Archive for the ‘What can Dr. Doug do for you?’ Category

How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes: Science-Based Strategies for Better Parenting from Tots to Teens by Melinda Wenner Moyer

Monday, October 31st, 2022
Kids Who Aren'T Assholes

How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes: Science-Based Strategies for Better Parenting from Tots to Teens by Melinda Wenner Moyer can help just about anyone be a better parent. Like her, you are not likely to become a perfect parent with perfect kids, but you can profit from the extensive research and expert interviews she conducted. If you have kids still at home, be sure to get a copy as well as copies for any adult children who have kids.

Introduction

  • Over the years, Melinda has engaged in a great deal of research in order to write parenting articles for major publications. She has found that this effort has made her a better parent. The purpose of this book is to share what she has learned with. More than anything, parents want to raise children who are kind. In surveys of what parents want their children to be, kindness comes before intelligence and work ethic. Parents play a key role, but not the only role in child development so it’s vital that their role is as positive as possible. People who are kind, helpful, and generous are happier, more successful, and make more money. (Doug: Being nice is really a selfish thing to do as if you take care of yourself, you can do more for others.)

Part I Traits
1. “It’s All About ME!” How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t (Overly) Selfish

  • Kids can be very self-centered. This is natural as their frontal lobes haven’t fully developed. Start with helping kids understand their emotions and how to recognize the emotions of others. Kids with good emotional recognition generally experience better outcomes in many areas. You can ask about the emotions of characters when you read to kids or just do it in the daily run of life, including your own emotions. When you discipline a child, include emotions. Explain how emotions affect others.
  • Letting kids help around the house can take more time, but it’s important. Make sure that their tasks go beyond cleaning up their room and helping everyone in the house. Look for opportunities for kids to help in the community and try to let them have some choice. Don’t just bark orders. Explain anything that you ask them to do. Be a role model. Point out the good stuff and the bad stuff that you do.

2. “This Is Too Hard.” How to Raise Kids Who Are Ambitious, Resilient, and Motivated

  • In this chapter Melinda draws on the works of Carol Dweck’s Mindset and Angela Duckworth’s Grit that are both summarized here. It’s key that you compliment kids for effort rather than intelligence. If they think they are smart, they are less likely to take on challenges where they run the risk of looking “not smart.” How hard you try impacts how smart you become. Grit is a combination of passion for something, enough self-control so you work at it on a regular basis, the ability to work through and learn from mistakes, and a belief that what you are doing matters.
  • You should expect your kids to pick at least one extracurricular activity each year and stick with it until the year ends. Unfortunately, some such activities are expensive. Any accomplishment tends to motivate and leads to a success spiral. Kids tend to procrastinate as their pre-frontal cortexes aren’t fully developed. Try to make tasks that seem too difficult seem fun or less scary. Help them recognize and eliminate distractions and create a good working environment. Rewards can stifle intrinsic motivation but are ok as a surprise after something is accomplished. Acknowledge their feelings and give choices when possible, even for chores. They are more likely to be motivated if they feel less controlled.

3. “You’re Dumb and Ugly!” How to Raise Kids Who Don’t Bully – and Who Help Those Who Are Bullied

  • Most parents worry about their kids being bullied, but few give thought to the notion that their kids might do some bullying. Research shows that one in three do some bullying and one in six engage in cyberbullying. Bullying is a continuum, and a kid can be a bully one day and be bullied the next. Bullying is something that is repeated and deliberate, and it involves an imbalance of power. It is often done to boost social stature. Among girls, it often involves exclusion or rumor spreading. (Watch the “Mean Girls” movie with your kids.) Kids often bully as a misguided way to deal with their anger.
  • Cyberbullying may have the same causes, but it differs in that it can happen at a distance any time of day, and it usually leaves a digital footprint that can be shared with parents or teachers. Bullying can also have long-term effects, such as depression and low self-esteem. Parents should talk to kids about bullying so they know it when they see it and know that it is not ok. Encourage them to do what they can to help a victim when they see bullying happen. Help them learn how to deal with anger. There is advice here for what to do if you discover that your child has been bullying others or is being bullied themselves. Schools play a big role here, so make sure your school has a plan or a program for dealing with it.
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Making Homeschool PE Class Fun by Craig Middleton

Sunday, May 2nd, 2021

Disc Golf
Making Homeschool PE Class Fun by Craig Middleton offers ideas for parents who homeschool their children by choice. His suggestions are also good for parents who want to add exercise options beyond what their kids get at school. His advice on nutrition is also good for all parents. Remember, all parents are teachers weather they homeschool or not.

