3 Ways to Encourage your Toddler to LOVE Books!

3 Ways to Encourage your Toddler to LOVE Books!
A Child who Reads is an Adult who Thinks! 

Reading to a child is one of the most constructive things a parent can do, and you can do this with them their entire life- starting at birth.  

The Strategies...

To get specific though for 1-2 year olds, it’s always best to choose bright, colorful books with simple pictures. Cluttered pages, like “I Spy” books, are difficult to look at and comprehend due to their age and brain development. Books for this age group should be short and entertaining. I love to read “Where is the ____” type books, lift the flap, and touchy feely books. Some of my favorite stories have an action on each page (like, clapping, patting, or blowing kisses). When your toddler has fun reading, they will choose this activity so you don’t have to make it a “chore.”

Another strategy for this age is to read books face to face - Instead of sitting the child in your lap to read, sit in front of him so he can see your face and expressions! Watching you read with facial expressions is more exciting than watching your hands move or turn the page. Enthusiasm is contagious! Read the story in silly voices -- use a grumpy voice, then a high pitched voice, or even a ROBOT voice… your child will be laughing and enjoying the book even more with you. 


The last strategy I’d like to share with you is eliciting effective communication with your toddler. In our current culture, we rush all day long to make things happen quickly. We drive to the school and daycare fast, we eat our lunch fast, and we’re annoyed when someone is taking too long in the grocery check out line because they are chatting with the checker. Because of this cultural "norm," our speech is automatically faster and we offer less wait time for people AND children to respond. We often expect an action or response right away and continue to speak or ask the same question to fill the silence. At this age, toddlers truly need time to process the information in their world. Before children develop sentences themselves, they understand best when thoughts are short and to the point. Instead of saying, “Oh look at that blue bird sitting on the tree! He has a worm in his mouth. I bet the baby is hungry!” It may be more beneficial to say, “I found a bird! (pause) A blue bird. (while touching the picture and pausing again) “MMMmmm, yummy worm!” (while rubbing your belly or your childs). When you slow it down, point to pictures, AND use gestures, you are offering your child a visual, auditory, and tactile learning environment. ALL of which are crucial to developing communication and language skills needed for further development. 


Now that you have these simple strategies, I encourage you to try at least one strategy this week! Share in the comments what strategy is most relevant to your child.

If you need more guidance or enjoyed these tips, you’ll love my free FB group where we talk all about toddler development. Come check out the growing community. 

Can’t wait to see you there!

The NON-Negotiable For a Sleeping Toddler

The NON-Negotiable For a Sleeping Toddler

As a first time Mom I was completely out of my element. How were all these moms doing it and looking GOOD in the process?? My child hadn't slept longer than 4 hours since he was born. I was working full time, attempting to make healthy meals for our little family, and trying not to collapse from complete exhaustion in the process. 


I learned a few tips on my journey which is what I am sharing with you today. The first tip I have for you is a NON-NEGOTIABLE: a bedtime routine. Read on to decide what kind of routine would be best for you and your family.


Bedtime
 Routine

bedtime routine changed our son’s sleeping pattern and attitude almost instantly. Within a week he was sleeping through the night, and woke up much happier! When thinking about what to add to your child’s routine, make sure it all fits within a 20-30 minute time frame. Longer than 30 minutes may actually elicit wakefulness


Here is an idea of what our nightly routine looked like when he was 12-15 months old: 

Play until 7:00. 

Clean up and put away toys (sometimes this takes 10-15 minutes, so our bedtime routine begins once this step is complete). 

~Take a bath/shower/sponge bath (depending on what kind of day we had) of no more than 10 minutes. 

~After bath, I rub our sleepy time massage lotion/oil onto their feet and legs

~Put on pajamas

~Brush teeth

~Read TWO books

~Sing TWO songs

~Say a prayer

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Both of my kids understand this routine well enough that they now lie down in their beds with a few love-pats and put themselves to sleep. We started this routine just after a year with my son, and a similar routine around 4-5 months with my second.


