Learning Buzz

Learning Buzz
For your child Sucess!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Ideas for Reading with Kids

Here are few ideas for making reading an interactive journey.
1. Build. Many kids do love to sit and listen to stories, but all kids get restless and need to do things. Maria Montessori wrote, "The hands are the instrument of the human intelligence." Many books provide inspiration for building things in the real world. In the book Roxaboxen, a girl named Marian transforms a hill across from her house into a city using only natural objects and the help of her friends. Sticks and rocks are all that's needed to start building our own city with our kids. Books like If I Built a House and The Big Orange Splot allow us to dream of our own special house that matches our personalities. With pencil and paper, cardboard, or a set of blocks, kids can go about dreaming up their own homes.
2. Record. Many of us face the challenge of having parts of our family live in different places. We live in Mexico and Sandra's grandparents live in the United States. My mother records herself reading and singing along to various books and sends them to me. I create an iTunes playlist of my mother's readings and stack the corresponding books on the coffee table for Sandra. Sandra always insists on completing ALL the books we have recorded at one sitting. She loves getting these little gifts from her grandmother and best of all they can arrive to Mexico instantly over email.
3. Search. Goodnight Moon is a timeless book for a reason: kids love to look for things. Many children's books are filled with objects, people, and animals in rich landscapes (see for instance books illustrated by Graeme Base and Jimmy Liao). We often stop the story and I ask Sandra, "How many birds are in this picture?" or "Can you find the monster?" Such concrete tasks help her build a relationship to the book, and, on her own time, she opens the books and looks for the objects herself -- an early stage in her journey towards becoming an independent reader.
4. Perform. I often lead workshops for teachers on the topic of how they can have their students perform the books they teach in the classroom. One of my favorite books to do this with is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. With Sandra I'll do the same thing. We swing through imaginary trees with the Wild Things. We dance the wild rumpus. She climbs on my back as we make the parade. Books and songs that lend themselves to physical movement include: Roll Over: A Counting SongBaby Cakes, and The Tickle Monster.
5. Improvise. This is actually an idea that came from my daughter. One day she had all of her toy musical instruments laid out on the coffee table. She handed me a book and asked me to read it. She then ran over to the other side of the table and picked up the drum sticks. As I read, she accompanied my reading with various instruments thereby creating a soundtrack for the story.
6. Organize. Cleaning up may not be the most imaginative interaction with stories, but it certainly is an important one. At the end of the day, when all the reading, playing, and making is done, we tuck the books away in a series of plastic boxes to sleep.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Why Smart Kids Fail??

Average kids from average homes received 432 negative statements as opposed to 32 positive statements daily. 

Words such as "Don't touch that." "No, it is done this way" "No, you are not big enough."

The Best way to help a child be more confident is to use 
More Positive words to the child 

Here is a list of 15 encouraging words and phrases that will assist your child to keep trying and increase his self-esteem and confidence.

1. "I like the way you handled that"

2. "Wow, you really thought out the solution to that problem"

3. "I have faith in your ability"

4. "I appreciate what you did"

5. "You are really showing improvement"

6. "I know you will figure out a good way to do it next time"

7. "You don't have to be perfect. Effort and improvement are important."

8. "I trust you to be responsible"

9. "It must make you proud of yourself when you accomplish something like that"

10. "You are a valuable part of the team"

11. "It is okay to make a mistake, we all do. What do you think you learned from it?"

12. "How can we turn this into a positive?"

13. "I'm proud of you for trying"

14. "I'll bet by next year you will be able to handle it, you just need to grow a little"

15. "I know you are disappointed that you didn't win, but you'll do better next time."

Friday, March 14, 2014

Intelligence Quotient vs Emotional Intelligence

Intelligence Quotient
  • An intelligent child might do well in professional career.
  • A smart child may perform well in academics and studies.
  • An academically skilled child is oriented towards a scholarly attitude.
  • An intelligent child who is rich in IQ but poor in EQ may not be a successful person in leading a life free of tension and stress.
  • A child who is poor in emotional intelligence, may not understand others and in addition, he or she may not develop a sense of self-awareness.
  • A child that is poor in emotional skills may not develop social and emotional competence at all.
Emotional Intelligence
  • An emotionally stable child has very good social skills and he or she can lead life free of stress, strain, pressure and deep emotions. In other words, mental health in such children may be very good.
  • An emotionally competent child can survive with greater societal challenges and strife.
  • An emotionally stronger child is adept in adjusting his or her life to changing situations and scenarios.
  • A child who has better emotion quotient can easily manage emotions in a better manner.
  • A child who is poor in IQ may not be able to succeed in a professional world that demands academic and scholarly skills.
  • A child with poor IQ may find a traditional classroom very boring and difficult.
Any comparison should end here because a child of today's world should be brought up with both of these intelligences. Both IQ and EQ are just like right and left eyes. One cannot exist without the other although EQ is still preferred a little higher. Emotional intelligence is often referred to as a “life saving skill” meaning it either makes or breaks the life of a person. Goleman, the noted proponent of EQ, discusses various factors that make up emotional intelligence.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Reading is a great way to learn, discover new worlds and expand your imagination, yet some kids get turned off by books because they are unable to get the hang of letters and reading
 Check out this video of a parent teaching her toddler how to read:

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

50 ways to teach your child to READ

Learning to read is not a crash course that kids take and are done with once they can read Dick and Jane without any help. Learning to read is developmental and starts when a newborn looks at you and hears you talking to them. Below are 50 pieces to the reading puzzle . 50 ways that you and your child can have fun knowing that they are working on early literacy development and learning to love books. This is not definitive checklist it’s a buffet of options to help support your child as they develop literacy skills and become independent readers. Find ideas that work for your family with your child and their current development. Click through the linked items for more details and how to do the activity with your child.
1.Read to your child.
2.Play rhyming games.
3.Sing the alphabet song with them.
4.Label things with their names from an early age.
5.Go to the library even when they are at that loud voice only stage.
6.Have non fiction books as well as fiction available .
7.Tell stories.
8.Have books all over your house.
9.Teach the letter sounds by emphasizing the sounds in words they hear often from a young age.
10.Provide fun and interesting books for them to read.
11.Get a magazine subscription and read it together.
12.Make play dough letters.
13.Play the alphabet game on road trips.
14.Read the mail together.
15.Make a reading nook.
16.Clap out syllables.
17.Make letter crafts.
18.Make reading play time .
19.Notice letters in the environment.
20.Learn about how books work and other concepts of print.
21.Let them choose their own books at the library or bookstore.
22.Leave them notes in their lunchboxes .
23.Play with foam letters in the bath. Use bath toys to make up and tell stories.
24.Make your own books.
25.Play eye spy with letters and letter sounds. ” I spy something that starts with the letter B. Buh buh book!”
26.Give your children books as gifts.
27.Make up silly songs together.
28.Ask them to read the pictures to you before they can read the words.
29.Play library.
30.Read the book then see the movie for a family treat.
31.Play with word families.
32.Read books with no words and share storytelling duties.
33.Let them see you reading for fun.
34.Read nursery rhymes.
35.Explore and trace tactile letters.
36.Play listening games.
37.Retell and have your children retell stories after reading them.
38.Ask your child questions about elements of the story as you read with them. This works on comprehension.
39.Read books at lunchtime .
40.Take books with you when you travel.
41.Build with letter blocks or make your own.
42.Do word searches.
43.Play sight word games.
44.Download an e-reader app on your smartphone and instead of handing them it to play a game make it a treat to use it to read.
45.Read comics and graphic novels with them.
46.Talk your your kids using regular words not “kiddie” words.
47.Read them poetry.
48.Get their bodies moving to learn letters.
49.Read them their favorite book over and over and over even if it’s making you want to poke your eyes out.
50.Make reading part of their bedtime routine from day one.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Making time to read to your child each night!

It’s not always easy to squeeze in those extra few minutes into your schedule no matter how much you want to. To ensure that you have time at the end of each night to read bedtime stories to your child, you may need to put some measures in place.
* Make it a priority. It’s not enough if you think it–do whatever it takes to make it work. Put it down on your schedule. Set a cell phone reminder to go off 5 minutes before your child’s bedtime. Let your spouse, boss and others know that you won’t be available during that time. Put ‘Reading to my son’ in your status message if you have to.
Set realistic expectations. Experts may recommend reading for 20 minutes each night. Your child may demand 45. Figure out how much time you can actually spare and what is right for you and your child.
Delegate. Don’t let household tasks such as doing dishes, picking up toys and paying bills prevent you from keeping your reading date with your child. Share responsibilities with your spouse, older children and other family members so that it frees up a few minutes for you to read.
Trade off. If it’s next to impossible to find those 20-30 minutes of time to read to your child, stop and take a look at your daily schedule. Make adjustments to other activities as needed. You may need to swap carpool or other duties with your spouse or another parent, leave work a little early, wake up 30 minutes earlier or stay up a few minutes late to make up.
Maximize reading time. Given that finding the time to read bedtime stories to children is a challenge in itself for many of us, we should be making every minute count. Store books near the child’s bed or somewhere in her room where it’s super-easy to reach them. Decide what you and your child are going to read this week or month ahead of time so you don’t spend any more time than you have to each night pondering over titles and staring at the book shelf.
It may seem like a small thing, but the few minutes you spend reading to your child at bedtime often pave the way for a restful 8 hours that follow and have the potential to inspire a lifelong love of reading ahead.

Monday, August 19, 2013

How to let your kid watch less TV?

