5 Ways to Make your Kids Mornings Easier

Mornings can be challenging, even for that rare breed of creature who considers themselves a “morning person.”  When discussing young children, mornings can be even more difficult.  Children are sometimes irrational creatures in every regard, therefore, it can be especially patience stretching to wake a grumpy child and seamlessly get out of the door without losing your mind, or your cool.  Here are a few tips from some seasoned parents that may help make your morning go a little smoother and hopefully to at least soothe that wild beast you have invoked.

1. Are They Counting Enough Sleep?

This is paramount, there are specific recommendations for each and every age child.  The amount of sleep your child has can directly impact the ability to rouse in the morning, as well as the mood you find your precious gem in.

2. Repeat Yourself (wake them twice)

Adults are guilty of this; we call it the snooze button where we allow our bodies to become used to the idea of waking in the morning.  As you develop your morning routine consider letting your children know that the first time you wake them will be gentle (maybe a kiss on the forehead or a soothing stroke of the hair). The second time you come, you expect more than a flutter of the eyelids.

3. Here Comes the Sun…

Though it is very important in the evening at bedtime to have a quiet and darkened room to help lull your little one off to dreamland, it is equally important to create an energized environment in the morning.  Open the curtains, twist up the blinds and allow the light in.

4. Bribery

Never underestimate the reward system.  Set some expectations and bust out a goal chart.  If your child wakes and readies themselves without incident every day for a week, offer a small treat as a reward for the desired behavior.

5. Tunes to Tame the wild Beast

Develop a morning playlist of your child’s favorite energetic make-you-move-and-groove kind of songs.  Amp this up in the mornings to get them roused and going, hopefully without the grumpiness joining you.

Give some thought mom and dad, to how you wake in your best form to greet the day, be creative and sometimes patient.  Using some of these tips should enable you to have a smoother, less stressful morning routine.  Now go wake that Tasmanian devil.

Home Schooling vs. Public Schooling

Which is the BEST Option for Your Family?

Maybe your child is fast approaching school age or maybe you are finding yourself increasingly frustrated with educational options for your family.   Whatever the reason more and more families are exploring the aspects of homeschooling vs. public schooling.  As the homeschooling movement has gained popularity from the 1970’s until today it has brought with it a surge of educational options that rivals most other educational arenas.  When you couple that with what some families are finding to be a less than ideal environment in many public schools, you have room for debate and questions.  But how does homeschooling really stack up to the public school system that has been in existence since most of us can remember?  Are children who are homeschooled at a disadvantage?  Are public schooled students better socialized?  Read on to answer some of these tough questions.

How does the educational experience differ between public school and homeschool?

With public school systems a classroom is typically comprised of approximately 20 students. This means that for any well meaning teacher it is a constant battle to decipher the needs of 20 individual personalities and learning styles to create the optimum learning experience often in a shortened time span.  With homeschooling you may have a large family but the teacher (usually the parent) knows the student intimately and knows what tools they need to succeed.  There is also more freedom and time to explore topics of interest and areas of difficulty as there are no bells ringing to signal preset time constraints.

Are Homeschooled Students at a Disadvantage Academically?

With all the freedom allotted to homeschoolers, do they wind up disadvantaged in the sheer academia?  According to a number of studies on test scores and academic performance, the answer is pretty astounding.  The home educated students typically score 15-30 percentile points more than publics school students on standardized academic achievement tests. That is an increase in test scores that most parents would love to see.

What About Socialization?

This seems to still be a question at the forefront of most people’s minds.  How could a child surrounded by other children all day long in a public school setting not be at an advantage over a child who may only be surrounded by siblings and a parent for most of their time?  The answer is that homeschooled children view the world as their classroom so they are more often not inside the confines of 4 walls when learning.  What this means is that the socialization experience of homeschooled students is more often with a greater variance of people.  They come in contact with not only other children their age (at co-ops, church or social events, and extracurricular sports) but also with people from all walks of life and varied ages as they interact with the world at large.  There is also more time for the homeschooled child to volunteer to communities where their socialization experiences helps.

