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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Snack Right!

Kids do a lot of learning during their formative years, which is why parents should urge their children and encourage them to pick up healthy habits as they grow up and learn to take care of themselves on their own. Things like brushing teeth, drinking water, staying active, and reading are all great things that can help to improve a child’s life as they grow into independent individuals, but it is also important that children eat healthy, too. Having healthy eating habits is not just important in the sense that children should be able to make healthy decisions when they’re older when it comes to food, but eating a balanced diet is essential to a child’s growth and development overall as well.

Unfortunately, many parents fail to eat healthy themselves, whether it be due to busy schedules or otherwise, but there are some things that you can do in order to improve the overall eating habits of your entire family, including those of your children. Snacking is an important aspect of a person’s diet, especially since people tend to forget to count snacks among the other foods they eat because snacks do not necessarily constitute one of the three main meals of the day. But many people end up gaining a considerable amount of weight because of this oversight, and in general people may not fully pay attention to the sorts of snacks that they feed themselves - or their children, for that matter.

So what kind of snacks should you consider stocking up on? It helps to consider getting in all of the major food groups but also accounting for taste as well as the snack’s ability to keep you and your family full and satisfied overall.

1. Whole grain cereal. With a splash of milk, and fruit and nuts if you want to get creative, a bowl of whole grain cereal can make a great breakfast, snack, or even a dessert. This treat is packed with vitamins, calcium, and fiber, too.

2. Cheese. Sounds simple right? Try pairing this protein-rich snack with something like grapes or even salt-free pretzels to add some variety and keep kids full until dinner time.

3. Smoothies. Smoothies are a great, and fun, way to help get more vitamin-rich fruits into your kids’ diet. Add yogurt, protein, or even slip in some veggies - they won’t notice the difference. Smoothies can be especially fun if you add a silly straw or even a little umbrella. A smoothie is a definite treat, and a much better alternative to ice creams or milkshakes.

4. Yogurt. This dairy treat can come in all shapes and sizes. Plus, you can add fruit or even pop them in the freezer to make it a frozen summer treat!

5. Sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes can be more than just baked as it is at Thanksgiving - try making sweet potato chips or fries. They’re healthier than other bagged chips or even greasy french fries, plus they taste just as great dipped in ketchup!

6. Peanut butter. This childhood favorite makes a great snack, especially if you pair it with something like apple slices, or even get a little creative with celery and raisins as well.

There are plenty of other things that you can add to your pantry that is easy to grab and better for your health. Pay attention to ingredients, look out for preservatives, and make sure that you and your family aren’t mindlessly snacking, either. Fruits and veggies are always great options - cutting them up into easy-to-eat shapes, or fun shapes if you have the time, and placing them into little baggies ahead of time make them more appealing to children. Try pairing them together, too, or adding nuts and protein into the mix. Don’t be afraid to have some fun with dipping options like yogurt, peanut butter, or even protein spreads. You can even consider getting things like dried fruits, veggie chips and trail mix for when you’re on the go and in a pinch.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

How to Learn Reading Using Sound Reading and Phonemic Awareness

Reading is one of the most focused-upon areas of academia. It is the key to learning most anything else. The ability to read well, understand abstract concepts and to communicate effectively is essential not only in the academic world but in the world at large, so it is no wonder why reading skills are so heavily emphasized in school. So why aren’t more teachers and schools focusing on tactics that really help kids to read well?

Numerous studies have been conducted over the years testing the effectiveness of teaching methods and angles, and now there is software available that can help children to read better much more easily than ever before, the main problem being that many educators may simply not be aware that it exists.

Sound Reading Solutions is a revolutionary piece of software that focuses on phonemic awareness, something that many studies have shown other methods are lacking in. But what is phonemic awareness? Phonemic awareness is a subset of phonological awareness in which listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. For instance, you can separate the spoken word "cat" into three distinct phonemes, /k/, /æ/, and /t/. In order to do this, you need an understanding of phonemic awareness.

This sort of skill can be especially helpful for children reading words they have never read before, and may not even know at all, allowing them to sound out the words and create a sense of meaning within their minds regardless of their knowledge or lack thereof. Vocabulary building is essential, and many children can continue to learn larger concepts on their own, including words that they may not be familiar with, by gathering and insinuating some sort of meaning from phonemic understanding.

