Posted in Guest Posts

Write for me Wednesday: Preparing Your Young Ones who are Going to School for the First Time

Preparing Your Young Ones who are Going to School for the First Time

First day of school

Your child’s early years are extremely critical in his/her development because it lays the foundation for being ready at life. And this is backed up by science. Recently, researchers have learned that the human brain develops expansively, and is most receptive to learning, between 0-3 years of age. This is why early education plays a big role.

This connection, this link between rapid brain development and peak learning receptivity has spawned many early childhood programs that incorporate books, videos, and activities to maximize this window. What’s great about this is you can now start preparing your children at home to make them successful later on, specifically for school. As a parent, there’s nothing more fulfilling than to see your child able to overcome challenges in his/her life.

Here are some practical ways to prepare yourself and your young ones to attend school for the first time.

Enrol your child to a day care or playgroup.

The closest thing to a structured and formal setting of a school is a day care or a playgroup. In that environment, your child will be able to learn new things and interact with different kinds of people—which he/she will be doing plentifully and more regularly at school.

When choosing a school, tag your child along.

A lot of uneasiness in a child stems from his/her inability to cope up with the sudden change in environment. That’s why it makes sense to let your child see which school he/she might go into before the “first day” starts. This will help your child get familiar with the place and the routine.

Share your own “first day” memories.

If your child already has a concept of “going to school” because you enrolled him or her in a day care, just keep reminding him/her what it was like. But if your child doesn’t have this frame of reference to keep him/her in check, then perhaps the best way to go at it is to share your own “first day” experiences. The very least that this could do is to help your child at setting expectations and that what he/she feels is completely normal. Dr. Diane Levin of Wheelock College said: “Talking about the basic sequence of the day will help your child make a mental movie of what to expect. Kids form pictures in their minds, and reviewing the process in detail will make things more familiar and less scary on the first day of school.”

Talk about “going to school” with your child more often.

Opening up the topic of “going to school” with your child more often can ease up the tension brought about by introducing a big shift in his/her life. Engage in conversation by question-and-answer will help your child imagine what school will be like, and this will also reveal what your child’s innermost thoughts about school are.

Start going to bed earlier.

One or two weeks before school begins, start practicing a stricter bedtime schedule with your child. This will help him/her cope up with the time demands of schooling. Begin by waking your child up 15 minutes earlier every day and going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night.

Learn about the drop-off policy.

Most schools have a drop-off policy. Find out if they allow parents to walk their children into the classroom and how long they can stay. If you think your child will need extra time to adjust, talk to the teacher or administrator before the school starts. But I suggest that you stick to their policy if it won’t cause too much trouble.

Transform their nervousness to excitement.

It’s completely normal to feel the nerves when you’re presented with something entirely new to you. The best thing you can do about this is to divert that energy to a more positive one. For example, let your child pick out what bag or lunchbox he wants. When shopping for school supplies, let your child find the items in the store and check them off on your list.

Prep yourself too.

Most first days can be emotionally charged for both mother and child. If you can’t hold it together, how much more can your child hold up on his own? Plan and play all the possible scenarios that can happen on the first day. Think about what your child needs in a goodbye. What will be most helpful — a quick goodbye, or five minutes of cuddle time with you?

You can also read books about starting school. Some good ones include “The Berenstain Bears Go to School” by Stan and Jan Berenstain, “Annabelle Swift, Kindergartner” by Amy Schwartz, “First Day Jitters” by Julie Dannenberg, “I Am Absolutely Too Small for School” by Lauren Child, and “Get Ready for Second Grade, Amber Brown” by Paula Danzinger.

About the Author

Joanna is an entrepreneur mum blessed with 3 lovely children. She lives in Dubai with her family, and loves to travel and cook healthy meals for her kids. Joanna regularly shares her parenting tips and experiences with Afterschool.ae, an online platform listing all UAE kid’s activities accessible by parents thru web and mobile.

Posted in Parenting, potty training

The Potty Training Chronicles – Moar progress

PT Chronicles finalThe progress

We are now at the tail end of the 4th day since starting potty training with Charles and I have to say that I am absolutely amazed by his progress.

He is now able to control his bladder for longer periods of time.  On day 2, he went 10 times (7 on the potty & 3 accidents).  On day 3, he went 6 times (3 on the potty & 3 accidents).  On day 4, he went 4 times (3 on the potty and 1 accident).

It also seems that pooping on the potty isn’t a problem as he went on day 2 and every day since.

