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A Few Tips On Raising Dyslexia Awareness

October is Dyslexia Awareness month in Australia. Dyslexia is defined by Oxford Languages and Dictionaries Online as “a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.” 

Where the term Dyslexia came from:

The word Dyslexia itself, according to the March 2018 edition, volume 31, The Pyschologist, was invented by the German Professor and Opthamologist, Rudolf Berlin, over 130 years ago.  Dyslexia comes from the English prefix dys- meaning difficult, and the Greek lexis meaning word. So it means “Difficulty with words”. 

The technical definition as explained by AUSPELD:

“The definition of dyslexia recognised by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), AUSPELD, the NICHD (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) and DSF suggests that dyslexia is:

  • Neurobiological,
  • Characterised by poor reading accuracy and/or fluency,
  • Often associated with phonological (and/or orthographic) processing difficulties, 
  • Unexpected in relation to the amount of effective instruction and intervention provided, and 
  • A contributing factor to low levels of vocabulary and general knowledge, as well as poor reading comprehension.”

Let’s talk about Dyslexia:

That is not a small definition but it definitely removes any room for confusion. Dyslexia was always presented to me as a reading and eye issue. Well, I am here to tell you that is one nasty-little-myth! (Many other myths have been corrected here with Dekker Delves into Dyslexia’s article about Riding the Dyslexic Unicorn to the land of myths!)

Although, if you suspect your child is having reading difficulties it is a good idea to have their sight and hearing tested. A new pair of glasses – see an optometrist! Discovering my daughter and son could not read the blackboard was not very helpful to their learning journey. Somehow they passed the starting school eye check!

Now, where was I… oh, yes! Sight issues are not related to dyslexia, it just makes reading harder before you start to deal with dyslexia.

The Facts:

The Australian Dyslexia Association reports that approximately 10% of the Australian population is affected by dyslexia. Unfortunately, when they consider figures from other English speaking countries across the globe they believe this figure, when undiagnosed cases of dyslexia are taken into account, may be as many as 1 in 5 people in Australia.

Recently in Australia, a phonics check has been set up for all grade 1 students in the hope that children with learning difficulties may be identified before they leave the lower primary years of school.  This year in New South Wales, Australia, will see the ceasing of the Reading Recovery program to be replaced with science and evidence-based programs using decodable readers and explicit synthetic phonics lessons.

This past month the Five From Five, AUSPELD and Learning Difficulties Australia announced “The Primary Reading Pledge”. Their goal is:

“To reduce to near zero the number of children who finish primary school unable to read by providing primary schools with the resources and training to provide effective assessment and intervention.”

Further details can be found on their webpage.

What are the signs of dyslexia?

If you think your child may be having difficulties with reading or spelling, what should you do? What are the signs it is more than your child needing help with homework?

Some signs may be:

  1. Reading at a rate that does not correspond to your child’s large vocabulary.
  2. Spelling may not make sense.
  3. Letters are not well-formed.
  4. Your child holds a pencil like a lifeline, and
  5. Once their pencil is in hand it appears they have totally forgotten the topic.
  6. Rhyming does not make sense (e.g.. asking quite seriously “Do cat and dog rhyme?” after a 20-minute lesson about the words that rhyme with cat.)
  7. Their teacher will often report them sitting quietly in class or acting the clown to avoid the task.
  8. Your child may have no idea they were shown the task the previous day.
  9. Reading aloud is a major struggle and they avoid it.

AUSPELD has further details available for parents of children with learning difficulties.

What do I do now?

If your child shows any of the above characteristics, firstly talk to your child’s class teacher. See if they are experiencing the same issues at school as working on the after school homework.

If so, your school most likely has a counselor to help navigate evidence-based reading support. If this does not appear to be making any progress it is time to talk to your child’s doctor or paediatrician. 

The first steps will be:

  • To have your child’s eyes checked, in case they need glasses, and
  • To have their hearing checked, in case they need hearing aids.

The next step needs to be discussed with your doctor. Sometimes they will refer your child for an assessment with a psychologist. Sometimes an Assessment may be organised through the school, ADA, or SPELD.

The final course of action is evidence-based instruction in a systematic synthetic phonics class. Many are available based on either the DiStar (Direct Instruction Method), for example, “ Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons program” (Engelmann, Haddox & Bruner, 1983)” or using the Orton Gillingham method of instruction.

Following please find two lists of Approved programs, prepared by Dyslexia Victoria Support (DVS), that meet the scientìc and evidence-based criteria for intervention for students with Specific Learning Disabilities. 

Thank you so much to Heidi Gregory from DVS for your assistance and for supplying the memes for this article.


Useful Contacts:

AUSPELD https://auspeld.org.au/ 

https://auspeld.org.au/2020/08/06/primary-reading-pledge/ 

Australian Dyslexia Association https://dyslexiaassociation.org.au/

Code Read Network https://codereadnetwork.org/

DSF – Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation of WA (Inc.) https://dsf.net.au/ 

Dyslexia Support Australia https://www.facebook.com/groups/DyslexiaSupportAustralia/ 

Dyslexia Victoria Support https://dyslexiavictoriasupport.com/ 

Five from Five https://www.facebook.com/fivefromfive/ 

International Dyslexia Association https://dyslexiaida.org/fact-sheets/ 

Learning Difficulties Australia https://www.facebook.com/LearningDifficultiesAustralia/

Reading Rockets https://readingrockets.org 

SPELD NSW www.speldnsw.org.au 

Spelfabet https://www.spelfabet.com.au/ 

Stealth Dyslexia Support https://www.facebook.com/groups/1826837860905655 

https://www.understood.org/en/community-events/blogs/the-inside-track/2015/03/04/stealth-dyslexia-how-some-dyslexic-students-escape-detection

Supporting Multilingual Children with Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, etc.)

https://www.facebook.com/groups/305597537177222 

Understood https://www.Understood.org 

References:

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.

Google Oxford Languages and Dictionaries Online.

The British Psychologist Society. (March 2018). The Psychologist. Volume 31. A brief history of dyslexia. Kirby, Phillip.

https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/volume-31/march-2018/brief-history-dyslexia

Dekker Delves into Dyslexia. Riding the dyslexia unicorn to the land of myths. https://dekkerdyslexia.wordpress.com/2018/05/19/riding-the-dyslexic-unicorn-to-the-land-of-myths/ 

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Support Your Friends Who Have Allergy Struggles

Does anyone in your family have severe allergies? Do they have a chronic illness? Are they very young or very old? Are they currently in the hospital? Living a life at high risk at this time is difficult, even worse is if you live daily with allergy struggles.

Chances are then that you will be fairly familiar with most of the safety precautions in place for avoiding compromising the respiratory system of all, but particularly those in the high-risk category.  With the exception of mask-wearing, except in hospital situations, this is an everyday experience and necessity for all who experience chronic illness daily.

My children have regularly played our made-up game “When do we wash our hands?”:

  1. When we enter the house
  2. Before we eat
  3. After we finish eating
  4. After we finish in the bathroom
  5. After playing with our pets
  6. After playing outside or inside
  7. If we rub our eyes
  8. If we touch our face
  9. If we have not washed our hands in the last 2 hours.
  10. …. oops, I will stop now!

At our house, we display signs to remind everyone of the most important times to wash our hands. To make it easier for our children we regularly find new and fun ways to wash our hands and keep kids’ hands under the water until they are actually washed not put under the water to claim “clean”.

Our most recent ideas are:

  1. Sing the song to wash your hands in Mandarin (https://playful-chinese.simplecast.com/episodes/wash-hands-in-chinese-with-miss-panda-X6Cz1UV0 ),
  2. Sing the song to wash your hands in Arabic (https://youtu.be/fNTRH-7_ZxI  ) ,
  3. Say any alphabet through twice (English then Arabic works well), or
  4. count backwards in any language from 100.

Even visitors are asked to please remove their shoes and wash their hands before entering our house, partly Arab tradition and partly an attempt at ensuring no allergens enter our home.  Many people find it difficult to comprehend just how much strain living with this level of safety precautions really is. And… we have not even left the safety of our home yet.