Here is an extensive list of options to add to your routine. Choose 3-5 depending on the age and temperament of your child(ren):

  • Bath / Shower / Sponge Bath
  • Sing
  • Toilet / Diaper / Pull-up
  • Brush teeth
  • Wash hands and face
  • Brush hair
  • Read books
  • Nurse / bottle
  • Drink of water (Nothing with sugar!) 
  • Baby / Toddler Massage
  • Draw or color for 5 minutes 
  • Clean up toys

    This is just part of the puzzle to getting Toddlers to sleep! If you'd like to learn more tips like this join our FREE FB Group!

ADD Tips and Strategies, Part 2

ADD Tips and Strategies, Part 2

A Different Way Of Thinking 

In my last BLOG, Attention Deficit Disorder, What is it? I discussed what scientists/doctors understand to be true for ADD and ADHD at this time in 2020. Before we dive into these strategies, I want you to realize that ADD has been around longer than doctors have had a “name” for this difference. That’s what I want you to take away from this BLOG - ADD/ADHD is a different way of thinking, learning, and acting. The benefit of you reading this is that you may walk away with a strategy that can help your child be successful in any area of his/her life. Your child is perfectly created by our Creator... So build on your child’s strengths and learning style. 

Let’s dig into some of the strategies shall we?!


Structure

How many of you appreciate structure? In the school system, the “structure” of the day is the same every single day. I can’t imagine how we would all feel if the bell schedules changed every day. There would be confusion, angst, and chaos because adults and children alike appreciate sameness


This goes for children in your own home - whether they have an ADD diagnosis or not - children appreciate sameness, or a typical daily schedule. Structure occurs when kids understand the expectations of daily routines. Their morning routine before school/daycare, nap time routine, evening routine, meal time routine, and more! Of course the earlier we as parents or guardians begin these routines in our homes the easier it will be down the road.


Since my time in the schools, I’ve seen a variety of schedule-based systems work. Mind you, these systems may not work the first day or even the third. Have the expectation that for two weeks there is no straying from the schedule/routine you are trying to create for your child. My kids have had the same evening routine since they were 6 months old and I truly believe that’s one of the reasons why my kids are NOW good sleepers. 


Visuals

Visuals may seem intimidating to parents and even some educators at times and I think it’s because they’re not sure how to use them or even create them. I’d like to share some tips with you on how to create a visual, but first let’s understand WHY visuals are so important.


If you remember from part 1, I discussed how difficult it was for children with ADD to focus in order to make spontaneous decisions. However, when these same children have two concrete choices they are able to make the appropriate choice. Visuals take away the guessing. When we use visuals to support kids who have attention issues, or children with communication delays it’s almost as if we are speaking their language! ;)


Visual Schedules 

I personally use the program LessonPix to create visuals, but it’s not necessary. You don’t even need a computer to start with! Choose a routine to target, then break down the steps by drawing each one out. If it’s getting ready for bed, draw the 5 steps leading up to bedtime. 

Bedtime Routine example: 

Bath... Pajamas on… Brush teeth… Read 2 Books… 1 Drink. 

Set it up from left to right like a checklist.


This is a similar bedtime schedule we use for my kids. I specifically put “read 2 books” or “take 1 drink” so there is an expectation I can teach. Will my kids still try to read 3 books some evenings??  Of course! If they didn’t I would think something was wrong. I have this visual so I can go back and help them understand that our home has expectations and rules.


I’d like to share an example of our evening schedule with you. All I need is your name and email so I know where to send it to!



These strategies only scratch the surface of how to support children with short attention spans or communication deficits. Please share how you are already using visuals and structure in your home or ask me about our FREE FB community!

Attention Deficit Disorder, What is it? - Part 1

Attention Deficit Disorder, What is it? - Part 1

What We Know Today 

ADD and ADHD diagnoses are on the rise. ADD - Attention Deficit Disorder - is considered by the research to be a frontal lobe condition. It occurs when the prefrontal cortex does not fire accordingly when a person attempts to focus. On brain images, the frontal lobe of typical adults have full frontal lobe activity and adequate blood flow during times of focus and concentration. For adults diagnosed with ADD, their brain images showed decreased blood flow to the frontal lobes. The more these individuals tried to focus the worse the blood flow became until it completely shut off. 