Now some of the basic questions may be answered, but for someone who is newer to this whole concept of homeschooling and public school, what are the options?  For public school it is simple.  When your child reaches “school age” (usually by 6 years old) you take them down to the local school district and register them for kindergarten.  Simple as that your child has begun their academic career.  Barring any family move from district to district, this is where your child will attend school until they complete the 12th grade and graduate school.  There usually are no other major changes save for the situations where a family may decide to take advantage of a technical school, if offered, usually during the latter high school years.  In many parts of the country there are also now charter and Montessori schools that accept public funding and therefore operate like public schools allowing children into the school system either on an academic testing basis or a locale basis.

In traditional public schools the parent is simply the compliment to the education.  The parent helps with homework, can facilitate assistance in the classroom with parties and field trips if necessary, but is largely left out of the educational part of school.  In fact, the parent has no say in what is taught in the school operating system so if there are concepts that are against the parent’s own set of standards and beliefs (certain religions and material on sex education and reproduction) they are taught regardless of the parent’s personal feelings.

What about homeschooling, how does a parent even get started?  A good starting point in the US  is to review the laws in your state.  This can be done by going to this website https://www.hslda.org/laws/default.asp? , picking out your state and seeing what the requirements are.  Every state is a bit different with some having more leniency and less reporting standards than others.  What if you live outside the US and are wondering about international laws?  No problem there is a place to view all of those laws as well http://www.hslda.org/hs/international/

If you are interested in completely removing yourself from the home education proceedings but do want to have your child at home while learning there are a number of online schools available.  This option, at least in the United States, often comes free of charge as it is still being partially funded by the public school system as a whole.  Therefore, while the parent can call it “homeschooling” there is little choice for the parent in the education being provided, however it is provided often free of charge and with the child in the parent’s home.  One of the most well known online public schools is K-12.

For a parent who would like a little more control they must first register with their state or locale in whatever manner is necessary (for some there is no registration requirement) and provide whatever materials are asked of them.  Beyond that the parent has more choices.  A parent can choose to purchase entire grade level curriculum for each child with all of the guesswork taken out of the teaching and lesson planning, a parent can purchase curriculum on a by subject basis for those students who may be more advanced in one academic area than another or a parent has the freedom to develop their own learning protocols.   The parent is the overseeing body who is in charge of what materials they want to focus on and what subjects they want taught to their children.

Public School and homeschool are options available to every parent, in every state.  This option is not yet available in every country, but there are agencies that are keeping tabs on what is available

Homeschooling is legal in all of the 50 United States and of course public school is the option that has been the norm for educating children since before the turn of the century.  A parent must only realize that they have choices and then look at the options available to their family to decide what avenue will best meet the needs of their own child or children.  Whether you as a parent reside in the United States or Abroad, there are agencies that can provide you information and the basic concepts of homeschooling remain the same.

Should twins be in the same class ?

To be Parents of twins would be super excited to know that they are expecting Twins. But looking after twins is not an easy job. Both parents should share equal responsibilities of the kids after they are born. If you are a first time parent make it a point to join a club of parents who have twins. It becomes easier that way. When the children grow up to be preschoolers they enjoy each others company. They do not need other friends. But advice from Twin coaches is to keep them apart in school. They need time apart inspite of being very close to each other to grow and develop their personalities. Here are some parenting tips for the education and schooling of their Twins. There are two main views discussed. One is that the twins should be separated in school. and the other that they should not be separated in school

Avoid Dominance

Dominance of one twin over the other cannot be avoided if they are together. Just in case one twin is more dominating in nature, there is a chance the other twin will be subdued and that could be problem for him / her for life. He/ She will always be in a shell and will never open out. If one of the twin is an Introvert and the other an extrovert then the introvert blends in with the friends of the extrovert twin automatically. In this case the Introvert twin does not have to work on the skill of opening up. He / she is already a part of a ready group. Separating them could result in the introvert twin opening up faster.