There’s a lot of advice about how not to let your kids watch TV. But what’s the most important factor in helping young children to take in television responsibly?
Child development experts say that routinely plopping young children in front of the set when you’re feeling overwhelmed isn’t going to help their mental or physical health. But setting strict limits on kids’ screen time isn’t always effective either. And complete deprivation — removing sets from the family room and kids’ bedrooms — may not be a practical of limiting and controlling what youngsters watch.
What could help in teaching kids about how to watch not just the right amount, but also the best kind of television, is for parents to adopt responsible viewing habits themselves. According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, what’s most important in children’s viewing habits is how much TV (or DVDs or online entertainment) parents watch. The researchers interviewed 1550 parents with children 17 or younger about both their own and their children’s screen time, and when possible, they also asked the adolescents about how much television they watched.
The amount of TV the parents watched predicted the kids’ screen time, and this association was even stronger than that linked to parental restrictions on TV viewing, where the TVs were placed in the home, or how much television parents and children watched together.
On average, parents spent about four hours a day in front of a screen, and those who watched more media had kids who watched more. In fact, every hour that parents viewed TV was linked to nearly an additional half hour of screen time for their kids. There were some differences according to age, however. Restrictions on viewing had some effect for kids aged six to 11, and adolescents reported watching an hour more a day than their parents estimated.
This is especially important when it comes to screen time, since kids will not only imitate the quantity of parents’ viewing habits but the quality, say parenting experts. If you are using your screen time in unhealthy ways, your kids will pick up on that and follow suit.

Toddler tech: How young is too young for a smartphone?

(CBS News) Everyone has a smartphone these days, even toddlers. New research says 25 percent of kids 2 years old and younger have their own smartphones, which parents say is used as a learning tool for their kids.
However, experts say that this is way too young for children to be utilizing this type of technology and that the kids are not learning but are just being given the phone as a distraction. It is the same as putting a child in front of a television.
"A toddler should be rolling around, touching things, developing their brains and not checking out the latest YouTube video," said CBS News contributor Lee Woodruff 
One major reason why experts are concerned is that this type of smartphone use, at such a young age, can impede early development in areas that would impact the child for the rest of their lives.
Since childhood is a time for serious brain development, children could face problems with their basic social, verbal and learning skills.
Psychiatrist Gail Saltz told the "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-hosts that this type of smartphone use could actually hurt the child and that "this is really for babysitting purposes or the fear that your child can't be bored."
"These years are the years that you need to be developing vocabulary, which means speaking and listening, so if you're engaged in a gadget, you're really minimizing that," she said. "We've seen all kinds of data now on play and how important it is to, frankly, be bored and be stimulated to do imaginative play, what that does for building creativity."
She also said that one thing that most parents do not realize is that a smartphone is "structured time" and does not allow for free thinking.

Friday, April 5, 2013

You Can Do Everyday To Make Parenting Awesome!

Accept imperfection:  Parenting is a huge opportunity to  accept that everyone makes mistakes and that these mistakes are a chance to learn together, a wonderful time for reflection and an opportunity to problem solve and practice acceptance, forgiveness and compassion.
Smile: It’s contagious and brings happiness to the world.  After spending time apart, when you meet again, greet your child with a smile. When things are going not so great, breathe and try to think of something that makes you smile.  It’s simple and yet so powerful.
Listen:   Make time to listen to your child’s dreams, hopes and stories. Listen to the heartaches, the problems and the fears. Do not worry so much about fixing and solving problems, instead listen with the intent to be there, listen with a kind heart and strive to  be present and supportive.
Dare to be Ridiculous: You want your child to have courage, joy, happiness and a desire to find meaning in life? Dare to be ridiculous: dance together, laugh, laugh and laugh some more, invent, create, play, whatever it may be, step outside your comfort zone once a day. It’s worth every moment of connection and it models amazing qualities needed for success.
Be Encouraging: The more we can encourage, the more our children can flourish.   Look and celebrate process and progress, determination and courage. Face success and failures with compassion and with the intent to be supportive.
Expect Limits to be Tested: Know that limits and boundaries will be tested because your child is still learning and trying to understand how the world and relationships work.  Shift your expectations and face those test with determination, kindness and flexibility and guide your child towards better choices in positive ways.  
Communicate with Respect: Remember the impact that your voice has on your child’s inner voice and strive to communicate in ways that are respectful, positive and kind. Say yes as much as you can and say no when you really mean it.
Spend time together: Look for opportunities, no matter how short they may be, to truly connect with your child each day. It can be five minutes reading together, two minutes shared looking at a picture, 15 minutes playing a game or going out to lunch together, find those moments and be truly present with your child. Children that feel connected are naturally more cooperative.
Aim for Balance:  Make time for yourself to re-energize. Our children are learning not just from what we say but so much from watching us. Striving to lead a balanced life, which includes time for ourselves really matters.  When our own tanks are full, we can handle the ups and downs of parenting much better.
Choose Love: Things will get messy, loud, sticky, complicated and stressful.Choose love and building a relationship over proving you have power. Children learn so much when given a chance to fix their own mistakes. Choose love and over the years your child will feel capable and remember “my parents loved me so” and not  ”my parents always told me so”.

