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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When your child St St Stutters

Mother encouraging son who stutters

What is Stuttering?

It is a form of speech dysfluency, that is, an interruption in the flow of speech. As preschoolers learn to talk, they may repeat or prolong certain syllables, words or phrases, mispronounce words, pause in the middle of sentences or be unable to say certain sounds.

This is a normal stage of speech development referred to as pseudo-stuttering, which will usually go away by age five, as children learn how to coordinate the muscles used for talking.

Pseudo-stuttering is most noticeable when children are tired, anxious or excited. Usually these children are not conscious of their dysfluency and are not emotionally affected by it.

However, if a child has longer or more frequent repetition of some syllables or words, she is then experiencing true stuttering.

Children with true stuttering may also outgrow it as they sharpen their communication skills over time, but they are usually concerned, frustrated and embarrassed by this difficulty. Some may even develop a fear or speaking.

The Causes of Stuttering

It is not known what exactly causes some children to stutter. However, studies show that young children stutter because they are developing their language skills, but their thoughts come faster than they can express them.

Other factors that have been attributed by experts:

1. Genetics - A child is more likely to stutter if a parent stutters. More than 50% of those who stutter have a close family member who stutter.

2. Stress - Changes such as a new childcare centre, moving house, a new sibling etc. may stress a child enough to stutter.

3. The brain's abnormal processing of language - There's problem with the way the brain's messages interact with the muscles and body part required for speech

4. Other speech/language problems or development delays.

When and where to seek help.

Whenever you suspect that your child has true stuttering, you should observe ans monitor his progress regularly.

Some signs of a more severe problems you should take note of with your child are:

* Stuttering in more than half of the sentences, with multiple repetitions ( more than 3 or 4 repetitions of each syllable), and frequent "blockage" (when no sound comes out despite clear effort).

* Stuttering is consistent and persist for more than six months.

* Negative emotional responses from your child, such as turning red, avoidance of speech, and self-depreciating remarks.

* Increased facial tension or tightness in the speech muscles and facial or body movements along with the stuttering

* Vocal tension resulting in rising pitch or loudness

There are several treatment approaches to stuttering today, one of which is to seek help from a qualified speech therapist.

Severe stuttering can affect your child's learning and confidence level. Here are some Tips for helping stuttering children

Taking turns to speak

* Listen patiently and try to make out what your child is saying.

* Instructions should be kept short and simple.

* Time should be allowed for your child to express herself.

* Establish a family rule that everyone has to take turns and wait until the other person has finished before speaking.

* Don't allow teasing about the problem.

* Praise your child for her efforts to learn

* Plan fun things you can do together, focusing on your child's interest and letting her take the lead.

* Keep a relaxed and predictable schedule, with plenty of time for relaxation and sleep.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Snack Right

Healthy snack for children

Although children need to eat a lot, they cannot do so at one sitting because their stomachs are small. Furthermore, betwen the ages of one and six years, children are usually less interested in food.

It is also during this time when they often develop irregular eating patterns. They may become bored with their usual foods or may want the same food every day.

Do not fret though, about your child's irregular eating pattern; there is also no need to fight it. Below are some ways by which you can work around it so that he still gets the nutrients his growing body needs.

* Do not force him to eat more than what he can. Forcing him will put him off food even more.

* Instead of eating three main meals, offer him five to six mini meals or snacks throughout day.

* Stock up on a wide variety of health foods from the various food groups and let him help himself from the healthy choices that are available to him.

* When planning snacks, mix and match the nutrients. Choose snacks that feature foods from at least two different levels of the food pyramid.

* Make snacks look fun, exciting and attractive.

* Involve him in the planning and shopping of foods that will become his snacks.

* Depending on his age, use pictures and/or words to make charts with lists of foods within each food group and teach him to select foods from two diferent charts when choosing his snacks.

* Involve him in the preparation. Many snacks are simple enough for him to help prepare them.

Here are some suggestions for healthy snacks to feed your youngster.

Eight Easy TO Prepare Snacks

Good snacks, or nutrient-dense snacks, are not neccessarily difficult to prepare and need not be time-consuming. The following are eight quick-and-easy suggestions.

1. Easy Quesadillas

Easy Quesadillas

On a whole-wheat tortilla, add shredded light cheese, black beans, shredded skinless roasted chicken, and a small amout of low fat sour cream. Fold tortilla in half and warm over a heated, non-greased pan, pressing down flat into the pan. Flip over, repeat and then cut into triangles before serving.