Furthermore, he surprised me today (day 4) by having his very first dry nap (we still use diapers for naps and nighttime sleep).  Plus, as an added bonus, he was able to stay in the same pair of pants from the time he awoke from his nap to the time he was ready for bed.  In the past days, he always ended up wetting his boxers because, when he had them on, he would only realize he needed to pee when he had already started.

The challenges

Though Charles has come a long way in the past four days, he still has a few quirks to work out in the realm of bowel movements.  He still needs to work on understanding when he’s about to have a bowel movement (and when he’s actually done).

Tomorrow, we’re also taking potty training to the next level.  We’re going to be out of the house for Christmas (going to my parents’ house in the morning and my in-laws’ in the afternoon).  This will be his first time out of the house without a diaper.  This means that we’re going to be testing if he can handle a 15 minute car ride and if he’ll be able to use the potty in a new setting.  I’m eager to see how things go (and plan on packing quite a bit of spare pants and boxers).

Fingers crossed for things to go well.

Merry Christmas all!

Posted in Ten Thought Tuesday

Ten Thought Tuesday: T Minus 4 Weeks

TTT1.  Wow, already 36 weeks pregnant, I can hardly believe that we’ll be a family of four soon!

2.  In the last week, Little Dude’s two lower second molars poked through.  The poor little guy wasn’t too happy about them.

3.  I finally finished watching The Mentalist (which is one of the reasons that my blogging hiatus took longer than expected).

4.  I’m working on a new group/guest post.  Look out for it this coming Friday.

5.  Last week, I went to the public library for the first time with Charles.  He was thrilled and happily picked out a few books to bring home.  I’m going back with him in a week or so.

6.  Last Friday, my partner, brother and I decided to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (we, of course, watched the movie while eating pizza).  Boy, the movie brought back memories!

7.  Yesterday, it was hot and sticky.  I’m hoping for a day with a little less humidity today.  I can’t really complain though, we’ve had a nice pregnancy summer so far (very few unbearably hot days).

8.  After a two week break, Little Dude went back to daycare yesterday.  He was very happy to see his friends.

9.  Today, for the first time, Charles has been consistently calling his dad “papa” (dad); he’s been calling him “maman” (mom) for the past three months.

10.  Speaking of new words, I’m amazed at the quantity of words he’s learning every day.  I can’t keep up anymore and sometimes, he gets irritated because I don’t understand what he’s trying to say (he wants to validate that we understand him by having us repeat what he says and will repeat his word over and over again until we figure out what he’s trying to say).

Anyone else doing TTT?

Posted in Parenting

I Wonder…Could it be a Wonder Week? Aka: Wonder Week # 46

Urgh, I’m so annoyed!  I just finished writing this post which I started yesterday and it didn’t save.  Now, I have to retype half of it…

Ok, tiny rant over…

Well, after a short hiatus caused partly by blogger’s block, partly by juggling three jobs and a family life and partly by good ol’ procrastination, I am back (right on time for Canadian Thanksgiving too!).

In my last post, I mentioned that my son still wasn’t STTN.  Well, he still isn’t, but I’m ok with that.  However, he has been generally cranky, clingy and “mood swingy” (even if my parents won’t believe me and think he’s a perfect angel all the time 😉 ).  I had all but forgotten about wonder weeks until I received a message in my inbox on a particularly headache-inducing day.

“Get ready for wonder week #46”

Ok, so that’s not how the title was worded exactly, but it is what it meant.

“Of course!”, I thought.  Little Dude’s developing skills and fragile mood finally made sense!

I’m not going to go through the signs of a wonder week again as they are pretty stable from time to time.  If you’re curious about what to look out for before a wonder week, I encourage you to read this and this, post (for the record, I’m sure I wrote about these more often, but these are the only two that popped out at me for now).

I am however going to give a little specific insight into what exactly this wonder week (WW) consists of.

According to the authors, who dubbed this WW the “world of sequences”, it is the moment where a baby:

can begin to realize that to reach many of his goals, he has to do things in a certain order to be successful.  You may now see your baby looking first to see which things go together and how they go together before trying to put them in each other, pile them on top of each other, or piece them together.

