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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Planning your Home School Activities

For parents who have decided to home school their child, the next step would be the planning of the calendar year with the home school activities. Individual lesson plan, weekly, monthly and semestral plans will have to be researched and filled up.




The Jubilee Academy is a nationally recognized accredited curriculum provider. As they provide curriculum for Preschool through 12, online, you will have a reliable and consistent organization to fall back on.

Whenever you have any questions or queries, you need not worry. The Jubilee Academy has support on hand any time, from anywhere, 24/7.
Such a feature is a distinctive advantage that most schools or other educational institutions which function from 9 to 5 are unable to provide.

For a parent who is homeschooling a special needs student or accelerated learner, you can take a look at their Elementary and High School courses to meet your child's specific needs as well as mix and match grade levels according to your homeschooler's individual needs.

For more information on the curriculum activities provided by The Jubilee Academy for the various Educational levels, Click Here

I have highlighted some of the curriculum provided for Preschool Home School Curriculum by The Jubilee Academy.

Their home school lesson plans include lots of interactive and hands-on activities as well as options for weekly field trips.

Preschoolers are captivated by the many fun and dynamic songs, videos and stories.

The academic areas that Jubilee Academy concentrate on for the preschoolers include English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies and basic Bible knowledge.


Another advantage is that The Jubilee Academy home school program provides all the course materials that parents need to successfully home school their children.

Multimedia CDs, textbooks, workbooks, and other supplemental home school materials are provided to enhance your child's learning experience.

The Jubilee Academy charges affordable tuition fees and provides the option to pay through their Zero Interest Tuition Plan where you pay a down payment, then 3 instalments. For more details about their tuition fees please Click Here.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

PLAY - Demystified

When I was a child, the only two words that was related to play was indoor and outdoor play. Nowadays, there is a confusing array of jargon involving the word play, such as Free Play, Dramatic Play, Manipulative Play etc., just to name a few.

What to these different types of play involve and how do you make sure your toddler gets her measure of these variety of PLAY?

Well, just read on and apply.

Free Play



Setting your kid loose at the playground or leaving her to raid the toy drawer at home gives her the freedom to choose what and how she wants to play.

Free play helps children learn to take charge of themselves and their time. It is a step towards Independence.

How to encourage Free Play.

* Set aside about 1/2 an hour a day for your child to be on her own devices .

* Give her access to a wide variety of toys and materials.

* Get involved by asking questions or participating in her play.

Dramatic Play




The act of simply pretending to speak into a toy phone and handing it over to your child to encourage her to follow suite is a form of dramatic play.

Through dramatic play, your child acquires an understanding of her environment and learn about social construct.

How to encourage Dramatic play

* Let your child take on the roles of her favourite characters such as Sleeping beauty , little red ridding hood etc.

* Re-enacting a chain of events or scenes from a storybook can be used as a means of allaying your child's fears. For eg., if your child is terrified of going to the dentist, you can role-play the dentist and she can pretend to be the patient. This way sure can give her the reassurance that she needs.

* Provision of props makes dramatic play even more exciting. Apart from buying toys, you can also recycle simple items such as ribbons and empty boxes etc. Remember that your kid should be allowed to play with the materials as creatively as she wishes. For eg. the box that is a house today can turn out to be a bridge tomorrow.

Manipulative Play




This type of play encourages your child to work her fingers and develop her fine motor skills. Provide materials which allow your child to mold with her hands.

Materials such as blocks, doughs sand and water encourage your child to get in touch with nature.

Creative opportunities during bath time for her to explore the properties of water by pouring it into different shapes and sizes.

Have fun with your child by building castles (not in the air) but in the sand.

Social Play

Solitary Play
Children aged between one and two typically play alone even when there are peers around. At this stage, they are occupied with the exploring and are still learning about cause and effect.

Parallel Play
Children above the age of two, become aware of what the other children are doing, but do not make a move to play together. Eventually children are drawn into cooperative activities.

Associative Play
Between 3 and 4 years of age, children begin to engage in associated play. They play in a loosely organised fashion. For eg., a child will act as a monster and start to chase her friend. While some of her friends may run away, there may be one or two who ignore her.

Cooperative Play




When children get together and play towards a common goal, they are engaging in cooperative play. This is where roles are assigned and each child as to play her part. Cooperative play requires negotiation, coordination and teamwork, which are among the social skills that should be harnessed in children. Examples of cooperative play include telematches and boardgames.

Each type of play has a distinct advantage and helps to mold your child into a creative and sociable child. So enjoy playing with your child!

