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    Survey parents need the facts about injury risks to children

     

    A national survey of 1,000 parents found that many don't know key facts regarding potential safety hazards for children. Among the survey's findings: One in three parents are unaware that children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Less than half of parents know falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries to toddlers. And more than half underestimate how long children should be in a booster seat. "Particularly in the area of car safety seat usage, parental knowledge tends to decrease as children age," said Dr. Michael Gittelman, an emergency room pediatrician and medical adviser to "Get on Board with Child Safety," a national child injury prevention initiative. "Parents need targeted information about the different unintentional injury risks to children as they grow, from infant stage to toddlers to kids and all the way through adolescence." Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for U. S. children ages 14 and under. "Get on Board with Child Safety" was spearheaded by the children's brand "Safety 1st" and the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions. They offer the following tips for parents: * Use a booster seat for children up to 8 years or 80 pounds. Adult seat belts usually do not fit such children properly unless they are in booster seats. When the belt sits too high in the abdominal and neck areas, it can cause serious injuries in an auto crash. Your child is approximately half as likely to be injured when using a booster seat instead of a seat belt alone. * Always have your children wear a helmet. Bike injuries send hundreds of thousands of kids ages 5 to 14 to the emergency room each year. * Supervise the trampoline. Approximately 90,000 kids visit the emergency room each year after a trampoline injury. Trampolines are even more dangerous when multiple kids are jumping at once or when a child does somersaults. * Never leave children unattended in or near the water. Install gates around pools and use doorknob covers to prevent toddlers from getting out of the house and into water without supervision. Always drain small pools when not in supervised use.

         
    Survey about injury risks to children

     

    A national survey of 1,000 parents found that many don't know key facts regarding potential safety hazards for children. Among the survey's findings: One in three parents are unaware that children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water. Less than half of parents know falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries to toddlers. And more than half underestimate how long children should be in a booster seat. "Particularly in the area of car safety seat usage, parental knowledge tends to decrease as children age," said Dr. Michael Gittelman, an emergency room pediatrician and medical adviser to "Get on Board with Child Safety," a national child injury prevention initiative. "Parents need targeted information about the different unintentional injury risks to children as they grow, from infant stage to toddlers to kids and all the way through adolescence." Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for U. S. children ages 14 and under. "Get on Board with Child Safety" was spearheaded by the children's brand "Safety 1st" and the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions. They offer the following tips for parents: * Use a booster seat for children up to 8 years or 80 pounds. Adult seat belts usually do not fit such children properly unless they are in booster seats. When the belt sits too high in the abdominal and neck areas, it can cause serious injuries in an auto crash. Your child is approximately half as likely to be injured when using a booster seat instead of a seat belt alone. * Always have your children wear a helmet. Bike injuries send hundreds of thousands of kids ages 5 to 14 to the emergency room each year. * Supervise the trampoline. Approximately 90,000 kids visit the emergency room each year after a trampoline injury. Trampolines are even more dangerous when multiple kids are jumping at once or when a child does somersaults. * Never leave children unattended in or near the water. Install gates around pools and use doorknob covers to prevent toddlers from getting out of the house and into water without supervision. Always drain small pools when not in supervised use.

         
    Swimming pool alarm options

     

    POOL SAFETY ALARMs - What are the In Pool Options? Vigilance is the best way to prevent a child from drowning. Nearly all pool mishaps happen in less than five minutes; the amount of time it takes to make a cup of coffee or a sandwich. There are alarms that can help you promote pool safety. Pool safety alarms afford you extra protection for the ones you care about and love. They will help keep your children from becoming a statistic. Pool Alarms come in 2 styles: Floating and Infra red Sensors 1. FLOATING/WAVE SENSORS These alarms are mounted on the edge of the pool or in the pool. They are key activated, battery powered, and portable. Generally these alarms sense water displacement when an object weighing more than fifteen pounds enters the pool. When this occurs a signal is sent to a remote receiver which is either in the home or carried by the gardian. The receiver emits an alarm of approximately 85 decibels. This type of alarm can be used with pool covers, pool nets or solar blankets and have an adjustment that can reduce their sensitivity. They are affordable. The disadvantages to this system in some models include the portability, which means some can be removed for swimming and not replaced, and the fact that someone must be in the water before you are alerted. More details are at safetyalarms/alt_alarms. html 2. FENCE/ WALL MOUNTED PASSIVE INFRA-RED MOTION DETECTORS These all weather-designed systems may be mounted on a pool fence or wall and can also be installed in a spa, patio, or garage. They protect an 8-yard semi circular area by emitting a 110-decibel alarm that can be heard up to 50 yards away. These alarms, which are most effective when mounted on a pool fence or wall, are armed one minute after being switched on and possess a 5 second entry delay feature which prevents the device from going off immediately after it’s been activated. Unique features include both a movement and heat sensitive sensor that can only be activated by a small child or animal when performing movements and emitting body heat within its patrol range. 2 standard alkaline batteries or a DC power adapter run these alarms, which have a 12-month full replacement warranty. POOL MOUNTED PASSIVE INFRA-RED MOTION DETECTORS These alarms, which are some of the newest ones on the market, combine all of the important features found in other devices and are very affordable. Each unit, simultaneously detects both motion and heat of anyone passing by and will not give any false readings for inanimate objects. With this device a perimeter fence is not an integral part of the system as it is with most other systems. This key operated unit runs on batteries or a DC power adapter and has a 24-hour warning signal for low battery power. With a 110-decibel micro siren this is also the loudest alarm on the market and can be heard 50-yards away. These alarms cover an 8.5-yard radius and a 150-degree area. The Pool Mounted Passive Infra Red Motion Detector protects all children before they get wet and also keeps your pool equipment safe from theft. One type is available from safetyalarms/poolalarms. html Pool Safety Alarms—Things to Think About In considering a pool safety alarm one should compare features, price, and reliability. Consider the power source or sources, the fail-safes, and the potential for inadvertently disarming the warning system. Remember that pool alarms are one tool that will help to make your swimming area safer. Parental guidance and vigilance are primary in insuring pool safety. This is an investment in your family’s future. Losing a child is devastating and most couples who do so end up in divorce. Statistics are cold hard facts; the hug of your child is a tender, heart-warming reality. Keep your little ones safe and protected. safetyalarms offers the swimming pool safety alternatives – Pool Alarms, sensors, Pool Fences, and swimming pool covers, are just some of the products covered at safetyalarms