I’ve definitely noticed my son performing some more complex actions lately.  Here are a few of the things that he’s been doing:

  • Takes off his sock and tries to put it back on (the key word here is being ‘tries”)
  • Places his toys on top of his floating books in the tub
  • Pulls apart two “duplo” blocks and puts them back together
  • Places different sized objects inside containers
  • Pushes a toy towards the couch to try to climb up on his own
  • Can stand up on his own (without pulling up), might take a step forward before squatting back down
  • Dips his cracker/weetabix in a soft food (applesauce, hummus…) and brings the food to his mouth
  • Grabs the phone, puts it to his ear, pushes on some buttons and hands it to me
  • Tries to scoop up different types of food with his spoon
  • Turns on/off the light when prompted

I also seem to have turned my son into a pavlovian experimental subject.  He has not only been conditioned to clap when he hears the word “bravo” but he also when he pulls up and lets go of the object he used to pull up.  He also waves when he hears the word “bye bye” and is starting to wave when he hears “bonjour” (hello).

In the realm of language development, he understands the words mom, dad, look, what’s that, go get, give, come here, no (though he doesn’t always listen to this one)…and, though he is not particularly loquacious, uses the words “maman”, “papa” (or, his version of those words), “ga”, which is short for “regarde” (look) and “quoi” (what).  The last two words are usually accompanied by one of his fingers pointing in the direction of something.

I’m in awe of how quickly he’s developed since birth.  It is thoroughly amazing how much these little ones learn in such a short amount of time.

I should be back tomorrow for TTT and plan of starting to post more regularly again after that.  Look out for a post on themes for some guest posts I would love to see ’round here on Wednesday.

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians!

Take care all.

 

Posted in Blogging, Parenting

My Son Ate Some Sand (and He Liked It…)

For the past three weeks, I have seen my son flourish.  Daycare is really awesome right now.  Besides the fact that he loves it and is almost always in a good mood these days, he has also started picking up some new stuff.  Though I don’t know if all of the new things that he is trying out are caused by him being around other (older) children or if he was just developmentally ready to try out new things, it is fun to see how quickly he has evolved.

The first thing I noticed was his babbling.  Before, he would sometimes emit a squeal of pleasure, or “hum” a bit if I sang to him.  Now and again, he would start chattering with a toy, but as soon as I talked to him or tried to initiate a “conversation” he would stop.  These days though, he chats up a storm pretty much all the time.  When I drive him to daycare, I always know whether he’s awake or sleeping because as long as he’s awake, he babbles.  He also joins in conversations and expresses his opinions loudly during meals.

Little Dude has also become quite the little explorer.  He has a fascination with zippers.  Seriously, he is OBSESSED with them.  He also likes to open and close things, namely drawers and cabinet doors.  Today, he spent a good 45 minutes in the kitchen just opening and closing doors, pulling up, sitting back down and playing with the “toys” hidden behind the cabinet doors.  Of course, this activity came with multiple squeals of pleasure on his part.

P1080813Speaking of pulling up, he has also started cruising.  A part of me is eager to see his start walking around, but another part of me just isn’t ready yet.  He is adept at going up stairs (when he decides that he feels like going up on his own, that is).  He’s working on his fine motor skills too and is using something that resembles a pincer grip frequently now.  Charles has also taken to exploring little holes with his fingers and random objects (which is why I am sooo happy that we have outlet covers everywhere) and has discovered a new activity in the bathtub: removing the plug and trying to put it back in so that he can take it out again.  He does this until there is no more water left and then pulls out to be taken out of the tub.

The little man loves the park -especially the swings – and is not afraid to play in the grass or in the sand.  So far, he had tried to sample a couple of blades of grass (and decided he did not really like the taste), but he had never thought of bringing some sand to his mouth.  Of course, it was just a question of time before it happened though.  Today, when we went to the park, there were some other children there.  A little girl – a 14 month old – walked up to him eventually.  She shoveled some sand in front of him and then brought the sand-filled shovel close to his mouth (which, for the record, he opened wide *sigh*).  Both myself and the little girl’s mom intervened in time but the experience gave him an idea.  About five minutes later, my son decided to grab a handful of sand and bring it to his mouth.  I decided to not stop him because I figured that he would try and try until he got to sample the sand.  I also figured that he would put sand in his mouth once, grimace, maybe whine/cry a bit and not do it again.  Well, he brought the sand to his mouth and then…put his hand in the sand again to shove another handful in.  What gives?  The kid likes sand it would seem.  (For the record, I did not let him put a third handful in his mouth and was able to distract him into doing something else afterwards).

Posted in Parenting

Crawlin’

This is how it’s done people 😉

Hum, I should probably add that the squeaking you hear is the dog playing with her toy right behind me.  It isn’t me making a toy squeak in an effort to coax my son to crawl over to me.

Just sayin’