Monday, August 15, 2011

Do You Ever Feel Like Yelling?

I have to say that I don't as much as my mom did. Maybe as generation go by, we'll work our way down to minimal yelling! I'm a minimal yeller. Meaning, I don't do it that often.

Yelling in a fit of rage is not good for anyone. Especially for a baby to hear! How do you, or I overcome the urge to yell?

Here are 10 tips that have helped with our family (not that we're perfect): 
  1. When you want your older kids to get something done, whisper. Whispering is sacred to kids, they love a secret, so they are more apt to do what you want them to do.
  2. Play music when it's time to get household tasks accomplished. Kid's get really into listening to music. When it's playing, it lifts the spirit a little more. It makes the dreaded task much more fun. Try and see how much a kid can do before a song finishes up.
  3. Set the timer. This works for kids older then age 5. They may not know how to tell time yet; they do know when something starts it has to finish. If you show them a timer, and explain how it works they will be more motivated to get the job done in a timely fashion.
  4. Clean with your kids. Sometimes tasks are HUGE in a child's eyes. They need a little help.
  5. Break up. Have one parent do one task, while the other does something else with the kids. Then you feel like you get something done.
  6. Take a timeout yourself. Sometimes even parents need one!
  7. Praise your kids for doing things right. Then they won't feed off of negative behavior.
  8. I know some people are very anti counting, but if it works for you do it! We do.
  9. Give one instruction at a time. My oldest really needs this break down! He is single task minded.
  10. If you feel like yelling, you still can. It's not that you yell, it's that you are directing your anger out on your children. Have a yelling match just for fun. The kids will think this is fun. They won't think you are yelling at them. **Don't do this one around a baby. They won't enjoy it. Go outside and yell!

Too much yelling can be counter productive. Over yelling can be just as harmful as physical abuse. “Children can become immune to being yelled at and start to tune it out,” according to psychologist Myrna B. Shure, Ph.D., of Drexel University.

By Alissa
Alissa teaches at The Creative Center in Omaha Nebraska. It is an art college. She loves being a mom, decorating sugar cookies, discussing the topic of breastfeeding and blogging.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Entertain Your Baby with a Variety of Baby Games

Our children and their education are a big priority for most caring parents. The days when a child had to wait to go to primary school without having anything to do have now long gone, thanks to the many baby games available. These games are meant to keep your baby busy and at the same time, educate the little one before he or she attends pre-school. There are a variety of games and activities for your baby such as arts and crafts, coordination and movement, outdoor activities, kitchen fun and educational toys that include listening, speaking, and connecting.
Babies, even little kids are mostly fascinated by toys, even if the toys or games are very straight forward and do not do a lot of things. However, most parents nowadays would prefer to do educational activities with their children such as arts and crafts activity that is called Floor Art. This activity suits any gender of babies and takes about 15 – 20 minutes to execute and here are the directions to the game. This arts and crafts activity will teach your toddler the common shapes such as triangle, circle, square etc.
You will need a large piece of paper that is taped to the floor, a box of crayons or felt pens and a masking tape. This type of activity provides your baby to experience a new dimension in scribbling by utilizing his or her whole body, unlike other arts and crafts which only use the arm, to shift the paper around. Once the paper is taped to the floor, begin drawing together by moving around as much as needed. For an extended version of this activity, you may cut several pieces of butcher paper into basic shapes like the triangle, circle, square, rectangle and more. Then, tape all the edges down with a masking tape and draw the shapes. You can plan this activity with your toddler on a sidewalk or driveway by substituting the crayons or felt pens with chalk.
Some other popular baby games that you can play with toddler is the body parts activity. This activity takes about 5 to 10 minutes to play. You will need nose tissues to play with your toddler. There are many body parts as well as news words to learn and this game allows your toddler to learn all the body parts such as eyes, nose, knees, legs and many more.
Simply call out the body parts and put the tissues on the spot of the body parts called out on your toddler. After you are done with your turn, let your toddler have his or her turn by calling out the body parts to you, and then check if you have put the tissue on the correct body parts. Play around by making a few obvious mistakes so that your toddler will know which body part is which. You can also use dolls or stuffed animals to identify the body parts together. Educational baby games are great and beneficial to both parents and child as these types of games are able to prepare your baby for pre-school or kindergarten.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Think Outside the Box!