 

Leaving home requires ensuring that the emergency first aid kit is packed and anaphylaxis/allergy bracelets are attached to the relevant children. A clearly labelled letter from their doctor is in their pocket or backpack indicating the procedures required to face an emergency and the medication on them that is required if by some chance of fate they are separated from me.


Our allergies ensure that we question and re-question if we really need to go to the hospital or can we go to the doctor?” Or “Do we need to go to the doctors’ surgery or could we ring and get them to prepare the script for the current medication refill and send someone else to collect it and take it to the pharmacy.” Sick people are in hospital and doctor surgery waiting rooms! We do not want to take a child with a compromised respiratory system anywhere near sick people if we can avoid it. A trip to doctors always involves a call ahead and an appointment to minimize the extent of time we need to be sitting near sick people. Most times we are called from a seat outside to come and see the doctor.
 

I am aware that this is not the normal situation that everyone else negotiates – and it is a struggle! It is very scary, all the things you have to remember even before you get to “Wear your Mask and gloves if you need to make essential trips outside”.

Every person with a chronically ill family member, friend, or neighbour is very grateful for your kindness. We are very grateful that even though you are not in an at-risk category you choose to keep wearing your mask, and to only leave the house for essential trips.

 

Thank you…

  • Thank you for washing your hands

  • Thank you for wearing your mask

  • Thank you for staying inside and making only essential trips

 But mostly, Thank you for caring for your neighbors.

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Unusual Times Call for More Mental Health Awareness

In these unusual times most of us are learning to maintain friendships from a distance, creating new ways to feel connected, and developing new skills to create new connections.  Many new online book clubs, online recipe exchange clubs, and places to share patterns and crafting projects have begun. Our mental health awareness needs to go above and beyond.

“True friends are always together in spirit.”
– Anne of Green Gables, L M Montgomery.

Let’s be honest we are mostly creatures of habit and our favorite things to discuss, and do, bring us comfort when we have no control over the world around us. My this week’s excitement is finding friends to share my love of crochet and languages.  Outside of my obsession with books, my favorite pastime and entertainment is, well, discovering new languages and crochet. Sometimes both work together when the patterns are written in Japanese for amigurumi toys (Japanese cartoon characters recreated as crocheted toys).

Unfortunately, for some people this situation, pandemic, we are thrust into the midst of – without notice, with no warning, brings forth a far darker challenge. With this forced isolation, cutoff from their usual routines, attempting to fight off “the depths of despair”, they are faced with loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

Daily life as we know it has become chaos for the largest part, but most of us can readjust reasonably well – finding a new order and adding in the new routines for safety and hygiene (wearing masks and washing hands).

However, if you need a fixed, unchanging routine to keep you grounded in reality and hold order to reduce the stress and potential panic a major disruption causes, this does not bode well for you. (I don’t ever do well without my morning schedule).

Mental Health Awareness is much more …

mental health awareness

If you are used to getting to the gym or swimming for morning exercise, I was advised walking in the sunshine is a great alternative. This can actually be done as a walk around your kitchen table for 30minutes with the sun streaming in the window, walking around your balcony or down the hallway.

It will give you the same boost to your morning with an adjustment to your routine not a major change or needing to drop it totally. Have you got some favorite music you always wanted to blast out while you were exercising but were never quite game? Today’s the day to make this walking game fun!

Statistics in Australia as discussed by Beyond Blue (www.beyondblue.org.au) show that 1 in 16 people are experiencing depression right now.  Have you checked in with your friends you have not heard from much lately?

Did you call your neighbors and ask, “how are you doing?”.

 

10th September: is Suicide Awareness and “R U Ok?” Day!

In their lifetime approximately 1 in 7 people will experience an episode of Depression, and 1 in 4 Australians will experience Anxiety.  The statistics given by Beyond Blue show that in 2018, 3000 Australians lost their lives to suicide.

That is approximately 8 deaths a day. Fortunately, figures are also beginning to indicate that many more people are seeking assistance when they have Mental Health troubles, be it with Depression, Anxiety or something else. Approximately half of these people will continue on to formal treatments.

October 2020 – Mental Health Awareness Month

In Australia, October is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental Health Awareness Day occurs on 10 October this year. Across Australia various Mental Health Awareness Campaigns are being run on the theme of “Tune In”. The focus is on being present, being aware.  “Strengthening our Community” #strongertogether.

How do we show our support?

  1. Talk about Mental Health
  2. Make the time to ask how the person is
  3. Find out if they need more assistance than you can provide and would like help contacting a professional.
  4. In Australia, if they are in immediate danger call 000 for Emergency Services. (In the USA call 911)

Here are 20 ways that you can take better care of yourself every single day.

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School at Home Should Be at Your Pace – Rest & Create

In the midst of all the turmoil in the world it is very important to take the time to rest and let ourselves be.  Especially, if like me you are suddenly involved with another four hours a day in study time for children, where you have to school at home.

“You don’t always need a plan.  Sometimes you just need to breathe, TRUST, let go and see what happens!”

– Mandy Hale

In my case, in a language I do not speak or read at an academic level – it has been an interesting and occasionally stress-filled school at home time.  Needless to say, I am learning many tricks to translate all the data to English, learn the lessons in English and then once we understand the details of the lesson we are translating back to our target learning language to answer all the questions and send the corresponding answers back to my children’s teachers for marking.

We have a very large case of “Perfectionist, please meet your children”. Not one of them will operate on a schedule.  Not one of them ever managed to follow any plan that I worked on for hours, planned and researched till I was exhausted, and was enthusiastic to implement during our school at home time.

“What do you do?” I hear you ask…. Well, panic and mayhem were the order of the day for a long time. Until I learnt a valuable lesson…

“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year in conversation” – Plato

I had taken the fun out of learning with my scheduling and research. In my panic over the possibility of missing something, I had failed to recognize, I had left nothing to chance. No space for investigations.  No space for thought without an outcome already being known. No space for play.

Find New Ways to Learn


My having missed the mark significantly was summed up neatly whilst learning about volcanoes, when my daughter says, “Mum, we have talked about this till there is nothing to talk about, drawn about it till there is nothing more to draw, when do we get to make the volcano?”

Right, make the volcano… make a mess in my kitchen… for me to clean up mess-in-my-kitchen… eek…. I am thinking “How about, Never! Never works for me!’ Then my daughter pipes up again, “I saw this baking soda with vinegar experiment that they did, online.  The mum made the volcano down her kitchen drain because it is really good for cleaning out the drain.  Then you just turn on the cold water tap and it all washes down the drain to clean it! Wouldn’t that be neat?”  Wait a minute…. Clean my kitchen drain with a science experiment about a volcano…. I can get on board with that!  “Please tell me more?”

This was how I learnt that over scheduling, over planning and over stressing were taking the joy out of learning. I needed to step back and “make a time” as opposed to “make time”.  Here was where I had to prove to myself and my children that we were worth more than adherence to a schedule that was making everyone frazzled. It was time for a rest!:

Time to make muffins and declare it “all school work complete for the day”.

We covered maths (measuring ingredients), science (Learning about oven temperatures and how ingredients mix together),  literacy (reading the recipe) and geography (where did the food come from?). Oh, and don’t forget the tea, hot chocolate and candle for the table when the muffins are ready to eat!!!

Let me leave you with this quote:

“Have regular hours for work and play.

Make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well”

– Louisa May Alcott

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Complete Guide to Homeschooling – 50+ Websites, Apps and Learning Resources

Are you schooling from home or your schools are closed? Here are fun and additional ways you can help your child build their education and supplement their growth and learning.

Firstly,

Have you joined your local library online?

You can sign up online for e-books and audiobooks free!!

Welcome to our new Adventure!

from a Worldschooling / Gameschooling mother!

“Learning while Laughing”

I like to share my family’s learning adventures! There is only one aim: The best learning happens when you are having fun! So, are you ready to come “adventuring” with me! You are now the official “Leader of the Mischief”. Wait! Stop! That was supposed to say “Homeschool Teacher” but it’s tea time so….

