Effective Pointers in Improving Quality Time with Your Children Minus the Gadgets

There are lot of challenges in raising children. You often get caught in all the hustles and bustles of life that you tend to take your children for granted. Giving them quality time seems to be competing with your hectic schedule. With all the things going through in your head, you may not even hear what your children are saying to you anymore even if they are just right in front of you. Of course, you will soon realize what just happened only that it is just too late. The damage has already been done, and you will again let your guilt get the best of you. A lot of parents face these challenges in raising their children. Most fail to make some time and will not be able to find out about their children anymore with the things that they have been doing day in and day out. This gap between parents and children has even become more noticeable now that the digital age has taken a huge portion of every person’s life.

Believe it or not, people have become too reliant on technology that their day-to-day lives have been regularly consumed by them. Of course, technology is not all that bad. It has a lot of benefits to offer everyone, most especially when it comes to making their lives much easier. What becomes a problem, though, is the use of too much technology. You come to the point of using it too much that communicating face to face already becomes a luxury or a seldom chance. People have become so obsessed with knowing what other people outside of their homes are doing that they tend to forget learning what the person facing them is feeling such as their children. Technology has made parents keep tabs on other people they only see online and never about their children sitting right in front of them. If you are modern-day parent, obviously, you are familiar with this scenario. You may even be guilty of paying most of your attention to your gadgets and not your children anymore. You have to put an end to this. There are lot of disadvantages when you spend more time with technology than you do with your children.

To enhance quality time with your children, there are a few effective pointers that you can follow that will not involve any presence of technology that will be made mention in this short article. These are very easy pointers that will help you achieve your goal with your children.

• When the clock ticks at 7:00 pm and up until bedtime, be sure to switch off your phones. By turning your laptop, tablet, or smartphones off, you will no longer be tempted to watch videos captured by other people online or do other online stuff.

• Engage in interactive or silent reading. Have the entire family sit down together to read a book together or individually. This is helpful in two ways. First, it promotes regular readings and regular quality time with your children. And second, it helps to encourage imagination and expand the mind that will both lead to creativity.

• Make Wednesdays your board game day. You can consider making Wednesdays a time to play traditional board games with your children and family before bedtime. Not only is this fun but also it is very interactive and gives family members a competitive spark. This is also a way to communicate with each other in a more fun and effective way.

The Fundamentals of Play-based Learning

There are different learning methods that might work well or might not when it comes to teaching children at a young age. One of most popular and effective methods of learning that is typically utilized among a number of kindergartens and preschools all across the world is play-based learning. Basically, the whole concept of play-based learning revolves around letting young children learn certain concepts by playing. When you let them play and learn both at the same time, you are allowing them to work on their skills and advantages in building a better foundation for learning other things better in the future. Play-based learning has been shown to give better opportunities for children to think creatively, explore, self-regulate, actively problem solve, and learn concepts at their own pace. This learning method has also been proven to serve as basis for language acquisition, literacy, and math.

Now, what are the things that kindergartens or preschools need to apply this particular method of learning effectively? In the present, there are some parents who think that giving their young children their tablets or smartphones is already doing play-based learning in itself. However, this is never the case. Of course, with a lot of advancements in technology, children should not be hidden away from them. They should still be given some time to work and play using technology. But then, there is something beyond learning than just doing that. That is why play-based learning has come to be and is here to stay.

For kindergartens and preschools, it would be best to start getting blocks of various sizes and materials and turn them into necessities in the classroom. Having them around allows young children to configure and build things while at the same time, make sure that they start learning some problem-solving skills and social graces. You can also get some table toys for the classroom that allow the children to easily manipulate them. Having these toys around helps to let the children use limitless imaginations to building of things that they have in mind on their own.

Do not forget to also get a good range of art materials for the classroom. They keep the imagination and creativity of young children go wild. The same can be said for materials that promote movement and music. You can turn sand and water tables as sensory play areas. Also, make sure to give some cooking experiences to the young children in the classroom.

Like most classrooms, having a quiet area and a library is a good idea even if play-based learning is done. These places help young children deal more with their literacy skills. They also provide the children with a place of peace to wonder, reflect, and rest. To foster more experimentation and creativity, you can get paint stations, writing tools, literature, and language resources for your classroom.

Aside from the inside of your play-based learning classroom, you should also do something about its outside that will help the children go outside, explore, and develop their gross motor skills better. Outdoor time is often included in the program that will let the children be creative while playing outside.