Introduction

  • Homeschooling is becoming more popular and can be both stressful and rewarding. (Doug: During the pandemic, many more parents have been homeschooling, but not by choice.) In addition to the core subjects of math, reading, and writing, an often overlooked requirement is Physical Education. Not all states require an organized PE curriculum, but any well-rounded education includes some form of the subject.
  • Going outside to play is a fantastic way to fulfill your state’s requirements while still teaching your children safe behaviors. There’s no need for a formal schedule or events. All you have to do now is get your kids going and have some fun while doing it.
  • Go outside and play with your kids if you live in the country or a neighborhood with playgrounds or popular play areas, or if you have a large yard. Yes, you can send your kids outside to play if they’re old enough, but setting a good example by going outside and being involved with them is even better. To be frank, adults need to get out and exercise more as well. It’s good for mental health and overall health, and it sets a good example for your children. Here are a few ideas to keep things interesting during your home PE sessions.

Indoor Activities

  • If you are a homeschooler of an older child, you can do more focused activities such as weight lifting, yoga, meditation, and nutritional meal planning. You can even investigate the possible benefits of supplements like protein powder, spices, and vitamins. For the younger kids, think more along the line of games like hopscotch, hot lava, or an obstacle course. Beginning yoga is a fun way to get kids to stretch and control movement. Simon Says a classic that involves listening skills and movement. Sometimes, a good old-fashioned pillow fight will leave you all breathless and in fits of laughter.
  • Don’t skimp on nutritional activities with the younger ones either. Let them help you plan and make simple meals. Hands-on activities will cement the message and teach lasting skills. You don’t necessarily have to stay home either. If it’s a rainy day, consider a trip to the local bowling alley or roller rink. Many towns also have indoor play areas set up with safe games and activities that should be opening soon. They may even offer homeschooler discounts on group admissions.

Outdoor Activities

  • Everybody needs fresh air. Options for outdoor activities for PE classes are almost endless. Pretty much anything that gets you moving is fair game. Riding bikes can be a great way to get exercise and teach the rules of the road. Relay races and obstacle courses are other favorites with kids of all ages. An excellent way to teach conservation and get some fresh air is to go for a hike in the woods. Have them collect objects like rocks, nuts, or leaves to examine later. Trips to parks or lakes are other fun options. Just remember to practice safety on the water. Don’t forget to take your frisbees and sports gear for impromptu games. You also might find disc golf courses where you live.

Co-op Activities

  • Most communities have organizations that offer cooperative homeschooling activities, including PE classes. These can be official organizations or simply a few families that get together to play games. These afford more opportunities for team activities like basketball, baseball, and soccer. Many times, recreation centers may offer their spaces free of charge to homeschoolers, giving access to equipment that may be challenging to obtain otherwise. Co-ops are excellent places for you and your kids to make friends and socialize while fulfilling an important educational requirement.

Organized Sports

  • Most states and communities allow homeschooled children to participate in organized sports through their local school systems. They will still be subject to any tryouts or requirements, but these programs could be a good way to play sports that most homeschoolers can’t provide. They also will fulfill the necessary PE requirements. If the local schools aren’t an option, most cities also offer intermural sports organizations kids can participate in that aren’t associated with public schools. AAU teams also accept homeschooled students.

Final Thoughts

  • When developing your homeschool curriculum, it’s important to remember some of the non-core subjects like PE, art, and music. Homeschooling can be very rewarding and a great way to give a wonderful education to your children. Make it fun!

Craig Middleton

  • Craig is a New York City-based retired business consultant, who is an expert in education and cultural trends. He has a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters in Education from St. Johns and loves sharing his knowledge on the side through his writing. If you have any questions or comments you can direct them to Craig at craigmiddleton18@gmail.com.
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Medical Binder Printables to Keep Your Health Records Organized by Cristina Thorson

Sunday, November 7th, 2021

Basic Health Info
Medical Binder Printables to Keep Your Health Records Organized by Cristina Thorson offers forms you can use to keep track of your medical information so you can easily share it with your physicians rather than just talking about how you feel and neglecting what you can’t remember. Thanks, Cristina.

Introduction

  • Whether you’re suffering from a chronic condition, wanting to keep your health information in order, or are somewhere in between, keeping a medical binder on hand can be beneficial. Having a medical binder not only helps you stay more organized, but it can also act as the single source of truth in case of an emergency.
  • Thinking about possible “what-ifs” is never fun to do, but making sure you’re prepared for emergencies can make a worst-case scenario a little easier to manage. Use the medical binder printables to start putting together your own health binder. It might save your life one day.

Basic Health Information Sheet

  • On a basic health information sheet, you should include the standard information that you might need to receive medical treatment. Usually, when you go in for an appointment, the healthcare clinic will need to have this information on file before you receive treatment.
  • The information needed is your full name, emergency contact information, allergies, date of birth, blood type, and any immunization records. Keeping this information up to date and on file can save time if you decide to transfer doctors, or if you start going to a specialized healthcare professional.