There are actually 6 different types of ADD and each one produces a different image on brain scans. Researchers suggest that ADD is most likely genetic, but may also be caused by lack of social structure during childhood development, or drug/alcohol abuse while in the womb. No matter the reasons, this is a REAL clinical problem and supporting the kids who have this diagnosis is truly what’s important. 


Symptoms and Possible Effects of ADD

MUCH like frontal lobe damage, ADD has an array of classic symptoms which include short attention span, difficulty learning from experiences, poor organizational skills, low level planning skills, easily distracted, inability to focus on tasks, lack of control over actions, and being fixed in their opinions of their actions. Even if they know these behaviors do not serve them, these individuals will not correct their actions on their own.


ADD affects thousands in the US. Because of the symptoms listed above, people with a diagnosis of ADD have difficulty controlling their actions to maintain proper behavior during social situations, tend to act out of control in classroom situations, take certain liberties without asking permission, and are very Impulsive. They receive an emotional high from negative attention which is a nice rush of adrenaline for them to want to do it again. Are you seeing a pattern as to why these students and adults are difficult to manage?


Data has shown that half of all prison inmates have ADD, over one third of students with ADD never finish HS, more than half abuse alcohol or drugs, and parents of ADD children have a divorce rate 3x greater than those without ADD. As you can see, ADD is no laughing matter. 


Medical Treatment options differ for each individual which is something I am not educated to offer. What I am educated to offer are behavioral strategies that have been shown to support these children throughout their day to be productive students at home and at school. Working in the school district for 10 plus years has given me first hand experience with children of this diagnosis. My goal is to empower you as a mother, caregiver, or teacher to provide the most stable environment possible for your child. 


Have a specific child in mind? Continue reading.



In the following Blog, ADD Tips and Strategies I will discuss techniques that benefit students with short attention spans and similar behaviors as described above.


Has ADD impacted your life in any way?





Information and data credited to Joe Dispenza, DC from his book “Evolve Your Brain

Why I Choose to Clean without the Poison

Why I Choose to Clean without the Poison

Spiraling Down

My health was spiraling in so many directions. Once I learned what the toxic mess was doing to my body, I knew something had to change- and fast. Around this same time is when David and I were talking about having kids. I decided then to have our home toxin free in 6 months. Well, it happened in three because I became pregnant much quicker than we thought!


I learned so much during my own personal healing about personal care and cleaning products' impact on our health. The products I used for years had been accumulating in my body since I was a child, and I could not allow those same products to pass through my door any longer. As I continued to adapt my own way of living and cleaning, I began researching specific {toxic} ingredients' impact on children. The results were astonishing, and I will only be sharing a sample of my knowledge today...


Synthetic Fragrances

Most cleaning products and room sprays are made with synthetic fragrances and phthalates. These chemical scents are typically created inside a lab. Companies, by law, do not have to tell you what ingredients are in their “fragrance.” These chemically created scents are known respiratory irritants as well as toxic to your skin and eyes. 


Can you imagine what allergy season and flu season looks like in the home where these products are used? Not only would the respiratory illness take longer to go away, in most cases it is worse than it really needs to be. 


Free

I have been synthetic-fragrance free for over 5 years! When I walk by the cleaning aisle or candle now, I immediately get a headache and feel nauseous because of the overwhelming toxic “buzz” sitting on the shelves. This is only a small part of the daily concern for our children who live in a toxic-filled household. 


Before kids and before my health began to spiral, I used all the things in my home. It’s never too late to switch over to cleaner, plant based options that actually work. Enjoy this simple recipe and contact me if you’re ready for the swap or just want to learn more in our FB Group.



DIY Bleach

Use in Laundry or add a little baking soda when cleaning White surfaces

4 Cups Water

½ Cup Hydrogen Peroxide

2 Capfuls of THHC

20 Drops Lemon Essential Oil

Add to Large Glass bottle for Laundry/Toilet -or- to Spray Bottle if using on surfaces

 
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