On super hot days and throughout the summer months, it’s important as parents to ensure children don’t get too much exposure to the sun’s harmful rays.  On these hot days when the temperature rises, there are still a lot of ways to have fun indoors and beat the heat without camping out in front of the TV– It just takes a little planning and a lot of imagination! Here are some fun suggestions to get you started.

Build a Blanket Fort
Hand your kids some blankets, sheets, and close-pins and let their imaginations run wild! The best thing about a blanket fort is all the fun they will have inside of it. Reading a book, playing cards, or drawing pictures becomes so much more magical inside a blanket fort. Cardboard box forts are also a great activity that will keep kids entertained for hours! See the attached example on how to build your own!

Cardboard Box Fort Ideas

Founded in 2009, Kid Ventures was the creation of Debbie & Darren Solomon.  After spending over 15 years working with children and with two little ones of their own, this duo knew exactly what they wanted in a kids indoor play facility - a clean and safe environment, creative and innovative play structures and a place where parents could enjoy a bit of down time knowing their kids were having fun in a secure setting.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fun Ideas for Family Night

Keeping the family together and having fun can sometimes be an overwhelming task. Often time, life gets a little hectic and in the midst of all the craziness we forget to spend time with the people we love most. Running from one activity to the next can be easily have us feeling rundown and exhausted. It’s important to set aside time for the whole family to be together. A time where you can grow as a family, improve your relationships, and have some fun together.
By setting aside one night a week or even one night a month you can really solidify your family relationships. Even teenagers who usually want to be alone can learn to enjoy time with their family. Maybe you have a child who is behaving poorly. You can use a family night to express your love and better understand what you can do to work with that child better. So here are a few simple ideas that you can use to have some on your next family night:
  • Mini-Golf Anyone? Going to a mini-golf course is a great way for everyone to get out and have some fun together. Chances are you’re not raising a family of Phil Mickelson’s, so don’t worry if you take some terrible shots or lose a ball in the fountain; it’s about being able to laugh at yourself.
  • See a Sporting Game- While it may be a bit pricey to take the whole family to a playoff game. A regular season baseball game shouldn’t be too outrageous to handle. In fact a lot of baseball stadiums offer $1 seats. They may be far away, but the kids won’t care too much as the excitement of a major league game is felt throughout the entire stadium. Plus with all the money you save on tickets you can afford to get hot dogs and snacks for everyone.
  • Board Games and Dessert- No need to leave home for this one. Grab some of the classic board games and pull out the ice cream. Remember that you’re family and you all know each other. There’s no reason to get fancy or formal. Just have some fun playing board games and finish things off with a dessert that everyone will love.
  • Go for a Hike- Hit the trails for a little family adventure. You don’t have to do anything too technical but getting out and exploring things is a great way to mix it up. If hiking isn’t your thing you can build a fire outside and make some smore’s. The fire is a great way to talk and open up to each other.
As parents it’s normal to want to protect your children. Of course you can’t follow them every time they leave the house to stop them from drinking and driving or making other bad decisions. You can however, help them understand how much you care about them and help them see the importance of spending a little time together as a family. Ultimately no matter what your situation is, with a little planning and preparation you can make your next family night something that everyone can love.

Micah Castro is a freelance writer for JacksonWhite attorneys at law. JacksonWhite has experienced dui attorneys in Mesa AZ that can handle your case with precision and sensativity.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pregnant? Tips for finding the perfect midwife

Olivia blogs about fertility, pregnancy, and babies at Trying To ConceiveShe chose midwifery care for her own two births

If you are expecting a baby and think midwifery care might be the best match for you, starting the search for the perfect midwife early on is a good idea. It is never too early to start looking for the right midwife for you, and some couples commence their search as soon as they start using an ovulation calendar!

Whether you are hoping to give birth with a midwife in a hospital, a birth center, or at home, there are many questions to consider before choosing your midwife or midwifery practice. Which questions will help you get as much information about your midwife and the care she provides as possible?