2. Pita Parcels
Use half a pita pocket. Stuff some shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, diced roasted chicken or chopped hard-boilded eggs and drizzle with mayonnaise.

3. Pizza Bread
Spread pasta sauce on one side of the bread. Lay a slice of low fat chedder cheese and cover with your childs's choice of topping - sliced mushroom, tuna flakes, diced roasted chicken etc. - and toast in a heated oven.

4. Crepe Rolls
Spread some whipped potato over a piece of crepe, lay a piece of seaweed over it and spread some tuna salad over the seaweed. Roll and cut to bite- size portions.

Crepe Rolls

5. Deli Delight
On a colourful plate, arrange whole-grain crackers, low fat cheese, and skinless roasted chicken or turkey.

6. Fruit and Vegetable Platter and Dip
Arrange an assortment of sliced fruits (apples, bananas, peaches, oranges, pineapples, etc.) or vegetables (carrots, cucumber, celery, olives, etc). Serve with cottage cheese or vanilla yoghurt sprinked with cinnamon.

Vegetable Platter and Dip

7. Banana Roll-ups
Peel and cut a banana in half and skewer onto a long cocktail stick. Roll in crushed cereal and sprinkle with cinnamon. Freeze for half and hour before serving.

8. Fresh Fruit Smoothies
Blend a banana, 3/4 cup frozen strawberries, 1 cup low fat milk, and 1/2 cup low fat vanilla yoghurt. Add ice and blend to desired consistency.

Fruit Smoothies

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Friday, February 15, 2008

IT support and help

As my school going children have started to use the computer for their homework and projects, we found that having only one computer at home has become insufficient. Thus my husband and I recently got a new computer. However, we realized that linking up the both computers through a wireless LAN service would be more beneficial as we could access the internet simultaneously.

As I needed a better technical knowledge of computers and internet I surfed the net in search of a site that provides straightforward, expert IT advice which is trustable.

BT Home IT provides support over the phone for a wide range of technical queries. For issues relating to anything from PCs and printers to iPods and webcam BT Home IT will be able to provide all your answer without all the usual jargon so that even someone who has only basic knowledge is able to understand their advice. They also provide hints and tips relating to any of these issues.

BT Home IT Support can also provide home visits. By booking an appointment with their engineer, you could get face to face help in setting up a new wireless network, installing a new operating system or if you should have any computer repair or even making the most of your home entertainment system.

Worried that spyware, virus and other unwanted programs are in your computer, than you could ask BT Home IT to do a Computer Healthcheck where computer clean up and health check will be provided. They will also provide a review of your computer's security levels.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Making Mathematics FUN for preschoolers

Do you want your child to have fun learning Mathematics without the need for boring rote learning or paper and pencil techniques? Here are some suggestions for both the parent and child to have Fun with Maths.

Use What is Already Available

* Songs - Many of the young children songs have constant rhythm and repetitiveness that can be used as a great tool for introducing your child to numbers. There are so many examples

1. One, two, three, four, five. Once I caught a fish alive....

2. Five current buns in the baker's shop..

3. One, two buckle my shoe ...

4. One little, two little, three little indian...

There are so many of these songs for you to sing along and teach your child to count. Have Fun!

* Stories

Using stories to teach mathematics

Songs are not the only ones with numbers, many of the children stories like Three little pigs, Goldilocks and the Three bears and many more other stories have numbers attached to them. Bring your child to the library and have a game out of finding books with numbers in their title, then read the stories while encouraging your child to count the pictures, for example the bears, beds or bowls of porridge etc from the Goldilocks story.

* Everyday objects

using every day objects to teach maths

The clock, door or building numbers, computer keyboard, and telephones - all of these can be used to teach your child more about numbers and how important and useful they are, in the world around us.

* Food

cooking and mathematics

Cooking is a wonderful way to introduce your child to practical mathematics and is also useful to extend the vocabulary of your child. Children can count baking cases, spoons of sugar or chocolate button decorations and many more. Later, they can use buns or cookies etc, for simple addition and subtraction sums as well as look at weights of food to learn about measurement. While cutting up and sharing out cakes or oranges etc, you could also teach your child about fractions and division.

Games to make Mathematic FUN

* Throwing games - Games which involve throwing a number of objects, such as balls or toys, in a wastepaper basket or box provide good counting practice.

