents who bribe their children to read over the summer, but the same concerns are raised during the school year when teachers reward students for reading. Instead of reading because it’s enjoyable or illuminating or a welcome escape, a kid chooses a book because it will take her to 100 points. That same kid won’t choose a book that she won’t get credit for, and this means that despite the well-intentioned efforts to encourage reading, incentive programs actually discourage some kids from reading the books they feel most drawn to.
Especially troubling is that children rarely receive credit for re-reading a book, an important intellectual exercise. Free from the constraints of a reading program, some children spend the summer re-reading favorite books, and going back to school means putting these favorites back on the shelf.
Re-reading is a different intellectual challenge than reading a book for a first and only time. When a child re-reads a book, he reads it more deeply. Because he already knows the story, subsequent readings allow him to glimpse the author’s craft. He notices that in the first chapter a seed is planted that doesn’t sprout until later in the book. He sees how the author hints at what’s to come. He also reads differently on later readings. Maybe on a first read, the plot was so engrossing the reader hurried through some passages that she lingers over the second time through.
Maybe the child re-reads a book after a few years have passed—this is when re-reading gets really magical. In addition to noticing character and plot elements that weren’t interesting to the younger reader, the older reader also discovers she can use the book as a way to measure and know herself. When she realizes that she totally missed the older sister’s story on her first read but now finds that story compelling, she has an opportunity to reflect on her own growth and where she is in her life. This re-reader makes the miraculous discovery that books are not static: they grow and change as we do.
Re-reading is also essential for higher-level reading that will happen in high school and college. A first read can be a thoughtful and analytic experience, certainly, but a second read always involves some critical thinking. When a child re-reads, he doesn’t just follow the story; he begins to pull back the curtain and understand how the story is made. He doesn’t have to go on to be an English major, but he can carry with him through life the ability to delight in understanding how books work. Understanding how books work is a great platform on which to build an understanding of how people and societies work. This is the foundation of a liberal arts education, the foundation, really, of being a person.
So, as children head back to school, I exhort parents and teachers to encourage re-reading. Even if an incentive is offered, I think intrinsic desire always kicks in when a reader is given the chance to go back to a favorite book. In my children’s novel The Rosemary Spell, the main character refers to the books that help you know who you are—these are books that you re-read at intervals in your life. You go back to them again and again, you read them until the pages grow soft and the cover falls away, and each time, you find something new and you become not only a better reader and an experienced critical thinker, but also a richer person.

Virginia Zimmerman is professor of English at Bucknell University and the author of The Rosemary Spell (Clarion Books, 2015), a novel for young readers.

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Saturday, 9 January 2016

PARENTING - Do You Oil Your Kid’s Hair ?

Every time you look at your kid you chide yourself for not oiling her hair enough like how it was done for you.Every time your mom meets your kids she is scolding you for not applying hair oil on them regularly and that is why their hair looks badEvery time your in laws visit you they claim that all your kid’s health issues are because you do not regularly give your kids an oil bath.

Today, many of us urban dwellers do not apply on our heads or our kids’ because it is now considered not so fashionable to have the oiled hair look. We also are now aware of a lot more hair oil options like almond oil, jojoba oil, sesame oil, mustard oil besides coconut oil and we are not sure what we should be using. So here is a quick low down on hair oils and their uses:

Sesame oil: Highly recommended for hair and body. It is said to promote hair growth and protect the hair. It smells a little funky and therefore kids might resist it! Sidha medicine recommends using sesame oil twice a week on the hair and body to reduce body heat which regulates many other things in the body as well and keeps the body functioning at optimum levels.

Mustard oil: Mustard oil is again great for the hair. It contains Beta carotene- Vitamin A and linoleic acid which is great for the hair. It is especially great to be used for kids who are prone to phlegm and congestion. It loosens the mucus too when applied on the chest areas. It is a heat generating oil.

Olive Oil: This is great for extra course and dry hair. However since it is very greasy, you can apply it and soak it in for an hour and then shampoo it out. If your child has very frizzy hair, you can apply a couple of drops in your palm and use it to smoothen down the frizz. Jojoba oil is also great for extra dry or frizzy hair.
Coconut Oil: This of course the most popular hair oil since it is relatively light compared to the other oils. It is rich in lauric acid and actually penetrates your hair. It is a cooling oil and therefore you may want to avoid it if your child already has a cold and congestion. It has been known to promote hair growth and lessen hair .