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Power Bonding - Tips on how to sneak in extra bonding time with your children.

There may have been many times when mad overtime schedules and impossible project deadlines preventing working parents from spending time and bonding with their kids as much as they would have wanted.

Here are 10 quick and easy ways for you to sneak in pockets of time to Power bond with your children.

Sleep Together
Sharing the bedroom with the children gives more opportunities to share the waking and sleeping moments. Giving a bedtime or morning kiss and hug is a good way to foster an affectionate relationship too. Choose 1 night of the week where the kids can sleep together with the parents. For my family we have chosen Friday as the kids get to sleep late on Saturday.

Eat a Meal together




If you usually arrive home late from work than make breakfast the meal where everyone gets together. In our home, as mush as possible, dinner is a meal that is eaten as a family. If you can't arrange to have a dinner together with the rest of your family everyday, at least try to do it about 3 times a week.

Enjoy Car Rides
Whether the journey is to the school or to granny's, you can make use of the car rides as a good way to catch up and enjoy meaningful conversation with your children. For young children, your could tell them a story or sing along to their favourite songs.

Lunchtime Calls
Spare a few minutes during lunch time to call home during your lunch break to find out how your kids are doing. Even if it is just a short call, it lets your child know that you are thinking of them and miss them. Once you make this into a habit, your children will anticipate your calls eagerly everyday.

Leave Notes
Stuff simple notes around the house or into their school bags - little memos to remind them to have their lunch, to thank them for something they have done or an invitation to a family dinner that night etc. Most importantly, notes to make them feel loved.

Live Web Cam
Get a web cam for your computer at home and at work (if your office allows it). This allows you to check in on your tots occasionally. They will be happy to know that you're around (sort of) should they need you.

Do Housework




Make it a point to do family clean - ups together. We choose to do it on alternate Sundays. This is a good time to teach your children about responsibilities and a perfect way to bond through shared activities too. Getting the house clean is the added bonus, of course!

Family Journal
Get an empty scrapbook and start a family journal. Try to input an entry on a daily basis. Leave messages for one another and encourage your child to write in it whenever he has something to tell you. This is a good and indirect way to share feelings and happenings too.

Do Homework
Try to set aside some time each day to help with their schoolwork or just to dabble in some arts and crafts. (Check out my site : Easy Crafts - Fun Projects and Activity Ideas for Children for some fun ideas).
It's important to be involved in your child's schoolwork and not leave it entirely to the tutors and school teachers. Always encourage and motivate your child do do her best and remember to praise her for her efforts even if the results are not up to your expectations.

Introduce Workplace
If you are working on a weekend, you could try to bring your child along to your work place. This gives her an idea of the work that you do. You could make this occasion into a special one by bringing her out to lunch after work.



These are just some ideas that has worked for me and my friends. I hope you will be able to incorporate as many of these ideas as possible into your daily routine so that you will be able to Power Bond with your children.

If you have other ideas that work for you and your family, please feel free to share it by giving me a comment to this post.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Family Matters - Imparting VALUES in young minds

Every parent wants the best for their child. But besides achieving good grades in school, it's equally vital for children to be equipped with the right values. For example, respect for others, honesty and kindness, just to name a few.

Here are some ways for a parent to help her child grasp and learn about these values.

Building Self - Esteem



For a young child to be socially competent, she must first be confident about herself. Thus, building strong and positive self-esteem is important. A child who feels loved and competent is more likely to have a healthy sense of social and emotional well-being.

WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?

1. Communicate regularly with your child, so that you are fully aware of how she feels and can lend support readily.

2. Recognise your child's abilities and successes. Praise, encourage and celebrate, even for small efforts taken to accomplish a task.

3. Share with them stories about how you / others learnt through mistakes and that it is alright to make mistakes.

4. Help children to recognise and verbalise their feelings; help them to solve problems in a constructive manner.

Showing Kindness



How to tell if a child has a problem showing kindness:

* Does the child show empathy towards others (including animals, plants and other living things in the environment)?

* Does the child take good care of her possessions, and those of others ?

* Is the lack of empathy or care for possessions a deliberate act of the child or due to inability to express it?


WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?

1. Model behaviours that you wish your children to practise.

2. Help children express their feelings; Guide them in using appropriate words

3. Create suitable opportunities for children to show kindness.

4. Demonstrate kind, non - aggressive methods of communication.


Being Honest

How to tell if a child has a problem being honest:

* Does the child consistently bring home things that do not belong to her?

* Do you constantly end up confused when you try to get a straight answer from her?