         
    Take a picture help prepare your family

     

    Parents and guardians recognize the importance of monitoring their child's eating habits, extracurricular activities and Internet usage. Yet many are still not taking all of the necessary steps to help protect their children. A recent survey found that, despite several child abduction cases in the national headlines over the past few years, one of the most important child identification tips is often overlooked. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) says that having a good-quality current photo of the missing child is essential to assist law enforcement in the critical first hours of investigation after a child is reported missing. However, according to a recent survey conducted by Duracell and NCMEC, only 46 percent of parents or guardians believe that having a recent photo of a child for emergency purposes is important. Additionally, only 49 percent of parents who have an emergency photo of their child update it every six months-the time frame recommended by experts. "Having an updated photo is essential should your child ever go missing," said Nancy A. McBride, National Safety Director of NCMEC. "Parents and guardians also need to continue to make child safety a priority by ensuring their children are properly supervised, knowing the adults who have access to their children and practicing basic safety skills with their family regularly." A common myth is that it is less important to discuss general safety information with older children because "they know better." According to NCMEC, children 11 to 17 years of age are at an equal or greater risk than younger children. Older children may appear to be very self-confident, but may engage in risky behavior because they do not understand the consequences of their actions. When parents give their older children more freedom, they should make sure they understand the important safety rules.

         
    Talking about strangers

     

    A parents worst nightmare: your child goes missing. No one saw anything, no one knows what happened. One minute your child is there, then they’re gone. How can you prevent this from happening? There are approximately 2,100 reports of missing children filed every day. As alarming as that sounds, the majority of children make it through their childhood safely. My husband and I talk to our son all the time about strangers. When he started talking and interacting with others, he never met a stranger. He would smile, talk and wave to anybody. After his second birthday, we started talking to him about going with other people. It is important to make sure your child understands that they do not go anywhere with anyone except those you, as parents, have deemed safe. In our case, he knows it’s okay to go with his grandparents and his aunt. Now, of course, he overly wary of anyone he doesn’t know. If we are in his grandmother’s antique store and he sees someone new, he immediately hides behind myself, my husband or his grandmother. Once we say it is okay, he will introduce himself to that person. But even after the introduction, he knows he is not allowed to go with anyone except for those people we have said are okay. There are many things a parent can do to help prevent their child from being taken. Here is a small list: * * “Never take candy or gifts from a stranger.” * * “Never get into a car with someone you don’t know or who doesn’t know our password.” * * “If someone asks for your help, find an adult you know and tell them about the person who needs your help.” * * “Never open the door for anyone unless they know the password.” * * “Run away screaming if someone tries to make you get in their car or does something you do not like.” Parents need to set down some boundaries and let their children know with whom and where they are allowed to go. Make sure they know their phone number and home address in case they get lost. Get your children ID-like cards every six months and have them fingerprinted. Some local police departments have fingerprinting programs for children. Also, there are several online resources for ID cards and fingerprinting. As we hear more stories about children being abducted, the more parents realize that it is harder to keep children safe. We can’t be with them every hour of the day, but we can instill in our children the “street-smarts” that will help them understand how to keep themselves safe.

         
    Talking to your kids about drugs why and how to get the dialogue going

     