Medication Tracker

  • According to WebMD, about half the American population takes an average of four prescription pills. Some medications have conflicting effects which can have deadly consequences. If you keep track of your own medications, it will make it easier for doctors to ensure that they won’t prescribe anything that will have adverse effects on your health.
  • Documenting your own medications can also help you and your doctor figure out what has worked in the past, and what hasn’t. It can help you avoid repeating medications, especially if you work with a new doctor or you haven’t been to a medical professional in a while.
  • Keeping track of your blood pressure can save you a world of problems. Hypertension (or high blood pressure) has damaging effects over time, and many are unaware that they even have it. To record your own blood pressure, you should purchase a home blood pressure monitor.
  • It’s best to avoid caffeine and exercise at least 30 minutes before you measure, and try to measure at the same time every day. Self-monitoring is actually recommended by the American Heart Association for people with high blood pressure treatments. Even though home monitoring isn’t an adequate substitute for visits, it can be helpful when healthcare professionals are trying to gauge the effectiveness of their treatments.
  • Blood Pressure Log

  • It’s useful to be aware of your own medical conditions before a big life transition, like moving homes, leaving for college, or even planning for retirement. The temporary instability during these time periods may cause medical conditions to flare up. These changes may also influence your healthcare provider or the access to healthcare that you receive.
  • Start surveying the information in advance of these changes so you’re not overwhelmed during the transitionary period. Make sure your information is up-to-date and easily understood. Many use their smartwatches or their phones to log health information, but you could also try an alternative tracking method, like our printable sheets.

Cristina Thorson

  • Cristina is a part-time content writing intern at Siege and a full-time student at Boston University. She enjoys exploring new pockets of cities, culture, and cat websites (as well as alliterative expressions). In her spare time, she can be found reading books, commenting on movies, and writing anything from advertising copy to feminist satire.
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Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony, & Cass Sunstein

Sunday, September 5th, 2021
Noise

Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony, and Cass Sunstein details how noise and bias result in errors in judgment. From our courts to fields as diverse as medicine and insurance they show how noise leads to unfair and harmful results. They also provide ways to identify noise and techniques that any organization can use to reduce it. This book is a must for any professional development library. (10-15 minute read)

Introducion: Two Kinds of Error

  • Whenever you look at human judgments, you are likely to find noise. From the courtroom to medicine to forecasts to forensics and personal decisions our lives are full of noise. This book will help you recognize it and give some tips for getting rid of at least some of it. Start with an analogy that features targets and groups of shooters to see the difference between noise and bias If shots are scattered all over the target, that’s noise. It the shot are all in the lower right, that’s bias.

Part I: Finding Noise

1. Crime and Noisy Punishment

  • We start with the noise associated with crime and the sentencing of the guilty parties. In 1973, Marvin Frankel, a famous judge, realized that people committing the same crime were getting vastly different sentences depending on who the judge was. Judges gave harsher sentences when they were hungry and the day after their team lost. Blacks got harsher sentences and people are less likely to be granted asylum when it’s hot. The sentencing reform act of 1984 helped narrow the differences, but the Supreme Court struck it down in 2005 and discrepancies increased again. Female and Democrat judges are more lenient.

2. A Noisy System

  • Here we encounter he basic tool called the noise audit that all organizations need to consider. Its essence is to have many people look at the same information and make independent judgments. The variance in these judgments will give you a sense of the magnitude of the noise in the system. The authors use the median difference from the mean in the audit as a measure of noise. Keep in mind that errors do not cancel out, they add up. In many cases, the person making a judgment might as well be chosen by lottery. It’s important not to confuse judgment with taste or opinion. It’s important to have people with different perspectives when you are trying to solve a problem.

3. Singular Decisions

  • Singular decisions are those that don’t recur with any great frequency. Getting married or buying a house are examples. While they are not free from the factors that produce noise, the definition of noise does not apply and you can’t do a noise audit. Practices that reduce error for recurrent decisions should be just as effective when it comes to singular decisions.
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Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away

Tuesday, February 6th, 2024

Quit

Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away by Annie Duke

goes beyond winners never quit to winners quit a lot. Everyone should read this to avoid sticking with goals that become no longer worthwhile. Grit can help you reach worthwhile goals, but it can also help you stick with goals that are no longer have positive expected value. Every school should have a copy in its professional development library.

Prologue: The Gifted Scale

  • Success lies in picking the right things to stick to and quitting the rest. Just because you stubbornly stick to something doesn’t mean you will succeed at it. Unfortunately, quitting almost uniformly has negative implications, while being gritty and staying with something is considered in a positive light. The science of quitting spans disciplines from economics to game theory to behavioral psychology.

Section I: The Case for Quitting

1. The Opposite of a Great Virtue is also a Great Virtue

  • On Mt. Everest, there is a quitting plan. It goes if you haven’t reached your goal, the summit or a camp higher up, by 1:00 pm, turn around. Over the years, people who have ignored this plan have been much more likely to die, as you are eight times more likely to die on the way down. In Silicon Valley, the motto is Fail Fast. Since most projects fail, knowing when to quit is key in terns of conserving resources.
  • Luck often plays a big part in success. When we make a decision, we usually don’t have all the information we need. As we move forward after making a decision, we need to be constantly on the lookout for new information. As new information arrives, be sure to analyze it as it may point toward quitting or changing course. Once you quit, you won’t know what would have happened if you didn’t. You need to be ok with that. In poker, this is like folding hands that would have won. This is why pros play about half as many hands (15-25%) as amateurs (50%).