  1. What are your credentials? Where did you train to be a midwife?

Not all midwives have the same training. In the US, there are essentially two kinds of midwives. A CNM, certified nurse midwife, has a nursing degree and went on to specialize in midwifery. Certified professional midwives (CPMs) often learned their trade as an apprentice. In the latter case, asking how long they have been practicing as well as how many births they attended will give you some insights.

  1. Who will attend my birth? Do you have a back-up?

Some midwives, esspecially homebirth midwives, work independently. With this kind of midwife you can expect your midwife, perhaps with an assistant or apprentice, to attend your delivery. If you choose a larger midwifery practice, a birth center, or a hospital you are likely to receive prenatal care from rotating midwives, and your birth will be attended by the midwife on shift when you go into labor.

If you choose an indepdent midwife, ask who her back-up is if you go into labor when she is attending another birth. It might also be helpful to know how many clients she has taken on in the month you are due.

  1. How many of your clients transfer to OB care, and for what reasons?

You might feel like you are putting the midwife you are interviewing on the spot with this question, but it gives you some very important information. For what reasons does your midwife normally transfer clients? Does she have a back-up obstetrician she works with?

  1. What kind of prenatal care do you provide?

Some midwives are happy with providing minimal prenatal care, and are willing to follow their clients’ lead. Other require ultrasounds, and routine blood and urine tests. No matter what kind of prenatal care you personally feel comfortable with, finding a midwife who is close to you in her views will be invaluable. You also want to find out where prenatal appointments take place, and wherther your midwife is able to react in cases of emergency, like when you are experiencing unusual pregnancy signs, at any time during the day or night – and whether prenatal care is included in the overall fee, or charged separately.

  1. Which birth complications do you most commonly see? How do you handle complications?

This question will give you great insights into your midwife’s experience and ability. It will also enable you to find out how she handles certain complications. Along with these questions, you can also ask about your midwife’s mortality rate.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

How Too Much Time Indoors Can Affect Your Childs Development.

It’s a well-known fact that today’s children are spending too much time inside, and not enough time making the most of the great outdoors and enjoying the fresh air.
It appears that there are three primary reasons behind this: modern technologies have led to an indoor environment that is rife with ‘entertainment’. Where in twenty or thirty years ago children had to put their minds to creating their own entertainment, homes are now filled to the rafters with ready-made sources. Additionally, parents are busier than ever and simply don’t have the time to head outdoors with their children or interact with them in ways that will benefit their health and development. Parents today also fear for their children’s safety. They worry they may get hit by a car or kidnapped by a stranger of rogue intentions. Due to these fears they are reluctant to let them leave the house without their supervision.
Yet are these small dangers worth the much higher risk that a childhood indoors may impact negatively on their health?
Our children of today are becoming ever more overweight and unfit. While many people like to blame this on the modern fast food culture, McDonalds and the like are far from the only scapegoat - the lack of physical activity most children undertake is equally, if not more-so a culprit.
Children who spend too much time indoors are also more prone to developing allergies and other infections, particularly if they are living in overly sanitised homes.
Activities outdoors additionally help children to develop confidence, creativity, independent thinking and resourcefulness. This is in opposition to children that spend their youth fixated on a television screen wherein none of these attributes will be formed or honed.
The best way to instil a love of the outdoors in children is for the parents to get outside with them. Even those who reside in climates that are less suited to an outdoor lifestyle can still embrace the world beyond the sofa if they utilise the right clothing and equipment. For instance, kids waterproof trousers and jackets can keep them warm, dry and comfortable whatever the weather. Ideally kids waterproof trousers and jackets should be worn in combination with a pair of wellington boots, and if the weather is particularly bad the outfit should be sealed together as securely as possible.
If suitable clothing is not worn, children may become unhappy - not a state of mind that is akin to transforming them into new fans of the outdoors.
If your child is really starting to show a love of exploring and playing in the open air you could take it to the next step and encourage them to get involved in some outdoor sports, or even water sports. Parents can invest in childrens wetsuits for a relatively small amount of money. The child is then able to participate easily in all manner of water sports from kayaking to scuba diving and even surfing.
There are a couple of precautions that should be taken by any parent choosing to venture outdoors with their children. Make sure the children know what they are to do should they become lost. A fantastic idea is to fit them with a wristband with your mobile number on it – however ensure to keep your mobile charged, or you’ll have to head home before you can do anything to locate the lost little ones. Alternatively, you could arrange a clear meeting spot (though this isn’t advisable if your children are very young). This entails locating a land mark that is visible from all locations and agreeing that all the family will head to that point should someone get lost.

