Bedtime Math + Summer Bridge Activities

[amazon asin=1620576112&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Nicole Green, VP of Communication, Carson-Dellosa Publishing, publisher of Summer Bridge Activities
Topic:
Preventing summer learning loss.
Issues: Reading comprehension; multiplication and division; social studies; grammar; character development, and more.


[amazon asin=1250035856&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Laura Overdeck, author of Bedtime Math.
Topic:
Making math fun.
Issues: Clever, smart ways to get kids interested in math; teaching math through stories; why it’s never too early to start math; why we should do math with our kids just like we read to them.

Kids need to lose weight? Let ‘em sleep on it.

Anytime the topic of childhood obesity (or adult obesity, for that matter) comes up, the top two solutions are always diet and exercise. But here’s the problem. Even though everyone knows about diet and exercise, they just don’t work. Despite the scare tactics about eating right and getting off the couch, there are three factors that are actually much more successful.

[Read more...]

When is reading with your kids like cigarette smoking?

Okay, provocative question, but I do have a point. When it comes to cigarettes, we all know what we should do: quit. And when it comes to reading to our children, we also know what we should do: story time for at least 20 minutes every night (or as close as you can).

So that’s why I was surprised to read about a new study done in London that found that less than a third of parents “read to their children every day and half say they are too busy to read and that work comes first.” And who’s to blame? Certainly not mom and dad.

The findings, commissioned for an annual search for new children’s authors, links the economic downturn with the decline of story time. Of 2,000 parents surveyed, 10 percent said they read to their kids only once a month, and another 10 percent say they never read to their children. “Half said their excuse for not reading was because they had been forced to work extra hours to cope with the rise in the cost of living.”

As someone who has read all of the Harry Potter books and all of the Series of Unfortunate Events books (13 of them) outloud to his kids at least twice, I’m pretty hard core when it comes to reading (I read to them and they read to me). You don’t have to be as obsessive as I am, but remember that kids who get read to when they’re young enter school better prepared and with larger vocabularies, do better in school, are more likely to graduate, and much less likely to get into trouble with the law (something like 75% of prison inmates have significant reading problems).

The full, gruesome article is here: www.indianexpress.com/news/parents-too-busy-to-read-bedtime-stories-to-their-kids/922737/0

Let Me Sleep on It…

Dear Mr. Dad: Our six-month old baby has some serious sleep problems. We’ve tried everything—different bedtimes, skipping naps so he’ll be extra tired, changing lullabies, having him nurse just before bed and putting him down asleep, even getting blackout curtains for his room, but he still gets up in the middle of the night and has a terrible time going back to sleep. My wife and I are both exhausted all the time. What can we do?

A: One of the most important things you can do is to establish a bedtime routine—and stick with it. Babies love—and crave—routines, and constantly changing what you’re doing will just confuse your baby and make it harder for him to figure out when to go to sleep. Actually, routines aren’t just for babies. If you’re like most adults, you probably have a nighttime routine of your own, a pattern of activities that you do to help get yourself ready for sleep: read a few chapters of a book, catch up on your DVR, maybe have sex. It’s pretty much the same for babies: bedtime routines make them tired because they associate the activities with sleep.

A routine doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be something as simple as a snuggle, a story, a minute or two of baby massage, a quick nightcap, and some peaceful music. The number and order of the activities aren’t important. Just make sure you’re consistent. Here are a few other ideas that should help.

  • Play a lot when he’s awake. Getting plenty of exercise during the day will help your baby sleep.
  • Don’t mess with the schedule. It might seem logical that skipping daytime naps would help your baby sleep more at night, but the opposite is true. Your baby takes naps because he needs them. When he doesn’t get enough rest during the day, all the extra dopamine and adrenaline running around his system will make it harder for him to fall asleep at night.
  • Make a distinction between day and night. During the day, you’ll pick up your baby, sing, clap, pay games, and do all sorts of things to engage him. In nighttime mode, you’ll do much less talking, much less physical activity, and generally tone things down.
  • Don’t go overboard. Turning the lights down and making the house a little quieter is fine, but you need a baby who can fall asleep with the lights on and some background noise. Trying for total silence and total darkness will backfire.
  • Put him to bed drowsy but not completely awake.
  • Be patient. Babies can be pretty noisy at night. And like us, they wake up many times and look around to make sure the world is still spinning on its axis. So before your dash in to respond to every whimper or cry, take a deep breath and wait a minute. Chances are your baby will fall back to sleep on his own.
  • Get the toys out. Some babies wake up at night, see all their toys, and decide that they want to play—and, of course, it’s more fun to play with you than alone.
  • Take turns. It’s very chivalrous of you to share the midnight wakeups with your wife, but don’t. Have her take the first few while you get some sleep. Then you take over in the early morning and let her sleep.

Speaking of toys, I just returned from a week in New York seeing (and playing with) hundreds of new toys and games I’ll be sharing some of the highlights over the next few weeks.