2. Quitting on Time Usually Feels Like Quitting Too Early

  • We start with an owner of a computer game that appears to be successful as he’s adding players at 7% a week. When he sees that new players are much less likely to stick, he can see it will be a money pit and quits. The key concept here is to calculate expected future value be it a function of money, happiness, or anything else. This requires some mental time travel. This involves educated guesses and thinking like a poker player.
  • You also need to look for clues from the past, be it your past or someone else’s. When a decision to quit is near 50-50, quitting is more likely the best choice. This includes big life decisions. If you are unhappy in a situation, you are likely to be unhappy in the future. This should make quitting an easy decision. Many athletes and TV shows have lingered too long. Those that went out on top are usually thought to have quit too soon. They didn’t.

3. Should I Stay or Should I Go

  • Studies of cab drivers show that they generally use the wrong heuristic for deciding how long to drive. Most drive until they have reached an income goal. That means that they often stop when conditions are good and keep driving longer shifts when conditions are poor. Experienced cab drivers tend to do better. They seem to understand the concept of expected gain.
  • The same is not true for professional stock traders. While they tend to make good buying decisions as they have studied the assets they are buying, their sell decisions are not as good. These people usually sell something to free up money for things they want to buy. What they sell tends to be either stocks that have gained the most or lost the most. They are not doing expected gain analysis. What they should also do is follow the sold stocks closely to get feedback on their decisions. Most don’t.
  • For most decisions we make, feedback is hard to come by. If you change majors, colleges, or jobs, all you have is what if questions. We also tend to have a greater negative emotional impact for losses than positive emotions for gains. This loss aversion creates a preference for options associated with a lower chance of loss.
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Relocating: Helping Your Children Learn in a New Environment by Amanda Winstead

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

Child 3
Relocating: Helping Your Children Learn in a New Environment by Amanda Winstead offers great advice for parents who have to move. It’s now easy for children, but here are some things to ease the pain. Thanks. Amanda.

Introduction

  • Moving can be the beginning of a new adventure. It can be a chance to start fresh. It can also be an opportunity to expand your network of friends and colleagues. Moving to a new location holds all sorts of potential — it is what you make of it.
  • Unfortunately, many kids don’t see moving in that light. For many, the idea of moving to a new place is terrifying. It is taking them away from something they know and are comfortable with and putting them into a completely new situation. This means a new bedroom, a new school, and new friends. Starting over is enough to make any child struggle.
  • Thankfully, there is a lot parents can do to help make the transition a bit easier. Helping children adapt quickly and successfully to their new home and life is key to keeping kids on the right track. Taking the time to help them work through the emotions associated with such a large change can also help everyone in the family begin to adapt to a new home.

Preparing for a Big Move

  • Perhaps one of the most important things you can do as a parent to help your child adjust to a big move and a new school is to start the conversation early. Just like adults, children need time to process the idea of a big change in their lives. Surprising them with something like that and not allowing time for the news to really sink in is asking for trouble and anxiety in your kid.
  • Moving is stressful — there’s no doubt about that — but kids are extremely perceptive when it comes to your emotional well-being. If you want them to have a positive attitude about the move, you must do as well. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you avoid talking about the things that make them nervous or that will be hard, but it does mean trying to focus on the things that won’t change such as still having recess or a packed lunch and the benefits of moving like choosing their own bedroom.
  • As with most adults, the core of a child’s fear about moving tends to be related to a lack of control in the situation. Do your best to give them whatever control you can and help them feel involved in the decision-making process. This can be as simple as letting them choose how they decorate their new bedroom or picking out their backpack and extracurricular activities. It can also mean getting them involved with packing their things and deciding if there are toys or clothing they don’t want to take with them to the new place.
Child 4

Making the Time to Make it Home

  • If you can choose where you are moving, it will be worth taking the opportunity to look into the quality of the schools in the area. It may come as a surprise, but children are frequently more successful in school districts that have a smaller number of students. Smaller towns rather than big metro areas can provide more one-on-one interaction opportunities between students and teachers because the classroom sizes are typically smaller.
  • To help relieve some of the anxiety associated with going to a new school, try to take some of the mystery out of it before the first day. Take your children to explore the school, the playground, and what their walk home from school will be like if you’re close enough for that. Likewise, set up a meeting with teachers and school administration staff. Anything that helps the new location feel more familiar to your child and gives them an idea of what to expect will be a benefit on the first day.
  • As your child starts their new school, it is valuable to stay involved and assess how things are going. Set aside time after school every day to see how their day went and listen closely to the things they have to say. Ask questions to keep them talking. If there are opportunities, see if they are interested in inviting some of the new kids they’ve met for a playdate which can help facilitate them making new friends.