Have you joined the online library yet?

You can get e-books, audiobooks, magazines and newspapers online through your library!

Preschool:

Listening to Audibooks whilst playing Lego, making craft, or playing puzzles.

Audiobook suggestions:

Winnie the Pooh by A A Milne

  • A Bear called Paddington – Michael Bond
  • Alice in Wonderland by C S Lewis
  • Ronald Dahl reading his story stories : Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Julia Donaldson – we love all her books – The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom

Making Origami paper planes – Did you know it is actually an international sport for predominately Engineers and Mathematicians.

PBS kids in USA has lots of fabulous mini documentary cartoon style learning programs.

For extra ideas google homeschooling ideas for “Preschool with Netflix”.

ABC4kids in Australia likewise – tv, online, or app

Learning with arts and crafts:

www.dltk-kids.com

“DLTK’s Crafts for Kids features a variety of printable children’s crafts, coloring pages, worksheets and activities including projects for holidays, educational themes and some of our children’s favorite cartoon characters.”

https://origami-amazing.blogspot.com/

Easy Origami for instructions for kids.

Grades K – 2:

www.abcya.com

Educational games and apps for kids grade K-5

www.starfall.com

Specializes in Reading, writing, maths and phonics.

Grades 3+

www.biology4kids.com

Explore cell structure, cell function, scientific studies, plants, vertebrates, invertebrates and other scientific topics.

www.chem4kids.com
Explore Periodic Table Basics, States of Matter, Structure of Atoms, Changes in Matter, Chemical and Physical Changes, Solids, Enzymes, Solutions and other science topics.

www.cosmos4kids.com

Explore astronomy, space exploration, and science topics.

www.geography4kids.com

Explore the earth sciences that includes topics on the Earth’s structure, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere, and other science topics.

www.khanacademy.org

Their mission is to provide a free world class education to anyone worldwide.

www.physics4kids.com

Explore motion, heat and thermodynamics, electricity & magnetism, light, modern physics and other science topics.

Brain works – Neuroscience for kids

(https://youtu.be/CAKscnzkhHg)

Educational programs videos / documentaries
(Available on YouTube)

Scishow kids (https://youtu.be/yItH9wyF8YA)

Science explained in short documentaries.

Also for older kids 12+ checkout Scishow (confirm content suitable for your child first)

Crash Course kids – STEM resources (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0l9COpoK2BzCKhz5o_Xe9QPC–3Tu2Ed)

Also for older kids 12+ checkout Crash Course (confirm content suitable for your child first)

Dinosaur Train – Dinosaurs and more Dinosaurs. (https://youtu.be/LjujG9BfU_0)

Ready Get Go! – About space, astronomy (https://youtu.be/iN78UKFnk20)

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – teaching mindfulness (https://youtu.be/AJLyBB6rcZA)

Super Why! – Learning about letters, words and how they work (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbxK6jzYms1iMkU9Kwvl0sA)

Wild Kratts – Wildlife rangers (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxEmDFo1yUbbxjEb9RjitVA)

Tinga Tinga Tales from Africa – short video documentaries in colorful animated African designed (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWQLkOZV1aHXB0ihn2EwSbw)

Languages Learning

Arabic:

Adam wa Mishmish – cute songs to learn (https://youtu.be/BEwKlsjk5AE)

Learn the Arabic Alphabet

(https://raisingworldchildren.com/2019/07/16/helping-your-dyslexic-child-learn-the-arabic-alphabet/ )

Learn Arabic numbers

(https://raisingworldchildren.com/2019/06/04/help-your-child-with-dyslexia-learn-arabic-numbers/)

Ahlan Simsim – Arabic Sesame Street

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https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC48pfslXOUx-PZTLQxZjS4g

French

For French Immersion

(www.forfrenchimmersion.com)

A cup of French:

(www.acupoffrench.com)

Animals (https://acupoffrench.com/french-vocabulary/pets-animals/ )

Japanese:

Lessons for Japanese but you can choose from 28 different languages to start.

(https://www.nhk.or.jp/lesson/english/ )

Mandarin:

Miss Panda’s ‘Playful Chinese Podcasts’

(https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-go-in-chinese-with-miss-panda/id1467550146?i=1000467025330 )

Miss Panda’s Chinese playground – stories read in Mandarin Chinese

(https://youtu.be/0arm4ksZyW4)

Sesame Street in Mandarin

(https://youtu.be/QerlKVfczG4)

Online or Apps to Use:

Duolingo – Learn many different languages online or in their app

www.duolingo.com

Learn languages online or ap

App – Chineseskill – Learn Mandarin Chinese

(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.chineseskill)

Chemistry Periodic Table App

(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.rsc.periodictable )

Maths Tricks App

(https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=example.matharithmetics )

Other Services

Since many kids are/will be home from school, sharing an awesome list of ideas from a parent who homeschools.

Online resources:
– BrainPop
– Curiosity Stream
– Tynker
– Outschool
– Udemy
– iReady
– Beast Academy (Math)
– Khan Academy
– Creative Bug
– Discovery Education

YouTube Channels:
– Crash Course Kids
– Science Channel
– SciShow Kids
– National Geographic Kids
– Free School
– Geography Focus
– TheBrainScoop
– SciShow
– Kids Learning Tube
– Geeek Gurl Diaries
– Mike Likes Science
– Science Max
– SoulPancake

Lots of board games, library books (and Kindle), tinkering/upcycling with household junk, etc.
Some resources to help with kids at home:

*Scholastic has created a free learn-from-home site with 20+ days of learning and activities.

https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

*Pretend to travel the world..Go on a virtual tour of these 12 famous museums.

https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

*This is the awesome free curriculum that we use. Everything from preschool activities to 12th grade is here!

https://allinonehomeschool.com/

*List of thinking games by grade: https://allinonehomeschool.com/thinking/

*More awesome free learning websites that we like to use*

https://www.starfall.com/h/

https://www.abcya.com/

https://www.funbrain.com/

https://www.splashlearn.com/

https://pbskids.org/

https://www.highlightskids.com/

https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/

https://www.coolmath4kids.com/

http://www.mathgametime.com/

https://www.uniteforliteracy.com/

http://www.literactive.com/Home/index.asp

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/

https://www.switchzoo.com/

https://www.seussville.com/

https://www.turtlediary.com/

https://www.e-learningforkids.org/

Please feel free to share this with anyone who you think may benefit from this.

Let's Talk About Making Study Time Fun!

Let’s Talk About Making Study Time Fun!

Making study time fun! The holy grail of all parents. To make children enjoy the time they are missing out on their play and video games.

“The tree I had in the garden as a child, my beech tree, I used to climb up there and spend hours. I took my homework up there, my books, I went up there if I was sad, and it just felt very good to be up there among the green leaves and the birds and the sky”. – Jane Goodall

It’s back to school time in Australia! If you are anything like me in the midst of the excitement surrounding all the new school adventures my children are about to embark on this year is the ever present quiet pleas I am silently making to my children’s teachers for “useful homework please!”

Does your school give homework?

At our school the Junior Primary years (grades K – 2) have a set of sheets delivered on Monday for 4 nights of 30minutes homework and 15 minutes read aloud of their home reader each day, and all to be returned on Friday morning into the teacher’s homework box for marking. The teacher requests the spelling words to be written out each night. Also no longer than 30 minutes of time should be spent each night completing the sheets. If it takes longer the teacher needs to be advised.

Upper Primary (grades 3 – 6) are given sheets designated to Monday-Thursday which directly reflect and reiterate the weeks learning and are to be returned to the teacher’s homework box Friday morning.

Again spelling is written out using read, cover, write technique. Teachers’ advise that no more than 45minutes to an hour should be spent on the written sheets each night or please speak with the teacher. And again 15 minutes of read aloud time either of the designated home reader or the child’s own school library book.

Not this….