* Counting Trays - Use paper plates for this activity. Write a number on the plate. Provide a pile of dried pasta and show your child how to count the appropriate number onto each plate before she tries.

* Fast Fingers - Ask your child simple addition and subtraction question and ask her to hold up her fingers with the correct answers. When there are more children of the same age group, this game can be played as a challenge, remember to reward all the children with simple gifts like stickers regardless of who answer first or most. The idea is to have fun with maths!

* Dice - You can play lots of games using dice. There are commercially made dice that go up to twenty, or you can make your own dice with higher numbers, shapes or colours on them.

* Dominoes - Play simple dominoes or ask your child to count the spots in the dominoes. You could also play what adds up to, for example, ten with these dominoes. Show your child a domino and ask her to show another domino which when added to yours will become ten, and so forth.

dominoes and mathematics

* Cards - Cards with numbers are a versatile tool for teaching your child to count, share and arrange in sequence and so much more while having lots of fun.

* Sports - watch and play sports with your child that involves scoring, timing, counting and measurement.

* Crafts - do crafts such as simple origami to create awareness for angels, shapes and fractions.

origami and mathematics

* Board games - Board games such as Snake and ladder allows your child to practice counting and doing calculations.

 teaching mathematics using board games

These are just some ideas, let your creative juices flow and HAVE FUN WITH MATHEMATICS.

If you have other suggestions please feel free to comment so that I can add on to this post.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Taking care of the elderly

Recently one of my cousin sisters was afflicted with stroke. She is now partially paralyzed and is unable to talk or move her left limbs. She has been discharged from the hospital and is now being taken care of by one of her daughters at her home.

The elderly as well as people who are afflicted by strokes or other illness which have made them immobilized or dependant on others need special care and attention.

Although doctors will explain and help out as much as possible, it is still frustrating as you do not receive comprehensive information on how to take care of your loved ones in these kinds of situations.

For comprehensive information on long - term care for your loved ones, do check out Bettercaring.com

Bettercaring.com is a very user friendly site where information on long-term care such as caring at home, residential care as well as information about finance is provided.

For residents of the United Kingdom, you can make use of their search facility provided in their website to check out about registered UK nursing homes. You can make use of their reviews and tips given to make a better informed decision when choosing a home care solution for your loved ones.

Bettercaring.com provides a discussion forum where you can contribute your insights as well as get advice and tips from others who are in the same or similar situation as you. Some of the forum topic that I found to be of interest include: Experience of care homes, good, bad or indifferent, Health issues and continuing to live a full life as well as discussion of your experience of caring for someone with dementia.

You can also read up on true and real life stories of the elderly and how they are coping. As I was browsing through the site, I came across many interesting articles including, "What is the ideal care home?"

For a round-up of news involving nursing home, carers and health issues, you could check out News in Brief under News and Comment.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Games to engage your preschooler

Do you want to entertain, engage and educate your child through games, yet don't want to pay through the roof for expansive games and equipment, do check out these games. They use everyday household products but do not lag in any way to expansive and branded games. All you need is patience and time to create these games. Then you can have hours of fun with your preschoolers.

Cereal Box City

Required :

Empty food boxes
Decorating Materials
Safety scissors

Optional :


Cereal boxes (as well as any rectangular cardboard food boxes) make marvelous toy buildings. Other "prefab" buildings reside in the fridge. Paper cream containers are great as houses while milk cartons make ready buildings with sloping roofs.

To decorate the buildings, wrap the boxes in paper bags or construction paper. Then draw windows, doors, and other features. Alternatively, you could cut doors and windows leaving a flap.

Your budding architects can become city planners by drawing streets and city blocks on a large piece of paper, then placing the food box buildings on the map.

Develop the landscape of this wonderful city by making shrubs out of cotton, grass out of green felt, street lights out of cotton swabs, and trees out of paper cups, clay and unsharpened pencils.

Add a few toy cars and toy buses for a wonderful and imaginative trip to town. Lets pretend can be lots of fun yet educational as you explore the "town" together with your child. Discovering the bakery, school, church etc.

Clock Time

Required :

Magazine pictures of daily activities
glue or tape
Crayons or markers

Optional :
Cardboard, brad, or pipe cleaner

Here's a way to introduce your young child to the idea of clock time.

Use a real clock, or make one out of cardboard using a brad or pipe cleaner to affix the hands so that they are snug, but still movable.

Now set the clock at whatever time your child gets up. Move the little hand around the clock, and talk about the kinds of things she does at various times in a typical day.