Explaining Bullying to Your Children

Bullying is becoming rampant and is becoming a cause for concern among a lot of children, schools, and most especially parents. As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach your child or children about bullying. You can start by teaching them how to identify bullying behaviors. Basically, not all behaviors are considered the bullying kind. If another child bumps into your child in the school hallways accidentally, you do not immediately classify such an act as bullying. In the same way, if someone intentionally pushes your child, this behavior may still not be considered as bullying. To put bullying into better perspective, it is a pattern of behaviors. This pattern of behaviors exists to intimidate another person over a given duration of time. If this particular pattern is never around in the first place, then the behavior cannot easily be considered as bullying.

Now, what must you teach your children about bullying? How will you make it easier and better for them to understand about the bullying behaviors that certain kids throw upon to other kids? School violence is slowly becoming a norm in this modern-day society, unfortunately. You can easily see them on your television sets. Just by looking at these scenarios alone, they are reasons in itself why you can no longer tell your child that boys are just being boys. You have to treat bullying behavior as something serious and something that can easily affect your child and those around them. It is time to throw away your laissez-faire attitude and replace it with a leadership role. As a parent, you have to take a significant part in helping your children become good leaders. And being good leaders basically implies that they are no bullies. A good leader must know how to help others who cannot take care of and help themselves.

Moreover, it is important that you teach your child to never condemn the bully. The thing about bullying is that all those who are involved are victims. Obviously, the person being bullied is a victim. The witnesses of the bullying are also victims as they stand on the sidelines feeling helpless and hopeless when in fact they are neither. And whether you believe it or not, the bully himself/herself is also a victim of the situation. He or she is surely lashing out on someone for a reason. The bully is often a person who is in pain. Thus, the bully should never be condemned. Instead, you should teach your children better decision making and leadership skills. In this way, all children will know how to stand their ground firmly without using any form of violence, how to work together because with numbers there is strength, and where and how to go for help if necessary.

So, being the parent that you are, you have to not only learn but also lead and lay the way for your children and for a better world that they can live in. You have to be a role model to your children and teach them what they can do with bullying that involves no violence but more leadership and kindness.

The Many Benefits to Teaching Your Children Second Languages

There are a lot of reasons why children these days are easily exposed to second languages. For instance, you may be speaking a language besides English at your own home. Maybe you live in a bilingual country where you feel that your child can benefit more if they learn both official languages. Maybe you just take a particular interest in other languages that you want your children to also have the same love for them. No matter the reason, a lot of experts will have to agree that if children will learn different languages earlier in life, they will be getting a whole range of benefits that will last them a lifetime.

Learning of second languages is made much easier while children are still at a young age. As a matter of fact, learning a new language becomes much more difficult when a child becomes an adolescent. Early learning is thus the key for them to learn another language much better. And currently, there are a number of kindergartens and preschools that offer this kind of education to their learners.

Based on studies, bilingual children have more gray matter in their brains. This means that they score higher on performance tasks that require multitasking, creative problem solving, and focus. They also do better on tests that are standardized. It seems that learning a new language is an opportunity to enable the child to attain higher processing and learning skills that will then open more doors once the child grows older.

Moreover, bilingual children tend to start reading earlier and have a better grasp on grammar than those who only know one language. The use of more areas of the brain at an earlier age has been shown to let your child get the upper hand when they go to school. Aside from all of these benefits when your child goes to school, do you know that knowing a second language has also been shown to decrease the onset of dementia up to 4.5 years later on in the life of your child? Of course, more studies are needed to back up this claim. Nevertheless, there is no denying that using more of your brain will truly make your brain much stronger. Basically, when it comes to your brain, you better use it or you will most certainly lose it.

Later on, in the life of your child, their being bilingual will let them get more and better employment opportunities. If you reside in a country that has more than one official language, job opportunities are most definitely much better and more for those who are fluent in two or more languages than those who only know one. When traveling, it also helps if you will be learning the local language that is being used by the locals in your destination of choice. Furthermore, living in a household where the parents speak another language will make the child learn the second language much easier. Also, you allow your child to speak freely while being around their family.

If you may be wondering what other language you or your child should learn, experts say that Mandarin is the way to go since it is spoken by a great majority of people across the globe.