No Comparisonshoud be done

There is a tendency of twins getting compared to each other when they are in the same class in school. This prevents the weaker one from becoming strong. He will always be under the shadow of the stronger or more intelligent of the twins. There are times when maybe one twin is excellent in reading or maths while the other is not. This will make the stronger one feel guilty as most teachers will say it in front of the kids.

Separation keeps them close

Normally people think that keeping twins away from each other will drift them apart. Separation from each other keeps the twins yearning for each other as otherwise at home they are together doing all chores in each others company. School is a new place for them and they are out of their comfort zone. So when they meet they have a lot to talk and discuss about and they get a lot of information from each other. So hence the myth that when your twins are given their me time separately they drift from one another is a complete misnormer. Infact they get closer to each other. The time they get away from each other encourages them to understand themselves as individuals and become more confident.

Disadvantage of not being together

There are Pros and cons to everything. In this case the disadvantage is that if the kids are in two different classes it becomes a hectic schedule for the mother of the twins. She has to attend to volunteering if needed in two different classes, Help in making projects for both the kids. Maybe the topic of the project is different. The two classrooms can have sets of different rules and regulations which the mother has to adhere to. Then dropping both the kids to their different classes and then being there on time to pick them up is also a difficult chore. When you have to cater to their tiffin menus set by the two teachers of the two different classes, it becomes very difficult for the mother to do this.

Get Organised

You can turn the disadvantage to your favour by getting a little organized. Put down all details of each week on your computer . Or make a note on whiteboards , A different colour for each twin noting down their activities, events and menu for the week is not a bad idea. You as a mother will definitely put things together better if you organize yourself.

Being at two Places

Being at two places at the same time is humanly impossible. So if you have to attend an event in both classes , you can always request the teacher if the other twin can attend this class and the next time this twin can attend the event in the other twin’s class.

Talk to other parents of twins

Talking to other parents of twins who have already gone through this rigmarole will be very helpful to the first time parents of twins. They are already experienced so they can guide you to better solutions.

There are different views to the topic of the education and schooling of twins. It is debatable. There are some opinions which say that they should be together and some opinions say that they should be separated. But majority say that the twins should be separated if you want them to be confident individuals in their adulthood. There should not be any dependency on each other even though they are there for each other whenever needed. As a parent of twins, what would you do ? Comment your thoughts on your choice.

Celebrate your kids passion !

We live in an economy where we are forced make decisions that challenges our emotions and intelligence, whether to allow our kids to follow their passion or direct them in the path where the basic survival is assured. When we look back at history people who are being celebrated are the ones who did what they really loved.

Thomas Edison was one such personality who pursued his passion from child hood. His father was an exiled political activist from Canada and his mother was an accomplished school teacher. She was a major influence in Thomas’ early life. His hearing disability due to scarlet fever at an early age made his mother pull him out of school and give him home education. At the age of 11 he suddenly showed great affinity towards reading books and had a voracious hunger for knowledge. His mothers idea of home education gave him that opportunity for a wide –open curriculum where he could learn and study just what he was interested in. He developed a process of learning independently which helped him throughout his life. His passion was experimenting which he continued and was always encouraged by his mother. He became the genius of our time just because he was allowed to pursue his passion.

How to help your kids to find their Passion ?

A child’s passion if tapped early in life can be very helpful to him as he may not be aware of what he is really interested in. You as a Parent should be very vigilant about your child’s various interests and hit on the right one which will help him in his future. You should help your child by introducing him to various activities which you think may be of interest to him . When he sees that you are taking pains to get him on track then even he will put in equal efforts .
You can help the child to find out his passion and then help him pursue it in many ways.

Help him with his Curiosity: Children basically are very curious and inquisitive right from their toddlerhood. Once they develop this habit of intense curiosity, expose him to a lot of different thing that you think may interest him. He will himself be able to discover his passion. It need not be an expensive matter. I could just be something you observe on the street and show it to him. Maybe that will be a good and interesting beginning for him.