What is Positive Parenting? Its Benefits and Advantages

One of the most significant debating issues in the world of parenting is the manner which a parent can nurture and raise her children. In this effect, parenting methods assume lot of significance. Every parent has her own parenting style. Each one of them is special and unique. Conversely, there cannot be two similar parenting methods or techniques even though the foundation principles that back all parenting methods are almost similar. In other words, all parents want to give the best of life to their children. However, another question still lingers around in the minds of parents. In what manner parents can give the best of life to their children - You can ask this basic question to yourself. Some parents use a positive parenting style to nurture their children while others might use a method that borders on a sense of negativity.
Almost every other parenting expert recommends using a positive parenting style that ensures a positive parenting influence on the children. So, what is positive parenting style? Is there is special connotation attached to it? Are there any special techniques tagged to it? In a way, positive parenting is a style of parenting that depends on using positive principles and result-oriented techniques and methods. Now, let us understand the basic principles of positive parenting and in what manner you can use its principles to nurture your children.
Positive parenting is also known as a type of guidance to keep your children in the right momentum or place them on the correct path. With positive parenting, you can use a positive way to raise your children all the while resisting any urge or temptation to use a harsh or punitive disciplining method to correct children. In simple words, positive parenting is also known by the following words:
  • Positive discipline
  • Gentle guidance
  • Loving guidance
  • Affectionate guidance
With positive parenting, you can raise children who are responsible, dutiful, and considerate. Such children will also be happier, contended and resourceful. However, one can never attach any set of rules to positive parenting. Positive parenting is not about parenting style per se. Positive parenting is actually a method of leading a productive life with your children. In addition, life is free of fear, fright, scare and undue disciplining.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Inquiry Based Learning

"Inquiry based approaches to science education focus on student constructed learning as opposed to teacher-transmitted information"
 - Wilfred A. Franklin

Inquiry based learning is an old concept of learning. This form of learning is an educational concept that relies more on a learner's side of involvement than a teacher's intervention. This approach is quite different from a traditional mode of learning. In a conventional classroom, teachers use a system, where they come to the class with a set of pre-prepared course curriculum and deliver them to the students on a sequential mode. In fact, they are the active facilitators of teaching by providing a source of skills and knowledge to the students. The entire teaching process is teacher-driven, when the teacher manages and administers the entire proceedings.

On the other hand, an inquiry based learning system drives the students to learn in a productive manner. Here, the teacher or instructors act as mentors or guides to lead students to learn their lessons. The teacher-in-charge will allow the students to come with their own queries and questions that eventually help them learn with a motivated mind. 
Children are curious and motivated to know and learn anything that interests them. Their intense desire to learn new things, will lead them to design, create, master and experiment with different things and issues. In an inquiry based learning system, there are two important entities. A child will have his or her interests and motivation to drive the learning process. On the contrary, both parents and teachers just act as facilitators or mentors in the entire learning process. An inquiry based learning process is evolving and organic, apart from its dynamic and interactive nature. It means that a child, who uses this approach is very active when he or she gets an active interest in learning. An inquiry based learning process involves the following important factors:

New discovery - Something interests and intrigues children that eventually force them to know more about it. This intriguing thing can fuel a child's imagination and drive to learn more. This very precious response system works very well for any child. An urge or drive to explore new domains or things will help a child to try his or her maximum best to master the basics of lessons.
A sense of action to drive the learning process - Although children are busy learning their lessons, teachers keep observing and mentoring their activities. They will also provide many opportunities to children to ask their questions and seek clarifications. During the process of learning, children start collecting information and details regarding the lessons. In this way, children will interact with other children to learn on a mutual basis. Team learning is an excellent way to learn new things and lessons.
Results or outcome - At the end of the learning process, the children will assess their performance with the active help from their teachers. This step is a reflection period, when children compare their performance level and later assess what can be done to improve their performance. The teacher, who is in charge, will help them in the process. Once children feel confident, they can probe and test new areas, domains and territories. The outcome is academic excellence, cooperation and teamwork.

Improve your Child's Concentration

Some children may show extreme difficulty while concentrating on their studies and other activities. These signs may include fickle mindedness, fidgeting, not paying attention, when someone speaks to them and getting forgetful from time to time. It could be frustrating for parents to see their children facing such a delicate situation. Most parents may also simply fail to notice that their children have very poor level of concentration. Experts suggest that lapses in concentration could be a detrimental factor in a child's life and parents must pay their attention to set right this condition as soon as possible. Simply speaking, concentration is the ability to focus on a specific task for a reasonable period.

A perceived lack of concentration could be due to a number of reasons and causes, most of which depend on the age and health status of the child. Concentration and attention in children are a matter of extreme interest in parenting, because of their usability and importance in achieving academic success. Intelligence and academic skills are just small parts of the final formula for your child's educational success.
Educational experts also feel that the ability to concentrate is a very soft skill that can have adverse impact on the learning process. In essence, most of the parents often make a trivial issue by hoping that their children will control their abilities to pay attention. What they may not realize is that a lack of an ability to concentrate on daily chorus and classroom work could be a serious issue that could derail their career achievements. As a parent, you may wish to know why children lose their focus and concentration, when they are doing some work and those reasons that cause an inability to concentrate on important things.