The Responsible Parent’s Guide During Their Child’s Formative Years

The formative years basically begins at age 0 and ends until age 7. It is deemed as the formative years of your child’s development because it is during this time that their brain develops at a much faster rate. During the first 3 months of life, the brain growing at an enormous rate ensues. You may start to compare the size of the head to the size of a newborn during these times. At the end of the formative years, the brain size of the child is more or less half the size of their brain when they become an adult. The formative years is even made more crucial since it is the particular time of a child’s life that they will be more than capable of taking in a lot of information as a form of survival.

Based on a research study done by the JAMA neurology network, male brains are quicker in terms of growth in comparison to female brains. And the fastest growth may be associated more with movement. The most rapid changes are usually those that occur quickly after birth. Since the cerebellum is linked to movement more, it is the one that grows at the highest rate. In the first 90 days of life, it will double its size just like that. On the other hand, the hippocampus that is associated with memory grows the slowest. These studies are important as they explain a great deal about how the brains of babies develop. Furthermore, they also help to explain why there are some babies that have the capacity to climb trees even at 6 months of age. This is often a behavior this is present among tribal groups that reside in areas where there are a lot of predators lurking by.

The explanation of the formative years will have to be the reason why in the Western countries, education is being started at a very young age. For these countries, allowing children to get education at a younger age will make them better handle their lessons at school compared with those who are left at home using their own devices. The whole knowledge of these formative years also has some effect on various government of countries where early childhood learning is well supported. For these places, children can enter as early as the age of 4 in preschool. Of course, this is also if there have been day care centers that have been established to provide some learning to small children.

Once the child has gone beyond the formative years, that is beyond the age of seven, as a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure to open their brain channels more to allow them to continue learning. Children who are part of bi-lingual families are actually very much capable of easily switching from one language to another. Meanwhile, children who are just taught a second language in senior or primary school will have more difficulties focusing on the task at hand. The same thing applies when they take on Math and Science subjects.

During the formative years of your child, be sure to always introduce them to new concepts and have their minds structured with things that they can learn and do in the future. This is also the perfect time to engage them in pseudo suggestions so you can help them make better career choices in the future.

Blended Family 101: Finding the Perfect Vacation Destination

Generally, finding the perfect vacation destination can be quite time consuming and stressful. You have to take into consideration your vacation dates, vacation site reservations, flight and hotel accommodation, and more. You even come to the point of telling yourself that you also need to take vacation from your vacation! Now, choosing the ultimate vacation destination for the entire family can be one thing, and choosing one for your blended family is most certainly another thing.

Blended families are becoming common in this modern day and age. Dealing with the dissolution of a marriage can be quite traumatic, more so putting an end to the kind of family that you have come to know. However, it even becomes more difficult to be part of another family all because your parent has met another parent who also has kids in their previous marriage. Though blended families are always depicted in the movies and TV shows to be a mix of personalities here and there, just thinking about becoming a new nuclear family member becomes too overwhelming to bear.

Now, going back to vacation destinations, how do you pick the perfect place to go to as a blended family? Obviously, you have to carefully consider a lot of feelings. The mom and dad in the family might want to engage in something that is exciting, fun, and a bit romantic and though these elements are great in any vacation they may not sit well when you have children tagging along. Now, how about doing vacation traditions that the previous family unit was used to doing? These activities or vacations may be a good idea for the children who have attached themselves to them to give them a feeling of normalcy. But then, new siblings may not like the idea of spending time with one another and in the end may even have some resentment toward each and one.

With all of these reasons and more, for blended families, family counselors agree that the vacation planning must be done with the children around. Hear out what each child may want to get out of your vacation. Ask them relevant questions. Any activities you find cool? Do you like to try out some type of food? Allow your children to contribute to the vacation planning process so that they will feel that they are important members of the family. Just be sure, though, that they will be able to get some sense of accountability from this ownership. You want the children to eb comfortable with the process and all of the changes that are taking place around them but clearly, you do not want them to be the ones to be running the entire show.

Another key point to planning a trip together is to come up with new traditions. Each member of your blended family will most certainly remember some part of their life like it was before. Though getting a sense of stability with their old ways is essential, it is also important for them to be part of new traditions and memories with their new family. Again, let the children be involved in coming up with some ideas for the entire family. Perhaps having a silly selfie seafood Sunday can help break the tension in the air and let them realize that new does not always mean a bad thing.