Finding Passions: Do not react if your childs interest in something fades away within a few weeks of indulgence. Thing like this happen. You as a Parent should have tremendous faith in him and his abilities . Give him time to discover and practice his interest. If he feels later that he can pursue this passion further he will definitely do it. The making or shaping of your child depends solely on your patience with him until he finds something he is really very passionate about.

Listen to your child: You have to guide and support your child even if he keeps changing his interests from time to time. The passion he pursues should be of his interest and not something which you as a child always wanted to pursue and could not. Let him dream. Give him all the freedom to do as he wants. Do not force a child to do otherwise. The result will be that he will be pursuing something that you like which he was never interested in. But to keep your word he may do it. He will not be happy. Let your child do something that he will feel contented with. There are times when even as teenagers children are not sure of what they want to do in life. But there is no use fretting over this. There will be a time when they actually listen to their inner voice and would like to do just that whether it is a hobby converted to a career or just doing it for the feel of passion.

Go the distance: Be co-operative with your child. Even if there is something which you do not like or that would be the last place on earth you would like to be in, Be there for him. It is your duty to go that extra distance for your loved one. It is said that what is easiest for you as a parent may not really be very helpful for the child.

Help pursue pleasure:Try finding out as you talk to your children what are the things they do that make them very happy. There are things that they keep thinking about all the time. The child’s brain works 24X7 when he tries to pursue something of his own choosing. This Passion should give him pleasure. It should not be a burden on the child. A forceful parent can create negativity in the child towards the activities he has been asked to do.

Passion is a very valid reason that the child may be up early in the morning and stay up late at night. Passion is doing something which your child is interested in and he knows that if he pursues it as a career he will do it without getting bored and he will also kive his life on his own terms. The learned say that “ All children are gifted… They just open up their gifts at different times.” We as parents should help them to unwrap it and allow them to live to fullest!

7 ways to encourage children to be better at sports!

A sport is a lot more than just a way to pass time after school and on the weekends. According to Kids Health, regular exercise not only strengthens the children’s body but also helps them sleep better and reduce the risk of obesity and other health problems later in life. It also enhances the child’s self-esteem and improves social skills. However, it has been observed that children and teens prefer to spend more than 7 hours per day on average using Television, Tablets, phones, and other electronic gadgets for entertainment.
As parents, we can encourage our children to participate more in physical activities and ensure that their experiences are positive. If you are also concerned about the lack of physical activity your child has or you believe that your child can excel in a specific sports but does not practice much, then here are some tips you can follow to get the most possible out of sports.

Pick a sport:

Choose a sport for your child according to their age, taste, and physical abilities. Don’t force a sport on your child which can result in boredom or his or her resistance to joining. It is also important to select a sport which is affordable and easily accessible so you don’t have to give it up in the future due to lack of time or money.

Buy the necessary equipment:

Ensure that your child participates in the sports successfully by purchasing him or her necessary equipment required for the game. Make sure the gear is in working condition and fit the child correctly to avoid any potential injuries.

Get your child excited:

Share stories about the sports you have played or ask friends / family members to share their expertise about the subject. You can also read books about the game and famous sports personalities to pump up your child and get him or her excited.

Practice with your child as often as possible:

Go out and practice whenever you can. Consider these as appointments and mark them on your calendar so you don’t miss them.

Support your child:

Show your support by driving your child to the sports lessons and being there for them on their games. Boost their confidence by giving them a high-five and saying “good job” which will help your child to play better.

Cheer them in their failures:

Teach your child that winning and losing is part of every game and even pro athletes have bad days. Support him or her when they don’t win a game or succeed in their sport. Allow your child to express their feelings of disappointment but counter their negative feelings by pointing out their accomplishments through the game.

Keep a balance:

Balance your child’s athletics with school and non-athletic activities. If you feel that your child is stressed or avoids practices and games and only participating in the games for your happiness – then allow them to take some time off.
Remember, all children have different tastes and physical abilities. Find the sports that your child enjoys but don’t burden them with your expectations.