Other Moving Opportunities

  • Depending upon the age of your child, there may be an abundance of other ways to help them get involved. For instance, maybe you are moving to a new area where there are more types of extracurricular activities outside of school than there were previously. For instance, maybe the nearby city pool has a swim team they can get involved in or the library has a children’s book club. Although some of these activities aren’t directly tied to the school, they can help your children settle into the new place and make friends more quickly.
  • Some older students may want to opt out of doing the new school thing altogether. If you feel that it would be a good fit for your child, you could look into e-learning. Doing school online can open up several opportunities to take different or more challenging courses than what is offered at the new school. Of course, going online isn’t for every student — it is important to evaluate whether or not your high school-aged child would be successful or flounder in this environment before making that decision.
  • Moving to a new area and starting your child in a new school can be hard on everyone. Helping your children adjust is an important step in successfully adapting to a new school. Doing things such as giving them time to prepare, showing them around the school before the first day, and helping them get involved in activities can make a huge difference.

Amanda Winstead

  • Amanda is a freelance writer out of Portland focusing on many topics including educational technology. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.
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Safe Ways to Encourage Kids to Play and Explore Outdoors by Emily Graham

Friday, July 23rd, 2021

Play Outdoors
Safe Ways to Encourage Kids to Play and Explore Outdoors by Emily Graham offers excellent advice for parents and teachers about getting kids outdoors for fresh air and exercise. It’s easy to just let them sit around inside and play computer games or watch TV, but with a little effort and this advice, you can make them healthier and more vibrant. Thanks, Emily.

Introduction

  • Research shows that more of today’s modern kids are spending their time inside, and parents get to see this firsthand. Today’s kids are busy with their video games, computers, and gadgets, and they’re not getting the fresh air, sunshine, and physical activity they need as a result. Dr. Doug Green shares some ways to encourage your kids to get outside and play safely, and get them out of the house.

Help Them Hunt for Treasure

  • Turn outdoor exploration into a fun treasure hunt and make a game out of it. Try an idea from Momtastic and make a list of flowers, plants, trees, birds, and bugs that can be found in your own backyard or in close proximity. Have kids take a photo or draw a sketch of each of these items to add it to their list of found treasures. This is an observation-only event, so kids can use just their eyes to find treasures rather than poking their fingers into strange holes or trying to pluck plants. Kids will end up learning more about the natural world, and have fun doing it.

Stage a Backyard Camping Trip

  • You don’t have to go on a road trip to enjoy camping. Set up a tent in your own backyard, lay out some sleeping bags and stage a fun camping adventure that will be much simpler than actually heading out on the road to find a campsite. You can easily keep an eye on the kids while they have their backyard adventure. Give them some fun snack items like trail mix, and stuff to play with like balls and jump ropes. This will keep kids outside instead of glued to their video games.

Just Add Bubbles

  • Pretty much every kid loves to play with bubbles, and they can stay busy for hours outdoors having fun with this activity. Mix up your own bubble solution using ordinary dishwashing soap and glycerin, according to What to Expect. Make a bubble wand out of a bent coat hanger, and kids can make enormous bubbles for hours and hours. They’ll have fun blowing bubbles, chasing them around, and seeing how many bubbles they can make.

Build Some DIY Bird Feeders Together

  • Make some bird feeders with the kids, and encourage them to watch the birds that come to enjoy your DYI project. You can even turn this into a learning project, and get your kids a book on different birds so they can look up the feathered friends who visit. You don’t need much to make a bird feeder. In fact, an old shoe will work. Take the shoe and nail it directly to a tree or a post. Fill it with birdseed, and watch your avian visitors enjoy their meals. If you’re more creative, you can make a bird feeder out of almost anything, from an old cup and saucer to a used wine bottle.

Outside Safety Tips

  • Keep kids safe when they play outdoors by taking some simple safety measures. First, don’t get a trampoline. They cause horrible accidents frequently and should only be used under careful supervision for training and exercise — not recreation. Second, don’t let your kids wear drawstring clothing. Drawstrings are accidents begging to happen because they can come untied and get snagged, cause kids to trip, and get hung up on toys and playground equipment. Thirdly, make sure all your playground equipment is totally safe. It should only be on a soft surface, not hard decking or concrete, and safely away from tall buildings, trees and structures.
  • Make sure your kids stay on your property by installing a fence to surround your yard. Fence companies charge an average of $4,500 to install a fence, but peace of mind is priceless. Before hiring a fence installer, it’s a good idea to review customer feedback and ratings. Always get three estimates and make sure the company is insured and licensed.
  • Most importantly, keep an eye on your kids when they’re outside. Outdoor play is healthy and good for children, but it can be dangerous. Monitor your kids and take steps to make sure they’re staying safe. You can’t prevent every accident, but there is a lot you can do to make sure your kids avoid accidents and injuries when they’re outside. (Doug: Consider getting a camera or two so you can see your backyard from a TV or computer.)