    When you are a parent, there are many things to worry about. Keeping your kids safe is at the top of the list. First, you worry about the pacifier your infant dropped on the floor—so you pick it up and wash it with soap and water. Next, your toddler isn't eating enough vegetables, so you do your best to hide some veggies in his meat loaf. Then, you bite your nails as your second grader scales the tallest tree in the yard. You want to run and catch him when he starts to slip, but you see that he's beaming with excitement, so you stay watchful and quiet—careful not to spoil his fun. As the kids grow older, the dangers they are faced with become more intense. One danger heavy on the minds of parents these days is substance abuse. And for good reason. With the popularity of "designer" drugs on the rise, and all the peer pressure kids are faced with, the worries parents encounter are mounting. The Usual and Unusual Suspects Sure, it's the usual suspects; experimenting with marijuana and alcohol that begin a pattern of self-destruction, but be aware, there are new drugs on the block, and they can be found in your medicine chest. According the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the menu of drugs kids and teens are using is changing. They report 1 in 5 teens has tried Vicodin (a narcotic pain reliever) to get high, and 1 in 11 has admitted to getting high on cough medicine. They also report a number of teens now “party” with other prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Along with the other illicit drugs out there that pose a dangerous risk to our kids, it’s difficult not to be alarmed. The Partnership for a Drug-Free America ( drugfree. org) is arming parents with need-to-know information about the risks of dangerous substances. A local program reaching out On the local front, there are programs that are taking action. Program coordinator for the Student Athlete Leadership Team (SALT), Paul Grafer, stresses the need for a proactive, honest dialogue between parents and their children about substance abuse. He oversees programs emphasizing leadership and character for young people in 40 districts in the New York Metropolitan area. SALT trains thousands of high school athletes to serve as role models and mentors in their school districts to 5th graders. If you think 5th grade is too young to begin a dialogue about drugs—think again. National statistics show that the average age for experimentation with drugs and alcohol is 11 years old. How does this program help? The SALT Program promotes healthy, positive behaviors and decisions. Included in this philosophy is a commitment to life long activeness and playing sports for enjoyment, health benefits, and to obtain life-skills; and, remaining substance abuse free by developing proactive, real-life refusal skills and strategies to navigate a culture of underage drug abusers (alcohol, tobacco, and steroids). The SALT Program is offered at Adelphi University in Garden City. For more information visit adelphi. edu/communityservices/sli/pdw. php On Long Island The grips of drugs are known to be prevalent on big city streets, but they are a problem here on Long Island. Suffolk County Police Officer Daryl Quinones explains, his experiences have given him great insight and compassion to those who are drug addicted and the knowledge that even experimenting with the "softer" drugs can easily lead a kid down a path of self-destruction and crime. He suggests that parents must be truthful, and “lay it all out there’ for kids to understand what may happen if they fall under the spell of drugs and alcohol and stresses the importance of speaking up before it’s too late. “As a police officer I have spoken to teenagers about these issues upon parents’ request," he says. "And on certain occasions, years down the road, I’ll see the parents and they will thank me for turning the kid around.” Quinones has seen the consequences when the child doesn't listen: they land out in the system for some drug related crime. Expert Advice So how do you get a child to listen? What do you say? When should you say it? I asked Dr. Susan Bartell, psychologist and author in Port Washington specializing in tween and teens, to shed some light on this important issue. Q: What age do you recommend bringing up the issue? A: You can start talking to kids about drugs beginning at six or seven--by talking about smoking cigarettes because that is something they see in their world and can understand that it is "bad". As they get older (about ten) they can begin to understand the issue of other drugs. Middle school kids are ready for direct conversations, naming drugs (marijuana in particular) and explaining that they are illegal and dangerous. Q: Can you give me some tips about how to make the "talk" go smooth? A: With middle schoolers, look for a "teachable moment"...a TV anti-drug ad, a TV show when kids are drinking, smoking, using drugs and ask them what they think about it; then give your feelings in a low-keyed way, explaining that it is something you feel strongly about. As kids get older--young high schoolers, the conversations need to begin to revolve around their social life: what would they do at a party if there was alcohol/drugs there. Help them come up with ways of handling it that aren't judgmental or critical. Q: What's the biggest mistake parents make dealing with drug issues and their children? A: They are too preachy, too critical of kids and don't give enough problem solving strategies. They also don't listen for their kids' concerns about how to handle peer pressure, or curiosity about drugs. Q: How can parents be proactive about deterring their children from taking drugs? A: First, being clear that you disapprove, next, making sure that you drive your child to and from parties or get-togethers--they'll be much less likely to use if they know you're picking them up. Don't let them get rides from other kids. Q: Is there anything else parents need to know? A: Conversations about drugs must include alcohol--which is also a drug and is actually usually the "Gateway" drug to others. Parents often feel that alcohol is okay, when in reality their kids can become alcoholics without them realizing it. In addition, parents need to look for signs of chronic drug and alcohol use like: grades dropping, social isolation, secretive phone conversations, new friends that they don't let you meet; dropping old friends; sleeping a lot, changes in personality; sudden depression; sudden mood swings. When it comes to raising kids today, it really does take a village. Keeping your child out of harm's way is no easy task, but experts agree that staying involved in you're your child’s life-- is a great start. When they're young and scaling that tall tree, you stand back and let them giggle their way down, but when it comes to drugs, parents cant afford to be silent. There's too much at stake.

         
    Tapping your child s inner motivation

     

    : This article addresses some practical questions raised by parents in response to my suggestion that praising too much is actually counter-productive while trying to motivate our children. ~~ But if I’m not praising and not punishing, what do I do instead? ~~ Try simply communicating your sincere admiration, gratitude, and appreciation when it arises. When your child does something admirable, let him know how you feel. “Wow! Do I count 20 towers on that sand castle?!” instead of “Good building, Johnny!” The difference is that when you admire or appreciate, you join him in his experience and there’s an alignment. When you praise, you derail his train and bring it over to your track. When you are grateful for your child’s help, say so. When she shares a little known fact that she learned at school, your interest and attention are the reward. Becoming a valued and contributing member of the family and society is much more of a reinforcement than grades or a gold stars. Try treating your child like you’d treat an adult neighbor or coworker. I don’t see my neighbors getting smiley stickers when they shovel their driveway or weed their garden, even if they do a really good job. And no one says, “Good gardening, Joe!” Nonetheless, a well-maintained yard is a pleasure for the whole neighborhood, and I can let them know that I enjoy the fruits of their labors without praising them. A quiet and sincere comment of acknowledgment and appreciation goes a long way. The difference lies in the intention. Kids recognize from a mile away that praise is really a sugarcoated agenda. Most of them prefer and respond positively to sincerity. Wouldn’t you? ~~But if I stop giving rewards they won’t be motivated to do anything! ~~ We each do dozens of things every day for no external reward. We sew or knit or paint or do woodworking just for fun. We strive to decrease our time or improve our score just for the thrill of growth and mastery. We wash dishes so we can eat from clean plates later. We stop at red lights even when there are no police cars in sight, because we want to arrive at our destination in one piece. Babies learn to walk because their developing bodies drive them to do so, not because we clap and cheer at their first steps! It really is ok to leave them alone with their process. I’m not saying we can’t share in their delight. But they learn to walk even without any gold stars. Doesn’t this make you wonder how many other accomplishments might be motivated by a similar internal drive if given the chance? Wouldn’t it be great to just relax and trust this intrinsic impulse? If this subject intrigues you, be sure to check out the book Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn. It’s a fascinating read! copyright karen alonge 2006

         
    Teach kids about money and saving the 10 vital lessons your child must learn

     