* Does the child feel bad about breaking his promises?


WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?

1.Do not over-react if children exhibit dishonest behaviour. Giving too much attention may actually reinforce that behaviour. The child may become inclined to repeat it as it gets her attention.

2. Be sensitive. On the one hand, children must not think that morally unacceptable conduct is all right; on the other, they shouldn't be frightened to such a degree that they are afraid to admit and discuss it with you.

3. Establish a positive parent - child relationship. Children need to feel safe to be frank, open and honest with their parents.

4. Do not put children in a spot when they are caught lying or stealing.

5. Discuss misbehaviour when you are calm and children don't feel threatened.


A Sense of Responsibility




How to tell if a child lacks a sense of responsibility?

* Does the action truly reflect irresponsibility or is it just a typical childish behaviour.

* Does the child's action upset the home routine? Every child has a tendency to ignore rules.


WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?

1. Provide children with opportunities to be responsible. Allow them the freedom to make decisions and learn form their mistakes.

2. Set appropriate expectations. The expected action or behaviour should match the child's intellectual, physical and emotional abilities.

3. Take time to show children how to do an assigned task correctly. However, focus on what they are learning about responsibility and recognise their efforts.


Resource - From the series of Family Matters, supported by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

How To Teach Your Children Social Skills

Social skills are important for everyone and the younger the child is, when she learns these skills the more adaptable she is to the environment and the people she will be interacting with.

Many a time, I have seen children squabbling in the playground as to who gets to play the swing or slide etc. when there is a lot of kids wanting to play these games. This is because they are not aware that sharing and taking turns will enable them to have more fun and gain more friends too.

In a multi racial society like Singapore, a child needs to respect others of different race, religion and culture. This is another important aspect of social skills. Laughing or smirking at other attire or behaviour because they are of different culture would cause clashes between these children.

Thus, it is essential for the parent to teach her children Social skills.

Alvin Poh who is the founder of Learning Champ has written an article titled How To Teach Your Children Social Skills. I have found the article to be a good guide for parents who wish to teach their children social skills

How To Teach Your Children Social Skills


As our children grow, they will be going to schools and interacting with lots of different people other. For example, friends and teachers. Hence it is necessary to teach them the social skills that enable them to get along with others, work as part of a group, follow rules, make and keeps friends and act with confidence. These abilities also help our children to build good character.

Families have a profound influence on the early development of our children social abilities and skills. If they enjoy love, warming relationship with parents, siblings, grandparents and other relationships, they will have a strong foundation in form good relationship with other people. They will be more understanding about how other people feel and have the ability to treat other the way they want and how they should be treated by others.

To help children acquire the basic social behavior, parents must set the proper expectation, rules, rewards and punishment associated with those rules and more important set themselves as good examples for their children. Your children learn by observing what you as their parents do and how you behave in your daily life - e.g. how you treat and interact with your spouse, eldest and friends. As they begin interact with others, your kids will model their behavior on actions he has witnessed at home.

Following are some of the important social skills that you will want to work with your children:

Learning that Others Have Their Own Views and Feelings
I have seen adults hold very strong views about certainly things and they try to impose their views onto others. This often results in tension and uneasiness in the relationship. It is not something healthy.

It is important for parents to teach their children from young that others have their own opinions and feelings. They need to learn to respect them and know that it is perfectly okay for people to have different views. With this understanding, children can then begin to develop empathy - the ability to discern and share another's feelings or ideas. It is the ability to put themselves into some else's shoe that make them willing to share, take turns, cooperate and treat their friends with kindness and respect.

Preschoolers usually do not have a clear sense of empathy. However you can help them begin to understand by talking about other people's thoughts and feelings. At home, I teach my preschool daughter empathy by asking her question such as:

"How do you think Sarah will feel if someone takes her toys without asking her permission?"

"How mummy and daddy will feel if you hurt yourself?"

"How would you feel if none of your friend didn't ask you to join them when they are playing?"

Often she will provide a sensible answer and follow by the proper action. When parents practice these often and long enough with their children, they will form the habit of being empathetic and sensible children who are welcome and love by their friends.

Recognize Rules
We need to help our children know that they are certain rules of proper social behaviors. For example, no hitting of others, no cutting of queue, wait for others to finish talking before they can talk, ask for permission if they want to take something that doesn't belong to them etc.

Sharing
Sharing does not come automatically to most young children. Often they learn this skill by observing their parents.

