Monday, December 29, 2014

Parenting:Vaccines Work!


Too many people are passing on lifesaving vaccinations because of wrong information. To skip vaccinations not only puts your child at risk, but also adds risk to the lives of children who are unable to take vaccinations. Please click on this info graphic by Maki Naro, and learn the truth about this gift from God that helps to keep our children healthy and safe.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Resource: Sign Language

Click on this picture to see the story of the Grinch!
I fell in love with American Sign Language many years ago. I cannot dance well with my feet, but I can make my hands dance with sign. It is a wonderful, expressive language. Watch this clip with your children and help them to read the signs. Ask your children to describe how each character in the story feels. This young girl is a genius at expressing emotions through signs.

I recommend you go to the site that posted this clip.
ASLnook is designed by this young girl's parents and has a wealth of resources to connect the spoken word to the signed word. 

When I taught kindergarten and first grade, I used sign language to help children to develop language skills. I even did some research that indicated sign language helped my students to learn to read. Exploring another language helps children to develop their first language.

As you explore sign language with your children help them to understand that children that are different from them are not defective. God did not create this child and then say "Oops, I forgot to give her hearing!" God creates His children just the way they are. 

And He loves them just the way they are - no more, no less.

Exposure to different languages not only enhances your child's intelligence, but it enhances the skill of empathy. Through this process, differences can become something interesting with the potential for learning and friendship instead of the threat of fear.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Children: Anger

There are several good things about this note:

1. This angry child is writing a note instead of screaming. This behavior shows excellent self-regulation. He or she has learned how to handle anger and to communicate in a safe and effective way.

2. This child is giving himself or herself a time-out. My guess is that the ban on communication did not last for two days - all day. The two-day ban tells more about the intensity of the anger than the child's need for alone time.

3. The child expresses anger but does not attempt to manipulate. Children need to learn to deal with anger and with parent decisions that can cause anger. Children need to know that they are loved even when they hear the word "no."  

4. It demonstrates that this child understands, knows, and receives unconditional love. This child knows that love is stronger than anger - even a really big anger.

5. This child has learned empathy. He or she can express anger, but still remember to express love because that is what has been experienced in the past. 

Never underestimate the power of unconditional love!

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (I John 4:16, ESV)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Parenting: Creative Learning

Click on the picture to see this great Tedtalk

I really love this Tedtalk by AnnMarie Thomas. Even though she is suggesting this for teachers and students, she field tested it with her daughter. It is great to teach about electrical circuits, resistance, and load, but the best thing about this activity is that her daughter was able to learn things by trying them out. 

"Let's see what would happen if  I try this."

This is learning at its best. The learner is able to pose a theory and try it. If it doesn't work, the learner tries something new. If it does work, the adult, or parent, (or Google,) is there to explain why. This is much more engaging than teaching the rules about circuits, first, and then supervising while the learner follows the rules. The more engaging the activity, the more time spent learning, and the better things are learned.

"Oops, I guess that doesn't work."

It is also a great way to learn from mistakes. A mistake is not remembered as evidence of lack of learning. Instead, a mistake is simply moved to the list of what doesn't work. The mistake represents learning instead of failure. 

Go ahead and try it! Let your children teach you creative learning.    

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Share Your Faith: Advent
Click on this picture to see how Cooper eats his ice cream.
I really like this clip of two dogs sharing an ice cream cone. Which dog is like you? Do you eat your ice cream like Daisy or do you chomp it down all at once like Cooper?

I could not eat an entire ice cream cone in one bite, but I am most like Cooper when it comes to Christmas. I do not like to wait. I want it to come all at once!

Once Thanksgiving Day is past we start a special time of waiting. We know that Christmas is coming, soon. We want it to come faster, but it is important that we have this time of waiting. This time is called Advent and it is a time when we remember that we wait for Jesus.

We wait in three different ways:


When Adam and Eve sinned God promised to send Jesus to save us all from our sins. During Advent, we remember how God's people waited for Jesus to come as a king. We remember that God sent Jesus as a baby.