This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Little Terra. Amy writes on a variety of topics including how a childhood indoors can affect the development of a child.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Understanding ADHD: Truth & Myths

ADHD is a term that’s thrown around so frequently these days, we all assume we know what it means. Used to apply to everyone from a kid who misbehaves in school to an adult who has trouble focusing on a single TV or computer screen at a time, ADHD is actually a clinical diagnosis. Learning more about what ADHD is – and isn’t – can help you determine if you or someone you love warrants further testing. 

ADHD stands for “attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder.” In common parlance, it’s used interchangeably with ADD, which stands for “attention deficit disorder.” However, this term refers to cases where there’s attention deficit, but no hyperactivity involved. 
From a layperson’s point of view, ADHD means the person – often a child -- has problems concentrating and paying attention. 

Of course, that can be applied to pretty much any child over the course of a typical day. What sets people with ADHD apart is that the area of the brain responsible for clarity, mental focus and activity is actually wired differently. What that means is that even when you try to “settle down,” your mind just doesn’t want to comply. You can tell yourself to relax, focus, and pay attention, but you just can’t make your mind and body comply.
So from an outsider’s perspective, how do you tell if your child is just suffering from normal “wigglies,” or really has ADHD? Let’s take a look more closely.
There are three main components of ADHD: hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. Each has similar symptoms but they can be distinguished enough to determine if your child has one, two or all of the components.
Signs of hyperactivity include: 
difficulty sitting still, frequent fidgeting and squirming uncontrollably
the inability to stay seated, even when they’re instructed to stay still
inappropriate behavior like climbing or playing at inappropriate times, or on inappropriate objects like chairs or desks
problems playing quietly when requested 
incessant talking even when instructed to be quiet

Signs of inattention include:
trouble staying on task for even short periods of time
lack of attention when you are speaking to them
issues with staying organized at school, work and home
forgetfulness regarding assignments, requests, chores, homework, etc. 
easy distractability when performing a task

Signs of impulsivity include:
difficulty waiting in line
blurting out of answers in class or in meetings even when not called on
constant interruption of conversations

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition affecting as many as 10 percent of children in the United States. It is an often misunderstood disorder, with its associated “bad behavior” blamed on poor child-rearing, lack of discipline, or just plain orneriness. But ADHD is a clinical disorder – so what causes it?
ADHD affects the centers of the brain responsible for concentration and activity. 
Different pathways in the brain are controlled by neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that attach to specific sites on brain nerve cells to bring about a response. For instance, dopamine is a neurotransmitter that attaches to sites in the brain that are responsible for attention. When enough dopamine attaches properly, then the brain can receive and react to instructions to pay attention to what is going on. In a child showing signs of ADHD, the levels of dopamine are lower, leading researchers to determine that low levels of certain neurotransmitters are present in children with ADHD. 

A child without ADHD can be taught to sit still during test time or to play quietly, while a child with ADHD can hear the same instructions but be unable to comply. This apparent misbehavior is not a result of naughtiness. The child may want to sit quietly and may know he needs to do so, but simply cannot. As a result, the child feels frustrated, angry at himself, and shame and sadness, particularly if he’s scolded or punished for his behavior. 