My kids usual approach to homework used to involve procrastination, getting upset and throwing a tantrum when I asked was their homework complete, procrastinating some more, and then… running around at the last minute in a total panic to complete it before bedtime. Topped off with a promise that it wouldn’t happen again tomorrow, and inevitably tomorrow arrived with a repeat of today’s homework events.

Simply the word “homework” used to invoke chaos and pandemonium even before a book, paper and pencil were involved in the equation. Add a dyslexia diagnosis and afternoons became simply stress central.

Making study time fun!

Definitely this… Afternoon Study Time!

How is this different from “homework” you ask?


  1. We no longer use the word “Homework”! The idea of homework is associated with stress, anxiety and panic. No more of that!
  2. Kids returning from school I asked for the schoolbags to be put in the kitchen next to the kitchen table.
  3. The same kitchen table… the same work to be done, but… I made some major changes in my attitude. My attitude needed to reflect I was joyful and ready to learn.
  4. I needed resources that brought joy to use only for “Study Time”. I bought a set of artists pencils for drawing and coloring, colored art liner markers for headings and outlines, and also a new lead pencil, eraser and notebook for each child.
  5. At the old “Time for Homework” I call “Anyone for hot chocolate or tea?” and all three kids come running. I already have the afternoon tea snacks (sliced carrots, sliced cucumber, mini chicken nuggets, crackers and cheese) set in the middle of the table. I take orders for drinks and then ask them to get their books and study sheets from their bags and put them on the table. Then we all sat down together in the cubby house I made under the table with the snacks, hot chocolate and tea. Much giggling followed. Amazing difference!
  6. I now have a different read aloud book that I can read or add an audiobook as we start afternoon tea. We started with “A Bear called Paddington”.
  7. After “A Bear called Paddington” we read our school read alouds. Taking time to listen to each other. Very positive start! Variety in books is the key to making study time fun.
  8. When it came to the writing we sat up to the table and I produced new colours to share and new pencils for our new “Study box”. Everyone was excited to start! All the daily sheets completed, including spelling and sentences with little fuss.

Study Time is fun!!

I learnt the level of struggles are all related to my attitude to homework! Make learning enjoyable for everyone!

Grab our book that helps kids build confidence and good decision making skills.

Jump Start Your Child's Journey to College

Jump Start Your Child’s Journey to College

Successfully preparing your child for college can often be a challenging process. It can even be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, there are a few tips you might want to consider in order to get a jump start and to help secure your child’s future. For example, you might want to look into sending them to reputable schools.

This can ensure that they maintain good attendance and grades, help prepare them for college entry exams, and encourage them to participate in extracurricular activities. Each of these things will look good on a college application and can help to ensure that they get into the college of their dreams.

Enrolling Your Child in Reputable Schools

The type of education your child receives before applying to college can sometimes make a huge difference in their acceptance rate. Often, many parents who are on a budget may not be able to afford the private schools. You may be able to apply for grants and scholarships in order to cover the costs depending on eligibility. This is definitely worth looking into, and the extra research may really pay off.

Ensuring Your Child Maintains Their Grades and Attendance

Good grades and attendance are another important part of getting into the best colleges. Therefore, you should ensure that your child is studying, keeping up with the material, and only missing school when it is necessary. You might also want to look into hiring a tutor or enrolling your child in after-school programs. This can help ensure they are learning as much as possible and that they properly prepare for college.

Prepare Them for College Entrance Exams

College entrance exams, such as the ACTs, can impact what type of schools your child is able to attend. Therefore, you will want to make sure they prepare for these tests. This can be achieved by keeping track of their academic progress and by finding extra help for them if needed. For example, you might want to find helpful study guides or encourage them to attend a college prep high school.

Encouraging Extracurricular Activities

Many students applying to college will have good grades and attendance. Therefore, encouraging your child to participate in extracurricular activities might help to set them apart. Many colleges prefer students who are well-rounded. This can be achieved by encouraging your child to participate in activities, such as music, debate, sports, and volunteer work.

Overall, it will sometimes require a lot of effort in order to ensure that you are doing your part as a parent to invest in your child’s future. Many parents are not as engaged in their child’s education as they should be. If you take the extra time to do some research and find out what colleges are really looking for, this can give your child a better opportunity to succeed in the future.


Incredible Lessons Imbibed When Teenagers Travel

Incredible Lessons Imbibed When Teenagers Travel

There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” – Virginia Woolf

Teenage children are rebellious, tenacious and passionate. I don’t want them any other way. But as a mother of three teenage kids, I crazily bounce from loving them to pieces to wanting to send them to the moon with smart phone and video games included! 

Raising teenagers is not for the faint of heart and parents must be ready to put on their thinking caps to empower their children while establishing clear rules and boundaries. I try, as a respectful mom, to explain the reasons behind every rule and consequence. I listen to my kids’ points of view and ideas.

However, there are situations in which negotiation isn’t an option and in which I don’t yield to intelligent and persistent youngsters. It will be done as I say: period! 

There are decisions and moments in which learning and being healthy are priorities and in these cases I refuse to negotiate with my teenagers and instead I proceed as a merciless dictator telling everybody what to do and how to do it. 

Traveling is one of them. 

Traveling encourages curiosity. Bali, Indonesia

Why do I strongly encourage my kids to travel?

It may sounds like a cliché but traveling is an eye-opening experience for children and adolescents alike. Represents an opportunity to grow and learn to make decisions on their own;  constitutes a meaningful way of interacting with siblings and parents while developing team-work skills. Traveling represents the chance to learn a new language and culture. 

Although, many times my teenage kiddos don’t see it that way. They don’t want to walk all those kilometers to visit another church (Europe is full of them), or don’t want to explore the rainforest in Indonesia because is unbearably humid and hot. They complain and beg to stay home or at the hotel.

That’s when I start giving orders to every one in sight asking them to carry their own luggage, fill their water bottles, walk, and enjoy because the benefits of traveling are too many to risk missing them for some teenage tantrum. 

Don’t get me wrong! Once we are on the road, ideas about places to visit and explore accordingly to my children’s interests are quickly written at the top of our to-do list. It is not about making their lives miserable. It is about taking control of the many possibilities they have to grow emotionally and physically and that teenage kids sometimes don’t see by themselves because of their short and inexperienced years. 

Discovering Barcelona with our three nomads. Spain

When it comes to learning and raising diversity awareness I feel the need to behave as a parent who guides and encourages. As guidance, many times you will need to establish priorities for your children even though these concerns don’t align with your teenager’s desires. 

How do teenagers benefit from traveling?

To travel with adolescents is an invaluable experience that brings many benefits to our children.  Some of these advantages refer to their core values, some others will enhance their understanding of diversity and cultures. From my family to yours, these are the amazing things I have seen my teenage kids to enjoy and learn during our adventures abroad:

Lessons Learnt When Teenagers Travel

  1. Learn how to save and budget money.

Once my kids are informed about our travel plans for the next weekend or holidays, they begin this unstoppable race to make money so they can buy souvenirs, comics, books, and clothing in our destination. It is so rewarding to see them plan their budgets, brain storming about selling the toys, gadgets and clothes they don’t use anymore, and also helping with extra chores at home… wow! They become so persistent and motivated. Traveling has given them without a doubt some of the tools needed to budget money and the importance of saving. 

http://localhost/raisingworld/2019/04/16/5-awesome-travel-hacks-when-traveling-with-your-teens/

Paris isn’t a cheap destination. Some serious budget planning needs to be done before traveling.

2. Empowerment of navigation skills. 

Teenagers like to be in control, they want their opinions and input to be taken into account and traveling allows that. In our family, we encourage our kiddos to suggest and create an itinerary and also to gather info about the transportation and costs of moving around our destination. Technology makes everything easier, so our children handle maps and coordinates with the apps they find more user friendly on their own cellphones. 

