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The Whole Child, Issue #077 - Before you buy ...X
November 23, 2010
The Whole Child e-zine brings you free preschool activities each week to maximize your child's potential, build skills and parent-child relationships in just a few minutes per day. Useful tips, quotes, resources, opportunities and articles will be added for extra value!
If you enjoy this e-zine, please pay it forward and send it to a friend.
Before you buy a PSP or X-box or other electronic games …
A first time mom of a four year old only child was visiting the other day and said how her son had a seen an electronic game based on his favorite super-hero at a friend’s house and now he wants it. Besides the fact that this particular gaming set up is expensive, she seemed to think that it might be good for him…”for eye-hand co-ordination” she said.
In my head the warning bells started ringing.
Knowing what a struggle it is to limit my children’s ‘screen time’ in front of the pc and get them to do other healthy activities, the last thing I would do is encourage this mother to get her son started down that slippery slope.
Yes, children do need to learn to use technology and computers are an indispensible part of our adult lives ..but at age 4, this boy needs to be playing in his sandpit, climbing trees and playing catch. To improve his eye-hand co-ordination he should be building puzzles, threading beads or playing with play dough.
There are a growing number of so-called educational TV shows, electronic games, DVD’s or other digital products that supposedly help children’s development..but my question is – how did children develop normally before these gizmos and gadgets?
In an article on Media Tips for Babies and Toddlers, commonsensemedia.org says:
Every minute spent sitting in front of a TV is a minute when your babies are not exploring the world with all their senses. Research shows that it’s interacting with you that builds their brains.
The best preparation for your children involves spending time with them, reading, talking, and exposing them to the world.”
Never let screen time substitute for physical activity.
...but as parents, we LOVE buying gifts and toys for our children, especially things we loved as kids or things we never had as children…. So what SHOULD you buy?
To coin a term used by a friend – you should invest in “LEARNING HARDWARE” - a good selection of well-chosen toys and games that will help to create a 'learning environment' in your home, where children will develop skills they need in life while having fun!
On my site I have added a page with some product recommendations of toys and games for various ages – toys and games that will develop gross motor skills, fine motor skills, mathematical concepts, creativity and imagination or critical thinking:
Use it to make your own “wishlist” for friends and family who want to bless your little ones with gifts.
It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself. ~Joyce Maynard
Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. ~Robert Fulghum
We started a new system to help regulate screen time. Time is earned by doing chores. So for example, if my 5 year old takes 15 minutes to unpack the dishwasher, then he has earned 15 minutes at the pc.
To keep track of 4 children that are old enough for this system, each of them has an index card with his/her name on it and they bring it to me to record the start time and end time of each task.
They also use it to ‘cash in’ their time when they want to use it.
We have also added practicing music as work that can earn screen time and suddenly there is a lot more practicing happening than before!
Last year in December I planned the topics for this year’s monthly ezines in advance and this took a lot of pressure off me during the busy-ness of our homeschooling year.
I will be doing the same again this year and would love it if you have questions or suggestions of topics that you would like me to address.
Please stop here for 2 minutes and think of what topics you’d like to know more about. Chances are if you have a question, that others want those answers too. There are no stupid questions!
Maybe you need tips for dealing with a clingy child, teaching chores, organizing craft supplies, outings with little ones, delayed milestones, angry children or sibling rivalry…or do you want more education-oriented information?
Hit “reply” and send me an email or use the contact form on my preschool website.
It will benefit all of us if I write about what YOU want to know!
Readiness ActivitiesThe following activities are aimed at ages 3-5. For older children, adapt the activity to their ability.
Click here for Backissues of The Whole Child publication.
To download the activities in a printable pdf, click here.
You will need to have Adobe Reader installed. It’s a free download.
1. Gross motor skills
Let your child run up steps and encourage him to jump down, with both feet together. Add counting the steps to the game if you want to make it more complex.
Help your child to trace her hand onto a piece of paper. Show her how to draw faces, hair, hats etc. on the finger tips and make some ‘finger people’!
Ask your child to tell you about objects in your daily life that are always a certain color, for example:
Repeat with similar questions for other colors.
Read or tell your child a short story and then ask her questions about the details of the story, such as names, colors, actions etc.
Show your child a calendar and cross off the days of the week as they pass on the calendar. Use an advent calendar to reinforce this lesson in December.
Take turns asking each other “Why?” questions, such as:
Encourage your child to have a servant’s heart – to help others without expecting anything in return.
Mark 10:43 …whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
P.S. Five years ago I started my preschool site and now I earn more from home than other women who work full time jobs.
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