Friday, May 29, 2015

The Happy Mommy Handbook is Only $.99 for 2 days!

The Happy Mommy Handbook: Amazon Sale - Only $.99 for 2 Days

The Happy Mommy Handbook is on sale May 30th & 31st for only $.99! Currently, it is Number 1 in Parenting on Amazon. You can also purchase it from Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The ebook price will be $3.99 after that. Print copies are $9.95 and make wonderful gifts for parents and teachers of preschoolers.

Do you need answers to these questions?
  • Why can't my kids just play by themselves occasionally?
  • How can I help my children learn in fun ways?
  • What can I do to help my child be ready for school?

Katie Norris, Mommy with Selective Memory, and a mom with common dilemmas, has co-written this book with me, a former Kindergarten teacher, to help moms of preschoolers. Our book can help save your sanity - one fun, inexpensive project at a time. You'll learn the child development explanations behind the activities as your preschooler becomes better behaved while learning. This book is also helpful to prepare your child for kindergarten, homeschoolers, and those who have children with special needs.

The Happy Mommy Handbook has many 5 Star reviews. Here is an example:

Review by Carol Wilhelm, teacher and author of The Wise Owl Factory

"The authors of this book have a vast amount of practical experience and tips to share with parents who need so much help in today's world. This book helps parents understand WHY and HOW to engage their young children in appropriate learning activities (not flashcards, not screen time) and have some peace in the house as children can stay busy for longer periods of time with the play/learning they should be doing. This is so child-friendly and is not a top-down model. Understanding what the children can and should be doing really helps. I think fathers should read this book, also, to understand what is going on in the learning lives of young children and why such play is a basis for academic learning later (even for algebra). Very important book to read. This is an easy read and a how-to guide book on WHAT and HOW to create child-centered learning in your home!"
The Happy Mommy Handbook is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo for $.99! Or you may enjoy a glimpse into Kindergarten with my book Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents.

Go ahead, take a look inside and see what you think.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

How to De-Stress Young Children while Traveling

Ways to Help Children Relax while Traveling
Cooper muttered the words that frustrates every mother, "I'm bored." 

Megan sighed. She and her husband had saved for months for this special trip to unwind and build family bonds. She had packed lots of things for the children to do in the car.

Cooper hit his brother and they both started the high-pitched screaming that made Megan's skin hurt. She rolled her eyes at her husband when he gave her an exasperated look.

Megan wondered what she could do so her children would relax and enjoy their family vacation.

Megan's dilemma is not unusual. Children crave consistency, stability and routine. How can you help your children cope with the hustle and bustle of traveling? Here are some tips:

  1. Don't Over Schedule: Leave time for naps and rest. Be realistic about what your family can do.
  2. Movement: Physical activity is one of the simplest and most effective ways to reduce stress and ensure that your child gets a good night's sleep. Play outside when possible. Stop at rest stops and encourage the children to run around or play tag. Or roll around on the floor at the hotel and "roughhouse" ~ or play music and dance. Download some fun children's songs onto your phone before you travel.
  3. Toys & Books: Take some familiar and favorite things.
  4. Music: Calming music helps children relax. Dancing to fast music helps them release stored up energy.
  5. Stay with your routine and diet as much as possible.
  6. Give warnings of transitions.
  7. Spend at least 15 minutes a day of one-on-one focused attention on a child before guiding them into independent play. Sometimes relaxation is spelled t-i-m-e- w-i-t-h- a- p-a-r-e-n-t.
  8. Communicate. Children may feel frustrated but don't yet have the words to tell you. Be aware of visual clues and give your child words to use: "I'm tired. I'm hungry. I need to jump."
  9. Laughter: Act goofy and find humor in situations, or start a tickle fight.
  10. Massages: Rub your child's back or feet while talking soothingly to them or listening to calming music.
  11. Deep Breathing: Say: "Breath in. Hold it (3 seconds). Breath out." Repeat this several times. While your child is holding their breath, say things like: "I'm so relaxed. I feel good. I'm having fun with my family."
  12. Blow bubbles or blow up a balloon and toss it around. Offer a squeeze ball to tighten and relax muscles. Tell them to squeeze the ball hard,  then drop it - or flex muscles, then relax them.
  13. Bedtime ritual: Share books and cuddle time before they go to sleep. Have your child tell you what they did today, helping them remember the positive, happy adventures.
  14. Gratitude Meditation: Help your child express gratitude for all the things they have such as family, home, food, friends, toys, books.

It is important to have realistic behavior expectations. Cranky kids may need more rest and food - or less stimulation. Stay calm through the storms and be a good example of handling stress well. Catch your children being good and tell them you love them, offering security they may need in unfamiliar situations.

Helpful Posts:
    Keep Calm and Carry On!
    Do you need activities to help prepare your preschooler for kindergarten? Read a mom's dilemmas with a teacher's advice and child development explanations in The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents.These bestsellers make great gifts and are also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The eBooks are only $3.99.

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    Monday, March 9, 2015

    Simple Comprehension Questions for Early Readers

    Reading Comprehension Questions for Preschoolers & Kindergartners
    photo from HANDS ON as We Grow
    I was filled with joy as my four-year-old grandson read a book to me. His proud mother said, "It's impressive - but I wonder if he understands what he's reading." We both looked at each other and decided we needed to find out.