According to studies conducted by Vickie Snider, phonemic awareness has a direct correlation with a student's’ ability to read as they get older. Phonemic awareness builds a foundation for students to understand the rules of the English language, as well, which can be especially helpful with speaking, writing and communicating effectively. These sorts of skills also provide kids with skills that they can apply to increase their oral reading fluency and understanding of the text.

Sound Reading Solutions provides exercises and other helpful tools that allow children to build phonemic awareness at different grade levels, which can help them to become better readers overall. Sound Reading programs heighten speech and language abilities by teaching students the skills they need to read with ease and confidence.  We urge you to take a look at this software and see how it will help your child read easily and on their own.

Please be sure to check back here for reading tips and parenting resources on a weekly basis and KDNovelties.com for personalized books that promote literacy in a unique way.


Sound Reading Software from Sound Reading on Vimeo.






Thursday, July 7, 2016

Navigating Childhood Stress and Anxiety

Childhood Stress and Anxieties
Everyone has worries and fears, hopes and aspirations, and as children get older they develop in new and different ways. However most adults view a child’s life as easy compared to the lives they know in their own adult lives, but a child's worries and fears should never be taken lightly. Some fears are irrational, as far as adults are concerned, but when it comes to issues like monsters under the bed or the ominous feeling that comes with the night, it helps for parents to be supportive as well as informative, but in a delicate and understanding manner. There are also more troublesome anxieties that plague children that are serious no matter what the context, and it is absolutely vital that parents are aware of the effects these things can have on their children in the present and what that could mean for their future as well.

Bullying
Bullying is one of the major, as well as the most common issue that children face on a fairly regular basis. Whether your child is being bullied, has witnessed bullying or perhaps they even are the bully, it is important for parents to look out for the signs that something may be wrong at school or on the playground. Communication is key, and it is important that you open a line of dialogue with your child so that they are not afraid to come to you with issues or problems that they may be dealing with on a regular basis - which can be especially tricky when it comes to bullying as many kids may feel embarrassed or hurt by the events that take place outside the home.

If your child is bullied or is affected by bullying in any way, encouraging friendships and positive activities can work wonders. Having a support system and having a passion or favorite activity can be integral to building a strong sense of self-confidence. It can also be beneficial in a number of other ways, but these are great ways to make sure that your child feels safe, supported and strong.

Divorce or Marital Problems
As a parent, if you are in the midst of getting a divorce, are separated from your spouse or are having any other kind of marital issues, you may feel self involved and swept up in a way that affects you personally. But even if it feels as though this is an issue between you and your partner or ex-partner, children notice more things than many parents realize or are willing to admit. Verbal arguments or stressors put on your relationship can be visible and audible to your child, and it can certainly affect them and how they view you, themselves, and the world at large. Kids look to their parents as an example, so you may unknowingly be leaving a bad impression.

It is also important that parents understand not to hide things from their child as if it were a secret, but to explain and help them understand in a manner that makes sense to them. Be mindful of any arguments you get into and be aware of the things that you say. Getting a divorce or going through marriage troubles can be incredibly trying, but it is vital that you are aware of how this also affects your children as well.

Guns and Violence
With guns being in the news a lot lately, kids are likely to hear the stories and are not wrong for being worried about it. Many adults are worried too, and regardless of your stance on guns it can be scary to hear about all of the shootings and other gun related violence taking the media by storm. It helps to engage kids on the subject and teach them valuable life lessons that can keep them safe, just as it is smart to discuss a fire escape plan for your home. Educate yourself about emergency situations, where the safest places to go are and what sort of behavior you should assume. Make sure that you discuss these sorts of things with your entire family so that they have some idea about where to go in the event of an emergency, whether you are together or if you find yourselves apart. Make sure that children know who to contact or who to call, that they try to remain calm, and that they understand your family plan of action. See if you can attend any community events or seminars that cover situations like these where you can learn more and even meet police officers, fire fighters, volunteers and so on. Encourage your kids to ask them questions it may help them feel better and safe in the long run.

There are many other things that can worry children such as natural disasters, domestic abuse to name a few, but the most important thing to do as a parent is to make sure that you are open, honest, and understanding so that your child knows they can come to you for help with anything.

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