Photo Credit Pexels.com

Emily Graham

  • Emily is the creator of MightyMoms.Net. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. You can email her at emilygraham@mightymoms.net. She lives in Arizona.
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Sensory Play For Toddlers Using Regular Household Items by Herman Samano

Monday, July 5th, 2021

Sensory Play For Toddlers Using Regular Household Items by Herman Samano is a must-read for any parent with young children. This article offers excellent advice for how to help a toddler better adapt to the world around them. Be sure to share with toddler parents you know. Thanks, Herman.

Introduction

  • Growing children rely on their senses from birth onward to explore and make sense of their surrounding world. Through sight, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling, and even moving, young children process the information obtained through their senses, which informs their development. By enriching infant’s and young children’s experiences with sensory play activities, families can support their little one’s brain development.
  • Sensory play can take many forms. Parents can use household items or DIY toys to encourage toddlers to understand better and navigate their world. The different forms of sensory play can enhance brain development in many ways, which we’ll explore here. Learn how to engage your child with fun sensory development activities so that you can spur their development and nurture their well-being.

SP 1

What Is Sensory Play?

  • Sensory play refers to virtually any activity that can stimulate a child’s senses. It might involve splashing their hands during bathtime or touching the different textures featured in a “touch and feel” book. Children typically find these types of activities fun without knowing that the sensory information they obtain from these activities helps forge stronger connections in their brains to process and respond to sensory stimulation.
  • Sensory play helps children create a context for their sounds or the textures they come into contact with. They learn what the different sounds are and how to respond or not respond to them. For instance, when a car horn blares outside the home, a toddler might cry the first time they are disturbed by it. But after processing it and realizing this sound does not impede or impact them personally, they may learn to ignore it.
  • Linked to healthy childhood development, sensory play helps introduce children to their world in a safe, fun-filled environment. As kids develop an awareness of different sensations, they may become more excited to build on their developing knowledge base and better explore their surroundings through more playtime fun.

Benefits of Sensory Play for Brain Development

  • By engaging in sensory play with your young children, you can better prepare them for the world. During their initial years of life, children’s brains grow quite rapidly. Parents can support this healthy development by helping children safely explore their world through each of their senses. Some of the key benefits your child is likely to experience through sensory play include the development of Fine and Gross Motor Skills.
  • As we know, children aren’t born with command over their motor skills. It takes time and practice to develop them. Learning how to manipulate their fingers and hands, use their arms for throwing, and their fingers for properly holding a pencil requires practice. The better developed your child’s fine and gross motor skills, the better they’ll be prepared for school or even enjoy playing at the park or with their toys more fully.

Problem-Solving Skills

  • Life is filled with problems and challenges for humans of all ages. Solving them is integral to the human experience. Through play, toddlers can practice interpreting the world using their senses to solve small challenges such as building a block tower that doesn’t fall or sorting items with different shapes or colors. As they develop a knack for solving minor problems, they enhance their ability to solve problems of great difficulty.

Social Interaction

  • Sensory activities can help children develop essential social interaction skills such as making eye contact, reading emotions in faces, or listening to others. By developing strong social skills, children may interact more comfortably and successfully with other children.

Language Development

  • Language development happens gradually, but the more caregivers can promote this development, the better their child’s language skills. Good language skills will allow kids to communicate more effectively as they age. Sensory exploration has a significant impact on language and speaking domains of child development. Receptive and expressive language are some of the areas of language development that can be worked upon when a child engages in Sensory play. You can help your toddler using fun descriptive words while playing to introduce new vocabulary and promote sentence formation. Pretend play can really improve your child’s expressive language skills and verbal expression.

What Is Sensory Processing Disorder?

  • Sensory processing disorder (SPD) refers to a condition that affects stimuli processing. Children affected by SPD are often susceptible to stimuli, but SPD can have the opposite effect, too; children may require a more significant amount of a particular stimulus before responding to it. SPD can affect many or even just one sense. While adults can have this disorder, they don’t usually exhibit symptoms as they’ve learned how to cope with them.
  • Most often, SPD is a condition seen in children. Some specialists view SPD as a singular condition that can occur independently, while other researchers believe it is more often than not a condition associated with other conditions such as autism spectrum disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
    Symptoms of SPD may include:
    Exhibiting poor balance, coordination, or clumsiness
    Finding sounds to be too loud
    Finding lighting to be too bright
    Bothered to the point of gagging by certain food textures
    Feeling that clothing items are too scratchy
    Becoming upset by sudden movements, touches, or loud noises
  • Although there is no known way to prevent SPD, it is manageable. However, it typically takes time and considerable therapy to help children develop coping strategies to live with this condition. Doctors may recommend sensory integration therapy, occupational therapy, or a sensory diet, which consists of tailored activities that are chosen for a child based on their sensory needs. DISCLAIMER: These tips are based on the personal experience of the writer and are not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare professional. For questions or concerns, please talk to your licensed healthcare provider.