    I searched on-line for Comprehensive Reading Questions - and was overwhelmed with the amount of questions you can ask a young reader. Reading needs to be a fun bonding experience - so I suggest the KISS approach:

    • Who? Who was in this book?
    • What? What happened?
    • Where? Where did this happen?
    • How? How was a problem solved?
    • WHY? Why did you like this book (or why not)?
    Photo from In Leiu of Preschool
    Children will eventually anticipate that questions will be asked - and they will learn to focus on content. Then you can increase comprehension questions.
    It is not necessary to ask all the suggested questions below. Just ask what you think is appropriate at the time. You may want to wait until the end of the book to ask anything - but asking a few questions before beginning a story, and during reading, may aid in comprehension, especially if the child knows that questions are going to be asked.

    Questions to Ask BEFORE Reading:
    • What do you think this book is about?
    • What do you think will happen?
    • Do you think this book is real or make believe?
    Questions to Ask DURING Reading - or just let it flow
    • What do you think is going to happen next?
    • How do you think it is going to end?
    • How does the main character feel?
    Questions to Ask AFTER Reading:
    • Do you like this book? Why?
    • What happened? 
    • What is your favorite part? Why?
    • Who was your favorite character? What did you like about them?
    • Can you tell me the story in your own words?
    • Can you make up a story about.... (whatever they love). It is fun and enlightening to make up stories together.
    Participating in teaching a child to read is a remarkable and gratifying experience. Reading is a gift that helps children throughout their lifetime. My most rewarding accomplishment in teaching kindergarten was seeing the shining eyes and surprised smile of a child who realizes they have finally learned to read on their own.

    Don't just go through it - 
    Grow through it.
      Related Posts: 
      eReaders or Paper Books for Young Children?
      5 Tips: Teaching Children to Read Naturally
      Reading: The Greatest Gift of All

      Would you like a glimpse into Kindergarten? See Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Would you like to help your preschooler prepare for kindergarten? Read a mom's dilemmas with a teacher's advice and child development explanations in The Happy Mommy Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide on Keeping Your Toddlers and Preschoolers Busy, Out of Trouble and Motivated to Learn. These bestsellers make great gifts and are also available on Barnes & Noble and Kobo. The eBooks are only $3.99.

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      Tuesday, April 29, 2014

      5 Tips: Teaching Children to Read Naturally

      Easy Inexpensive Ways to Teach Reading

      Please don't be stressed that your preschooler isn't reading! Of course, it is wonderful to share books with your child and for them to see you reading. Your enthusiasm for books is contagious and extremely helpful for children to develop a curiosity and love of books. But they may not be ready to focus on the letters, or be interested in flashcards, or expensive phonics' programs. Let them be children, learning with their five senses and movement, and they will learn naturally with some easy inexpensive involvement and encouragement. 

      When my grandson went grocery shopping with his mom, he pointed and yelled, "K-R-O-G-E-R. That spells grocery store!" He didn't know the name of the store, but knew those letters symbolized groceries. Be excited when children notice and recognize letters and words. 


      Friday, February 14, 2014

      Rip Up Recess Rules and Reap the Benefits

      Losing Recess Rules Results in Drop in Bullying and Higher Academics

      No recess rules?! Does this sound astonishing to you? A school in New Zealand has ripped up the recess rules and now has a drop in bullying, serious injuries, and vandalism while creativity and learning are increasing - and behavior problems disappearing. Could this happen in the United States? You simply must watch this video where students are climbing trees, riding skateboards, playing bullrush (a tag and tackle game), playing with sticks, and having mudslides! Just click on Bullrush Returns to Schools to view, but I hope you will come back here to read my section: The Benefits of Relaxing Recess Rules.

      How did this happen that school recess rules were done away with completely? Swanson Primary School was one of eight schools that decided to participate in a study by Aucland University of Technology (AUT) and Otago University. The aim of the two year study was to encourage active play. But Swanson Primary decided to do away with the rules entirely, as the principal and some teachers were inspired remembering their childhood free play. 

      Wednesday, July 17, 2013

      Outdoor Play: Games & Benefits with 100+ Kid Bloggers' Hop

      Play Outside: 100 Days of Play Blog Hop
      Groovy Soaker Water Balloons fit easily under a spout for filling.
      Learning to play outdoor games uses creativity, imagination, cooperation, and brain power by making up new games and participating in sports and games that have been around for decades. Playing outside games can teach a child social skills while releasing stress and forming friendships. Young children learn by using their five senses and movement. So much more can be experienced through the senses when outdoors while expanding a child's imagination. Even short periods in the natural world improve a child's mood and appreciation for our earth.

      Wednesday, June 5, 2013

      Top 10 Ways to Keep Kids Creative: School's Out KBN Series

      Creative Kids: Fostering Creativity in Children

      All of us have an innate desire to be creative. Children learn through play, discovery and exploration. They want to naturally extend learning activities, manipulate and create. But through time, discouragement, lack of opportunity and too much screen time, we lose our drive to be creative and lack the confidence and focus. How often do you think, or hear someone say, "Kids can't think for themselves anymore." Let's provide amble opportunities for children to think, explore, extend and create. Here's why and how: