Friday, January 28, 2011

Determining Your Child’s Potential to Begin Reading At an Early Age

Do you feel that your child is ready to begin reading? Children that get an early start with reading have a higher potential to excel in school, and a higher likelihood of completing college, compared to kids whom learn how to read when they are a little older. The following strategies can help you determine your child's early reading potential as well as his or her readiness:

Does Your Child Pretend that She or He is Reading?

Once children have actually gotten to the age that they are able to start reading on their own, they will first usually make believe that they are reading their picture storybooks. This will notably be the case in cases where you often read together.

Usually kids whom are ready to begin establishing early reading skills will sit down with a book and with their little finger, follow the words in a book, saying the story out loud. Of course, except in cases where it’s a story that they are very well acquainted with, what they will be saying will not match up with what is really displayed. This is however an excellent sign in children that they are capable of learning letters and will be able to learn how to put words together.

Recognizing Letters

Another very good tactic in assessing if your child is able to start building his reading skills is by if he has a tendency to identify letters of the alphabet by himself without any help from anyone.

Young children will usually point out letters that they are familiar with in their daily lives once they begin to understand the notion of letters and words – such as on street signs, on their food packages, in store windows, in magazines and everywhere else that they recognize them. Once your daughter or son is at this point, it is a great idea to encourage them in sounding out the letters they see phonetically. This will make it possible for them to further build their reading capabilities.

Additional Signs to Look For

Some other indicators to be on the lookout for to determine if your son or daughter is starting to develop the necessary skills to read are whether or not they understand just how a book actually works. Do they realize that if a book is upside-down that it needs to be flipped over so that they can read it? Do they realize that we read from left to right?

If he recognizes that you turn pages from front to back, and that the story is over once you close the book, odds are that he is starting to cultivate early reading skills, which you can build upon with ease.

Yet another excellent way to determine if the reading skills of your son or daughter are evolving is if he or she pretends to write. A great number of children will oftentimes pretend to write the letters in their own names before they are actually capable of forming the letters correctly.

One more matter that should be considered when evaluating your child's reading potential is his ability to pay attention. A young child that isn’t able to remain seated all the way through the complete reading of his most favorite story is most likely not quite prepared to start reading.

On the flip side, if you find that your child continuously requests that you read the story over again any time you wrap up his most favorite story, this is another great indication that he is prepared to learn how to read on his own.

Remember, every child is unique. If your child is simply not ready to begin reading on his own at an early age, don’t push it. If you do so, the chances of that backfiring on you are very high.

Bonnie Lim is the founder of A Kid Place. Check out their blog at as well as their online store at

Monday, January 24, 2011

How To Instill Healthy Eating Habits in Your Kids

A healthy diet is essential for people from all walks of life, and if we start our children out right, it will be so much easier in the long run. Also, as our children grow older and become more independent, it will be so much harder to teach them about healthy eating. So, it is of utmost importance that we instill healthy eating habits in our children at a young age. The following simple tips will help you do just that for your children:

Set an example

Children love to mimic mom and dad. And when it comes to diet, they tend to follow what their parents do. Eat well-balanced meals and your children are likely to follow suit and this will carry on into their adulthood.

Plan meals together

There is nothing children love more than cuddling up with their mom or dad with a good book. Why not pour through a cookbook that is filled with healthy recipes and pick out a new recipe together to make once a week? If that’s just not doable, then every 2 weeks – whatever works best for your family. This should be fun, not stressful.

Involve your children in the preparation of meals

Children love working alongside their mothers and fathers, why not allow your child to be your little helper in the kitchen? Using a strong and durable step stool such as the Guidecraft Kitchen Helper Stool, little ones can safely reach the sink where they can wash fruits and vegetables, or countertops where they can measure and mix ingredients together. Make sure to announce to everyone at the table that your child helped cook the meal. That will make your child feel so proud and so much more likely to eat it and especially if it’s from a recipe that you picked out together.

Eat together as a family

Eating together as a family is so important and sadly, more and more families are abandoning this wonderful, time-honored tradition. Not just for healthful eating habits, studies have shown that children who come from homes where meals are not eaten together as a family, are more likely to make poor choices in other areas of their lives. They are more apt to smoke, drink or experiment with drugs than those who sit down for dinner with their families.

Eating together as a family is a time for connecting and sharing your days with one another. When children share dinner time with their families, it provides them with the feeling of belonging and being accepted. They just won’t get that if dinner consists of a quick, greasy meal from the local fast food joint. Research shows that more fruits and vegetables are consumed by families that eat together.

Turn off the television

When people eat in front of the television, they become unaware of just what they are eating and how much of it. And even if the whole family is together, it’s not quality time if everyone is tuned into the tv, instead of one another.

Positive communication with their families helps foster positive relationships that will help children and parents talk through tough issues when they arise.

Indulge now and then

Like all things in life, it’s important to have a balance. If you completely deprive your kids of certain foods, they most likely will have even more of a desire for it as most of us always want what we can’t have. By allowing them to indulge once in a while, they will be less likely to over-indulge when they are older and away from you.

Bonnie Lim is the founder of A Kid Place. Check out their blog at as well as their online store at

Monday, January 17, 2011

How to Get Toddlers to Eat Healthy

The toddler years can be one of the most difficult periods for most parents to go through. That is due to the fact that such young children are only just figuring out how to communicate with others, but can easily and frequently become distressed when we don’t fully understand them. Another contributing factor is the simple fact that toddlers are learning how to express their feelings more openly, which can often times result in pouting or throwing a temper tantrum. Due to the toddler’s discovery of independence, one of the most trying issues most parents deal with is getting their toddler to eat healthy. In fact, getting toddlers to eat healthy often times calls for imaginative and creative thinking on mommy’s part.

One of the easiest approaches of getting your little one to consume nutritious foods is by allowing him or her to exercise his or her her newly found independence by making choices. This doesn’t suggest that you bring her to the grocery store and allow her to choose each and every thing that she desires. You do need to guide her. For example, while you are in the food store, present her with the choice of getting apples or grapes. Then, whichever she chooses will go in the shopping cart. These are each wholesome foods that she can have at snack time. So, when snack time comes around, grab the fruit and say excitedly, “Look! Let’s eat the _____ you picked out!” Most of the time, your child will be delighted to eat the food she helped pick out.

Another way to get your tot to eat healthy and well-balanced meals is to prepare food creatively. For example, many moms are learning how to get their fussy kids to eat vegetables by pureeing them and mixing them in with foods they love. A great example of this is pureeing butternut squash and mixing it in with the cheese mixture for macaroni and cheese. Or you can sneak a bit of cauliflower in with mozzarella cheese in a homemade pizza or mix it in with mashed potatoes. Add vegetable juice to meat by injecting it in with a flavor injector. Yet another good idea is to add a little bit of raw spinach to fruit smoothies – I”ve been doing this for years without detection. While these ideas may be brand new to you, there are, in fact, several cookbooks out there containing tasty recipes using these methods.

Just like each and every child is completely unique, there are many different things that will work for each girl or boy. And so, when healthful eating is your mission, find things that work and use them for as long as you possibly can. You might have to adjust strategies in the future, but until that time occurs, remain consistent with what works well for your children.

Bonnie L. is the founder of A Kid Place, visit at and check out our blog at