Here are some of them:

Not enough sleep: Tiredness and fatigue that occur because of insufficient sleep could be very good reasons for your child to lose concentration. Putting your child to a good night's sleep will help him or her to develop concentration and focus.
Lack of motivation and absence of interest: If your child loses interest in the work, he or she may lose concentration very easily. Lack of motivation is another factor that has lot of bearing on your child's ability to develop the power of concentration. This usually happen to a gifted child who is advanced in the subject. 
Health status: Weak health status could be one of the important reasons for your child to lose focus and concentration. Weak glandular functions, dehydration and bad eating habits may also contribute to poor levels of concentration. You may wish to force your child to eat better food and snacks, instead of all those junk and oil rich fast food snacks.
Ambient conditions: Intensive activity, extreme noise and a disturbing surrounding could be other factors that could affect your child's ability to concentrate.
Lack of exercise: Children need optimal amount of exercise per day to rejuvenate their body and mind. Lethargy and laziness are the byproducts of those children, who simply sit in front of TV for hours together.
Trouble with teachers: Some children may not like a particular teacher for some unknown reasons. You may need to resolve this issue by interacting with that teacher.
Grief and sadness: If there is a tragedy in your family or of the child is sad due to something, he or she may find concentrating very difficult.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bilingual can Boost Children's Brain Power

There are many differences between a monolingual and multilingual child. In fact, a child that speaks two or more languages can easily monitor the ambiance and environment around him or her. In fact, this is similar to driving a motor vehicle. When a driver drives a vehicle, he or she has to perform many mental calculations to gauge the road, traffic coming from the opposite side, traffic that is behind the car, gauge distractions that occur on the roadside and to prevent any untoward incidences happening by monitoring the driving speed and by controlling speed, gear changing and clutch management. A bilingual child would be able to perform a series of mental tasks those are simultaneous and quick. In fact, these children always use lesser areas or sectors of brain to perform any mental tasks. Curiously, bilingual ability of the brain may postpone the onset of age related conditions like Alzheimer's symptom.
Different advantages and benefits of being a bilingual
  • Segregating words into different categories based on their meanings.
  • Use information in many different ways and meanings.
  • Easily playing word and scrabble games very easily.
  • Easily solving crossword puzzles when children grow older and step into higher grade schools.
  • Finding problems any problems very quickly.
  • Think laterally and perform simultaneous mental problems.
  • Easily develop personal relationship with others and connect with them without any problems.
Bilingual children always follow a particular pattern of learning which is systematic and organized. In fact, the rate at which a bilingual brain works is far superior to a child that just speaks one language. However, the biggest and most significant advantage of learning two languages is the ability of children to live anywhere in the world and confidence to lead a contended life.

Imaginative Play in Children

Most parents still feel that play time is just a tool for children to relax and soothe their minds and bodies. They also feel that excessive play is detrimental to classroom performance. In addition, parents still believe that learning music, dancing and other similar activities are good for sharpening brain activities of children. However, pretend or imaginative play is the best tool to boost brain development among children in addition to enhancing children's overall growth. Apart from these advantages, parents may also help their children to get ready to go their schools at a later stage.

What is common with all these seemingly childish activities? All these three instances of child's play relate to a type of play called “imaginative play”. Imaginative play is a vital activity in a child's early age. During a session of imaginative play, the most vital learning takes place in child's brain and its interiors. What a child learns with this brain-based learning is an ensured gain in many skills and capabilities such as:
  • Social
  • Physiological
  • Psychological
  • Emotional and
  • Intellectual
Imaginative or pretend play is an important type of play that a child creates and sets in motion to learn a series of critical skills. Pretend or imaginative play involves a series of mechanisms like:
  • An enhancement to convert objects and actions in a symbolic and pretending manner.
  • Development of social, personal and dynamic skills that involve conversation, dialogue and intense negotiation processes.
  • Streamlining of logic and thinking skills.
  • Improvising many other brain skills.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Children Behavior Problems

Behavior is driven by Emotion, NOT Logic. This is fundamental to everything, including understanding toddler behavior. Behavior, for any person of any age, is determined by their emotional state. People ACT from their emotions, and they later JUSTIFY their actions with logic. But small kids don’t have the ability to use logic, so they act purely from emotion. Keep this in mind when dealing with behavior in toddlers.

We tend to overuse the word “No” when we talk to our kids. This causes problems with toddler behavior. You remember the story of the boy who cried wolf, right? The little shepherd boy was bored while watching the sheep so he decided to cry wolf and make the villagers come running. Before long, they stopped responding to his false cries. When a parent cries “No” at every little thing, kids stop listening. The parent’s cries fade into the background. Behaviour problems in children can stem from this caveat.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Language is a great communication tool ever known to humankind. Without languages, civilizations may cease to exist while learning different language will lead to proper understanding of global culture, customs and traditions. Children acquire language skills when they are infants. Children also acquire linguistic skills by speaking it and through creative mimicry. When children are in their infancy, their language skill acquisition is very simple and basic. However, it becomes very complex with each passing day and when children become adults. Amazingly, children are very adept at learning languages when they are four months old as they can easily read lip movements and learn to recognize simple, speech sounds.