Saturday, 28 November 2015

OBESITY AND WEIGHT LOSS IN CHILDREN


Too much pizza, too much video games, and too much Kidz world … let’s face it you need to make some life decisions to keep off the love handles. But be careful!!! Trying to lose weight can also be dangerous especially for kids going through puberty and growth spurts. Here are the best ways for kids to lose weight…
Food First
The number one rule you should consider when you want to lose weight is “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.” It is very simple to see that if you eat a lot of fatty foods with sugar and grease, you are in danger of gaining weight and getting acne. Eating healthy might not taste as good, it might be more expensive, and it might be less convenient… but I guarantee you that it will bring you happiness and a great body to boot.

Healthy eating is the best decision you can make

Sweating with Sports

Sports are a fun way to lose weight. But not all sports will help you lose weight so finding a sport that makes you sweat is the key. Here are a few great sports that will make you sweat off all those milkshakes:
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Tennis
  • Gymnastics
  • Hockey
  • Track & Field
  • Badminton
  • Sit-ups & Push-ups
  • Swimming
Joining a team with a coach is the best way to lose weight because the coach usually makes you work hard and practice vigorous drills and exercises.




Running is great exercise!

Gaga for Yoga

One of the biggest trends to lose weight that is sweeping the nation is yoga. Yoga is mostly stretching your body into weird positions that might seem uncomfortable at first, but as you get better at it, your body will thank you. Gaining flexibility and losing weight go hand in hand like peanut butter and jam. Not only will you stay lean, yoga shapes your body perfectly to have everyday great posture and graceful movement in whatever you do.

Yoga keeps your body lean

Kill the Car

A sneaky way to lose weight is to avoid your parents’ car. By refusing to get rides to school, you will have to find another way to commute and obviously walking, running, skateboarding or biking to school will totally keep you in good shape.
Childhood obesity is at an all time high and let’s be honest here… it is never easy to lose weight. Everyone wants a quick and easy solution, but you have to realize that the best way to lose weight is slowly and steadily.

Biking to school is a great way to stay in shape
The biggest problem most people have is that they don’t lose weight for the first week and then they give up. However, they might not even know that as they are working hard and exercising, they are burning fat and gaining muscle which usually can actually cause you to gain weight at first, and then as you keep burning fat after all your muscles have been developed, you lose weight later. Be Patient!!!


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sweetheart to Monster - Understanding your Tween

From Sweetheart to Monster - Understanding your Tween

Children really are growing up more quickly than ever before. For parents, the transition from child to teenager brings a minefield of challenges. 

Tween Discipline

The ages 7-12 can be such a challenging time, yet it is puzzling how little advice exists for parents of tweens. On the plus side, tween-age children usually do want to please their parents, and most love spending time with their families. Parents should try to make the most of this before the teen years kick in... 
The downside
Some behaviors in this age group can be challenging and difficult for parents. A child who may have been perfectly happy for parents to make most of the decisions, suddenly develops a strong will of his own. A placid, friendly child suddenly becomes moody and snaps at parents over the least thing. If you really enjoyed the baby and young child days, this can be a difficult adjustment. 
For children, it is an experimental time, working out what sort of teenager and young person they are eventually going to become. Many parents say their children seem to be teens at ten!

The growing influence of peer group 
From age ten, the influence of friends may gradually become greater than that of parents. The clothes children wear, the hobbies they enjoy, the music and films they like must all meet peer approval - nothing is more important than feeling like they “belong”. As a parent, it is easiest to let this happen without too many battles. Your child will be making choices as a teenager soon enough, and there is no sense in major rows if he wants to start now. This is still the time to shop together, but allow your child more say over what he like – don’t just enforce your own tastes. 
Why have they become so unco-operative? 