Top Tips to Making Your Relationship with your Stepchildren Work

Dating is all about making connections between two individuals. Once a connection is established, it often leads to love and eventually to marriage. When your relationship is headed toward the altar and there are children already involved between either party or both parties, then you have to find ways to court your future stepchild. In this way, you are able to establish a connection and relationship wit them even if you are yet to propose to your partner.

Establishing a relationship with a future stepchild is less stressful and much easier on all parties involved when the partner is still the girlfriend or boyfriend of the parent in comparison to finally becoming a stepparent. If you are the partner who already has children, your partner should accept such a fact and understand that your children are part of you.

If your partner has children, here are some top tips to making your relationship with your stepchildren work.

• Avoid being Santa
It is a common mistake among future stepparents to shower their partner’s children with all the gifts that they can ever think of with the assumption that they can buy their affections. However, you have to know that children actually know when their love is being bought. They are wise enough to not fall for your bait, unfortunately.

Once you start doing this, another issue with children is that they will come to the point of always expecting gifts from you. And unless you are that rich, this will most likely put a big whole in your pocket. Or worse, you could be the reason why the making of a spoiled brat is on the way.

At the end of the day, you will be risking not achieving the results that you want, and your future stepchild will grow to resent you in your attempt to get their love with bribery. You will only be able to get the trust and affection of your stepchild if you take the time and effort to really establish a real relationship with them. You should never push it to them.

• Take an interest in the child
One of the most effective ways to connect with your future stepchild is to be interested in whatever things interest them. If the child will not talk about what they like, you can ask the biological parent about it. For example, if your stepchild is interested in animals, you can provide a good opportunity for bonding by taking them to a trip to the zoo.

Older children can be quite challenging though since there are fewer chances that you can bond with them. You may start helping them with their homework or paying some interest with a favorite video game of theirs. However, you may end up rejected, but at least you are starting at something.

• Involve the child with your interests
In the same way as you are taking an interest in the interests of your future stepchild, you can also get them involved with whatever it is that you are interested in. A child may already know a great deal about their biological parents in terms of their interests and have several chances of being involved with them. As the future stepparent, you can let the child become part of your life easier when you involve them with your interests.

Establishing an Enjoyable and More Comfortable Home for Your Entire Family

If you are going to be starting a family, it is important that you understand how important it is for you to establish a home that is both an enjoyable and comfortable place to live in. One way to make your home enjoyable is to have all family members sit around your living room or dining table and talk about how the day has gone by. Your family can also get some snacks and drinks, get some popcorn, and watch a move together inside of your family room. You may also consider watching your favorite show and sports game as one. Because of technology being ever-present in the lives of almost every person today, you can always enjoy doing something online with the entire family. Besides doing fun and enjoyable things online, you can also switch to the more traditional family games like playing a board game during family nights. You can play Uno, solitaire, or poker even at any time of the day.

You can make your house more of a home by also making dinner together as a family. If everyone joins in and contributes something, then there is no doubt that both cooking and preparation times will be made much shorter. Aside from doing something together while inside of your home, you can also take your family activities further outside. You may walk around your neighborhood as a family. This gives every member an opportunity to stay healthier and be in better shape. You may also engage in activities like creating art, swimming, working out, or just relaxing in general alone or with your family to make your lives more enjoyable in and out of your home.

Indeed, living in a more enjoyable and comfortable home with your family will let you make endearing memories that will last you a lifetime. However, no matter how comfortable your home maybe, you have to also make sure to look after the safety of every member of your family. As a home owner and family member, you have to be sure that there are no dangers around your home. Be sure to check your home for any torn or broken objects. If there are some, be sure to have them replaced. To avoid accidents, always have dangerous objects placed in proper places inside your home. Ensure to keep the outside and inside of your home well-lighted as well. Having proper lighting is important for the safety of each and every person living inside of your home. Aside from being safe, having proper lighting also lets the people inside of your home enjoy the sight of things inside. From candles, lamps, a chandelier, to natural light, your time spent at home will be made more pleasant with proper lighting. If you want your home to have a more inviting atmosphere and be easier on your eyes, you can go with soft lighting options.

Make sure to also get pleasant seating choices for your home for you and those going inside of your home to feel more comfortable and have a fun time. Be sure to choose home furniture with good support so you will be able to unwind much better at home. You as well as your family members will also be relieved from the aches and stresses that their day has given to them.