How to teach your kids the habit of saving money

Saving Money is a habit which children should inculcate right from their childhood. This is one habit which will benefit them as adults. Todays children think money grows on trees. They have the backing of their parents and so do not take the initiative to save. They should be taught how to Save , Spend as well as give back to society. Kobliner says “children as young as three years old can grasp financial concepts like saving and spending.” Children should not be given everything they ask for. They should be told that they should save the money they get as an allowance or a reward for helping out at home . A child should be shown how to save money.

  • Parents can keep three Piggy Banks on their table. Whatever allowance or reward they get should be divided into three parts. The Piggy Banks should be labeled as Saving, Spending & Donating. Here they will learn that they have to even give back to society. They need not give a very huge amount . But there should be some contribution from them.
  • Children should be given a monthly allowance depending on the chores they help out in at home. They can be allowed to keep the change which remains after buying something their mother wanted urgently. This gives them a boost . They can also help in home chores like buying vegetables, cleaning the car and other such small things.
  • Give your children small goals to save money. Give them targets. If your daughter wants a doll. Tell her that she can buy it after saving for it. But see that it is not very costly . Else she will lose that enthusiasm to save for it.
  • Children should be taught that money is only a tool that they have to use to exchange for material things. It is not meant to be treated as a thing of Evil.
  • Saving should be a part of your discussion with kids maybe not everyday but atleast once in a few days.
  • They should be encouraged to save for a rainy day. That will also teach them the value of money.
  • Take children to the Banks or stores and teach them concepts of money. This can be a good way to introduce money to younger children.
  • Play imaginary games with them like pretending that they are he shop keepers and you go and buy groceries from them in exchange of money. This is how they can be exposed to the buying and selling transactions.
  • Opening a Bank account for the child and allowing him to deposit the money in his account himself is a very good way to set a goal for the child. This will make him want to see the figure in his bank account grow.
  • Some Basic rules should be created to help the child mange his money. He should be allowed to do things independently so that if he makes mistakes he will understand them and may never commit those same mistakes again.
  • Teenage is a very important phase in a childs life. They are old enough to understand the importance of saving. Your teen should be encouraged to do summer jobs and deposit the money in a savings account especially opened for him.
  • Your teenager has more reasons to save as all his wants will come with more expensive tags than when he was little. He should be told that he could probably use the money in an emergency or for a large purchase.
  • As Parents you have to set a good example for financial habits. Remember … Teenagers are watching you closely and learning from you.
  • Teenagers should be encouraged to read about finanes and how it works,
  • DO not easily help your teenager if he falls short of money . Remind him about the rainy day talk you had with him earlier. It is very important for them to realize where they went wrong with their budgeting, They may be angry with you momentarily. But will Ultimately thank you for teaching them the importance of saving.

When a Child has a healthy relationship with money from his formative years he will be a very wise and it will help him make sound Financial decisions in his Adulthood. It will spare him the pain of damaging situations in his future.

Top 10 Summer activities that will keep your kids super busy

SUMMER VACATIONS!! These words sound like MAGIC to children. They get a long break from Academics after a very hardworking year. Vacations are magic words that bring joy to all children. Summer vacation and the excitement starts with the last bell of the last day of school before closing for the much awaited vacation. The actual purpose of vacation in summer is to tide over the unbearable heat. Children want to forget anything to do with school for that period. Vacations are the best time to relax and enjoy and do activities which they had been wanting to do for a long time during the year. But this is a harrowing time for Parents . They have to think of umpteen activities  to keep their kids very busy.

Join Summer Camps

Summer Camps are the in thing today. There are many places where there are summer camps organized for children in certain age groups. There are many activities like Art & Craft, Fireless cooking, Gymnastics, Dramatics , Dancing etc. There are also camps organized for games like Cricket, Football & Hockey. There are also outdoor adventure camps held by organisations like the YMCA, YWCA, and many other private companies. Children get to learn to be independent and responsible.