Early language skills are very critical for the success of children. Language, learnt when young, could have amazing effects both on the academic and professional achievements. Learning one language can bring about huge changes in the attitude and intelligence level of a child. What happens when a child learn and speaks in two different languages? Certainly, it is a great advantage because speaking in two languages offers many practical benefits that help children succeed in a truly competitive world. Latest research findings suggest that being bilingual makes your children smarter, wiser and intelligent. Learning two languages may have extraordinary effect on your children's brain by enhancing cognitive skills those are unconnected to learning language. Some reports even suggest that learning two languages may decrease the likelihood of developing dementia in old ages.

Raising a bilingual child.

Raising a bilingual child is not so easy. However, things become easier when the parents speak in two different languages. For example, a child may have parents belonging to two language groups or nationalities. The father may speak Chinese very fluently while the mother may be very vocal in French. The child that grows in such a home gets all the best opportunities to speak in both languages. However, the dominant language that the child learns to speak will be the mother's tongue. This is because of the proximity of the child with his or her mother. In fact, the mother will nurture her child for more than 8 years almost on her lap. This proximity may compel the child to learn his or her mother's language more than the father's.

Whatever the case, teaching your children two languages is still very difficult. You may never teach it intentionally and you do not teach with a definite purpose. Learning language comes automatically to children. However, teaching two languages takes some time and effort. In addition, children will learn language effortlessly when parents give them enough time and exposure to the language. There are two types of bilingualism at home:

The first one is the simultaneous learning of two different languages at home that is affected by four important issues:

  1. At time, patents may speak in just one language, which is usually the language that is spoken at the home. These parents may not be able to speak in the language that the school or the community speaks.
  2. Are the parents using the language that they speak with their children? Usually, parents may make decision as to which language they would be using at their home.
  3. In some homes, grandparents may speak entirely a different language that might make things difficult for the parents.
  4. The language spoken in the community is yet another factor that influences the language that your child will learn in the future. For example, in Canada, the major language spoken in some areas of the country is French and children usually learn it faster than other languages spoken at home. In fact, children living in such areas may even learn to speak three languages! One is definitely French, the second is English, while the third could be a different language spoken by one or two of the parents.

The second class of bilingualism is the successive bilingualism. This occurs when the child learns one language first and become proficient in it before learning the second language either at the school or in the community. This phase occurs when the child is about four years old and in many cases, the new language is acquired within the school, where the child attends the language class.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What is IQ?

IQ, short for intelligence quotient, is a score of intelligence that is determined by one of many standardised tests that are available today. These scores are mainly used as predictors of performance namely in educational and jobs. Do note that there are many forms of intelligence tests; some tests use a single type of item or question for one strength and some test more than one skill. Most of these tests yield both an overall score (e.g., the full scale IQ for the Wechsler's series) and individual subtest scores (for each of the subset in the test). Whichever way intelligence may be tested, it is noted that IQ tests attempt to measure the same general intelligence.

How to measure IQ?

The formula to measure IQ is:

Mental Age/Chronological Age x 100 = Intelligence Quotient

Chronological age is your age at the point a test is taken from birth. Mental age is the age that is a concept in relation to intelligence, expressed as the age at which a child is performing intellectually. For the majority of people, the mental age and the chronological age should be the same. This means, an IQ of 100 would indicate that a child is of average intellectual capacity. For a gifted child, the mental age is above the chronological age, and the IQ is higher than 130 (usually two standard deviation above the mean of 100). In the same way, for an intellectually challenged child, the mental age is below the chronological age, and the IQ is usually below 70 (two standard deviations below the mean of 100).

Till today, there have been many debates whether IQ tests are an accurate measure of intelligence and to what extent it may or may not be accurate. In essence, IQ scores represent a very specific type of intelligence, and depend on the test that is taken.

Are you cusious to find out your child IQ?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Do you need a Home Library at home?

Home library size has a very substantial effect on educational attainment, even adjusting for parents’ education, father’s occupational status and other family background characteristics,” reports the study, recently published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. “Growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few or no books.

“This is a large effect, both absolutely and in comparison with other influences on education,” adds the research team, led by University of Nevada sociologist M.D.R. Evans. “A child from a family rich in books is 19 percentage points more likely to complete university than a comparable child growing up without a home library.”

This effect holds true regardless of a nation’s wealth, culture or political system, but its intensity varies from country to country. In China, a child whose parents own 500 books will average 6.6 more years of education than a comparable child from a bookless home. In the U.S., the figure is 2.4 years — which is still highly significant when you consider it’s the difference between two years of college and a full four-year degree.

The researchers used data from the World Inequality Study, which pooled information from a series of representative national samples. In most nations, survey participants (a total of more than 73,000 people) were asked to estimate the number of books in their parents’ home when they were 14 years old. The scholars compared that figure with other factors influencing educational achievement, including the education levels of one’s parents.