I must confess that at first they were so afraid to make mistakes… Afraid of getting lost! But now they feel more independent and capable of finding their way around without the help of mom and dad. And that my dear readers is priceless. I feel like I’m giving my children wings to fly away and be prepared to be successful abroad. 

travel teenagers

Finding her way around London, United Kingdom

3. Lowers the risk of youth depression. 

Millions of teenagers struggle with depression on a regular basis and it’s not uncommon for doctors to over prescribe medication without treating the reasons behind this behavior.  It is important to acknowledge that there are cases of clinical depression and other mental behaviors that need to be treated by specialists.

Let’s be clear, these facts and statistic are scary. Even more scarier is that many cases of teenage depression aren’t recognized by parents and caregivers.

Being on the road with your kiddos helps promote a deep connection between you and your offsprings and this connection is very important to lay the foundations for an emotionally healthy young adult. Additionally, traveling gives you the time to nurture your parent-child relationship, without distractions from work and school, and this allows you to recognize any signs of melancholy, chronic sadness, worries and problems that your child may suffer. 

Crazy moments but always connected as a family! Road trip to Lake Como, Italy

4. Break stereotypes and experience diversity. 

It is a fact that our children are constantly bombarded by the media with statements and generalizations about other cultures, their religion, traditions, and values. By traveling, you are exposing your young adults to diverse cultures and people so they can come with their own ideas and opinions.

For us it has been an eye-opening experience to hear our kids talk to each other about how they had certain biases against a specific ethnic identity, but after a trip they come back home with a totally different approach. When a teenage child travels overseas, he or she has the opportunity to break the often vicious cycle of prejudice and biases by experiencing diversity first hand. That’s awesome! To me it sounds like a more peaceful future for the world! 

 

http://localhost/raisingworld/2019/09/04/top-10-fun-loving-places-for-kids-in-india/

5. Discovering unknown abilities and personal traits. 

Traveling doesn’t go smoothly all of the time. Many times we need to reschedule train rides, change hotels, plan a new budget or itinerary or simply deal with illness in the middle of nowhere in a language we don’t speak.

However, traveling maximizes our problem solving skills to their maximum! Cool, isn’t it? But the benefits don’t end there. No. Let me tell you that we have discovered so many things about our children while traveling! Skills that our teenagers didn’t suspect they had… passions they didn’t want to pursue at first and now they love! 

During our last trip to France, my son started to compare some words from French to the Spanish language. He was excited to see that his knowledge of Spanish had helped him understand some ads, street signs, restaurant menus and so on in French. Then he surprised us with several translations using his mobile phone, his Spanish understanding and new discovered ability.

Bingo!

Our teenage son has found a new reason to pursue his career as an author and writer, adding some translations certificates along the way while being motivated by linguistics of Romance languages. He has a new passion now. Is it going to last forever? We don’t know. But being able to find and recognize the good inside themselves is for teenagers the key to a healthy self esteem and happy future. 

In conclusion, I invite you to give your teenage child the chance to see the world! Don’t fall for tantrums and NOs! Stay firm. You are giving them the gift of a lifetime. They will come back home to share with family and friends their experiences about people and their cultures. Instill in them the same curiosity about differences and appreciation of similarities that you have. Traveling will help your children to keep an open heart and become global citizens. 

So, where are you going next?

Don’t Forget to Grab Our Book

8 Brain Games for Kids Essential for Concentration

8 Brain Games for Kids Essential for Concentration

Brain games for kids are important for improving focus. Concentration and focus are a vital part of completing any tasks successfully. But, with so many distractions and multi-tasking, concentration levels are gradually sinking.

Building concentration requires discipline, taking an active role, and subjecting yourself to different exercises that build your brain’s core to improve focus. The good thing is that you can check recent answers online for games like crossword and compare with your answers.

For most people, getting that much time to work on concentration is a challenge. But, with a little help from brain games, it’s possible to improve concentration levels while making the process fun and engaging.

 

Here are the top 8 brain games that will give your brain that much needed work out and get your concentration levels up!

  1. Sine Line

This game involves the unending journey of an oscillating particle. Sine Line is unique in various ways. Unlike most brain concentration games, this one is fast-paced and exciting.

The goal of the game is to guide the particle through different obstacles without crashing into them. How the game works is that the longer you survive, the higher your score.

To give the game more spice, there are styles, streaks, and combos you can use to get better scores. The fun and indulging game is the perfect way to work the mental muscles for both kids and adults while kicking out some boredom at the same time.

  1. Brain Dots

Source

Brain Dots is one of the most popular brain games on the market. Given the online reviews and number of downloads, it’s safe to say it’s also one of the most effective games.

The game is simple and straightforward. The clean design takes away most of the distractions and allows you to make the most out of the few minutes you can save for the game.

The concept is simple. Do whatever it takes to get the two dots on your screen to meet and touch! You can draw different structures, shapes, or even lines.

At first, the levels look easy, but you quickly realize that looks can be deceptive. The levels are harder than they seem.

As a reward for going through the different levels, you get pens that have different shapes, colors, and sizes.

  1. Opus: The Day We Found Earth

Improving your concentration doesn’t have to take all your free time. With short brain games like Opus, you can make the most out of your short break to give your brain a quick workout.

The game not only works your mind but tugs at your emotional strings as well. The relaxing stargazing game revolves around finding different planets around the universe that resemble earth and naming them what you like. The main character is a smudgy robot full of ideas and is the invention of one Dr. Lisa.

You have to remember the planets you’ve discovered by analyzing the details and differences. Discovering new planets opens up new areas of the shop, which gives the game some rhythm. The best thing about Opus is that it’s engaging. It’s only ranked lower because it takes up more space than the other brain games listed here.

  1. One-Touch Drawing

One-touch drawing is a leading brain game. It’s revered for its unique simplicity but imposing challenges.

All you need to do is draw different shapes in the game without your finger leaving the screen. To build confidence, the game starts simple and gets harder as you go up the levels.

If you prefer taking your time to understand the game and not having to rush through, this is the perfect game for you.

Take all the time you need. Analyze the different shapes and figure out a strategy. Just remember, once you touch the screen, you have to draw out the shape without your finger leaving the screen.

The best part is, you don’t have to pay a cent for this brain game. The addictive puzzle game is free and perfect for building and improving concentration.

  1. Piano Tiles

Source

Piano Tiles is one of the oldest games on the list. The popular brain game leverages on the love for music to help players improve their concentration and coordination.

The idea behind the game is simple. You have some music playing in the background. You also have black Piano keys flying across the screen. The goal is to press the keys that are in sync with the music playing in the background to score points.

The coupling of songs and taps practices your listening skills and concentration to help you master which keys to press at what time.

  1. Flow Free

The vibrant colors of Flow Free are perfect when you want to engage your child in some concentration boosting games. But, even adults will find the game useful.

Like the other games featured on this list, this one also has a simple idea placing most of the focus on concentration.

The game has two dots of different colors in different squares in a grid. Your goal is to connect the two dots of the same color in the grid. But, the ‘Pipes’ connecting the two dots cannot intersect with pipes of a different color.

As you advance, the size of the grid increases, and so does the level of difficulty. Flow Free is perfect for players that can only spare a few minutes at a time.

  1. 2 Cars

If you’re taking improving your concentration a little seriously, this game will be the next level for you once you master the others.

In 2 cars, you have two cars and four lanes. Two lanes for each car. The two cars speed up along their strips of road, and ahead, you will find heaps of circles and squares blocking the road. You have to collect the circles and avoid the squares blocking the lanes of each car.

It’s the ultimate concentration brain game that will test your ability to multi-task and control different events at the same time.

  1. Dancing Line

To close down the list of the best eight brain games essential for concentration, let’s dial down a notch and help your mental muscles cool down after a vigorous workout.

Dancing Line is a straightforward puzzle game that both adults and kids will love. The game is diverse to make it a little more interesting, but the concept remains simple.

Guide the red line through different obstacles without crashing into them. The line starts slowly to help you warm up, and the speed of the line, and obstacles gradually increases. You have to keep a close eye on the screen and have quick reflexes to avoid the challenges that keep popping up.