We know that baby Jesus grew up and instead of being a king here on Earth, he died on the cross and rose again. He did this to save us from our sins. Jesus is our King in heaven and some day he will come back to Earth to take us home to that kingdom.


For now, we wait for Christmas to remind us how Jesus came to save us. We know that God's Spirit works in our hearts to get us ready for Jesus to return. It is a special time to wait. It is a special time to pray. It is a special time to let God help us to be patient. 

God prepares us and we wait for Jesus.

From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4, ESV)   


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Parenting; Strange Words
This phrase is from a parent who turns his strange words into posters. Go ahead and click through on the picture. You are almost guaranteed to find something in this poster gallery that sounds familiar

I am thinking of purchasing this one as I am almost certain I said something like it to at least one of my two children. The context behind the words seems vaguely familiar. 

Throughout their childhood, our kids are navigating an unfamiliar world. Babies don't come with a user manual and children don't have a built-in reference app for rules for healthy living:

"Siri, should I put on my underwear before tattling to mom?"

Children just live. They try things, they act on the moment, they observe and absorb. As parents we need to give them nearly constant feedback. They use this feedback to develop rules for living in our world.

The words about underwear are not actually about underwear - they are about calming down, about prioritizing, about monitoring behavior. Being able to maintain the presence of mind to finish dressing is being able to stay calm and keep a clear head. 

You will not hurt your children by correcting inappropriate behavior. You will not crush their self-esteem by taking away toys and asking for quiet at a restaurant or in church. You will not scar a child for life if you take him kicking and screaming out of the store. You will not ruin her creative spirit if you insist on technology quiet times. And you will not be seen as a "bad" parent if you demand that your child show respect to others - including you. 

Instead, you will be showing your children how to live a healthy, happy life. You will be teaching them self-regulation skills that aid in learning. And you will be reinforcing the Word of God that lives in their hearts. 

Blessings to you as you speak strange words!    

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Parenting: Conversation
This clip reviews research that shows how important it is for children to be in conversation with family members. Young children need to hear around 2000 words per hour in order to develop the vocabulary needed for successful learning. If they are in conversation, the language parts of the brain will grow. This kind of brain growth will not happen from watching television or even from playing educational games on a computer. 

God hard-wired children to seek attention from parents and this attention makes learning possible. In conversation with parents and other family members, children learn procedures, social skills, language and faith.

While babies and toddlers depend on parent talk to teach them language, even school age children need conversation in order to develop learning skills, listening skills, and family values. Later, these conversations will be lurking in the minds of teenage children who seemingly have forgotten how to talk to parents.

Read a book. Tell a story. Ask a question. Share your faith.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Parenting:Problem Solving

For the children of today, being videotaped is a normal occurrence. Some children see their parent's phone as often as they see a face. I am not sure if this is a good thing, but I did notice something good about this particular clip.

Dad was too busy catching the moment for youtube to stop and solve the problem for his daughter.

I know this is a good thing.

I get so thirsty watching this clip I just want to show her how to do it. But, she is developing her brain. God created children to learn by watching others, by trying things, by learning from what works and what doesn't work.

If we interrupt this process, too often, we tell the child that learning is about someone else giving you the answers. When that happens, children begin to get frustrated when they can't make something work right away.

It's okay to let children explore - even if they are temporarily going in the wrong direction. They need to learn what doesn't work as well as what works.

I suspect this dad eventually put down his phone and helped his daughter get a drink. Sometimes we need to do this for our children.

There is value in allowing them to explore and solve the problem under their own power.

Think: Find the Answer, not Give the Answer

Friday, October 31, 2014

Resource: KFUO Radio Library

I will be a guest on Faith and Family produced by Worldwide KFUO. The host, Andy Bates, and I will be discussing creative play and brain development on Monday, November 3, 2014, at 10:00am, central time.

I want to point you to KFUO’s On-demand programs. These are archived sessions you can listen to at your convenience. Topics include advice for fathers, special needs children, using movies to teach, children and mobile devices, recommendations for apps, and much more!

I especially enjoyed a discussion on language development and the importance of reading to your children. 

The provocative title of this session is “How to Nurture Children with Theological Language."