August 11, 2012

Top 5 tips for preparing your kid for Kindergarten

Today we have a very special treat. Cherrie from NuBaby is sharing 5 great tips for preparing your child for kindergarten. Cherrie is the Founder and CBO (Chief Baby Officer) of NuBaby.  She is a Registered Early Childhood Educator who recently led the workshop that our little family attended about ‘preparing your child for junior kindergarten’.  As many of you know, my three year old starts kindergarten in September. She’s ecstatic about going to school, however we’ve been apprehensive about this big transition for our little girl.  At the workshop we attended, Cherrie laid all of our fears to rest and gave us some great tools to start working on with Brie.  She is very knowledgable and you will learn a lot from her top five tips for preparing your child for kindergarten.

With September just a few weeks away, the thought of your baby growing up and going to school may give you your first taste of empty nester syndrome. OK, so it is not as bad, but there are definitely a range of emotions from excitement to sadness, and everything in between.

While you can’t help but feel a little anxious, knowing that you have helped your little one prepare for the big day will help to minimize the fear, for both you and her. Whether it is your child’s first time away from you or she’s making the transition from childcare to school, here are some things you can do to help make the move easier.

1. Talk about it. Not knowing what to expect is very scary, so talk about what going to school will be like. Share stories of your experiences, or include older siblings and cousins in the discussion. Tell your child about all the exciting things and activities he will experience in kindergarten, and offer lots of opportunities for him to share his feelings. Provide comfort and reassurance to help him feel more confident, and remind him of all the things that will still be the same even though there will be a new routine.

2. Go for a visit. Children are most comfortable in a familiar environment. Try to visit the classroom with your child before school starts. Most schools have an orientation day, when you and your child can meet the teacher, ask questions, and find out what the daily schedule will be like. It is also a great time to meet other children who will be in the same class, as well as connect with other parents. If not, take your child to the school and walk around the school grounds together. Playing at the school playground will also help her become familiar with the environment.

3. Make some friends. Walking into a classroom with all brand new faces is very intimidating. Find other children in the neighborhood also attending the same school, preferably the same class and schedule some play dates in advance so there is at least one familiar face. If you will be walking your child to school, find others in the neighborhood that are walking as well and walk to school together to give your child a sense of community.

4. Get ready together. In the weeks before school starts, establish a school day routine and practice getting ready for school together. Have her help you prepare snacks and lunch and practice packing her backpack together.

5. Practice important skills. In school, your child will be expected to be able to communicate, to demonstrate basic knowledge, to socialize with others, and to show independence. Help her practice these skills during every day activities.

o Encourage communication by playing with spoken and written words, telling stories, singing songs and reciting rhymes.

o Encourage literacy and basic math skills through reading books together and asking open-ended questions. Build an understanding of math concepts like counting, sorting, patterning and measuring during play.

o Create opportunities for your child to socialize and interact with others. Engaging in dramatic play experiences with peers allows children to talk, assign roles, and create and follow rules. This helps to develop important social and thinking skills as they learn to cooperate, take turns, and get along with others.

o Encourage your child to be independent by building confidence and self-control. Help your child develop strategies for controlling his emotions and behaviors and provide opportunities for your child to develop self-help skills. Not only will she feel pride in her ability to do things for herself, but she will also develop the confidence to try when faced with new challenges in kindergarten.

June 25, 2012

Free online summer reading program for kids

As we approach the end of the school year, it’s important to note that many kids will be affected by the summer slide.  This is a learning reversal that takes place during the summer months when children are not in school.  According to experts, annual summer reading loss of three months accumulates to a disturbing two-year gap by the time kids are in middle school.  Just this week my friend Nancy forwarded a site to me which I thought I would share with you.  It is called, We give books and is a digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don’t have them.

We Give Books’ Read for My Summer is offering a free online 10 week summer reading program for kids ages 5 through 8. A brand new book will be featured weekly, and the cool thing is, your kids can print out their reading log to share it with their teacher on the first day of school.

If that isn’t cool enough, they’ll also be donating a book to a child in need every time your child reads a book.  View the reading list and sign up your kids for the summer reading program here.

May 28, 2012

Stroke Awareness Month

Just before Easter this year I received a very alarming phone call.  It was my sister-in-law calling to let me know my father-in-law had just had a stroke.  For the last month, our family has been going through the fear and trepidation of having a loved one who has been stricken with a stroke.  Today, my father-in-law is doing much better, but there are so many other families out there who are dealing with the complexities that come when a loved one has had a stroke.

My bloggy friend Bren has been doing a wonderful job spreading awareness about stroke for the past month over at her site, The World According to Bren.  Please click here, to pop over to her site and read more.   Also, here is a stroke FAQ from the heart and stroke foundation that I hope you will find helpful!
Finally, here is some basic information about stroke that is good to know:
  • A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops.  It can cause permanent neurological damage, complications, and death.
  • Stroke symptoms are different for men versus women.
  • If you think you are having a stroke, or your suspect someone around you is having a stroke, call 911 immediately.
  • Stroke is a medical emergency that needs to be treated right away.
May 19, 2012

BlogHer features article from The Epic Adventures of a Modern Mom

Hey Everyone!  I have some super exciting news, I was recently featured on BlogHer!  Imagine my surprise when I recieved an e-mail from Jenna Hatfield saying that she liked an article that I had written on ‘Why I’m sending my kids to public school’ and she wanted to feature it on her publishing network.

The article has caused some lively debate and encouraged parents to talk openly with each other about their feelings and choices regarding our educational system.  Check out the article and weigh in on the topic It’s about choice and we’re choosing public school over private school!

How did you decide where to send your kids to school? Was it the right decision for your family and what has been your experience so far?

May 12, 2012

Becoming a mom

Becoming a mom has been terrible for my ego but wonderful for my soul. I used to be hip, trendy, stylish and fun. I used to strut around like I was hot stuff and then I got filled up from the inside with my babies. As they grew, so did my love for them, swelling within me, overwhelming my emotions. It transformed me and helped me see the world in a whole new way.

In the past three years, I have been covered in vomit, snot, food, drool and other unmentionables. I have stayed up all day and all night holding a sick child in my arms and nursing them back to health. I have wiped tears, kissed boo boos, hugged little bodies tight and sung them to sleep at night.

To my darling children, I have learned to say I love you in so many ways I didn’t know existed. In the kisses of butterflies and Eskimos. In gentle hugs and bear hugs too. In the soft strokes against innocent cheeks, with a sweet, steady gaze into each others eyes. I have felt, spoken, and emoted in these complex and beautiful languages of love to you who made me a mother.

My 24/7/365 nurturing, caring, worrying, encouraging, dance that I do with you for the rest of my life is my choice. I was given you as a gift yet I choose you too. Every day, I choose to laugh at your only knock, knock joke. I choose to cheer loudly when you’ve conquered a challenge. I choose to dance around the house with you and sing silly songs. I choose to check on you in the middle of the night even though I know you are fine. I choose to be the best mom I can possibly be to you because I love you that much.

I’m no longer the cool young woman that I used to be but I’m ok with that because I’m a better version of myself. I used to think I had my finger on the pulse of what’s happening, but I realize now that it all pales in comparison to feeling your pulse on my lips as I give you a raspberry on the inside of your wrist.

“Making the decision to have a child – it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body”.  Elizabeth Stone
I made that decision four years ago and every year on Mother’s Day I feel truly thankful to know that I’ve been blessed with these lovely children to whom I will always be their one and only…Mom!