I have been having a tough time with my 6 year old coming into my bed at night. He wakes between 2-5 and immediately comes into bed with me. I am exhausted! I can’t sleep when he is with me. I had to turn to my friend Alanna McGinn who is a sleep consultant and my go-to person for all things sleep. You can find her at http://www.goodnightsleepsite.com
When it comes to shopping for toys, children are usually happy with the latest gadget but it’s important to choose wisely. Whether you’re looking for a simple plaything or interactive game, a good toy should be both fun and educational as well as appropriate for your child’s age. We’ve put together this handy guide on choosing the right toys to boost mental and physical development.
Choose simple toys
‘Open-ended’ toys are those which encourage problem solving and imagination. These are often the simplest forms of toys but offer the greatest benefits. For younger children, this may include blocks or LEGO. These require creativity, allowing a child to design their own shapes andbuildings. It’s great for developing cognitive functions and as they learn from experience, they’ll become more independent.
Older children may prefer arts and crafts which has similar advantages. Using crayons and painting is a form of spontaneous play that will keep them busy for hours whilst stimulating the mind. Toys which take more of an active role during play time such as interactive stuffed animals are surprisingly less beneficial. They require far less imagination and though processes, as they instruct a child to make decisions.
Make it age appropriate
During their infant months, children should play with rattles, busy boxes and anything that can be grasped, squeezed or shaken. This aids hand-eye coordination and they’ll enjoy the noise and different colors. As they get older, they can experiment with larger toys and those which have cause and effect. Introduce a push/pull buggy or shape sorters to provide stimulation and it’s a task which they should eventually master.
Toys should continue to provide a challenge whilst being enjoyable to use. As they become proficient with language, be sure to encourage puzzles which is great for developing analytical and problem solving skills. It’s also something they’ll continue to enjoy long into their senior years.
In the new era of technology, children have more access to gadgets and information than ever before. When used safely, this can be a great way to aid learning. Educational apps for smart phones or tablets provide a good platform to learn new skills in a fun and exciting way. A simple puzzle or quiz game can strengthen memory processes and improve attention span. Using a touch screen is also good for hand eye coordination and development of fine motor skills.
Include an outdoor toy
Technology is useful but it’s also important to provide opportunity for active play. An outdoor playset such as a swing set or sand water tables can reduce time spent indoors, avoiding the many health related issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle. It’s not only great exercise, it also develops the major motor skills, improving reflexes and balance. They’ll love the endless opportunities for role playing games with friends which is great for social interaction and their self-confidence.
Follow these easy steps and you’ll provide the best chance for learning and development. As a bonus, they’ll love the satisfaction of improving and it should keep them busy for hours.
Recently, my tween daughter and I were invited to a spa-themed day at the Glama Gal Spa near Yorkdale. I was immediately excited. What a great way to spend a day, getting pampered with my daughter! I love any activity where I can bond with her. I want this to be a natural thing for us – spending time together. As she grows older I want to set a precedent that we take time to together, where she can talk to me and we can stay connected.
I love the Glama Gal Spa. I love the inspirational messages they have all around the spa encouraging the girls to be themselves, to be confident, to be strong. The spa isn’t about getting beautiful, it’s about being a beautiful person and treating yourself with kindness as well as others. This message is important to me raising a daughter.
As a mother of a daughter, I feel like I am constantly walking a thin line. I am the model upon which she’ll most-likely base her future behaviour. As she gets older it’s hard to know what’s okay for her age and what I should wait on. I talk to my friends who also have girls, I read what I can, but I worry I’m going to mess up. And then, the spa-owner told me this story . . .
Another tween wanted a spa-party. She invited her friends. Unbeknownst to anyone but herself, this tween (I so want to call her Heather!) also sent an invitation to a girl who is not in her regular circle of friends. She deliberately put the wrong time on the invitation. The spa-owner told me that a little girl showed up ready for a spa party and the party had been over for at least an hour. She explained the situation to the little girl. The girl showed her the invitation she’d received, trying to hide her devastation at being so cruelly pranked.
The spa-owner called the party-girl’s mother. Let’s just stop here and think, shall we? As a sane, rational being with a pulse, what would your reaction have been???????
This girl’s mother simply did a telephone shrug and said, “Well, yeah, my daughter doesn’t like that girl very much,” and THEN asked the spa-owner to take the little girl’s birthday gift for her daughter and hold it until the next day when she could pick it up. Okay . . . go get a glass of water and walk it off. I’ll wait. (Go ahead, grab a glass of wine if you need it. I sure did.)
Just wow. The spa-owner, bless her, gave the little girl, who was standing in her spa listening to all of this, still devastated at being the butt of a really mean joke, the full treatment that afternoon. The girl left happier and with her birthday gift.
I cannot stop thinking about this story. The mean girl will learn nothing from a mother like that. What kind of person allows their child to do something like that without so much as a “Why?” much less a punishment. It bothers me that there are families like this. We all know that the mean girl in this situation is likely to turn into a mean woman without some kind of intervention.