    Your 5-year-old daughter has started asking for money to buy sweets and toys. She obviously has a good understanding of the concept of exchanging money for items she wants or needs, but what are the important lessons you should teach kids about money and saving. You want to make sure that she doesn't grow up into one of those kids that are constantly pestering mom and dad for money, running up credit card debts as a teenager, and not having any idea how to save. There are 10 basic money skills that every child should learn before they enter the teenage years. It's never too late to learn, but most children are far more receptive to ideas from their parents before they hit the age of thirteen, than after. 1. Money doesn't grow on trees! One of the best known and oldest quotes around. It is important that children understand from early on that money is a limited resource, that mom & dad's bank account will eventually run dry if they keep making withdrawals from it. 2. People go to work to earn money. Money is something that needs to be earned, you are never going to become financially secure sitting around not doing anything, and expecting handouts from people. 3. Credit cards are a form of borrowing. Believe it or not, surveys have shown that an alarmingly high number of teenagers don't realise that credit cards are a form of borrowing. If they don't understand this basic concept, it leaves them at risk of running up crippling credit card debts. 4. Avoid borrowing money where possible. Wherever possible, money should be saved rather than borrowed as borrowing attracts extra costs such as interest, which can in some circumstances, double the amount of money you need to repay. 5. There is good debt & bad debt. No debt is really all that good, but some forms of debt will make you money while others cost you money. Good debt can include a home loan, investment loan or business loan, as these items have a tendency to make money above the amount of interest you have to pay. Bad debt can include credit cards, personal loans or car loans, as these items never make you any money. 6. If you don't have the cash to buy something, then you can't afford it. 7. Spend less than you earn. Many people these days are spending 10% to 20% above what they earn, creating a vicious cycle of high credit card interest rates, long hours at work to pay the credit cards & in some cases bankruptcy. The knowledge of how to budget your money seems to have been lost, make sure your child learns this important lesson! 8. A portion of your money should be given to the needy. Around 10% of your money should be given to those who are in need/charities. 9. Pay yourself first. This is what I call your sanity money! Allow 10% of your money for yourself to spend however you wish. 10. Save at least 10% of your money. Like budgeting, the skill of saving money seems to have been lost over the last 20 years, with fewer people than ever before regularly saving a proportion of their income. With these lessons well and truly learnt, your child should have no problem managing their finances in a proper manner, and avoiding the credit trap. Don't risk your child becoming one of the hundreds of thousands of young adults that go bankrupt each year!

         
    Teach your child phonemic awareness

     

    In recent years, the field of reading education has changed dramatically and many reading instructors have divided it between phonic instruction and whole language. Various reading programs that fall into one of the two camps have spent millions advertising the relative merits of both. The simple truth of the matter is that the best reading instruction takes place using a combination of both strategies. And increasingly reading research has demonstrated that phonemic awareness, not simply phonics, is critically important to ensuring reading success–especially for students with learning disabilities. However what makes this so confusing for many parents and caregivers is that the term “phonemic awareness” is tossed around so often and in so many different ways. Phonemic awareness concerns the structure of words rather than their meaning. To understand the construction of our written code, words, readers need to be able to reflect upon the spelling-to-sound correspondences. To understand that the written word, beginning readers must first have some understanding that words are composed of sounds (phonemic awareness) rather than their conceiving of each word as a single indivisible sound stream. The development of this awareness cannot be accomplished in one simple step but rather over time. It is also important to note that these skills are actually pre-reading skills. Children do not necessarily recognize any of these elements on the page but rather by ear. The stages of phonological development toward the end goal of deep phonemic awareness can include: ~ Recognition that sentences are made up of words. ~ Recognition that words can rhyme & the ability to make rhymes ~ Recognition that words can be broken down into syllables & the ability to do so ~ Recognition that words can be broken down into onsets and rimes & the ability to do so ~ Recognition that words can begin with the same sound & the ability to make these matches ~ Recognition that words can end with the same sound & the ability to make these matches ~ Recognition that words can have the same medial sound(s) & the ability to make these matches ~ Recognition that words can be broken down into individual phonemes & the ability to do so ~ Recognition that sounds can be deleted from words to make new words & the ability to do so ~ Ability to blend sounds to make words ~ Ability to segment words into constituent sounds Phonemic awareness is more complex however than simple auditory discrimination, which is the ability to understand that cat and mat are different words. To be able to describe how they are similar and how they are different demonstrates a level of phonemic awareness. Young children are not normally asked to consider words at a level other than their meaning, although experience with rhymes may be the first indication for children that they can play with the structure of words. Learning to recognize and play with rhyme is often the beginning of phonemic awareness development for many children. To be aware that words can have a similar end-sound implies a critical step in learning to read. Sensitivity to rhyme makes both a direct and indirect contribution to reading. Directly, it helps children appreciate that words that share common sounds usually also share common letter sequences. Later exposure to common letter sequences then makes a significant contribution to reading strategy development. Indirectly, the recognition of rhyme promotes the refining of word analysis from larger intra-word segments (such as rhyme) to analysis at the level of the phoneme (the critical requirement for reading). Studies show a very strong relationship between rhyming ability at age three and performance at reading and spelling three years later. A number of studies have reinforced the value of such early exposure to rhyming games. Rhyming and phoneme awareness are related. Studies have shown that children who are capable of good discrimination of musical pitch also score high on tests of phonemic awareness. Since pitch change is an important source of information in the speech signal, it may be that sensitivity to small frequency changes, such as that involved in phoneme recognition is an important aspect of successful initial reading. Such results raise the interesting possibility that musical training may represent one of those pre-reading, home-based experiences that contribute to the marked individual differences in phonemic awareness with which children start school. So, what do you teach? Techniques that target phoneme awareness most frequently involve direct instruction in segmenting words into component sounds, identifying sounds in various positions in words (initial, medial, final), identifying words that begin or end with the same sound, and manipulating sounds in a word such as saying a word without its beginning or end sound. Most of the phoneme awareness activities should not take more than 15 or 20 minutes to complete. Although a particular activity can be selected well in advance, the specific words targeted for phoneme awareness should be selected from material familiar to your child — such as a book you recently read together or a game or a family outing. Phoneme awareness activities are a natural extension of the shared reading activities. A natural and spontaneous way of providing children with exposure to phonemes is to focus on literature that deals playfully with speech sounds through rhymes. Simple rhyme patterns are easily recalled after repeated exposure, and children will get the idea of creating new rhymes. In “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket” (Seuss, 1974), initial sounds of everyday objects are substituted as a child talks about the strange creatures around the house, such as the “zamp in the lamp.” Children can make up their own strange creatures in the classroom such as the “zuk in my book.” Alliteration is the repetition of an initial consonant sound across several words, such as presented in the alphabet book “Faint Frogs Feeling Feverish” and “Other Terrifically Tantalizing Tongue Twisters”. Assonance, the repetition of vowel sounds within words, is often combined with rhyme, as in “It rains and hails and shakes the sails” from “Sheep on a Ship” or in humorous ways such as “The tooter tries to tutor two tooters to toot” in “Moses Supposes His Toeses Are Roses”. Some books include music to go with the rhymes, such as “Down by the Bay”, in which two children try to outdo one another in making up questions that rhyme, such as “Did you ever see a goose kissing a moose?” Spend some time in the children’s section of your library or browse through your child’s bookshelves at home to look for books that deal playfully with language. Read and reread the stories and comment on the language use then encourage predictions of sound, word, and sentence patterns (for example, “What sound do you hear at the beginning of all those words?”) and invent new versions of the language patterns utilized in the stories. Research has demonstrated not only a predictive relationship between phoneme awareness and reading success, but also a causal relationship. Phoneme awareness that has a positive impact on reading can be developed in children through systematic instruction. Early training in phoneme awareness should be a priority for those interested in improving early reading instruction and in reducing reading failure. Some other activities include: Making Word Families Charts: Charts can contain words from one story or a brainstormed list from the children. The children can dictate the words to be placed on a word family chart. As they begin to develop letter/sound knowledge, they can copy or write the words themselves. You can use magnetic letters to “create” words for a word family chart. Provide a rime of plastic letters (e. g., at) and have the children take turns placing different letters in the onset position to create new words (e. g., hat, bat, sat, rat). These charts can be used as reference charts (or the children can make their own word families reference book) for spelling and creative writing activities. Odd Word Out: Four words, three of which rhyme, are presented (e. g., zveed, bead, pill, seed). The child determines which word is the odd one that doesn’t belong with the others. The game of concentration or memory is a good practice activity for rhyme recognition. Alliteration: Sound personalities can be introduced naturally and in context by selecting a particular sound to talk about that is stressed in alphabet or other books that use alliteration. For example, presenting “smiling snakes sipping strawberry sodas” for the alphabet letter S. It is helpful to create or provide pictures that represent these sound personalities and to post them as each is introduced. A natural connection can sometimes be made between the sound and the letter, such as presenting a picture of “Sammy snake” drawn in the shape of the letter S or “Buzzy bee” flying in a pattern of the letter Z. Besides providing a label to facilitate talking about sounds, the pictures provide self-correcting cues for children engaged in initial-sound isolation and sound-to-word matching activities. Counting: To count syllables in words, activities can be used such as clapping hands, tapping the desk, or marching in place to the syllables in children’s names (Ma - ry), items in the immediate environment (win - dow), or words from a favorite story (wi-shy, wa-shy). Initially, two - syllable words can be targeted, building up to three. Sound Synthesis: Sound synthesis can be done using the following sequence: blending an initial sound onto the remainder of a word, followed by blending syllables of a word together, and then blending isolated phonemes into a word. Model this by blending an initial sound onto a word by using the jingle “It starts with /n/ and it ends with - ight, put it together, and it says night.” When they have the idea, the children supply the final word. An element of excitement can be created by using children’s names for this activity and asking each child to recognize and say his or her own name when it is presented - “It starts with /m/ and it ends with - ary, put it together and it says ———.” Context can be provided by limiting the words to objects that can be seen in the room or to words from a particular story the children just read. As the children become proficient, they can take turns using the jingle to present their own words to be blended. Sound-to-Word Matching: Requires that the child identify the beginning sound of a word. Awareness of the initial sound in a word can be done by showing the children a picture (dog) and asking the children to identify the correct word out of three: “Is this a /mmm/-og, a /d/d/d/-og, or a /sss/-og?” A variation is to ask if the word has a particular sound: “Is there a /d/ in dog?” This can then be switched to “Which sound does dog start with-/d/, /sh/, or /1/?” This sequence encourages the children to try out the three onsets with the rime to see which one is correct. It is easiest to use continuants that can be exaggerated and prolonged to heighten the sound input. Iteration should be used with stop consonants to add emphasis.