Parents may feel really confused. Your child refuses to do things you ask, or seems to have become more hostile. It sometimes seems like they hate you, and they may even say this, but it is a temporary love-hate situation that represents their confusion and resentment of the power you have over them. Like toddlers, they have become aware of increasing independence and their widening range of choices. They say “no” simply because they can! Your child can also use his more advanced language, not just to negotiate sensibly with you, but to deliberately deceive you, or to answer back defiantly or rebel against your control. 
Life is also tougher for older children. No longer seen as ‘cute’, expectations on them to behave are much greater, which can be stressful. 
The top five behavior problems in pre-teens 
  1. Not listening to parents 
  2. Answering back and 'cheekiness'.  
  3. Refusing to obey when asked to do something  
  4. Swearing  
  5. Secrets and Lies 
The top five parenting tips 
  1. Speak quietly and calmly. Avoid nagging that children simply “tune out”. Make eye contact and show by voice tone and body language you mean what you say.  
  2. Remember some of their behavior is trying out grown up roles and independence. Be clear about what is unacceptable and stand firm, but always make an effort to speak politely and respectfully.  
  3. Children do want clear boundaries, but think about whether the request is fair and age appropriate. Could you be flexible or negotiate? Is it time to review rules?  
  4. Check your own language isn’t being copied. State clearly if your rule is that no swearing is allowed, and what sanctions will follow.  
  5. Being secretive, or even lying is very difficult for many parents. Explain why lying is wrong and stress that you value honesty - talk about any reasons behind the behavior. Respect the increasing need for privacy and independence as children grow – they may not want to tell you everything, and insisting on this can lead to lies.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Introduction to Practical Life for Children


1.     What is Practical Life

Practical: means basic, useful, purposeful
Life: means the way of living.
Practical life Exercises are just that, they are Exercises so the child can learn how to do living activities in a purposeful way.

2.     Meaning and Purpose of Practical Life

The purpose and aim of Practical Life is to help the child gain control in the coordination of his movement, and help the child to gain independence and adapt to his society. It is therefore important to “Teach teaching, not correcting” (Montessori) in order to allow the child to be a fully functionional member in hios own society. Practical Life Exercises also aid the growth and development of the child’s intellect and concentration and will in turn also help the child develop an orderly way of thinking.

3.     Exercice Groups       
           
Practical Life Exercises can be categorized into four different groups: Preliminary Applications, Applied Applications, Grace and Courtesy, and Control of Moment.
In the Preliminary Exercises, the child learns the basic movements of all societies such as pouring, folding, and carrying.
In the Applied Exercises, the child learns about the care and maintenance that helps every day life. These activities are, for example, the care of the person (i.e the washing of the hand) and the care of the environment (i.e dusting a table or outdoor sweeping).
In the Grace and Courtesy Exercises, the children work on the interactions of people to people.
In the Control of Movement Exercises, the child learns about his own movements and learns how to refine his coordination through such activities as walking on the line.

4.     Reason for Practical Life Exercises

Children are naturally interested in activities they have witnessed. Therefore, Dr. Montessori began using what she called “Practical Life Exercises” to allow the child to do activities of daily life and therefore adapt and orientate himself in his society. 
It is therefore the Directress’s task to demonstrate the correct way of doing these Exercises in a way that allows the child to fully observe the movements. Montessori says, “If talking don’t move, if moving don’t talk”. 
The directress must also keep in mind that the goal is to show the actions so that the child can go off and repeat the activity in his own successful way. Montessori says, “Our task is to show how the action is done and at the same time destroy the possibility of imitation”. The child must develop his own way of doing these activities so that the movements become real and not synthetic.
During the child’s sensitive period between birth and 6, the child is constructing the inner building blocks of his person. It is therefore important for the child to participate in activities to prepare him for his environment, that allow him to grow independently and use his motor skills, as well as allow the child to analyze difficulties he may have in the exercise and problem solve successfully.
Montessori also saw the child’s need for order, repetition, and succession in movements. Practical Life Exercises also helps to aid the child to develop his coordination in movement, his balance and his gracefulness in his environment as well as his need to develop the power of being silent.

5.     Characteristics of Practical Life

Because Practical Life Exercises are meant to resemble everyday activities, it is important that all materials be familiar, real, breakable, and functional. The materials must also be related to the child’s time and culture. In order to allow the child to fully finish the exercise and to therefore finish the full cycle of the activity, the material must be complete. 
In the environment, the Directress may want to color code the materials as well as arrange the materials based on difficulties in order to facilitate the classification and arrangements of the work by the children. 
The attractiveness is also of utmost importance as Montessori believed that the child must be offered what is most beautiful and pleasing to the eye  so as to help the child enter into a “more refined and subtle world”.

