The new million dollar question in education has become, "Is my child ready for kindergarten?" As a kindergarten teacher since 1996, I would like to share some thoughts on when a child is ready.
Remember, all children are different and you never really know how a child will perform until they actually get to kindergarten, but I have noticed some definite attributes in children who do well, as well as in those who struggle.
Be mindful of your child's birthday. Children who will not turn 5 until after kindergarten starts are considered "young" and may struggle developmentally. I tell parents that regardless of how the child does in kindergarten; you must remember that they will be the youngest in the class for the next 12 years, which is almost never an advantage.
Most teachers who have children with fall birthdays hold them back a year. It's called "giving them the gift of time."
Consider your child's maturity. I explain the difference between "mature" and "immature" as a child who plays with dinosaurs or pretends to be a dinosaur. I am not suggesting that being immature is a negative thing; I am only suggesting that most of the "mature" children in kindergarten have probably already turned 5, and "immature" children might struggle socially.
Do not obsess over your child's academic ability. Where a child is academically is the least of my concerns when trying to decide whether or not they are ready for kindergarten. You truly never know how a child is going to perform academically until they actually get into kindergarten.
Consider where your child was the year before kindergarten. If they were in a preschool where the hours were significantly shorter than kindergarten, they might struggle with the longer day.
Consider the birth order of your child. Typically, a child with older siblings matures faster and is more independent than a first child.
How to Raise Children in a Cross-Cultural Marriage
By eHow Contributing Writer
As the global community becomes ever more connected, the number of intercultural marriages increases. This can be a great blessing for your children, who will have the opportunity to be bilingual or even fully bicultural.
Things You'll Need:
Foreign Language Tape
Decide with your spouse which culture you want to emphasize in your home, including which language the children will speak and which religion/customs they will be expected to practice.
If you decide to emphasize both cultures equally, consider whether you can spend equal lengths of time in your two countries so that your children will be truly bicultural.
If you have decided to emphasize one culture over the other, take time to explain the other now and then by cooking a typical meal, reading about religious rituals and customs, visiting museums, or attending cultural events/festivals.
Discuss your separate heritages in terms your small children will understand: refer to specific events in the lives of distant relatives they might know and love, or look at photos of trips you have taken together to one parent's homeland. As children get older, they may be more receptive to discussions about large cultural differences.
Consider giving your children an academic boost (and a lifelong advantage) by having each spouse speak his or her own native language to them. Small children will not become confused, but will learn both languages quickly and well.
Speak respectfully of your spouse's country of origin and religion whenever you can, and foster close relationships between your children and their relatives far away by exchanging letters and photos or making visits whenever possible.
Children are being preyed upon more than ever in today's world. The statistics of missing or murdered children are staggering. Safety education must go far beyond the "don't talk to strangers" admonition that has dominated parents' vocabulary for decades. This is primarily because many parents aren't sure what else to do. Here are a few key instructions on making children more aware of strangers that should help parents sleep easier at night.
Start with the first rule of safety--Never walk or play alone. Children should always have friends with them at the playground or walking with them to the bus stop or school. It is easy for a predator to grab one child, but it is true that there is safety in numbers. Other children serve as witnesses to an attempted abduction, or they will provide the necessary alert to area around them by calling for help. A person looking to harm a child is not going to want the added risk of other children being there to identify him.
Provide children with a specific definition of a stranger. The definition is simple: A stranger is someone your children do not know, period. It is not someone who is dressed in dark clothing and looks menacing. It can be anyone, even a person who looks like someone's sweet grandmother. Children need to understand that if they do not know the person, the person is a stranger and therefore potentially dangerous.
Explain the power of the voice. Kids are told all the time by their parents to quiet down or lower their voices in the house. That is because voices are distracting and draw attention like any other noise. In the event a child is approached by a stranger, the child should be ready to employ the loudest possible voice in order to bring attention to the fact that someone could be attempting to harm him. Teach kids that their voices are a weapon that can save their lives.
Demonstrate verbal boundaries. Children will be approached by potential predators in many ways. The first thing they must understand is that a predator will try to lure them with something irresistible, such as candy. The stranger may be on foot or in a car, but ultimately the goal will be the same--to get the child within arm's reach. Teach children that whenever a stranger approaches, no matter what the reason, to hold up both hands in front of them and yell, "STOP" as loudly as possible. If the stranger continues to come forward, the child should yell again, "STOP!" and "I DON'T KNOW THIS PERSON!" If the child is not within arm's reach of the stranger at this point, he or she should then turn and run, yelling as loudly as possible, "Help me, help me, stranger, stranger!" Naturally, this will alert any other adults or parents in the area to the situation and further ensure the safety of the child and possibly the capture of the predator.
Practice these tips regularly. At least once or twice a week, it is a good idea to refresh kids' memories on stranger awareness and verbal boundaries. The more they practice, the more confident they will feel if they are ever threatened. Remind them that a stranger will use lots of different, seemingly attractive ways to get their attention and lure them away from safety. Strangers can look like anybody, not just someone with a mean face. They can blend in well with any other person in public, but when they approach a child that doesn't know them, they should immediately be considered a threat to that child.
I love a sweet breakfast--and I know what it feels like to wake up and crave something sweet. However, once you get into the habit of including a little protein when you eat sweets, you will feel your cravings decreasing. Protein helps break the sugar habit. Your sweet tooth may not hit you every morning, but let's talk about what to do when it does. Maybe you want pancakes, a muffin or a pastry. That's fine. Here's how to do it.
If you want a pastry, stop and think how it will make you feel afterward. What do you have going on today and how will your choice affect you? If you can handle it, have a half of, say a donut or a chocolate croissant or whatever you like, but add some semblance of protein. Even better, have just two or three bites.
If you decide to eat something sweet for breakfast, you have to do one other thing. Have some protein. Without protein to slow down the absorption of all that sugar, you will probably crash later. Protein will help this breakfast stay with you longer, so have some walnuts, yogurt or cottage cheese.
Maybe you've decided to forget the donut or pastry. That doesn't mean you are going to forget your craving for something sweet. If you want a pancake or a waffle, by all means have one big one or two small ones. Eating a pancake or waffle in the right way can be a good choice. But you don't need a big stack of them.
Whole grain pancakes and waffles stick with you longer and give you more fiber and nutrition than those made with white flour—and they taste great too. Choose your topping sensibly. How about a drizzle of real maple or agave syrup? Or maybe you'd prefer a sprinkle of raw sugar or some all-fruit spread with a few walnuts or almonds. Adding fresh fruit and protein such as nuts and yogurt will keep you full longer.
The above are steps from my book, "Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself From a Lifetime of Dieting." You can find it wherever books are sold.
Remember, don't do it all. Don't add maple syrup, yogurt, nuts AND fruit. You CAN have it all, just not all at once!