         
    Teach your child phonological awareness

     

    Phonological awareness skills are key to reading success. Phonological awareness is an important foundation for learning to read. Scientific research has documented that phonological awareness is a better predictor of reading success than IQ, vocabulary, or socioeconomic level of the family. Research has shown that children who begin reading instruction with sufficiently developed phonological awareness understand the instruction better, master the alphabetic principle faster and learn to read quite easily. Children who will later be identified as being dyslexic often do not have phonological awareness skills. Teaching these skills has been shown in research to prevent the occurrence of dyslexia in many children. Accordingly, many school systems now follow a program of early screening for phonological awareness skills. No area of reading research has gained as much attention over the past two decades as phonological awareness. Perhaps the most exciting finding emanating from research on phonological awareness is that critical levels of phonological awareness can be developed through carefully planned instruction, and this development has a significant influence on children’s reading and spelling achievement. Why Is Phonological Awareness So Important? An awareness of phonemes is necessary to grasp the alphabetic principle that underlies our system of written language. Specifically, developing readers must be sensitive to the internal structure of words. If children understand that words can be divided into individual phonemes and that phonemes can be blended into words, they are able to use letter-sound knowledge to read and build words. As a consequence of this relationship, phonological awareness is a strong predictor of later reading success. Researchers have shown that this strong relationship between phonological awareness and reading success persists throughout school. Early reading is dependent on having some understanding of the internal structure of words, and explicit instruction in phonological awareness skills is very effective in promoting early reading. However, instruction in early reading — especially instruction in letter-sound correspondence — strengthens phonological awareness. Success in early reading depends on achieving a certain level of phonological awareness. Instruction in phonological awareness is beneficial for most children and critical for others. What Is Phonological Awareness? Phonological awareness is the ability to break words into separate sounds. A child who has phonological awareness can tell you when two words rhyme and when two words start with the same sound. Further development of phonological awareness will allow the child to tell you when two words end with the same sound. For example, they can tell you that “bat” and “sit” end with the same sound but “bat” and “sad” do not end with the same sound. Phonological awareness is a broad term that includes phonemic awareness. In addition, to phonemes, phonological awareness activities can involve work with rhymes, words, syllables, and onsets and rimes. The key to the process of learning to read is the ability to identify the different sounds that make words and to associate these sounds with written words. In order to learn to read, a child must be aware of phonemes. A phoneme is the smallest functional unit of sound. For example, the word cat contains three distinctly different sounds. There are 44 phonemes in the English language, including letter combinations such as /th/. In addition to identifying these sounds, children must also be able to manipulate them. Word play involving segmenting words into their constituent sounds, rhyming words, and blending sounds to make words is also essential to the reading process. The ability to identify and manipulate the sounds of language is called phonological awareness. There are five levels of phonological awareness ranging from an awareness of rhyme to being able to switch or substitute the components in a word. Children generally begin to show initial phonological awareness when they demonstrate an appreciation of rhyme and alliteration. For many children, this begins very early in the course of their language development and is likely facilitated by being read to from books that are based on rhyme or alliteration. Teaching Phonological Awareness Early experience with nursery rhymes can help children begin to notice and think about the phonological structure of words. Several research studies have shown that the children who know more about nursery rhymes at age 3, are those that tend to be more highly developed in general phonological awareness at age 4 and in phonemic awareness at age 6. You don’t have to stop with nursery rhymes though. Read rhyming books and sing rhyming songs and chants. Have children identify the rhyming words using picture cards and do rhyming sorts with picture cards. Also play games that teach children to isolate individual sounds in a word. For example, this game can be played with the “BINGO” song. There was a letter had a sound and you can say it with me b, b, b, like ball…… Play the game – “What’s the First Sound in this Word” This can be done orally or with picture cards When children learn how to “listen to language”, they are also learning to connect oral language with the written word. Once they hear, know, and are able to manipulate sounds, they begin to realize how words work.