 8 Brain Games for Kids Essential for Concentration Levels

Conclusion

Building concentration and focus in both children and adults is essential. The numerous brain games and exercises available are a testament to how important it is. If you’ve not considered it in the past, it’s not too late to start, and these eight games are everything you need to start boosting and improving your concentration.

Author Bio:

Rebecca Siggers is a Teacher and passionate writer. She enjoys writing about the Kids learning activities, Parenting tips, effects of Puzzles and Crosswords all around the globe. She has been workingas a freelance writer for quite some time now. Through her writing, she hopes to influence as many people as possible to help kids grow their mental skills.

Help Your Child Become Confident with a Global Mindset

An Easy Read for Parents

 

Teaching Kids the Art of Time Management

Teaching Kids the Art of Time Management

I don’t need to tell anyone the importance of time management. The world is full of appointments and deadlines to make it clear about why every child needs to learn the art of time management. Yet, many of us find themselves constantly running in the IST time zone. It’s a well known running joke within the Indian community where IST is Indian Standard Time where they are consistently 30 mins more more late for everything and unrepentant for the circumstances are never in their hands.

Now of course everyone understands being late once in a while. But being consistently lagging causes a number of issues for those waiting and is just disrespectful of the time of others.

I grew up in a house where my father pushed us to be on time for everything. Being on time is a trait he drilled into us. In my all my years of life, I have rarely been late. And all the credit goes to parents who ensured that we respected the time of others and ourselves. They could never bear to be late. In spite of many times suffering for holding this respected trait. There have been times when a party was supposed to start at a given time and my family has been there only to realize that the even hosts have yet to arrive.

Would I say now being on time is overrated? No!

For being on time is a huge sign of respect. It shows respect for the person who is waiting for you and respect for your own self, for we all are running a hamster wheel that needs us to stick to schedule.

When you are an entrepreneur, managing home, multitasking constantly, wishing the day had 48 hours instead of 24,  you begin valuing your own time like the precious commodity it is. In my case, more so. You manage your time with finesse.

Since I started working for myself, it simply offends me that people today have no respect for the time of another. And believe saying Sorry is all it takes to pacify the troubles and sacrifices I made to manage the same.

The truth is All it takes is valuing your time as well as another.

Teach your children early the art of time management. It is an imperative quality one needs to be on time as well as manage projects and goals that you set for yourself.

http://localhost/raisingworld/2018/01/05/7-easy-steps-teach-kids-goal-setting-perseverance/

Set An Example

Here I am, in all my years as a parent never found my children to be a hindrance in me being on time and yet I hear many parents saying, “Oh! You need to add a 30 mins of being behind to every child you give birth to. ” I am sure the children too consequently begin to feel that it is not a huge concern to be on time either. In a world which is full of people that are never on time, what hope do we have for children who follow such footsteps ?

10 Practical Ways to Teach Kids the Aet of Time Management

Counter Distractions

I see it all the time. You tell children to wear their shoes. They go off doing something else. It happens with us too. We are doing one thing, and yet we find ourselves distracted by a phone call, television or these days, social media. Children need to understand how important it is to work while you work and do the job at hand with a single mind.

Talk to them often that when you tell them to do something, you expect them to first do that. Explain to them that there are distractions all around them.

Do the Math

It is interesting to me, when people feel the circumstances around them are constantly working against them. It is in fact, just a matter of doing the math. If you are going to take x amount of time prepping for an occasion, y amount of time wearing your clothes etc, z amount of time to travel to the location, you need to give yourself x+y+z + a standard buffer amount of time to ACTUALLY get ready so you can BE ON TIME. The buffer can be any thing from 10-20 mins depending on your observation of how often you derail from your planned time.

Explain to your child as the get begin to learn time, why you ask them to get ready at a certain time.

Create a Work List

Every morning wake up to a list of things you need to have done this day. This increases your productivity 25-50%. Organizing your tasks with a list can make everything much more manageable and create a clear path for your day. Seeing a clear outline of your completed and uncompleted tasks will help you feel organized and stay mentally focused.

Kids having a journal is a great way to do this.


Set Priorities

Once your list is made, make sure to KNOW what is essential to do and what is okay to let go of. Follow the ABCDE rule after making your list.

A – Must Do
B – Not Urgent (Great to do but not urgently, can be moved to another day.)
C – Add Ons (Bonus if you get done)
D – Can be Delegated (You can assign to someone else)
E – Eliminate (Often we add things to our list that can actually be cancelled all together)

Of course for a child, A and B are enough. But as we grow and expand our lists we need to remember to assign the above to every item on our list consistently so we can learn how to be effective in working on our list.

Overcome Procrastination

Don’t wait for the last moment to start doing something. Whenever my son gets a project from school, we start prepping for it earlier than later. He always responds with, “But it’s not due TILL … ” and I come back with, ” If you are done with this early, you are free to do other things at the last minute. ” After the first two projects, when he witnessed his friends in class submitting projects early too, he realized how wonderful it is to be done with submissions. So, now he starts planning earlier himself.

Well Begun is Half Done

Speaking of planning, this is so important to do early. Whenever we start a project, we plan the materials we will need, time needed, and ideas early. This helps us a lot in prepping for everything. Be it cooking to party planning to school projects to work related organization.

Let Go of Perfection

This is something I see many adults struggle with. The desire for perfection leads to procrastination and delay in completion of any project. One needs to understand that we need to be okay with something as is. To just start with the project without a desire of perfection or guaranteed rewards. Time management needs us to give grace to ourselves to fail.

Review Your Day

Before sleep every night, we have to make sure we take a few moments to go over all that you did through your day. What held you back, what went wrong in your planning, what worked best towards helping your achieve your goals. This simple habit reinforces your strengths.

Talk to your kids about their day and all they achieved in it. These days many schools help kids set goals and achieve them. Do the same with your child.

Discipline

Time management is a culmination of all the above. It is so important to be relentless in practicing all the above through out your day, with your child. What works best with any child is consistency and conversations. Talk to them about how discipline is not just one trait that we have. It is a combination of a number of things.

Yes, showing grace to those who are struggling is important. But it is also important to show grace to yourself by being mindful of the one thing that you have NO control over. Time!

What would you add to this list?

To read more such ways to create confidence with a global mindset in your child, read my book. Strong Roots Have No Fear

http://localhost/raisingworld/2019/01/18/strong-roots-have-no-fear/

Protect Earth: Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

Protect Earth: Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

Talking to children about plastic pollution is paramount. This below statement just about sums up the plight of our planet.

“For small and immediate gains never loose the wisdom to foresee future loses.”

The news channels have been bringing gruesome images to our drawing rooms. Birds , fishes and all kinds of other creatures dying due to plastic pollution.

What is interesting, these living beings are suffering due to our callous attitude.

The bane of our existence “Plastic”.

Plastic was invented and it revolutionized the human world. It won’t break like glass. Lasts longer than paper. Cheaper than metal, so on and so forth.

Here is where we got dealt a bad hand, for the present profits we jeopardized our whole future.

Like most of the human inventions this one is also backfiring and in a major way.

We are getting choked to the brim in plastic and now reeling in the after effects.This thing that takes at least 400 years to decompose is everywhere.

Even in the remotest of places where you might not find a human being some form of plastic can be found flapping in the wind.

Before we place all the blame on plastic let me tell you it is not the plastic that is the culprit, it’s us. Human beings.

Let’s introspect, we invented this thing put it to some really good uses while at the same time for small profits, let it get out of hand and turn into an uncontrollable situation.

Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

What we can do:

The time to act on this is now. The onus lies with each and every one of us. Along with raising kids to understand the world we have to teach them to understand the environment too.

Talking to children about plastic pollution starts here.

Learn the value of “Planet First”.

The earth is the most important thing they will inherit, rest all is replaceable. While teaching them we have to incorporate it in our lives too, make it second nature to think about our planet first.

There is so much that needs to be rectified environmentally but we can start at the basics. While plastic has all encompassed our lives not all of it is bad. What is slowly choking the planet to death is the waste that is being generated by us through single use plastic.

Talking to Children about Plastic Pollution

At the basic level what should be done? Here are some small steps that we can even make our kids a part of.