Now on to the question that most parents have: What causes ADHD to appear in some people but not others? Unfortunately, that’s a question researchers are still struggling to determine. 
What researchers do know is that there is a marked difference between genders. Boys are more than twice as likely to become affected by ADHD as girls. And, of the 10 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD, about half of them will continue to show signs as adults.
Another factor researchers have discovered involves ADHD and twins. If one identical twin is diagnosed with the condition, there is almost 100 percent likelihood that the other identical twin will develop ADHD as well. For non-identical twins, the probability drops to one-third., still significantly higher than the 10 percent occurrence in the general population. 
Scientists are researching many different avenues. For instance, is premature birth associated with higher occurrences of ADHD? If so, then the brain development in later stages of pregnancy might have some bearing on ADHD. 

The fact that there is no definitive cause for ADHD can be frustrating to parents and children alike. Even so, there are treatments that are designed to improve the quality of life for those diagnosed with ADHD. 
Like many other conditions, ADHD involves a variety of symptoms and attributes, making it impossible to diagnose with a simple blood test. Instead, diagnosis requires a group of trained professionals, a variety of criteria, and the observations of parents or other adults. 
Before a child is diagnosed with ADHD, he or she will likely meet with more than one professional. There are psychologists, counselors, medical doctors and other specialists in behavioral disorders involved. The process can sometimes be a tough or extensive one, but have patience.

Since all children are known to act out, one challenge with ADHD children is knowing when they are being affected by their condition and when they are simply being an adolescent or a teenager with angst. Both parent and child will learn how to:

Set goals for home environment
Set specific rewards and also consequences for certain behaviors
Follow through with those rewards and consequences consistently

Counseling is always a help to families with children who have been diagnosed with ADHD. Behavior modification works best when a child is first diagnosed so that both parent and child learn from the beginning how to cope and live with ADHD.

Nutritionists and doctors have been exploring the relationship between food and ADHD. Before you adopt any of these dietary suggestions for yourself or your child, please check in with your medical professional. 
Our understanding of how food affects every organ in our bodies has grown more sophisticated over the past decade. The affect of our diet on our brain is no exception. 
Blood flows through each organ, tissue, bone and bodily organ. Since the brain is the center of the ADHD’s challenge, any nutrients that promote brain health are the ones that you want to get into your body. The brain is made up of nerve cells that pass electrical signals from one to the other, creating learning pathways. The cells are insulated by myelin sheath. 

Here are some foods that can be included in the diet to help improve the health of the brain. Know this: There is no miracle cure for ADHD. Increasing proper nutrition not only helps the brain to function better but also the rest of the body. And, a healthy body is better equipped to deal with anything.

One of the main nutrients you can focus on is omega-3 fatty acids, and cold water fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines are filled with omega-3s. These acids have been shown to increase immunity, heart health, brain development and hormone balance in the body. 

In the brain, omega-3 fatty acids help to nourish the myelin sheath. This can potentially help electrical impulses pass quicker from neuron to neuron. Other sources of these fatty acids include nuts, flaxseed oil, flax seeds and linseed oil.

Protein builds muscle tissue. Consuming protein with as little fat as possible is best. Try eating eggs, beans, meat and nuts. 

Complex Carbohydrates
Simple carbs contain more sugar and can contain more fat. Eating too much fat can block the absorption of the good nutrients that the brain needs. Lower your fat content with complex carbohydrates: green leafy vegetables, whole grains and fruits like apples, pears and grapefruit.

Certain foods may make the condition worse for sufferers of ADHD. For instance the body of an ADHD child seems to lack the enzyme to properly break down the protein casein found in milk, which can cause gastrointestinal discomfort.
High fat and processed foods are not good for anyone, but as mentioned above, they can block important nutrients from being absorbed and used by the body. Limit or eliminate trans fats, saturated fat foods, processed sweets and fatty meats.
Diet is not the entire picture but it does help in many ways. If a child has been diagnosed with ADHD, choosing the proper foods is an important first step. 

Due to popular media and lack of accurate information, misconceptions about ADHD are widespread. Misconceptions can bring about heartache and make it harder for the child to adjust to their condition. Here are some common myths and the truth behind them.

Myth #1 – ADHD is not real
ADHD is a condition that affects how the brain works, especially in the center that controls concentration, focus and activity. Scientists don’t know what causes ADHD, but they are gaining insights into how the brain works and conditions that can interfere with its proper functioning. But they do know that ADHD is a true disorder that begins in early childhood (ages 5-8) and can last into adulthood.