         
    Teach your child the alphabet

     

    One of the first steps in becoming a successful reader is to learn to recognize the letters of the alphabet. The alphabetic principle teaches that spoken language is represented by written words that are made up of varying combinations of letters, and that these letters and combinations of them make up all of the sounds in spoken language. Attaching sounds to these letters and learning to write them paves the way to successful reading and writing. Learning to say their ABCs is a great start for any preschooler, but it is just as important for your child to learn the sounds of the letters. Preschoolers, who know the sounds of the letters of the alphabet, have an easier time learning to read. In order to read, every child must know the sounds of the letters as well as the shapes and order. More than that he must be able to recall them quickly. When he sees the letter he should be able to say the letter or vocalize its sound without hesitation. This should happen whether he hears the letters in order or not. While the alphabet song can be a fun way to start learning the ABCs it is not enough because children also need to be able to identify each individual letter. In fact, this skill is much more important than knowing where it falls in the alphabet as it is the key in learning to read. Research shows it is important for young children to be able to: ~ Recognize and name letters ~ Recognize beginning letters in familiar words (especially their own name) ~ Recognize both capital and lowercase letters ~ Relate letters to the specific sounds they represent Knowledge of the alphabet is the foundation to your child's literacy development and you shouldn't assume your child will learn this skill in kindergarten. Waiting until kindergarten to learn the ABCs will put your child behind many other students and may cause added stress. Children who can read independently "translate" alphabet shapes accurately back into sounds. If we want our children to be able to read independently, we needed to teach them: ~ The shapes of the alphabet letters; ~ The various sounds of each letter; ~ The sounds made by combined letters. You can start teaching the alphabet when your child is young. My son mastered his letters by his second birthday and I helped him do that without flashcards and without whining! He loves working with his "letters" and even now as he approaches his fourth birthday requests a particular game or activity. He doesn't know he's learning-he just thinks he's having fun with his Mommy. There are many ways that you can help your preschooler learn the sounds and names of the letters of the alphabet. You don't need expensive tools and programs and in fact many of those can be counterproductive as they make learning work. My greatest success was simply to work on letters in context with the world whenever he seemed open to the opportunity. The alphabet became simply a part of our daily life including errands and play time.

         
    Teach your children about money

     

    I firmly believe that if we'd been taught more about investing and basic money management in high school (and younger!) my generation wouldn't have some of the financial troubles that they do. I was lucky enough to have parents who taught me those lessons at home, but many of my friends weren't so lucky. I don't think much has changed for our own children. The schools just don't have the time or resources to focus on basic money skills so it's up to us as parents to educate our children. We have to teach by example. If our children see us spending money on credit cards they think that the little plastic card is all you need to get your heart’s desire. We need to show them that the little plastic card produces a bill each month that must be paid. Pay it in full so they can learn the habit early. Some people are hesitant (or refuse) to involve their children in their financial affairs. Up to a certain age I would agree. But at some point you need to involve your children at least a little bit so they can learn the process of money management and it will help keep you accountable for your actions. Having to explain your frivolous purchases to your children can quickly alter your own habits. Your ultimate goal is for your children to be better off than you are. If you don’t teach them about how to manage money they could easily become worse off in their adult years. Don’t burden them with ignorance. If you don’t feel qualified to show them proper money handling skills then enlist the help of qualified professionals or family members who are skilled with money. The goal is not perfection. It’s basic education and hopefully preventing the already catastrophic credit card debt from spilling over into the next generation. My favorite example of teaching money management within the home was setup by the Dilley family. They had sextuplets several years ago and learned a way to teach their children good behavior and money management at the same time. The kids earn Dilley Dollars for doing their chores and good behavior. The dollars are redeemable for video game time or can be converted to real money (50 cents real money for every Dilley Dollar) which can spent on real things. The kids are taught to save some of it and they learn to appreciate what it takes to make money in this world. Whatever system you come up with, stick with it. Make your children accountable for their own spending habits and be accountable to them for your decisions. Admit your mistakes and do your best to lead them down the right financial path. Stick with the consequences of poor judgment. Of course you are the parent and make the final decisions, but the more you can involve them in the money processes of your household the better off they’ll be when they step into the real world on their own.