SP 2

How Sensory Play Can Prevent Picky Eating in Children

  • Many children have food aversions based on the textures of foods. This is common among children with SPD, but any child may develop a picky eating habit. Sensory play can reduce the tendency for picky eating, helping kids enjoy healthy eating habits. Often the sense of taste is indeed the deciding factor for whether or not a child will want to eat certain foods, but have you ever witnessed a child refuse to eat something because of the way it looked before they’ve ever tasted it?
    Through sensory play activities, parents can prevent kids from deciding whether or not they will eat a food merely based on its texture or appearance. Food texture aversion can be highly frustrating for both parents and kids. To help your children enjoy exploring new food textures and tastes, you may want to let them enjoy activities like helping you to cook. Their little hands can help form meatballs. You might even let them ‘paint’ with some spices, so they get used to seeing and smelling them. By spending time with ‘food’ in a positive context, they can become more comfortable with different textures and appearances.

SP 3

Creating a Designated Sensory Play Space at Home

  • Parents can create a space indoors and outdoors for sensory play. Consider outfitting your indoor play space with items such as:
    Busy boards (toys with knobs, dials, buttons, etc.)
    Touch and feel books
    Simple puzzles
    Play-Doh
    Building blocks
    Bristle blocks
    Fidget cubes
    Sensory table
    Sensory bins
  • When designing your outdoor sensory play area, you might include a:
    Swing
    Slide
    Sandbox
    Toddler gardening ‘tools’
    Baby pool
    Colorful sidewalk chalk
    T-ball set
    Of course, parents can supervise children in all kinds of ways to explore their world safely. They use many different household items to engage in sensory play. However, always be careful when using small objects with your little ones as they can be choking hazards. And, always, supervise your child around water.

SP 4

5 Sensory Play Activities Using Things You Already Have at Home

  • You may not realize it, but your home is full of a wealth of sensory items that you can feature during sensory playtime with your toddler. Here are just a few to inspire you to get started with sensory play:
    Pasta Pictures
    Pasta comes in all kinds of fun shapes and sizes. All you need are some different pasta shapes such as macaroni, cavatappi, rotini, and some construction paper and non-toxic paste. Encourage your child to paste the pasta to create pictures like a circle, a square, or even more complicated items that you trace for them like a star or a heart.
    Salt Dough Ornaments
    Don’t have Play-Doh? No problem. Using a combination of flour, water, and salt, you can whip up a batch of salt dough to create fun seasonal ornaments. Children will enjoy squishing the dough, rolling it, and forming it into shapes using their hands or cookie cutters. After you bake the ornaments so they’ll harden, you and your children can paint and decorate them with small pom poms, ribbon, or other odds and ends.
    Sensory Bin
    Create a sensory bin with different items and leave it out for daily stimulation. Provide plastic measuring cups and other tools for children to touch and explore on their own. You can swap in new items to keep them interesting. Here are some examples:
    Dry beans
    Edible sand
    Little toys
    Rice
    Cotton balls
    Shredded pieces of paper
    Tea Party
    Unless you’re having high tea with the queen, you don’t need a formal tea service to have a tea party. Plastic cups, some water, and a plate filled with cookies or apple slices will do just fine. The key is to let your child do the hosting. That means it’s their job to fill and refill your glass with ‘tea.’ It’s their job to serve your cookie.
    Pots and Pans Band
    Pots and pans, of course, make great drums. But there are many items around your house that children can use to make sounds. You can hand them a couple of spoons and allow them to make ‘music’ on the kitchen floor using items like pots, plastic colanders, boxes, and more.
  • Keep these ideas in mind as you prepare to engage your child in sensory play. One of the highlights of sensory play that we haven’t yet mentioned, of course, is all the fun you can have as you bond over these different activities. You’re sure to create some fabulous memories, so keep your camera handy.

Hermann Samano

  • Hermann enjoys writing content that helps parents and kids with ideas to explore and learn together. He is passionate about gaming, music, roller skating, and outdoor activities. Seattle WA. You can email him at HermannSamano-t@porch.com.
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Serious Challenges for School Leaders in 2017 by Sam Jones

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

FatJoe
Serious Challenges for School Leaders in 2017 by Sam Jones offers warnings and advice along with some additional valuable resources for anyone involved in education.

Introduction

  • If you are at the head of a school going into 2017, you’re going to facing some serious challenges. These issues need to be overcome if your school is going to survive. But it’s not just schools that could be in trouble. Any educational platform could be affected by these problems and leaders need to be prepared. What type of issues am I talking about?

Tech, Students And Teachers

  • Tech can be useful in the school environment for a variety of reasons. For instance, you can use an online school directory to keep everyone up to date and connected. It can be useful for making sure that different areas of school body aren’t segregated such as teachers, students and parents. But, there is an issue that we need to come to terms with when thinking about tech in schools. Your understanding of tech and the students understanding of tech is going to be different. Research shows that by middle age, most of us are already losing our grasp on technology. Essentially, this means the students are going to know more than us. The simple solution to this problem is to use that fact to our advantage. Let’s harness their minds and make sure we control but accept the ways they want to use tech to learn. It will benefit them and the teaching standards that we have in schools.