Myth #2 – ADHD gives kids unfair advantage in school
ADHD is a classified disability according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Because the brain functions differently in individuals with ADHD, it is hard for them to concentrate, stay organized, comply with classroom rules and participate in group activities. Classroom modifications make it easier for the child to take advantage of the same opportunities that other kids have. Without such modifications, it is harder for children with ADHD to learn successfully in the school environment.

Myth #3 – ADHD is caused by bad parenting
ADHD begins in the brain. Parenting is not an exact science but it doesn’t lower the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. Your parenting skills will need to move up a notch when it comes to facing the challenges of ADHD, but you didn’t cause the condition to affect your child in the first place.

Myth #4 – ADHD medication is over-prescribed
In fact, medication might be under-prescribed. Medications are not cheap and some groups based on socio-economic status are underrepresented in the diagnostic statistics. For example, minority children are less likely to seek treatment options due to cost, language barriers, availability and lack of perceived need (stigma that may surround the condition).

Myth #5 – ADHD is a childhood condition 
Many adults who have concentration issues and trouble holding down a job may be the outcome of a lack of diagnosis as a child. Children with severe ADHD symptoms will more than likely have to deal with the condition as an adult. Changes in their behavior and medication in childhood can translate into an easier transition into adulthood.

Myth #6 – ADHD children are disabled for life
A disability is a part of you, but not who you are totally. ADHD doesn’t define your future when you use all the resources at your disposal to fight back. Several famous people who were diagnosed with ADHD were able to make their “disability” work for them, including George Bernard Shaw, Benjamin Franklin, Mozart and Abraham Lincoln. But you don’t have to be famous to make a success of your life with ADHD.

It is true that ADHD is a challenging condition, but one that can be managed with empathy and hard work. And as researchers learn more and more about how the brain works, new treatments and options will emerge over time. 

** Please note every effort has been made to include accurate information, but further research and the advice of a physician is highly recommended before starting any of the workout plans/stress management ideas listed in the articles

Monday, May 16, 2011

3 Sprouts Wall Organizers

 3 Sprouts Wall Organizers

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Does your child have a place for imaginative play?

Imaginative play is an important part of childhood. Not only is it fun for children but it is also an essential part of learning and developing. Children learn about themselves, about their world, and lay the groundwork for their future through imaginative play. Yet too many children are not encouraged to use their imagination through play. There are three essential ways you can encourage imaginative play in your child -- by providing the place, the time, and the supplies. 

Does your child have a place for imaginative play? Is there somewhere, even the corner of a room, where they can build a block city or shape play dough monsters? Can they assemble all their stuffed animals into a school or all their cars into a parade? While children should be encouraged to pick up after themselves sometimes it takes a while to build the city of their dreams and they want time to play with it again. Try to strike a balance between your need for order and their need for imaginative play. Give them a day or so to create a complex setting for their imaginative play before forcing them to put away their toys. 

Does your child have the time for imaginative play? It is amazing how many young children have a very full schedule. While many of these activities are likely required, such as school or day care, and many are also desirable, such as sports or clubs, it is also important that children be given the opportunity for free, unstructured play that allows the opportunity for imaginative play. It is not desirable that every moment of every day be structured and planned. Children who are not given the opportunity to exercise their imagination run the risk of losing the ability to use it at all. 

Does your child have the supplies for imaginative play? As we know from our own childhood that imaginative play does not require extensive and elaborate supplies, but children do need access to objects they can use. A complex wardrobe is not necessary but a few items can be helpful. A bath towel might be a king's robe or a super hero's cape or swaddling for a baby. A cardboard tube from wrapping paper might be a sword, the container for a secret map, or a spyglass. A cardboard box might be everything from a treasure chest to a race car. Provide a few basic supplies and try not to be too suggestive in their use. Children will do better if allowed to give their imagination free rein without your interference and control. 