         
    Teach your kids how to look after money

     

    It is a sad fact but many people retire only to live in poverty. After working forty odd years and over that time earning hundreds of thousands of pounds many have very little to show for it. What happened to it all? Well, most of it would have just slipped through your fingers. Why? Well, schools are very good at teaching us many different subjects including maths, but the one thing they do not teach is personal finance and how to make money work for you rather than you working for money. So where can our kids learn about personal finance? Well, it is up to us as parents to teach them. Trouble is many adults are not too good at looking after money either, again because we were not shown how to in our youth. Let us face it in most households money matters are not discussed between parents and children. Now I am not suggesting that we start showing mortgage and bank statements as some parents, especially with pre-teens and teens, may find an admission of their financial status embarrassing. What we can do is advise our children of the pitfalls and dangers that await them in later life. Draw from your own life experiences and dealings with banks and other financial institutions. The fact that at certain times in our lives things are going to happen that will affect our personal finances. Certain things will be out of our control and not of our own making, but there will be times where a choice has been made that "seemed like a good idea at the time". We have all been there, done that, only to pay a price at the end. So, how and when do we start them off? As young as possible, usually by the time a child is about 3 years old they know about pennies and pounds and understand the concept of handing them over in order to purchase goods. Hand over enough pennies and they get the lollipop they want at the sweet shop. Here are some tips and ideas to help your kids start on the right path to financial prosperity. * Buy a piggy bank for your younger children. Allow them to choose whatever colour shape or size they wish. Invite them to put their pennies into their piggy bank. Occasionally they may count their pennies and reward themselves if they want. * Once they have proved themselves adept to handling their pennies, take them to open their own bank accounts. Most major high street banks and building societies have special savings accounts for kids. Depending on their age group, they may be offered some incentives e. g. fun packs, money-off vouchers for CDs, DVDs, computer games, etc. * Many kids think, "money grows on trees". Let them know that YOU working brings about this paper and metal stuff called money. Whether or not you work or you have inherited a large fortune, do not encourage laziness in your child. I am sure there are loads of chores around the house, washing the dishes, cleaning the rooms, etc. Give your kids an allowance but let them work for it. They also need to be able to work for free sometimes to learn the value of hard work. * Many relatives nowadays tend to give money for birthdays and Christmas especially for the over 10s. At this age, their tastes are constantly changing (what a 12 year old and a 60-year-old see, as being "the in thing" is usually very different!) Encourage them to save 10% of their money gifts. If they are older and have a paper round or something similar, again encourage them to save 10 % of their earnings. This may be only a small amount but it is a good habit to get into. If you are reading this now, as a middle-aged parent, imagine how much you would have in the bank today if you had saved 10% of everything you had ever earned. Scary stuff! * Managing money does not mean hoarding it and locking it away forever. It simply means being careful, spending wisely, and acquiring a regular savings habit. Teach your kids that donating money to worthwhile causes is a noble thing to do. This could be to the local hospice, the homeless, or to a charity of their choice. This would help them become more rounded, more respectful of others regardless of the situation and become more appreciative of their own lives and their own prosperity. They would learn that the money returns to you in more ways than you could imagine. * Encourage your child to purchase a journal or a diary where they can record their dreams and desires. This allows them to dream big and look forward to their lives ahead-filled with prosperity. There is nothing wrong with accumulating wealth to fulfil these desires. Money is not evil! * "Filthy lucre" and "Money is the root of all evil" are phrases you will often hear people say. Ignore them. Money actually brings enormous good into the world. Creating wealth helps create jobs for others. Investing in business helps to bring solutions into people's lives by way of innovative products and services. Acquiring a great fortune allows you to donate more money to charity - or even start your own trust fund. Therefore, as you can see money is neither good nor bad - it is what you do with it that makes the difference. * One of the oldest wealth-creation maxims is, "It takes money to make money". Unfortunately, it also takes money to lose money. Teach your kids the value of caution when entering into financial affairs. Remember the golden rule of any high-risk venture. Only invest what you can afford to lose. Moreover, let them know that many self-made millionaires started with literally nothing. * Debt is one of the greatest social diseases of our time. The price to pay for the "have now, pay later" philosophy is that you certainly will pay later. Unfortunately, some high street banks have contributed to this philosophy. My own bank had posters in the branch stating "why wait, have it now!" Debt imprisons you in a job you do not like, creates stress and anxiety in your life, and erodes your wealth creation program. You will never become rich while you are in debt. Teach your kids the value of delayed gratification. "If in doubt, go without". * Your financial health is really the difference between how much you earn and how much you spend. It therefore makes sense not to pay any more money for something than you have to. Teach your children that bargain hunting does not make you a miser just a sensible individual. If you see the same item in two different shops with a Ј20 price tag difference, from whom are you going to make the final purchase? * Eventually everyone is offered a "sure-fire" method of making a fortune, whether it is the three-card trick, an once-in-a-lifetime investment plan, or some time-limited business opportunity only available to a select few... Always check these "opportunities" with a fine toothed comb. Do not part with any money and remember - if it is too-good-to-be-true it is usually is. Teach your kids that wealth creation is a simple and timeless process based on common sense. Silly question - If you had learned the above principles when you were 10 years old, and had applied them every day of your life, would you be financially healthier today? What are you waiting for? Teach your kids the timeless truths of acquiring and keeping wealth. Like most parental advice, they probably will not appreciate it now. In later life, they will be thankful that you did. Knowledge truly is the most precious gift you can give.