Stop buying :

The first thing on this list is plastic straws and cups followed by any other form of single use plastic. Look around us even single pieces of fruit are wrapped in plastic. These bits of plastic get thrown away and more often then not end up in landfills. The trick is just don’t buy the items that come in these pretty packagings. Not only is it economical it also helps curb plastic waste generation. Buy sustainable and reusable straws and cups. Carry own water bottles. Sometimes if it is inevitable to use plastic items then recycle.

No wastage:

Again the same solution that is purse friendly too, don’t buy. We need to curb the mindless consumerism. Our kids don’t use half of what we buy them. Look around at the toys that are forgotten the minute they are unpacked, mostly plastic. Stationery that is filled up in boxes waiting to be acknowledged, again mostly plastic. These things get thrown out once they have completed their duration of being useless. New things are bought and it is an endless cycle. Break it. Go through what the kids have, rediscover and use it. Educate them about the significance of buying less for a healthier planet.

Share:

Whatever is surplus share it. Donate toys, stationery, books.

One persons waste might be another’s treasure. Use things well, most things have a life and when put to optimum use save some money too.

Still whatever you might not need and are sure you will only end up hoarding donate it. It can be difficult to let go of things after paying money for but if you don’t use it for a few months chances are you will not use it. Think of it as a service to your planet.

Recycle:

The most important thing that we need to incorporate in our lives. Recycle everything that can be recycled. Don’t throw plastic waste mindlessly anywhere. Talking to children about plastic pollution starts with talking about recycling.

Upgrading phones or computers recycle the old ones. All the electronic stores provide the option to recycle.

It might be a bit of a stretch to locate that recycling bin for recycling of everyday use plastic, but it is pertinent that we do that.

According to stats only a very small percentage of plastic is recycled leading to disastrous consequences. Talk to children about how every piece of plastic is harming the planet and what needs to be done. Educate them and help them identify the areas in life where plastic waste can be reduced. Every small effort counts.

The crucial time to act was yesterday and there is so much that can be done, these are just some baby steps. We as a planet are already walking thin ice and heading towards imminent ruin.

Us adults need to wake up to the damage that has been done all the while instilling in the next generation an appreciation of a sustainable lifestyle. Our planet deserves better than being choked to death with plastic.

Learn more ways to protect earth by helping kids nurture their little gardens.

Books for Travel - Summer Series Multicultural Kids Blogs

Elementary Aged Kids Can Travel the World with These Books

I recently read, traveling the world is a huge part of multicultural families. These books allow elementary aged kids to travel the world. We travel to meet our families and learn about the world. We hope that our children explore cities, new cultures and understand their own better.

Food, festivals, customs and little things that make us all different and yet similar at the same time. Below and a list of books, my children and I have read and enjoyed. They act as little passports to the world around us.

Since, it is impossible for everyone to see everything, it is so much more important now than ever for us learn from each other and share stories of how our worlds truly are.

(Aff Links)

Elementary Aged Kids Travel the World with Books

Maya and Neel Series

Originating from Indian authors, this series is an authentic look at Mumbai and Delhi. The authors plan to add more books to these series and talk about lot of Indian festivals. Great for younger kids, learning about India and Hindi too.

Goodnight Series

A fun read for little kids who would love to see India. An easy read.

Travel Guide Series

These are kids who love a lot of non fiction. Gives a great look at different countries around the world with facts and  celebrations.

Goodnight Series

Nick and Aya Series

A great book for parent bonding. Father and daughter take trips to different cities/countries around the world.

National Geographic Series

Who doesn’t know Nat Geo and their bid to empower the world with a real life look within countries. They have a lot of books about countries around the world.

Seymour and Hau Series

Books about Italy, Morocco and more, Seyomour and Hau is a great book for advanced elementary readers. Chapter books with images to boot! These make a wonderful gift too.

50 States Guide & Activity Book

You can learn all about America by buying this guide and their activity book combined. It is a great resource for social studies.

Flat Stanley Series

Another chapter book with images, these make a great read. Kids who like Judy Mody or Stink, would love Flat Stanley and all his adventures around the world.

Real Kids, Real Stories Series

Sometimes, learning about the world is not just about the cities, countries. It is about the people who are making courageous choices and  bringing real change around the world.

 

Hello World Series

Perfect for little kids, these books give them a view of what different cities around the world look like.

You can find more book lists here about raising children with a confident mindset or to help deal with bullying.

 

Elementary Aged Kids Can Travel the World with These Books

Learn more about how to travel the world with kids easily here.

Being Different - Empower Your Child to Overcome Self Doubt

Being Different – Empower Your Child to Overcome Self Doubt

Have you thought about how your child sees themselves? We see our children as perfect angels for their beauty lies in our eyes since moment they are born but these little humans will eventually grow to look at the world and start comparing themselves. Wonder how they overcome self doubt? Seeing themselves as inferior versions of themselves that can possibly cripple a child and how to overcome self doubt. It has happened to the best of us and will happen till time immortal.

My daughter is quite small for her age. It has been weighing heavy on us seeing other kids much younger to her, stand taller. Specially when we all hear comments like, “Oh, is she really 5?” or “I can put her in my pocket.” Off hand comments made with no thought, but a reminder of her being small.

As much as I worry about it and think about ways that we can help her grow, I have always worried more about the day that she starts seeing herself as different than others. And it happened on her fifth birthday!

She woke up early morning and questioned why she didn’t “look like she was 5”? Putting it down to a child’s question we went on with our day where she kept repeating and getting more disappointed to the point of crying hysterically after her birthday dinner.

When I went down to her level and talked about it, she was hurt that she hadn’t grown taller overnight. “Why am I not like 5 like other kids? They look so different.” It broke my heart. To witness my daughter seeing herself unlike other kids. I let the moment passed and comforted her. And later told her a story about a princess who was small but with a BIG heart and intelligent and helped others with her actions. She loved, loved, loved the new tilt to her perspective and slept with a smile on her face.

And as luck would have it, the next morning we got a book from the author of the book “Being Small Isn’t Bad At All”. Seeing her disadvantage as an advantage worked wonders for her self esteem. Just goes to show what the right books can do for a person’s perspective on life and themselves. If you happen to have a child facing our particular challenge, I can guarantee, this book will change your child’s perspective towards betterment.


This of course is not just restricted to being small. It applies to all those little or big things that make our children ever so slightly different than others. I have always tried my best to empower my kids in the many ways developing a confident mindset to overcome the daily overwhelm that comes with self doubt.

Overcome Self Doubt - Being Different

Get Down to Their Level

Not just literally (though that helps), but don’t just brush off what they are feeling. Help them address their concerns with empathy towards their view point. A hug often helps.

Some Time Off

A big hug, a walk, some time away from what they are feeling later with ice cream, helps them get out of their funk. At least it helps them get out of the hole for a while. Be a friend, by BEING with them, without forcing the issue.

Share Your Own Stories

I never try to hide my own insecurities from my children. I have often told them about times when I have been disappointed or failed or seen myself differently. AND I have talked to them about what I have done over time to overcome the same.

Make Up Stories

You will not believe the smile she had and the encouragement she felt when I told her about the princess who was small (with qualities of things that she liked) and then how it was not her shortcomings (no  pun intended) but her OTHER qualities that helped the kingdom out of the situation. A story tailor made for your child told in a different setting helps them be the 3rd person and see the situation different,

Empower Them with Empathy

Read to them. Talk to them. Not just about their particular self doubts but also, about the MANY different children there are. Teach them about children with different abilities and situations. When they learn how to be kind hearted and SEE other’s situations in a positive light, they grow to shine with their own light as well.

Wait for It

As parents, we all worry but with all the above, a day comes when all those moments come together towards a view point that makes you proud. Like your child standing up for themselves, or ever better, others!

Early, on recent morning, as we got ready for school I told my son to clean his glasses before wearing them and the conversation about glasses led to him mentioning that none of his friends at school wear glasses. He went on to tell me to my surprise that there was a time when he was embarrassed by them, but he got over it by thinking, “Being different doesn’t mean that I have to feel bad about it. I just have to be okay with it. It’s a part of me. “

And then, I knew my kids were okay. For they will grow to know, “Being different is not bad at all.”