Imaginative play can be a wonderful opportunity for your child to not only enjoy their childhood but also to learn and grow as people by trying on different roles such as parents, cooks, police officers, and firefighters but also to experience safe adventures as pirates, explorers and paleontologists. Imaginative play should be encouraged in children by allowing them the place, the time, and the supplies for imaginative play.

By Deanna Mascle - Researcher, Teacher and Writer

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Music and Children Development.

Music Training Roadblocks: How to Jump-Start Your Child’s Development
By Kimberly Sena Moore, MM, MT-BC

There has been lots of buzz about music training and child development over the past several years. Researchers who specialize in “music neuroscience” are finding all sorts of positive benefits for children when they are musically trained.

For example, did you hear about the article published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience in 2010? Two researchers from Northwestern University, Kraus and Chandrasekaran, found that children who had music training showed cognitive improvements in several non-musical areas--speech, memory, language, attention, and vocal emotion.

There are other studies, too. In 2009, Hyde and others published a study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences that explained how music training changed a child’s brain, enhancing motor and auditory processing areas. And in that same journal, again in 2009, Trainor, Shahin, and Roberts reported findings from their study that showed how music training improved executive functioning skills (e.g. planning, decision making, goal setting) in young children.

So music training is good for our children and their development. This is all well and good…but what about reality? In our super-busy, over-extended, over-booked lives, is it really possible to fit in one more thing?

Dr. Christine Carter, a fellow blogger for Psychology Today, wrote about her own experience introducing music into her children’s lives. She brought up some challenges I'm sure many parents face:

   1. Little to no interest from her children.
   2. Money for lessons and instruments.
   3. Time issues.

These are valid concerns (that, incidentally apply not only to music training, but to any kind of activity a child is involved in--dance, soccer, swimming, theatre, etc.). So here are some ideas that I hope will address concerns you may have:

Little to No Interest

The most important step is to find the right teacher. I don't believe you should force your child to do anything they truly don't want to do. That said, finding a good music teacher can make all the difference in the world. For beginning students (no matter the instrument), you need to find a teacher who will make learning fun and enjoyable.

So where do you find these fabulous teachers? The easiest way is to ask for referrals. Talk to other parents and to school teachers (especially music teachers) to see who they'd recommend. Visit your local music store--many offer private lessons. Also, have a trial lesson with a new teacher--better yet with multiple new teachers!

I cannot stress enough the importance of that first teacher. You want to find someone who will excite that passion for learning in your son/daughter. You want to find the "right" fit.


As a relatively new parent myself, I'm starting to find that you sometimes need to pick and choose what you spend your money on. When it comes to music training, money will be spent primarily on lessons and on instruments.

The good news about lessons is that most new students start at 30 minutes/week (Though Dr. Carter quoted Dr. Kraus as saying that 20 minutes of "music lessons" a day was necessary. Yet I've never known anyone to have daily "lessons"--daily practicing, yes, but weekly lessons are the norm. But I digress...). A 30-minute lesson can cost as little as $15, which may be work-able in many family budgets.

When it comes to instruments, you don't have to buy right away. Many music stores offer rental programs and possibly even discounts if you take music lessons with them. Also, if your child is looking at a school music program, the school may have an instrument for your child to "check out" for the year. Finally, there's always Ebay and Craigs List (the latter being how my husband and I found the beautiful 6-foot Yamaha grand that sits in our living room now).

So, with a little digging and a dash of creativity, you have options for providing lessons and instruments…without breaking the bank.


They say to choose your time carefully--it's the only thing you'll never get back. And many families today are very, very busy.

Here’s a breakdown of your time commitment. Generally, a beginning student will be asked to practice 20-30 minutes a day. Intermediate students maybe 45-60 minutes a day and advanced students 1-3 hours a day (of course, by the time you get to be an advanced student, you've likely been bit with the music "bug" and love practicing that much!).

There will also be weekly lessons. They tend to start at 30-minutes a week, then get longer as your child improves and grows. The maximum lesson time, which starts around high school, is 60 minutes.

Finally, if your child belongs to a school ensemble (band, orchestra, or choir) there will be periodic concerts and, especially in high school, before- or after-school practicing. But the time commitment there varies incredibly from school to school and program to program.