Fun With Funding

  • It’s currently unclear what state the government will be in next year. However, you can bet that as always funding in education is going to be under severe constraint. This happens every year, and we need to start preparing for it now. School leaders need to know how to effectively cut costs without losing the higher standards of education. There are both large and small ways to do this. Almost every business is now looking at ways to use greener practices to save money. Like it or not, a school is a business, and it needs to be run like one. It might be worth in investing in ways to cut energy usage if it means costs will be lower. For instance, you may want to look into purchasing new solar panels for the roof of your school. I know what you’re thinking. How can we possibly afford that? Well, you can encourage parents to invest by explaining how it will benefit their children. You should also be price checking any supplies that you buy for your school.

Bigger Student Populations

  • Gone are the days when you have a class of ten or fifteen students. Now, classes are typically three times that size, and this is a problem. Research shows that teachers can not successfully provide teaching to a class of more than thirty children. Some of the students will be missing out, and this will show through their quality of work. You must make sure that you are keeping class numbers low by hiring more teachers. Although this means excess costs for the school, it will drive performance levels higher. We have to remember that educating children must be the main goal, rather than saving money.
  • These aren’t easy problems to solve. But we need to think about how to tackle them now. Otherwise, our children’s standard of schooling will be rapidly sliding downhill.
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Seven Things That Can Spoil Your Relationship with the Students by Kate Khom

Saturday, October 6th, 2018

Learning
Seven Things That Can Spoil Your Relationship with the Students by Kate Khom offers excellent advice to all teachers regardless of their experience. It also provides guidelines for administrators who have to observe and guide teachers.

Introduction

  • Your most important job as a teacher is to create appropriate and pleasant conditions in which learning can take place while maintaining a good, stable relationship with your students. Your relationship with the students largely depends on your personality, attitude, and intentions. No teacher is ever identical to another teacher, just like every student is an individual. Teaching is certainly not an easy job, and it takes effort, time and experience to get better at it. However, there are certain things that you should always avoid doing in order not to spoil your relationship with the students.

1. Being Cold and Distant

  • While it’s certainly important that you maintain your authority over the class, you should never allow yourself to become one of those cold and distant teachers that the students are scared of or uncomfortable around. If you act this way you will never be able to establish a good rapport with the students and you will surely hinder their learning because they simply will not feel comfortable enough in the classroom.

2. Unwillingness to Elicit and Accept Honest Feedback

  • Sometimes, while teaching, we can unknowingly do certain things that can bother our students. Maybe you’re talking too quickly or using complicated language. Natalie Schwartz, a renowned author of multiple books on teaching, explains how to deal with this in her her article. “Eliciting feedback can entail asking a simple question such as, So how was the homework last night?” All in all, you have to elicit and accept feedback without getting angry or offended when you get it.

3. Being Too Friendly

  • You absolutely should have a positive attitude towards your students and you should strive to create a pleasant learning environment in the classroom, but there is a difference between being a good teacher and being their friend. Make sure that they still remember that you are the teacher and that they have to listen to you.

4. Being Hypocritical

  • There is always that teacher that strictly forbids students from using their phone in class, but when their phone rings, they pick up the call and chatter away, simply because they are the teacher and that ‘’gives them the right’’ to do something they don’t allow students to do. If teachers establish certain rules in class, then they need to remember that the rules have to apply to them too.

5. Humiliating students

  • This one should go without saying, but you should absolutely never humiliate your students in any way. Melissa Kelly, a writer at ThoughtCo. says in her article that, if humiliated: ‘’The students will either feel so cowed that they will never feel confident in your classroom, so hurt that they will not trust you ever again, or so upset that they can turn to disruptive methods of retaliation.’’

6. Flying With the Fastest

  • If you only pay attention to the students that speak first, you will definitely get a wrong impression about how easy or difficult the lesson is. Not everyone can learn at the same speed and by only paying attention to the best students, you will lose track of the rest of the class, which will make them feel inadequate and they won’t really understand the lesson. John Marks, an expert in classroom management from says that you should ‘’Try directing questions at individuals and sometimes actively ‘shh’ the loud ones, or simply not hear them.’’

7. Unwillingness to Repeat or Explain

  • As Derrick Meador, a writer at ThoughtCo.claims in his article on teaching, ‘’You should never say things like: ’’I’ve already gone over that. You should have been listening.”Make sure that the students know that it’s safe to ask you about anything they find difficult or confusing. It is like R. J. Odora points out in his research study on using explanation as a teaching method “In the context of education, good explanation in teaching is essential for unlocking the students’ understanding of the subject.’’

Conclusion

  • To conclude, as teachers grow in experience, their teaching improves, but until then, it is crucial that they learn to maintain a good relationship with the students. Hopefully, this article will help teachers understand what to pay attention to in their behavior and attitude towards the students so that everyone is happy and all the conditions for learning are met.

Kate Khom

  • Kate is passionate writer and learner located in Kyiv, Ukraine. She likes to help people and make this world better. Feel free to chat with her on Twitter or check her website .
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