I know of some parents who in general are not very generous with their things. And their young children demonstrate this selfish characteristic very clearly when they interact with their playmate. For example, I have observe some of children refusing to share their toys when they are playing with their friends, quickly and quietly keep all the good things for themselves and leave the not so good ones for their friends etc - they all have not so generous parents.

If we want to make friends and build good relationship with others, we need to be generous. Generosity does not have to be related to material things; it can be sharing of love and care, ideas, knowledge etc. At home, I often share this teaching with my loved ones include our young children

"The more we share, the more we get"

Taking Turns
Taking turn is one form of sharing that requires little children to do something hard - wait. It is important to practice this because there are plenty of turn takings in school - waiting to answer until the teacher calls, waiting for their turn to touch the rabbit in the science concern, waiting for their turn to play with an interesting gadget etc.

Respecting Others' Properties
In school, your kids will be surrounded by many children with their own things such as books, stationary, toys, food etc. They need to learn how to treat their friends' things and handle them with care when their friends lend anything to them. And parents must teach their children the proper way of making a request if they want to borrow something from others and how to show their appreciation if their wishes are granted. Teach them the proper use of words like "May I...", "please" and "thank you"

Working With Others
Help your children learn to cooperate and help out their friends in schools or when they are in a project team. The best way to teach them at home is to get them to share the work of family chores and housework. Get your children to help you tidy-up up the rooms; help you to clean the table after meals etc. Tell them that they belong to the family and it is important for them to help in keeping the house clean so that everyone can enjoy a good environment. And when they help out, they will have more time from mummy and daddy reading and playing with them - this method works very well in our home.

Being Polite
Children are more apt to get off to a good start in school and be more confident of their own social skills if they learned to treat others with courtesy. Teach your children to say words like "please", "thank you", "yes Sir/ Madam" etc.

Social skills emerge slowly in children. Parents need to persevere in teaching them. Often you'll have to go over rules again and again, talk to your children many times about the right and proper way to behave and treat others. Children need to be guided and reminded and corrected - no matter how well disposed they are.


Article by Alvin Poh, founder of Learning Champ, a parenting wesbite that provides information and resources to parents, who want to help their children develop the important skills and mind set for a brighter future -> http://www.alvinkh.per.sg/learningchamp


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Saturday, January 5, 2008

7 Universal Laws for Parents of Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers

Parents and children view things in different perspectives. Understanding how your toddler thinks as she grows into a teenager will enhance your relationship with her. The article by Jeff Herring is very insightful and I found it to be useful. These Universal Laws are not new and we may have known some of them and even practice them.

Law No. 2 is difficult to practice because the parent has to put in continuous effort. Yes, being Consistent, Resistant and Persistent with our kids is a full time job (Just like being a Parent)

Law No. 4, that is, Law of mine is very funny but speaks the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.


To me what is the most important rule is Law No. 7, The Law of "Solid Walls". This law explains why Law no. 2 is important.

Well, do read up about all the laws governing children and parents and put them into practice.

Parents of Toddlers and Pre-Schoolers: 7 Universal Laws by Jeff Herring


1. The Law of the Beast
As parents we need to keep in mind that we are raising our teenager while we raise our toddler. They are essentially the same beast.

2. The Law of CPR
Having little to do with cardiopulminaryresuscitation, the law of CPR states that we need to be Consistent, Resistant and Persistent with our kids.

3. The Law of Words
Our little ones need to be taught to "use their words, not their hands" when dealing with conflicts.

4. The Law of Mine
In the world of a young child everything is mine. If I am playing with it, it's mine. If you are playing with it, it's mine. If I played with it yesterday and go bored with it, and you play with it today, it's mine!

5. The Law of Sharing
It's very important to teach our children to share. At the same time, it's just as important to understand that asking a small child to share their toy is like asking one of us to share our car or house!

6. The Law of the Team
Each parent brings a unique set of skills to the job of parenting. The goal is not so much who is right, but how do we form the best parenting team we can form. As I like to say "we don't have to think alike, we just have to think together."

7. The Law of "Solid Walls"
"Have you ever walked thru a solid wall?" Of course not. But what if one day you tripped into a solid wall and went right through it, unharmed? Wouldn't you be tempted to try it again? It's the same with parenting- when kids get it that mom and dad are "solid walls' when it comes to managing behavior, the less likely they are to try to walk thru you.

Visit ParentingYourTeenager.com for tips and tools for thriving during the teen years. You can also subscribe to our f*r*e*e 5 day e-program on The Top 5 Things to Never Say to Your Teenager, from parenting coach and expert Jeff Herring.


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