Monday, March 26, 2012

Craft Gossip has done it again!  Another fantastic find for a fun and inexpensive craft that can be used in a huge variety of lesson plans.

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Once in a while, a craft comes across my path, and my heart gets all tingly because the craft touches the cockles of my heart. This craft does th...

Take Care, D

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One thing I have learned with preschoolers and early school-aged children…they often get ants in their pants!  Ever sit down with a child to do homework or something, they just can’t sit still.  I will often let my children stand up to do reading or worksheets but sometimes that still isn’t enough.

When the kids were preschoolers, we would often take breaks to “shake our sillies out”.  Sometimes we’d even sing the song.  That would give me another, oh 5 or 10 minutes out of them.  I know it doesn’t seem like much but kids are active and if I try to keep them down, they’ll get grumpy, then I’ll get grumpy and through the frustration, it just isn’t worth the hassle.  Plus, next time I would try to sit them down, the meltdown would happen even sooner and we’d never get through whatever activity we were trying to accomplish.
With early school-aged kids, they don’t usually want to shake their sillies but they still have trouble sitting for long periods.  Now I’m not saying one shouldn’t keep kids still for longer periods, they definitely need that skill in life as well as the virtue of patience but maybe breaks when he/she starts showing signs of ants creeping in.  Don’t wait for the meltdown – I definitely don’t want to reward that but maybe there’s a good place to take a quick activity break.

Some ideas for an activity break are to have an Ant Jar, where there is a jar or container that has activity ideas in it.  The activity could be on paper or popsicle sticks or anything.  Pick one (or five) out and do it.  Another idea might be to do some stretches or a couple yoga poses.  Sometimes we even play a quick game where I have a list of activities and the child rolls a die to see how many he/she must do.  The ideas are endless as are the activities.
Here are some activities that we do:
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Hop on 2 Feet
  • Touch Toes
  • Tip Toe Steps
  • Giant Steps
  • Baby Steps
  • Elbows to knees
  • Arm Circles
  • Hip circles
  • Ankle circles
  • Crunches
  • High knees
  • Foot slaps
After we’ve done a couple of activities, we get right back to work.  We normally will take one to two breaks during a half-hour to forty minute session but it really depends on your child’s squirm level.  I am always careful to make sure that the child understands that it’s a reward for working hard and being still.  One time a friend let it slip that it seemed that her child was a squirmy worm and so they were going to do an activity.  Well two minutes later, he got exaggeratedly squirmy and told his mom that he felt squirmy and could they do the activity again?  Kids are so smart.

Do you have any suggestions for keeping those ants at bay?  I’d love to hear from you.
Take Care, D

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I have a surprise for everyone today…a guest writer!

Please welcome, our first guest writer, Lisa from The Party Works.  Lisa is a mom and guest post writer on the subjects of parenting, child and adolescent behavior, and staying organized in a chaotic, disorganized world.  Lisa's here to spill some secrets on having a successful child's birthday party and I for one can't wait to get in on it so spill away Lisa!

Take care, D.


The Secret Recipe for a Successful Child’s Birthday Party

The cake, pizza, party favors, Mario party supplies, and your child’s birthday present are often just the basic ingredients that go into making a successful child’s birthday party. If you’ve ever thrown a party for your child, you know it’s a lot of work. Planning the party, setting up for the party, and actually hosting the party can be exhausting on top of everything else you have to do as a parent and human being. Here are a few tips to help you ensure that things go smoothly at your child’s next birthday party:

1. Adjust your expectations.
The good news is that most kids aren’t usually picky when it comes to their birthday parties. They usually just want to spend some time with their friends, open their presents, and eat some cake. So, their expectations turn the pressure down a notch. It’s important that you adjust your expectations too. Don’t try to achieve perfection at your child’s party. There are inevitably going to be a few snares. That’s ok. The important thing is that your child and the party guests have a good time and make memories.

2. Remember that less is more when it comes to party guests.  
It’s usually a good idea to keep the list of party guests down to around ten. If you have more than ten party guests, it can be difficult to keep things under control behavior-wise. Inevitably, disagreements are going to arise among the children if the party is large. Ask your child whom they want to invite. Your child will have a better time if just his or her friends are there. And the other kids will have a better time as well.

3. Make sure there’s enough to do.
There’s nothing worse than idle time at a children’s birthday party. So, make sure there’s plenty for them to do. You should probably choose activities for the party ahead of time, and make sure they’re age appropriate. Ask your child what some of their favorite activities and games at school are. This will give you a good idea of what the kids will like to play, so you can plan accordingly.

4. Give your kid a say.
As you’ve probably noticed, your child can actually help you a lot when it comes to throwing a birthday party. Your son or daughter can help you figure out who to invite and help you plan party activities. Don’t be afraid to collaborate with your child as you plan the party. He or she can help you pick out the right party supplies, favors, and snacks. Plus, your child will love having a say in the decision making process when it comes to his or her party.

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