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Archive for July, 2014

Books for Creating Excitement and Confidence about Starting Kindergarten

The transition to kindergarten can be scary for children, even if they have been to play groups and preschool.  If your child will continue to attend The Goddard School®, the transition may be easier than the transition to public school or another private kindergarten program.  However, the transition from pre-k to kindergarten is still a significant step. Reading books to your child about the transition can help ease any anxiety about starting kindergarten. The sampling of books below touch on the challenges children and their parents face when children move on to kindergarten.

The Night before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing and Julie Durrel

This book is a twist on The Night before Christmas poem and shows children the fun of getting ready for kindergarten by packing supplies for school, setting their clothes out for the first day and taking first-day pictures.  This book also shows children excitedly exploring their classroom for the first time.

Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg

This is a great, poetic book illustrating some of the milestones children face as kindergarteners, including first-day nerves, new friendships, the experience of losing a tooth and hundredth-day celebrations.

Kindergarten Rocks! by Katie Davis

This book addresses a child’s typical concerns about starting kindergarten.  With the help of a familiar face and fun learning experiences, the main character quickly learns to embrace kindergarten.

Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee and Harry Bliss (illustrator)

This story explains that children entering kindergarten don’t need to know everything on the first day. The main character fears she will be the only one who doesn’t know how to tie her shoes. She later realizes that she isn’t alone; other classmates are in the same boat.

The Twelve Days of Kindergarten: A Counting Book by Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis

This rhyming story illustrates the experience of starting kindergarten and provides opportunities for children to work on skills that are necessary for school, like counting.

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and Geoff Stevenson (illustrator)

Addressing the subject of separation anxiety, this story teaches children that they are never really alone.  This book is also recommended for toddlers and preschoolers.  It tells children that those we love stay with us through life’s challenges and experiences.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate and Ashley Wolff (illustrator)

This book shows what teachers may do to prepare their classrooms for the children and shares the excitement of starting a new year and meeting new faces.  Offering an opportunity to study the alphabet and rhyming words, this book provides a fun, educational read for children heading to kindergarten.

Sources:
mom.me: 10 Books to Get Kids Excited for Kindergarten
cozi: 10 Books Perfect for New Kindergarteners

Five Ways to Prevent “Summer Slide”

Summer is an awesome time of year. It’s full of family get-togethers, trips to the pool and vacations. With all that awesomeness, though, sometimes learning falls by the wayside. Research has shown that some children experience summer learning loss, also known as “summer slide” because their minds aren’t as engaged as they are during the school year. You can help to keep your child’s brain active and prevent summer slide with these five fun learning activities:

  1. Read, read, read. Read to your child or encourage him to read for twenty minutes every day. Taking a trip to the library on hot, humid or rainy days can be fun, too. Also, listening to audio books is great during car trips.
  2. Learn a new word every week. Make this a game by seeing who can use the new word the most times throughout the week. You can even make a scoreboard and stick it on the fridge. Encourage your child to look through a picture dictionary to pick out new words.
  3. Get cooking. Cooking with your child is a fun way to teach your child math and reading skills as well as how to follow instructions. Look through a cookbook with your little one, and ask him what he would like to make.
  4. Hit the road. Take a field trip to a museum, a zoo or an aquarium. Before you go, read a book with your child about the sights at your destination. When you return, you and your child can write a journal entry about your adventures.
  5. Go outside. Embrace the nice weather and go on a hike, nature walk or bike ride. Pack a magnifying glass and/or binoculars, and take breaks along the way to take a closer look at things. You and your little one can even take notes on interesting objects or animals and look up more information about them online or in an encyclopedia when you get home.

10 Tips for Traveling with Your Preschooler

Traveling can be stressful, period. Add some young children to the mix, and it can be downright challenging. As you hit the road this summer, keep these handy travel tips in mind:

  1. Take breaks. If you’re driving, try to make regular rest stops so your child can blow off some steam, get some exercise, use the bathroom and/or have a snack.
  2. Stock up. Bring a stash of toys, snacks, coloring books, crayons and other goodies to keep your little one from getting bored or hungry during the trip.
  3. Tire ‘em out. Children often travel better when they’re tuckered out and sleepy. If you’re flying, have your child push a small suitcase around the waiting area or ride the escalators with you. If you’re driving, try to leave the house before dawn so you can just scoop up your drowsy child, put her in the car seat and hit the road.
  4. Surprise them with treats. While good behavior doesn’t automatically warrant a reward, a piece of candy or a wrapped toy can certainly encourage your child to “keep it up” if he is being particularly pleasant.
  5. Engage them. When children are actively involved in something, they are less likely to act out. Talk to your child about the trip and ask her what she’s looking forward to. You can also give her a disposable camera and ask her to document the trip. This will encourage her to observe her surroundings and focus on her interests.
  6. Take a bus. Or the subway or a train or a boat. Children love the novelty of public transportation, so if it’s available at your destination, use it. Large cities, such as New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C., usually have public transportation systems that are fairly inexpensive and easy to use.
  7. Keep tabs on your children electronically. You can use an electronic child locator (search online for stores) to make sure you can find your child if you’re separated. Most locators cost around $30 and include a transmitter your child wears and a locator unit you carry. If you get separated, you can press a button on the locator and the transmitter will make a sound that you can follow to find your child.
  8. Check the weather. Make sure you pack for any weather conditions you might encounter. You don’t want your child to be too hot or too cold. Extra clothing could add some extra bulk to your luggage but, if the weather changes, you’ll be glad you’re prepared.
  9. Pass the time. Travel delays are almost inevitable, but games are a fun way to make the time fly while you’re waiting. Whether it’s 20 Questions, a travel version of a popular board game or a quick game of Go Fish, your child (and you!) will appreciate the distraction.
  10. Sanitize. Traveling means coming into contact with more germs than usual, especially if you’re flying to your destination. Be sure to pack plenty of antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer to disinfect your little ones’ hands, especially if they’ve come in to contact with the seat-back pockets of airplanes, which can be full of harmful bacteria.

Summer Sun and Heat Safety Tips

Keeping cool throughout hot summer months can be a challenge, especially in hotter and more humid climates. Tune in to the weather reports on exceptionally hot and humid days and share the tips below with your family.

Apply Sunscreen before Leaving the House

Whether you are headed to the pool, the beach or your back yard, make sure you apply sunscreen to yourself and your children. Don’t miss the tops of the ears and the hands. When applying sunscreen to the skin around the eyes, try using a tear-free sunscreen specially formulated for the face. Sunburns can occur in fifteen minutes of sun exposure and can even occur on cloudy days, so applying sunscreen before heading out and reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is important.

Keep Activity Levels Low When the Humidity Is High

Stay safe on extremely hot and humid days by keeping an eye on weather advisories and the Heat Index graph the National Weather Service publishes. If your children play outside in humid weather, have them come inside and drink water every fifteen minutes.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

Children should typically drink five to eight cups of water every day, depending on how active they are.  On extremely hot and humid days, offer your children more than the recommended daily amount, especially before, during and after physical activity. Since children model their behavior on ours, we need to make sure we’re getting enough water every day, too.

Know the Signs of Heat Exhaustion

Normal reactions to hot weather include heavy sweating, a red face, heavy breathing, thirst and muscle cramps. However, if your child exhibits these reactions along with dizziness, fainting, clamminess, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and/or a lack of sweat, your child might have heat exhaustion. If your child shows any of these symptoms, take your child indoors or to a shady spot and give your child plenty of water or an electrolyte drink. If the symptoms do not subside in an hour, seek the help of a doctor.  Keep your child indoors until all the symptoms clear up and your child is feeling better.

Play Indoors

If it is too hot and humid for outside play, try one of these simple indoor activities.

  • Create an indoor beach day. Unpack your beach towels, sunglasses and hats. Fill a large plastic bin with sand from your sand box or from a home improvement store. Put the bin on a blanket or sheet to catch any sand that may spill. Toss some beach toys in the bin and let your children play in the sand while enjoying your air conditioning.  Grab some favorite beach treats like ice cream sandwiches or popsicles.  Better yet, make your own ice cream sandwiches with chocolate chip cookies and your favorite flavor of ice cream.
  • Go fishing. Craft your own indoor fishing game by cutting a big piece of blue felt into a round shape, like a pond or lake. Lay the blue felt flat on the floor. Cut felt or cardstock into fish shapes and punch a small hole in the mouth area of each. Tie a lightweight washer to the mouth of each fish with yarn or twine.  Create a fishing rod with a stick from your yard or a dowel from a craft store. Tie one end of a long strand of yarn or twine to the end of the stick or dowel and tie a ring magnet to the other end of the yarn. Toss the fish in the pond and have your little ones take turns fishing. (You can also buy indoor fishing games online.)
  • Build a “sand” castle. Use blocks to build a castle with your children. Try different configurations and take pictures of each to capture your indoor beach day memories.

What do you do with your children when it is too hot to play outside?