“Regardless of how many books the family already has, each addition to a home library helps the children get a little farther in school,” they report. “But the gains are not equally great across the entire range. Having books in the home has a greater impact on children from the least-educated families. It is at the bottom, where books are rare, that each additional book matters most.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Social and emotional growth: 2-3 years

The significance of social and emotional development is seen in every area of a child’s life. Your child will have a strong foundation for her development if she can manage her own feelings, understand others’ feelings and needs, and interact positively with others.

" Two-year-olds enjoy playing alongside other children, but usually keep to themselves. Although your child is starting to build his independence, he still very much needs your help – especially when conflicts arise, as you’ll need to step in to calm everyone down and teach appropriate behaviours. " Comfort objects like blankets or teddy bears can help two-year-olds cope with new situations or strong emotions.

Emotional development
- Your child will extend trusting relationships to other adults and to children with whom he plays frequently. - - He’ll show preferences for these adults and children – for example, he might hug a friend when he arrives at preschool, or go to his favourite child care worker for comfort after a fall on the playground.
- Your child will show a strong sense of self as an individual. For example, she’ll say ‘No!’ to an adult’s request, simply to assert herself.
- Your child will recognise feelings when emotions are labelled by adult. For example, when his teacher says, - ‘I know you feel scared about that’, your child might calm down a bit.
- She’ll increase her understanding and use of language related to emotions, and will be beginning to label feelings she recognises in herself and others. For example, she might say, ‘Mummy happy now’ or ‘Why you cross, Papa?’
- Your child will continue to find it hard to regulate his emotions – as a result, he might get frustrated and have the occasional tantrum. He’ll use a wider range of coping strategies, such as comfort objects or words that label feelings, but will still need a great deal of adult support.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

How to teach your baby to speak?

Babies absorb so much in the first few years of life. It is amazing what an impact everything you do has on an infant. With infants, it can sometimes be hard to tell what they are taking in because they cannot yet communicate with words. Teaching a baby to speak is fundamentally important for their development.

Talk to them all the time. As you change them, tell them what you are doing, and always speak in a soft, calming voice. Go through each step of everything you do with them. It may seem strange to say, "Now, I am taking off your diaper. I see you're wet." or, "Look at this nice big bowl of applesauce! Doesn't it look yummy?" But babies respond to it, even if it may be hard to see it.

Watch your baby's responses. When you talk to them, pause, as you would in a normal conversation, and give them time to respond. Sometimes they may smile, babble, or giggle, or sometimes they may just make a face or sit there and watch you. Either way, you are showing them the pattern of communication that they will use later on in life.

Read to them at least once a day. Show them the pictures and point out things in the pictures that go along with the story. Even if you are just reading a baby book of words, point out the picture of the ball, or the cat. They identify with things they can see. They make the connection between the words spoken and the pictures they see. Even taking objects that they are familiar with and speaking the name of the object will enhance their vocabulary, and make important connections between words and the world around them

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Encouraging Life Long Learning

Many people have realized continuous learning is essential to stay ahead, not just to maintain the standard of living. If your child specializes too early and limits his own learning, he may not be able to find the niche that best suits him. However, even if he has found his niche, he still has to constantly upgrade his skills.

The job market is becoming more competitive. Employers are demanding more from their staff. They want team players because we are moving out of one-man operations into a corporate world. As we increase our interactions with regional economies, we need leaders and entrepreneurs equipped with these skills to live, learn and flourish. These leaders will be your children.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Reading to Baby

Reading is one of the ways to help your baby to learn about communication. Communication involves listening to and understanding the messages of others and being able to respond with a clear message. Producing a clear message involves the use of speech sounds and the use of language through words and sentences, plus non-verbal behaviours like facial expressions and gestures.
Why read to my baby? - Holding your baby and sharing a book is a very special time.
- Babies learn that reading is important when you hold them, and show them pictures in a book, and you talk about the pictures.
- Babies enjoy being read to because they like the sound of your voice and they like having you close for some special time together.
- Babies enjoy looking at the pictures and listening to the rhythm of your voice long before they can understand the words.
- Babies enjoy looking at what you point to and show them in books. They also like pointing to pictures themselves so they can share them with you.

How can I read with my baby? -Try to create a time for reading with your child every day when your baby is alert and showing interest in what is happening around him. It may be a good idea to read at the same time every day or in the same special chair.
- Babies see most clearly at a distance of about 20-25 cms, and when they are very young they like to look at clear, simple shapes which are brightly coloured.
- When reading, try to look both at the book and your baby. Point to the pictures and talk about the things your baby is looking at.
- When reading aloud, try to use your voice in many ways to make the story time as interesting for your baby as possible – loud and soft, happy and sad.
- If you find books your baby loves, read them over and over and try to use the same reading voice each time so they get used to the pattern.
- You will need to be persistent when reading to your baby, as the length of time your baby will be able to attend to a story will grow over time.
- Some parents do not like reading, but holding your baby, looking at a book and talking about the pictures may give your baby a better start with reading than you had.
- You do not have to say the words that are written on the page – you can make up stories to go along with the pictures.
- Make sharing books with your baby as much fun as possible.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Learning to write

