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Teaching Young Children Through Work and Play - All about Parenting Toddlers , Issue #009
April 10, 2003

Shaping the life of your precious ones

All about Parenting Toddlers
Issue #009
9th April 2003

In This Issue:

1. Teaching Young Children Through Work and Play
2. Some creative tips to encourage milk drinking in children
3. How to become parents of readers

Teaching Young Children Through Work and Play

We all know the importance of play for young children but we may have overlook how meaningful work can also nurture development.

Young children flourish when allowed to enter the world of real work that surrounds them - from picking up toys or feeding the cat to grating carrots for salad. In the company of family or other adults, children eagerly engage in work. They want to 'help' with the pursuits of adults, and this work can be a crucial part of their early learning.

If you shield young children from a whole category of activity simply because it is called 'work' and not 'play,' you may be limiting their developmental opportunities. On the other hand, if you invite children to participate in work and play, you give them many more ways to grow and learn.

Through work that is meaningful and a real contribution to the family or group, even young children can gain a sense of purpose, and come to feel more a part of the family. With proper adult supervision, there are many types of chores that families can consider for young children, which can help them begin learning about responsibility, independence and caring for themselves. Here are a few examples:

Gathering, preparing, and cooking food
Even when they are too young to help with lunch or dinner, children can play a role in preparing snacks. And by taking your children to the grocery or market, you can help them better understand where food comes from and how we buy it.

Running errands
Letting young children run errands conveys your feelings of trust in them. When you need something - another family member or the phone or a sponge - tell one of your children you need help.

Caring for younger children
Even simple tasks (like reading or singing to younger family members) help older children learn about responsibility and sharing.

Children can help set the table and serve themselves at meals. If you are vacuuming the carpet, you can empower your child by letting him run this most-adult-of-all housekeeping tool.

Caring for animals
Pets and livestock require water, food and clean environments. Young children can learn valuable lessons by caring for animals.

Nurturing plants helps children learn about the wonders of nature. If you don't have space for a garden, a small window planter can bring opportunities to explore.

In all of these activities, it's important to remember several points:

- Keep in mind what your children can accomplish, and how much you need to supervise to make sure the activity is safe.

- Even young children can tell the difference between busy work and real work.

- Also, remember that many chores actually take longer with the help of young children, but a little patience and a few extra minutes lets them reap real benefits from assisting the family.

By matching your expectations to their abilities, encouraging and approving their efforts, and allowing plenty of time for the performance of each task, you can give your young children many opportunities to learn and grow through work.

Excerpted from "More Than Line Leader and Door Holder: Engaging Young Children in Real Work," by Christine A. Readdick and Kathy Douglas - an article in the NAEYC journal, Young Children.


Teach Me, I'm YoursTeach Me, I'm Yours - by Joan Bramsch
If You Want Your Child To Be Smart, You Be The First Teacher. An outstanding resource for parents of children aged 2.5 - 7 years. Endorsed by educators and tested in "real life", for increased skill levels, concentration ability, attention span, and self-confidence. It can even raise a child's IQ!


Some creative tips to encourage milk drinking in children

PICTURE this: "Tommy please come here and drink your milk!" cajoles his mother for the umpteenth time. When Tommy can no longer run away from mummy’s clutches, he will either reluctantly drink the milk, moaning and groaning all the way; drink a bit and pour the rest away when mummy turns her head; or rant and rave hoping to get away without drinking his milk.


I am sure your child does that to you, too. These days, with so many types of drinks in the market that are a whole lot more exciting than “plain old milk”, one can hardly blame children for not wanting to drink milk. Milk inadvertently ends up being last on the list of preferred beverages.

Yes, as parents we have heard it many times: milk supplies all the essential nutrients needed by our children and it’s probably the best beverage for them. But think about it, just because milk serves to build strong bones, helps in brain development, aids in growth of body tissues, and has many other benefits, do our children really understand all this or even bother at their young age?

So parents, you are in quite a dilemma, but all is not lost. As in all things, there are ways to get around the problem.

Make milk more creative to get children interested.

Put on your creative caps, aprons and think about this? Why not make your child's milk drinking a fun and tasty activity for them?

How do you do that? Here are some simple yet creative ways of convincing your child to drink milk. Your children are going to enjoy these simple yet nutritious delights. Furthermore, you can even involve your kids in the preparation and spend quality time with them.