The best I could manage was to use this story as a lesson for my daughter. We talked it through. I mentioned that should she ever try such a thing, there would be serious repercussions. Beyond that, I don’t know what else there is to do. I’m left feeling grateful that the spa-owner is the kind woman that she is. I’m angry at the mom far more than the girl who played the mean trick. And, I’m just at a loss . . . my only hope is that there can’t be THAT many women like that out there. Can there?
This is a sponsored blog post for Glama Gal Spa. All views are my own. I love to support great businesses!
Digital Citizenship and our Children: What Should Parents Do?
Our world is becoming increasingly digitalized – we check the newspaper on our phones, depend on GPS systems for direction, and keep in touch with friends through social media. These changes also affect our children as technology has not only become commonplace amongst their friends but also in their classrooms. You don’t have to be a parent to know that the internet is a large expanse that requires wisdom to navigate through. As parents of 21st century children, we need to dive into this topic with our children in a way for them to understand that we understand.
Research, research…and research!
The first step that you can take as a parent is to find out what technologies your children are using. Ask your children what their favourite websites are, ask other parents about what their children use, and try them out for yourself. Without exposure to these social media websites and applications, it’s more difficult to understand what could pose as an issue.
The internet is not the culprit, it is a valuable tool
When speaking about internet and social media use, make sure not to portray these things as being inherently bad for the child. The internet is an amazing resource for learning and information exchange. Brainstorm ways that you as a parent can influence how your child uses the internet. It is more than a tool for entertainment and socializing. Topics about internet safety can follow these discussions naturally as the child sees the parents be comfortable with technology. Here are a few ideas of how to do this:
Participate in an online ‘hangout’ with your child’s favorite role models
Use open education resources online to help your child with difficult subjects
‘Explore’ the world digitally through Google Maps!
Boundaries and the World Wide Web
Incorporating technology in the ways listed above can expand the discussion and help children think about more than restrictive rules that are set by parents. The age at which children use smart devices is getting younger. As you set boundaries for internet use, small lessons can be taught one at a time. Explaining why your children are not allowed to engage in certain activities online is more helpful than simply restricting them. These conversations may include the repercussions of sharing private information online and issues of trust and connecting with strangers or friends on social media.
In addition to conversations, there are practical tools that you may consider using to monitor internet and social activity. Website tracking tools such as Teensafe are easily found and used to track your child’s browsing and search history. It is important to have a balance between respecting your child’s privacy and ensuring their safety.
Boundaries should be placed when you start to monitor activities as this demonstrates to the child that you trust them. Be transparent about how children will be monitored so there are no surprises. Snooping around is likened to reading someone’s diary. Instead, discuss with your child, get feedback, and come to compromises as both sides will have strong opinions about the topic. Finally, talk to other parents to share ideas.
“The likelihood of our children working with internet based technologies in the future is higher than ever before. It is important that we don’t over-protect them, but empower them to be critical users of the internet. We need to make sure they think critically about their online interactions,” says Nathan Bugden, M. Ed. and Learning Management Systems expert at GVE Online Education. For example, our company, GVE Online Education connects students aged 6 to 15 with tutors online. Because of these online interactions, we rigorously screen our tutors and a local teacher is always present during sessions. The role of the local teacher is not to interrupt sessions, but to monitor lessons and help students feel safe.
Technology as a part of a bigger lifestyle
An upside of technology is that it is just one aspect of our lives. There are many ways to explore this world and other forms of learning or play can be enjoyed when families participate together. Technology allows this in one way, but there are experiences that just cannot be replaced with a screen. Try some of these ideas to have quality time with your family:
Look at stars at an astronomy centre or at night outside the city
Exercise your heart with a simple activity like hiking
Visit your local museum and cultural centre
It may seem like a challenge for parents to manage your children’s use of technology, but it’s not impossible. Because of technology there are more resources at hand for parents to become knowledgeable about the different activities that children are engaged in. By having a discussion with your children, you can protect your child, build trust, and discover that it’s a great opportunity to connect with your child in a new way.
Article written by Dahee Lee, Social Media & Blogger for GVE Online Education. GVEOE is devoted to providing innovative and high-quality English online lessons to students in China grades 1 through 9. The company leverages a strong network of English native speaking tutors in Canada and the US to deliver online lessons that focus on the speaking aspect of the English language. We are always looking to hire tutors for our work from home opportunities, if you are interested please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or read more about us on our website http://www.gveoe.com/
What child doesn’t love songs? Check out this collection of kids songs, song by Fireese! Press play, and enjoy along with your children.
Want to learn the lessons for these songs first? Check out our playlist with all the lessons here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list…
Now that school is back in we are trying to get back into our routine of things. One way we get back into our routine is by limiting screen time and getting our kids to earn screen time by doing chores around the house. Check out the strategy we use to reward our routine:
Classrooms are a big petri dish of germs and the best defence against getting sick from those germs is hand washing. But if you have a young child you may know how lazy they can be when it comes to washing their hands. My son would come home at the end of the day and his hands would look like they’ve never been washed. So I came up with a little trick to make sure he is washing his hands at school.