Look for magazine pictures that show or represent the activities you have been discussing. For example, a picture of cereal box could mean breakfast time and so on. Affix them to the clock near the appropriate hour.

Make learning about time fun, entertaining and exciting.

Colour Blots

Required :

Tempera paint
Pen. pencil or crayons

Fold a piece of paper in half, then open it up. Place various pools of tempera paint on one side of the crease. Now fold the paper in half again, so that paint smears. When you unfold the paper, you will find all sorts of interesting patterns and colours.

What does your child see in those patterns? If it is a face or an animal track, draw the outline or it could be butterfly, then draw the outline of the wings and body.

Of course, you may not want to draw anything at all - the colour blots may speak for themselves. Red Panthers? Purple cookies? Blue suns? Anything is possible once you let your imagination go to work. Remember - Have Fun!

Colour Mixing - Do you want to have more fun with colours, here's how.

Required :

Food colouring
Eye droppers
Turkey baster
Measuring cups

Here is a quick and safe way to turn your kitchen into a junior chem. lab!

Provide containers of various sizes, bottle colouing and various "lab" implements such as eye droppers, measuring cups, spoons and so on. Let your kids know that they only need a drop or two of coloring - don't let them pour the entire bottle in their excitement. It would be better if the adult added the different colouring into many containers than asked them to experiment with the coloured water.

The youngest kids will simply enjoy pouring the coloured liquid from container to container. For older kids, you could explain about primary colours and how you can use these 3 colours, RED,BLUE and YELLOW to create a multitude of other colours.

For kids who are about six years old, you could teach the concept of measurement. For example, one cup equals to how many ounces?
You could help your child to prepare a "lab notebook" where she records what happens when, for example, you mix twice as much as blue to red to make purple.


Required :

Magazine clippings

Select a variety of objects from a magazine and cut them out. Try to look out for things that are attractive and fun such as cats, puppies, cakes etc, Glue the pictures onto thin cardboard for strength, and allow them to dry. Cut each picture in half, then spread the picture halves on the table. Mix up the pictures, face down, and arrange them in the rough form of a square.

Each player is allowed to turn over two pieces of cardboard. If the cards match, the player gets to remove them from the playing area. If not the next person takes over. By memorizing where various pieces are located, players have a chance at clearing the board.

Of course, the game can be played solitaire, and th4e number of pieces should be restricted for younger children. With older children, try playing the game under a time limit - that will test their concentration.

Instead of using pictures from magazines, you could use cards such as SNAP or OLD MAID etc. No need to cut into two, as there are 2 pairs of each design.

Cookies you can read

Required :


ABC cookies are great fun. You can use your own recipe, or try the following; in any case, your child can have fun participating in the cookie making, such as measuring, stirring, rolling etc and the all important eating step too.

First for the adult job of heating and mixing.
Heat 1/2 cup molasses to boiling, then add 1/4 cup sugar, 3 tablespoon shortening, and 1 tablespoon milk.

In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups flour with 1/2 teaspoon of each of the following: baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

Add the dry ingredients to the molasses mixture and blend well. Roll the dough on a flour-coated surface until its 1/4 inch thick.

Now help your child make alphabet letter from strips of dough, perhaps associating an animal or favorite object with each one.

Kids learning to read can make the letters spell out words. Place the cookies on a buttered cookie sheet and bake them for 5 to 7 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow to cool; serve with milk and eat your p's and q's.

This so fun, your kids are sure to clamor for more baking "Lessons". You could advance to shapes, then to decorating Gingerbread man etc.

Crayon Rubbings

Required :

Coins or keys
Other textured items as required

If you have a coin, a key, a bottle top or any of hundreds of other common household items, you have access to a treasure trove that can be turned into fine art.

Place various coins underneath a sheet of blank paper. Rub the crayon over the surface of the coin, and presto - you have a rubbing of the coin. You can keep it as a picture of cut out the rubbing and use it as "lets pretend" change.

Don't stop with your pockets though - your child can make rubbings of just about anything that has texture and fits under a sheet of paper. Patterned floor tiles, leaves and so many more to have fun with. Do remember to keep your Credit Cards out of sight.

I hope you will have a wonderful learning yet fun time with your children where they learn to explore about colour, time , objects etc. Ignite their imagination through the city scape and treasure trove activities etc. Do remember Learning Can be FUN - just needs your Patience and Involvement.

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