How to weave some magic for your young childtweet
If you are a new parent, you may be feeling weighed down with the responsibility of parenthood and wondering what you need to do to ensure a healthy balanced child? As a mother and grandmother myself, I always feel that there are 3 things that if you can bring your child up to enjoy then half the battle is won. They are like 3 magic ingredients and the great part about them is that they are easily available, inexpensive and parents and grandparents can be involved too.
A love of reading and books, a simple taste for drinking water and an enjoyment in helping things to grow (whether it be gardening, an awareness of the environment or a love of nature).
Let’s start with the reading because your baby is never too young to look at books.
From just a few weeks old, try to make it a daily habit to sit down with your baby on your lap and read aloud to him while showing the pictures in the book. An excellent website is http://www.readingfoundation.org/parents.jsp - they have lots of advice and guidance to give parents. Some of the interesting facts they tell you include:
- If you read aloud for 20 minutes every day with your child from birth to age 5, this provides 600 hours of essential pre-literacy preparation before entering school. But don’t stop then, the reading habit should continue throughout elementary school.
- Children whose parents read with them learn to read early and well. It’s as simple as that!
The Reading Foundation goes on to say: “Reading to your child from birth literally wires brain cells together in networks that later facilitate independent reading. Brain research shows that those linked brain cells enable a child to:
- Detect the different sounds in words (phonemic awareness)
- Recognize letters and develop strategies to figure out new words (decoding)
- Develop real-world understanding of what the words refer to (create contexts for understanding meaning)
- Build an oral and listening vocabulary (approximately 5,000 words by kindergarten)
Bonding with Books – reading together every day builds strong minds and strong relationships. Your child, snuggling in your lap, and enjoying your attention and laughter, is learning to love reading. As long as it is a happy experience there is no wrong way to read together. Reading aloud is practically free, you can do it anywhere, and children often beg for “just one more” story. Even parents who are not fluent readers can provide a good experience for their children by telling stories from their lives, from their imaginations or from pictures in wordless books. It is best to read to your child early and often, but it is never too late to start opening the reading door for your child.”
There is even a monetary value on reading to your child:
“Children who read succeed, in school and in life. The simple act of enjoying books together every day from birth through elementary school establishes essential reading skills while building warm relationships. Your love and time are priceless. The reading skills you nurture are worth a quarter of a million dollars. For every year you read with your child, average lifetime earnings increase by $50,000. You make a $250,000 gift to your child by reading aloud just 20 minutes a day!”
So even though this is not an expensive habit to instil in your child, it becomes an almost priceless investment. Encourage the giving of books to your child as presents instead of plastic throwaway-type toys and join a library for a constant variety of books at little or no cost.
On to number 2 on on our list – a taste for water. And I mean simple water out of the tap which you can easily filter to make it taste good. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice for an instant detox. You will be doing your child a great favour if you can instil a preference for water instead of other beverages. Of course they can drink fresh fruit juices and milk for variety and nutrition but please keep away from the harmful sodas. Go to my earlier blog for more information http://www.amoils.com/health-blog/?s=dying+of+thirst
Finally number 3 on the list – helping things to grow. I have a blog on gardening for children http://www.amoils.com/health-blog/?s=children+gardening but don’t forget to encourage a love of nature too. Did you know that September 25 2010 is Nature Rocks Day – a national day to get American families outside and enjoying nature together. For more information on this day, go to http://www.fws.gov/letsgooutside/
So add a little magic to your child’s life experiences with these 3 spells and see how you conjure up a special child!