         
    Teaching a child responsible behavior begins at home

     

    Parents are teachers, too. When it comes to child rearing, one of the most important lessons a parent can teach their youngster is responsible behavior. This means helping the child learn how to interact with others in a way that displays self-respect, as well as respect toward others. No child comes into this world pre-programmed with good manners and virtuous attributes such as a willingness to share, consideration for the feelings of others, respect for others possessions, respect for authority figures, and a selfless attitude. Considerate, responsible behavior must be taught while a child is very young so that it is instilled by the time they are older, when irresponsible behavior risks evolving into criminal behavior. Teaching a child about responsible behavior begins at home. It is accomplished by setting a good example on a daily basis. Parents do this by being conscientious about exhibiting maturity in the ways they deal with other people, react to stressful situations, disagree with others, make choices, etc. Parents can help their children grow into responsible adults by being a positive role model. Helping them learn how to think, feel, and act responsibly, and to pursue their own interests without becoming insensitive of the needs and feelings of others. Accountability, fairness, honesty, courage, and respect toward self and others are important character traits. Many parents help instill these qualities by sharing deeply held religious and moral convictions with their children. Showing “why” these attributes are important as a foundation for ethical behavior, even when difficult or not materially rewarding. Responsible behavior is a cultivated trait. It is a characteristic formed over time, made up of our outlook on life and daily habits. Responsible people behave that way whether or not anyone is watching, and regardless of how others may act. There are several aspects of responsible behavior that should be highlighted to children. At the top of the list is Respect and Compassion toward others. This should be the corner stone for all other aspects of responsible behavior: *Honesty *Courage *Self-control *Self-respect. Respect and Compassion: Responsible behavior is impossible apart from respect and compassion toward other people, as well as other life formspassion dictates kindness and an unwillingness to intentionally cause suffering or pain. Respect dictates basic manners and consideration toward others. Concern is exhibited through both feelings and actions. Honesty: To be honest means not only telling the truth to others; it means being honest with one’s own self. It means making decisions based upon truth and evidence, not upon self-serving motives or prejudice. Courage: When a person is courageous, they take a position and do what is right, even when there is risk involved. It means facing duties instead of behaving irresponsibly, recklessly, or carelessly. Self-control: Self-control is the ability to act responsibly, and resist inappropriate behavior. It involves sticking to long-term commitments, and dealing with anger and other emotions in a responsible manner. Self-respect: When a child is raised to be honest, courageous, and to exhibit self-control, they automatically learn to respect themselves. It is as they respond to people and circumstances in a responsible manner and learn to make responsible choices that they discover self-respect. And it is self-respect that will hold your child in good stead as they grow, mature into adults, and then perhaps become responsible parents with children of their own to rear. For specific ways to teach children responsible behavior, visit the Savvy Baby Gear web site. ©2006 Lori S. Anton Savvy Baby Gear Editor

         
    Teaching children through stories

     

    : Teaching children is not an easy task. And yet, it is one of the most important responsibilities you hold as parents. It cannot and must not be delegated to others. But then, you may feel loss, inadequate or ill prepared to teach. Looking at the countless programs and methods available in the child education market, you may feel like you need a PhD in this area if you are to succeed. Then there are the other excuses too like “I have to work and don't have the time,” or “I don't have the patience.” Well, here is your wake up call. Teaching can be simple, effective and doable. Reading to your children and using stories to teach is a technique that is within the capabilities of everyone. When we read to our children, we do not confine them to academic excellence but also extend into their emotional and behavioral learning. The following are 5 reasons why using stories to teach is effective: 1.The child doesn't feel threatened. It's not another lecture. When we read to our children, we are able to address a situation in a non-threatening way. What do I mean by threatening? Let's take a look at some examples of habitual phrases we tend to use when “teaching our lesson”:

    • “You shouldn't lie.”
    • “You are so messy.”
    • “You shouldn't be scared. You are just being silly.”
    • “You are not listening to me.”
    Usually this is done in a blaming or angry tone of voice. When we finger point and use the word “you”, children hear negative and the situation becomes tense. Some may even become defensive. Put yourselves in their shoes. If someone were to start attacking you with words, would you be in a teachable mood? I would think not. Rather than focusing on the solutions to the problems, children are focusing on their feelings of anger, hurt, fear etc... that they are experiencing at that moment. Using stories to teach, we take out the blame and place less emphasis on the problem. We talk and discuss solutions and speak positively. So instead of a lecture, we now have a healthy discussion. 2.Working on “prevention” and “cure”. When we use stories to teach, we can help our children work through situations they are currently experiencing. It also allows us to mentally prepare them for situations that may arise. Children gain experience vicariously through the stories we read. Children are able to learn from vicarious experience just as well as they learn from real ones. The only difference is that this kind of learning takes place in the safety of your home. For example, you could use a book about being bullied to teach your child what to do if and when they face such a situation. 3.The child has a model to follow. They identify with the characters in the book. Children make connections with the characters of the stories you relate. You can help them further by asking questions such as: Is there anyone in the book who reminds you of yourself?
    • How is that character like you?
    • Which character would you like to be?
    • Why would you want to be that character?
    • Relate the lesson to their own lives and experiences: Like the little pig who build a house of bricks (in the story of the Three Little Pigs), what would you do make your house strong?
    After reading the story of The Little Engine That Could, my daughter began to identify herself with the Little Blue Engine who said “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” It served to be a good model for her to follow at times when she felt inadequate. 4.Children remember stories better than they remember reprimands. It's a good way to catch their attention. In Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain (Addison-Wesley, 1994), Renate and Geoffery Caine states, "There is strong reason to believe that organization of information in story form is a natural brain process... In a nutshell, neuroscience is discovering that the brain is wired to organize, retain and access information through story. If that is true, then teaching through story means that students will be able to remember what is taught, access that information, and apply it more readily.” Maybe this is why children can rattle off dialogs from their favorite shows but can't remember what mom said about picking up their toys. 5.Allows for critical thinking. Stories are a safe way for children to explore emotions and behaviors. A book like Jane Simmons' Come Along, Daisy, encourages children to think about the importance of keeping close to parents when out and about . Use thought provoking questions that will lead them to identify problems and feelings such as “How did Daisy get separated from her mother?” and “What was Daisy feeling when she found her mother missing?” The best kind of teaching you can employ is to teach our children to be authors of solutions. Ask leading questions that will underscore the point of the story such as “How can Daisy avoid getting lost in the future?” What a boost it will be to your children to know they can come up with such genius solutions. Reading and sharing stories with your children can help you become a better parent. It opens the channel of communication and strengthens the parent-child bond. The magic of stories can be a powerful influence for good. Does that magic exist in your home? Start reading to your child today.

         
     
         
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