Excursions

Excursions are fun outings for children. Especially if they are going out to that particular place for the first time. Parents can gather a group of other parents whose children are of the same age group as theirs. They can plan short excursions to the Museum or the Planetorium or the Cold drink Factory  or even the Biscuit factory. The excitement of the children is worth seeing. They not only gain knowledge but also have a lot of fun seeing how biscuits or cold drinks are made. In Planetariums they can see and learn about  the galaxy of stars, Planets and the Constellation. A visit to a Museum exposes you to in-depth information on any particular subject . Children learn about ancient civilizations and a lot more and they can take home an experience they will never forget.

Go to the Zoo

A Zoo is a place where there are different animals and birds. It is a great attraction for children. It is a world in itself. The children feel really fascinated seeing live animals which probably they had seen only on Animal Planet or even National Geographic before. The Zoo also offers joyrides on Elephants which the children will enjoy. It is a great delight to see colourful birds. There are some birds which are very rare. Parents can make this trip a fun as well as an educational trip. Outside every cage there is a small writeup on the birds or animals in that cage. This can be read out to the children. They can make a note of it. After going home Parents can ask the children to write a small essay on their visit if they are at an age where they can write.

Outdoor Games

Wake up the children early morning and take them cycling. This is also a good experience for them. Normally the roads are full of cars which do not let them even walk on their own on roads. Or Parents can take them to the beach if there is one close by and play games like hand ball or other running games. They get a lot of space to do this. There are also other outdoor games like Badminton, Seven Stones, Throw Ball, etc.

Indoor Games

Taking the kids outeveryday is really not feasible for Parents. Teach them some old game which probably you have not played since you were a kid yourself. You will be equally excited and will enjoy playing with the children. There are indoor games like Carom, Snakes and Ladders, Ludo, Monopoly, Chess, Scrabble etc which teaches them to sit in one place for a long time.

Plan a Treasure Hunt

On a weekend again Parents can get together with kids and Plan a Treasure Hunt. It could be planned as a family treasure Hunt where the children will be very thrilled to join their parents in the treasure hunt. Or a treasure hunt can be organized only for the children and the parents can have their share of fun.The Thrill of finding things right under a kids nose take on a new luster when found. The excitement of reading the clues and then decoding them and finding the next clue will keep them busy the whole day. Then there will be delicious snacks or lunch to satiate their hunger & thirst pangs. Children who cannot read can be given clues by using pictures to illustrate what they are supposed to find. This not only keeps them busy but also teaches kids the resourcefulness they need to play independently.

Make Reading Fun

Reading is actually fun. But Most children do not want to as it reminds them of school. The main aim of the parent should be to develop an interest in the child to read. It is not important for the child to get every word right. But it is important for the child to love reading itself. Once they finish the book and ask for another you are sure that you have succeeded in your effort. Once the child finishes reading a book the Parent can ask him or her to narrate the story in his own words. This is fun because otherwise they are on the other side of the fence with the Parent telling them a story. This will develop their language skills unknowingly. Reading clearly introduces them to new vocabulary.

Solve Riddles

There are books available in a wide range of Jokes, Visual puzzles and also brain teasers. For our young ones Books with hidden pictures can be given or even find the difference between two same pictures. They are brain teasers for kids who cannot read.

Picnics

Picnics is an event that can be organized for children in their backyard. This is one event which is lots of fun for kids as they are given a lot of fun food and sweets and they can also play many games. They provide that WOW factor for kids. Give the children ingredients for sandwiches so that they can make them themselves. So the thrill of making it is also enjoyed by them.

Movies

Take the children for movies which they have been longing to catch up with. There are many movies which are fun as well as educational. Else if you cannot take them out you can bring movies home .make some Popcorn for them and let them enjoy.

Thinking of activities for your kids is one big task. But surely not too difficult.Plan activities before hand so that you do not have last minute jitters of kids being home for such a long time. Enjoy their holidays.

Happy Holidays !