Practicing Writing

At around 3 or 4 years old, kids may start to practice writing, and included among the scribbles may be recognizable letters. For example, you may notice your child writes all of the letters of his or her name in a seemingly random way on different parts of the piece of paper. That's because kids learn to write individual letters before they learn how to put them together to form a word.
As they continue to read and develop an understanding of how words work, kids start to understand how to group letters into words. Between kindergarten and first grade, most learn to put letters together into words and will use these words to label pictures that they draw. Kids this age usually use only capital letters and will not include spaces between words. They will also use "invented spelling," writing words with no vowels (for example, BBYDLL for baby doll).
Eventually, with practice and formal schooling, kids learn what are called the conventions of print — writing from left to right, the difference between upper- and lowercase letters, how to put spaces between words, and how to use correct spelling in most instances.
As your child gets older and develops more motor control, his or her handwriting will become smaller and neater. Between second and fourth grade, kids learn to write in cursive and will apply the conventions of handwriting automatically.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Children's Key Skills on Play and Learn

Children's Key Skills on Play and Learn
1. Creating Time Try to plan ahead. Identify 10-15 minutes per day when you can play with the least interruptions. Turn the television off and involve brothers and sisters.
2. Involving Your Child Ask your child what they enjoy playing. Let them choose what they want to play. You would be surprised how many parents automatically decide how, what and when they are going to play. Children learn best and enjoy play more when they decide how they want to play and at what pace. Importantly their concentration, enjoyment levels and good behavior increases as a consequence! Hence there are strong "pay-offs" for both the child and parent.

3. Getting Down To Your Child's Level Preparing for play is important. Make sure you are close to your child, have eye contact and show that you are interested e.g. if your child is playing on the floor, sit on the floor with them.

4. Describing What You See Let your child pick a play activity and as your child is playing just concentrate on describing what you see in a very positive tone of voice e.g. "you have picked up the red brick and are placing it on the blue brick". This skill will need a lot of practice as you will inevitably want to direct the play by saying such things as "I know lets put this brick on top of this other brick". Avoid asking questions and copy your child's play.

5. Praising What You See When you feel totally comfortable with describing what you see, try to begin to use descriptive praise i.e. "what a good girl for putting that red brick on the blue brick". Be close when you praise, smile, get eye contact, use touches, hugs and strokes. Be sincere and genuine and praise as soon as possible after the good behaviour in order to encourage them to repeat it. Your child needs to know that you are pleased in order for them to learn self-confidence and to explore further. They are learning to be co-operative rather than to be defiant.

Further Support Additional professional advice can be sought from a Health Visitor, G.P., Social Services or the NSPCC. The basic philosophy of these articles is that caring for children is one of the most responsible and difficult things you will ever do in your life - yet there is very little practical help and advice on how to do it. In a small way it is hoped that the articles can begin to fill a massive gap.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Encouraging my child’s language development

Encouraging my child’s language development?

The best way to encourage your child’s speech and language development is to talk with her frequently and naturally.1) Talk to your baby and treat her as a talker, beginning in her first year. Assume she is talking back to you when she makes sounds and babbles, and even when she is just paying attention to you. When you finish talking, give her a turn and wait for her to respond – she will! When she starts babbling, babble back with similar sounds. You will probably find that she babbles back to you. This keeps the talking going and is great fun!2) Respond to gestures and words. As your baby grows up and starts to use gestures and words, respond to his attempts to communicate. For example, if your child shakes his head, treat that behaviour as if he is saying ‘no’. If he points to a toy, respond as if your child is saying, ‘Can I have that?’ or ‘I like that’.
3) Talk about what is happening. Talk to your baby even if she doesn’t understand – she soon will. Talk about things that make sense to her, but at the same time remember to use lots of different words. As your baby becomes a toddler, continue to talk to her – tell her the things that you are doing, and talk about the things that she is doing.
4) Introduce new words. It is important for children to be continually exposed to lots of different words in lots of different contexts. This helps them learn the meaning and function of words in their world.
5) Share books with your baby and continue to as he grows. Talk about the pictures. Use a variety of books, and link what is in the book to what is happening in your child’s life. Books with interesting pictures are a great focus for talking. Your local library is a great source of new books to keep things fresh.6) Follow your child’s lead in conversations. If she initiates a conversation through talking, gesture or behavior  respond to it, making sure you stick to the topic your child started.

7) Repeat and build on what your child says. For example, if he says, ‘Apple,’ you can say, ‘You want an apple. You want a red apple. I want a red apple too. Let's have a red apple together’.
From the time your child starts telling stories, encourage her to talk about things in the past and in the future. At the end of the day, talk about plans for the next day – for example, making the weekly shopping list together or deciding what to take on a visit to grandma. Similarly, when you come home from a shared outing, talk about it.