Deciding If Your Child Should Enter Preschool or Not

If you have small children, most likely you have been asked by random individuals or even you yourself if you should be sending your child to a preschool or not. Parents from across the globe always have different views about the matter even until now. For some parents, preschool is a perfect opportunity for their kids to learn some basic skills before sending them to kindergarten. On the other hand, for some parents, they feel that their kids are still too young to attend preschool. For them, their kids are better off taught at home with their mom, dad, and other family members.

Since not all families are the same and each family will have their own viewpoints about preschool, the decision to send your child to preschool is all a matter of personal choice. Nevertheless, before you make your decision final, it is important that you first know a few things about preschool and what it can do to your child that you may find interesting and beneficial for your children.

Children who belong to the preschool age are akin to little sponges. They easily take everything in, and they always ask questions about everything and anything that they see. If they are placed in a preschool environment, they are given plenty of opportunities to ask as many questions as they want. Putting them in preschool even allows them to learn social skills like knowing how to share, take turns, and collaborate. Preschool also allows their imaginations to be let loose through play-based learning.

Moreover, the set-up of a preschool class is more or less the same with that of a kindergarten class to allow the kids to feel what it is like to be in school before they will actually be in one. Your child will be exposed to numbers, shapes, and letters, enjoy richer vocabularies, and gain better skills in pre-reading. Being in preschool also allows them to get a better head start in math allowing them to develop stronger math skills. These skills can be very much beneficial to serve as foundation for their learning.

When put in a social situation, they are able to learn that raising their hands will allow them to share something. They are also encouraged to share with their classmates and be part of certain activities in the classroom like circle time. Also, they will be able to learn how to listen to others and ask them questions if need be. Mastering social skills is crucial to the growth and development of young children, most especially if it is started at a younger age according to experts.

Small children also get a better sense of independence when they are enrolled in preschool as they are allowed to try out new things to them up to the point that they will realize that they can just do some things on their own. They both learn to develop a strong behavior management system and learn how to problem solve at the same time. They learn how to be respectful to their belongings and to others. They learn how to get along with other people in a comfortable and loving environment.

All in all, a preschool is like a child care facility for your little ones to give them a head start for school while at the same time take care of them if you are not able to watch over them.

The Importance of Dads Spending Time with Their Daughters

Generally, daughters tend to be closer with their mothers than with their fathers. Nevertheless, this is no indication that fathers care less about their daughters. They have more of a tendency to even be more protective of them. In fact, fathers play a crucial role ins counseling and guiding their daughters.

As a dad to your daughter, you have to set aside some of your time to sit down with your daughter and discuss any issues that need to be resolved. This is one way of strengthening the bond that you have with your daughter. Furthermore, you are giving them a chance to boost their self-confidence. This short article will give you some of the reasons why it is important for dads to be spending time with their daughters.

• Begin spending time with your daughter from the start
From the moment your daughter is born, you have to make it a habit to spend your time with them. While your daughter is still a baby, take the time to take her out, buy her some toys, and have a nice chat with them regularly. Once she gets older, you can proceed to teach her how to ride a bike or even let them take part in any sports. You can also take your daughter out to learn a fresh hobby, eat ice cream, go ice skating, or just about any activity that they will most likely be interested in.

Again, spending some time with each other lets you build a strong bond. Once your daughter knows that you will be there for here to listen to her problems, she will not shy away in sharing here feelings with you without hesitation. As she grows older, she will no longer hesitate to ask your help and some advice. By establishing this kind of relationship with your daughter, she will be able to deal with any problems that come her way.

• Be attentive in listening to her
You make your daughter feel important when you ensure to set aside some time for her. Not only are you building a stronger and positive sense of self-esteem but so does your daughter. Every time you sit together to talk, you have to give her your full attention. And, do not forget to ask for her opinions so that she will feel better about the situation.

• Become her role model
Even if there are certain matters that your daughter only discusses with your wife, you may be one of the few that can set a good example for her. How you treat your wife will teach your daughter life lessons that will be crucial to their development as women. In fact, it is your role to ensure to give her love and provide her with great life lessons that will let her deal better with her problems now and in the future.

Always treat your daughter with great respect, interest, and sensitivity. Bear in mind that your daughter is human just like you and deserves nothing but of utmost respect. When she is around, show her that you are happy by smiling at her. The moment she becomes a teenager and goes out on dates, she will have a better understanding of what she should say and how she should be treated properly. This may blossom into another important chapter in her life that you will still be part of.