Spud boat
Set sail with these tasty little boats. Cut a baked potato in half, scoop the insides out in a bowl. Mash in cheese, milk and butter. Spoon the mixture back into the skins. Warm for two minutes on high in the microwave. Decorate halves with broccoli topped with shredded cheese.

Cheesy spider
Tempt kids with this fun spider treat. Make a cracker sandwich with two rounds of crackers and cheese. Insert the pretzel “legs” into the filling. With a dab of canned cheese, set raisin eyes on top.

Sailboat sandwiches
Kids will see the ocean with these fun sailboat sandwiches. Simply slice off the top of a dinner roll and hollow out. Fill the rolls with yoghurt-based tuna or chicken salad or any other filling children like. Slice Cheddar cheese into rectangles about 1/8 inches thick and cut the rectangles on the diagonal to make triangles.

Insert a toothpick into each triangle to make little sails and add them to the top of your boats.

Be sure to put on a blue plate to create a water affect. Watch the children dive in.

Something fishy
Make your child’s favourite grilled cheese sandwich. Use a fish shaped cookie cutter to cut out the sandwich. Be sure to add gold fish crackers and gummy worms on the side. Serve with tomato soup made from milk for a fun fish treat.

These four recommended recipes will tempt your child's palate. They certainly won’t claim that milk is boring anymore.

Need ideas for making kid craft ? Here are some easy kid craft ideas.


How to become parents of readers

WHAT are the secrets of parents whose children are avid readers? What do they do that sets their children off on a life-long love affair with words and books?

Preparation and accessibility
Parents of readers are prepared. Parents of readers make reading accessible. They set up simple routines and environments, making it easy to reach for a story or poem. A little time once a week to plan saves hours of frustration and defeat in the week. Preparation means a library and bookshop visit regularly to stock up on books. No matter how busy we are, there are some things we cannot skip, like brushing our teeth – and reading is simply made as important. Books are placed within sight and reach of the parent and child, always there inviting a peek and a read.

Readers themselves, they read to their kids
We’ve all seen toddlers “pretend reading” – upside down book and intense concentration as they babble away. Children love to imitate us. They are fascinated by the little squiggles and pictures in books. Reading is magical! But only if there are models around them who communicate this fascination and magic by reading, talking and sharing the world of print.

Parents of readers are excited about books and give them as special gifts – they are desirable, anticipated with eagerness. The child catches this enthusiasm.

Parents of readers talk about books and the child sees a strong connection between the world of the book, and the ideas and feelings inside a person. What a critical realisation this is in the development of reading motivation – “Books have ideas inside them. They make me happy or sad, angry or giggly”.

Parents of readers read to and with their children, making reading a warm, loving and joyful experience. It is this feeling that keeps children connected to books and reading. Also, children have rich imaginations well before they read independently. It is vitally important to keep that imagination alive by sharing books with them; the death of imagination is the sure death of reading motivation.

Writing and communicating
Parents of readers write and communicate a lot. Parents of readers have homes in which the world of print (reading and writing) is simply a part of the daily mad rush – cards, notes, reminders, postcards, letters, shopping lists, drawings, doodles, notice boards. The child sees that life is about words and ideas that people use to get things done. Reading becomes purposeful and fun. And, of course, a print-rich environment immerses the child in written language, which supports her language development strongly.

Let the children have their very own books
Parents of readers let their children own books. There’s nothing like owning something to know it well and feel proud of it. Children who have their own collections of books have rich opportunities to revisit books like old friends, to have opinions about their favourites, to anticipate the collection getting larger, to savour the entry of a new storybook. What a boost to reading motivation!

So there we have it: how to turn your children into devourers of books, assimilators of ideas. How many of these habits do we have? What does it take to build all these habits into our own lives and busy schedules? Is it possible? Practical? Absolutely.

Get 5 books for $2, plus a FREE gift and give your children the best reading choices at Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club®. Click for details.

Kid Safe: how to protect your family from molesters & kidnappersKid Safe: how to protect your family from molesters & kidnappers - by Joan Bramsch & Pam Coronado
No amount of money can replace a family member. Protect your child & teen by teaching survival tactics, escape techniques and more with information from experts in the field of child abduction.


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See you in the next issue. :-)

All the best,

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