 


If you enjoyed this and want more practical tips for imbibing your children with strong values for a confident mindset in the world that constantly evolves.

 

We Need to Be Mindful About Our Impatience with Children

We Need to Be Mindful About Our Impatience with Children

Do you notice yourself getting more and more impatient with your children?

Human nature is such that we are always craving for more. In our teen years, we are constantly craving for freedom. In the 20’s, we look forward to having fun, getting a good job, buying the newest gadget and more. When we reach our 30’s, we think of traveling, marriage and buying a house.

So this vicious circle of always wanting more never stops. Growing older doesn’t necessary help this process BUT growing wiser definitely helps put things into perspective.

Accept it or deny it but one of the most important reasons we get married is to procreate. A few honeymoons later, everyone begins to think of having children. One of the biggest mistakes most adults make today is listing ‘Having Children’ in their checklist of duties to do. Oh and believe it or not, some of us can’t wait to put a ‘tick’ on that box.

Children are truly a blessing of God and as their parents it is our duty to nurture them with love and care. During pregnancy, we tend to be very cautious and take care of every little detail of our daily routine. We do everything that would NOT harm the baby. And when the baby enters this world, we become even more careful and protective and do everything to care for this little being, who is totally dependent on us.

But as parenthood progresses, we tend to take our blessings for granted. We are overcome with impatience and feel pressured by our changing lifestyle. The journey of a happy couple to new parents and then to being responsible and hands-on parents can be a bumpy one sometimes. In the quest to be perfect parents, we often want to be in control of everything and that is when things seem to fall apart.

Real Reasons Behind the Growing Impatience with Our Kids

We lose patience easily and become extremely intolerant towards our kids. We begin to expect them to behave like adults, forgetting that they are still children because they are not so little anymore.

 

Some reasons why parents tend to be overly intolerant or impatient towards their children are:-

Multitasking

We often want to have control of everything happening around us and prefer to multitask than to delegate. Women especially are known to be great at multitasking but how good are we at managing the stress that comes with it. In the quest of controlling everything, we tend to be intolerant and neglectful towards our children and tend to respond to them only after our work is completed.

Marital Issues

We Need to Be Mindful About Our Impatience with Children. Reduce impatience with Children

In most marital problems and arguments, it is an innocent child who bears the brunt. We need to vent out our frustration somewhere, and children can be those soft targets. The age and maturity of a child doesn’t matter. Whether it is a small child or a teenager, the effect of our anger and anguish is always negative.

During a heated argument, we don’t raise our hands on our spouse because that would be physical abuse and no one wants to be accounted for domestic violence. Instead, we lose our cool on the kids and raise our hands on them (because no one looks at this as child abuse).

Financial Stress

The slowing economy, job cuts and inflation can put pressure on any household. This in turn leads to making us impatient and agitated, and we tend to lose our mind at the kids more often, when things get out of control at home. If you sit back and think about it, children are not affected by these socio-economic factors because they don’t have an understanding of it, and at the end of the day they are only being what they are…children!

Work-Home Balance

Trying to maintain a work-home balance can be very taxing, when there are children and/or other family members involved. Finding a good helper, a caring nanny or the right daycare can be very challenging for most parents.

Long working hours and work-related stress takes a toll on most individuals. Worked-up individuals then carry forward their frustrations and agitations to their family. Parents either tend to snap at their children or ignore them completely, while trying to deal with their daily problems.

Competitive Nature

Parents these days are very competitive and want their children to excel in all aspects of life (which is not ideally possible!) We tend to overlook one very important thing – whether our child is enjoying the learning process or not.

Structured learning post-school hours can in fact bore a child and make him less interested in learning newer things because anything monotonous is never appealing. We need to start letting our kids plan their learning and play time according to how or what they feel that day.

Of course that doesn’t mean we let them play with gadgets all day. We can help them with their choices and steer them in the right direction, which will empower them to make correct decisions as adults.


Phone Anxiety/Gadget Addiction

We have gotten so used to sliding, swiping and switching from one page to another that we think we can use this flipping technique to shoo away our kids too. Children need care, attention and time and we cannot just slide them off like a notification on the phone. As parents, we need to pull the plug on gadget addiction and re-focus on our children.

Selfishness

Some parents refuse to let go off their pre-parenthood lifestyle for their own selfish reasons. They arrange for play dates to get their children off their back, enroll them in back-to-back classes to have less of them to deal with, spend the weekend shopping or dining with friends (while the kids are back home).

The fear of losing out on fun with friends often makes parents neglect their kids over the weekend, which in reality is a time for family-bonding. Striking a good balance between having a social life and spending time with family is important. Choosing the former over the latter can have devastating effects on our children.

We must remember that our negative behavior towards children can have very damaging effects on them. It can result in:

Childhood/teenage depression and anxiety (which usually carries forward in to adulthood)
• Susceptible to bullying
• Lack of motivation and goals
• Low self-esteem and self-confidence
• Become social misfits or introverts
• Addiction to drugs, alcohol, gadgets and material pleasures

Let’s hope to make a few changes in our lifestyle and re-think our priorities. In a few years, when our children have gone away to acquire an education or for better work prospects, we will be left longing for them.

Let’s not make them long for our genuine love and affection as children. NOW is the time to spend their best years being there for them, so that when they go away, they have a reason to come back. NOW is the time to listen to them, so that when they grow up and need advice, they know where to look for it.

The best use we can make of our love and time is to INVEST it in our CHILDREN!

The Paradox of Racing Time in Parenting

The Paradox of Racing Time in Parenting

To say that I’m time-obsessed would be an understatement. But it is also true that I was not like this all my life. I have always been the laid-back kid who never feels the urge to rush. I took my own sweet time to get around to doing anything.

I took time to warm up to people. I took time to understand a new concept being taught. But something about having my own kids changed my entire perspective.

The clock-obsessed lady was hiding under the surface of that calm, slow little girl. Now everything that I do revolves around the clock. I have to finish cooking by 10, sit with my son to do his homework from 4:30 to 5:30, take my daughter to a class at 6, pick up my son from his class at 4:30 and so on so forth. The time obsession has moved on to such level that I get impatient if I feel any member of my family seems to be relaxed, a little too relaxed in my opinion, especially if we are all getting ready for some event.

And of all the events, doctor’s appointments are the worst! The fact that you have to be somewhere at a fixed time can get your blood pressure raising very high. And if you add traffic in to this mix, it can really cause you to hyperventilate.

So you’re sitting there, not moving an inch, in the midst of the worst traffic of your life (to be honest, they all seem like that), one eye on the road hoping the car ahead of you will move and another eye on the ticking clock, your pulse raising with every increase of the minute hand.

You sit there wishing that you had started earlier than you did from home. You sit there trying to resist the urge to say some mean things to the guy who cut in front of you, after-all the whole point of this whole circus, the apple of your eye, your little son is sitting right behind you. You wonder why did everyone have to step out of their house exactly on the same day and at the same time when you were running late just a few minutes,  only to find that now you’re running a lot more than a few minutes late. And as you have nothing else to do, you drum on the steering wheel, make loud sighing noises and the merciless clock just keeps ticking and ticking and ticking.

For a second, you wonder if all the clocks in the world should be trashed in some dumpster for mocking your helplessness and then let out another huge sigh and drum some more on the steering wheel. Finally, after what seems like zillion minutes, the traffic lets out, and you feel like you’re flying through the streets.

Your turn to mock the clock. And so the dance continues, you win some you lose some.

 

Neha Narayan is a 9th grader in high school. She likes biking, drawing, and, well, watching YouTube. She hopes to be successful in whatever she decides to do.

Sangeetha Narayan likes to do everything. From writing, reviewing books, and being a great mother (even if she does say so herself) she keeps herself busy. She hopes to continue writing and reviewing and become successful.

 

 

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