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HANDLING TEENS



1.Acknowledge their anger
If your teenager is flooded with emotion, acknowledge their rage by saying, ‘I can see you’re angry’ and step away for 10 minutes. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Can you remember how strong your own anger was at that age? It’s too easy to dismiss their reasons for rage as being teenage and silly. If you want to find out what’s wrong rather than just get them to shut up, you’re going to have to sit down and really listen to what they’re saying. It may seem to be about who’s hogging the telly but it might actually be about not having seen his dad for months. And don’t try and use humour. I remember my parents doing that and I felt humiliated and dismissed, and it just meant that the anger built up even more for next time.
2. Stay connected
I have had some wonderful bonding times with both daughters when we have gone somewhere alone together. Just being together in the car for a while means that the conversation flows naturally and we really catch up in a way that we might not have had time to do. I like to take them on special trips to celebrate achievements. I also think that volunteering information about your own adolescence helps them to understand how growing up has always been difficult as well as their particular inheritance of family madnesses.
Kate Figes, author of The Terrible Teens

3. You don’t have to be liked
Many parents are desperate to be popular with their kids, and this confuses things. You have to decide what you are really going to set up your stall about.  I think it’s interesting that when you follow the rules and live upto to your expectation . You don't have to preach to them, which might be nagging and they repel and find fault with you . Teens watch and learn . You have to be a living examples of what you want them to be, it's as simple as that .
4. Negotiate trade-offs 
Reins have to be loosened, but letting go is a process of negotiation. Trade-offs allow you to let go gradually and give your child increased independence. For instance, while you are happy for them to see friends at the weekend, you don’t want them to socialise too much on late night outings. Parents who try and keep their teenagers as dependent as they were when they were small children will come into conflict with their offspring.
John Coleman, psychologist and founder of the Trust for the Study of Adolescence
5. Break the ice with a text
‘I think we need to have a talk’ will most likely be met with a grunt, and the quick presentation of butt cheek as they drag their underpant-exposing, jean-clad backside out of the room (at least in the case of a 15-year-old boy that I know very well). Nowadays kids do most of their most intimate communicating by text or on social networking sites. I recently had a situation where there was something monumental to be communicated – by my daughter to me – and she wanted to do it by text from the next room. I let her start out that way then I went in and sat next to her,hugged her and she talked.
Jenni Trent Hughes, agony aunt and author of Tough Talk Made Easy
Hope these few points help you have a great relationship with your teens and help them cross the adolescent smoothly .

Tiny Teddies Team .


Thursday, 3 September 2015

"If you have nothing nice to say , don't say nothing at all"

BELIEVING IN YOUR CHILD

Parent's belief in their child 's ability is vital to his development . Research shows that children who belief ,"they can ",are more likely to succeed than children who doubt themselves and feel "they cannot."

He may not draw as well as his sister but when he thinks he can when parents believe he can , he always gives the best and brings out the hard work. If you remind him of his sister s superiority he will probably give up drawing altogether. This does not mean you have to praise at every given opportunity though he has not done well. Just let him know YOU BELIEVE. 

The simple rule is that if you cannot say anything GOOD , it's best not to say anything at all. As a general principle , always keep the scales of praise and criticism always weighing more towards praise.

As a parent, watching your child struggle at something can be difficult.  Seeing him or her fail can be devastating. Optimism allows you, as a parent, to find the positives in struggle and failure.  Your child will experience both many times, and you have the job of cultivating an atmosphere where positives can be found in negatives.  Setbacks can provide invaluable insight into the situation and the person.  If setbacks or failures are seen as disasters, your children will lose hope when these invariably occur. 
You want your children to know and understand how to positively make use of the setbacks and failures in their lives.  Your child might benefit if you read with them the autobiography of a famous person.  Choose someone in a field that interests your child.  Successful, accomplished people rarely, if ever, have a life of continual stair-step-progress.  Most have a life punctuated by spectacular failures, each of which taught them an important lesson they were able to use to eventually achieve success. 
You must be your child’s and your family’s cheerleader.  Often, you can more easily motivate those members of the family you are closer to and identify with.  You may have a harder time connecting with the withdrawn child, or the child who is opposite of your personality.  To be able to communicate a vision of a positive future, you must have established lines of communication with all family members.  If you do not, you will need to spend time establishing or restoring those communication lines, which are really the lifelines of your relationship. 

As children grow up they become more self aware . She knows , she unlikely to be the greatest dancer , she does not need you to spell it out to her every time she walks into the dance school.CONCENTRATE , instead in letting her know that she is your very own ,  unique , extraordinary girl and that you will always be the first person to appreciate her. 

Your love , trust and encouragement is all that a toddler needs. 
LET HIM BE HIM , LET HIM KNOW THAT YOUR PROUD OF HIM.