The take-home lesson? There is a minimal time requirement for beginning students. And, as with any other activity, the time commitment will grow as your child improves in his/her skills.

I firmly believe--as a mother, musician, and therapist--that music training is one of the best things you can provide for your child. I hope these bits of information help ease the process and jump-start your child's musical training.

UPDATE: The research keeps pouring in! A study was published just days after this article was submitted that showed a correlation between music training and cognitive performance--even decades later! You can read more about it here.

About the Author
Kimberly Sena Moore is a board-certified music therapist, a mommy, and a soon-to-be-PhD candidate. She writes about music therapy and starting your own therapy practice through her blog Music Therapy Maven. Download her free Productivity Primer and learn 7 tips for getting more done in less time

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Parenting Teenagers

Some people, when in the position of parenting teenagers, feel that they hardly recognize their children anymore. Many will wonder what happened to that sweet little girl or boy. It is a fact of life that children grow up and the phase of that growth called the teens is not always an easy road. Use the following hints to make the transition a bit easier on you as a parent.
Disparaging your teenager is a bad idea and can make parenting a teenager much harder than it needs to be. This is different from saying that they should be granted
Although, if you are continually fault-finding or berating regarding their judgments or even errors, you'll just make it less likely for them to trust you. In several scenarios, the elements that parents nit-pick their teenagers about are of little importance, such as their fashion sense, the sort of music the listen to or the way they wear their hair. If it's a more serious matter, such as poor grades at school, you should raise the issue in a way that suggests you want to discuss it rationally rather than berate them. Being a parent to a teenager commands for you to express a certain degree of courtesy toward their selections in life.
You have to know them on a personal level. Since it's been a while since you were a teenager, and the world has changed quite a bit since then, you have to take the time to learn what they're up to. Friends, music and tv shows are among the things you'll need to know about your teen. It's not important to know every detail but it's important to be involved to make communication possible. Invade their world some to learn about them without interrogating them. Parenting the teenager can be made simpler if you are aware of their likes and dislikes.
Teens can strain a marriage especially when the parents disagree on best practices. Just as you work on your relationship with your teen you will need to work on your marriage too. Teenagers are sometimes super sensitive to their environment even if they seem disinterested. Usually when there is tension between parents there is emotional problems in the teen. When discussing parenting issues try to come to some sort of agreement with your spouse. It's important that you don't allow your teen to play your spouse and you against each other. If you need additional help with this, you should consider counseling. Parenting teenagers requires a strong family life.
You must use your best judgment in most cases when parenting a teenager because there simply is no magic formula for getting it right. These hints can be used as a guideline to make parenting a little easier to understand when it comes to teenagers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Homeschooling - Teaching your children with freedom.

Although every family is unique, certain homeschooling approaches have become popular in one form or another. When looking at the differences between homeschooling approaches, it is important to see what they have in common as well as their differences.
More and more parents are choosing to homeschool their kids. Some time ago homeschooling was though of as only for religious families. However that has changed, many different types of families are making that choice. In addition to more and more families choosing to homeschool their kids, there are also more and more curriculum options available. This increase is in part caused by the availability of the internet. Can you determine the best course of curriculum for your kids? Keep reading for some great ideas on curriculum options.
Before you buy anything, you need to know the federal regulations for K-12 education. While a lot of the regulations are left up to the states, there are some federal rules that you need to follow. Any curriculum that you choose needs to meet the current requirements and it is your responsibility to make sure it does. Your local board of education should be able to tell you the current regulations or you can also contact the Department of Education. Homeschool curriculums that are on the up and coming include Diane Lockman's Authentic Classical Trivium. Many who desire a christian based way to teach their children will like the curriculum in this option. The name insinuates it is a classical education archetype, this is indeed not the case. This education instead focuses on three pillars: thought, language and speech. Teaching your children with freedom to help your kids in these three areas will be the reason you'll like this one.
Occasionally, one of the optimal techniques for picking out your home schooling curriculum is to purchase a boxed set with various lesson plans. The boxed sets can allow you to form a structure for your day and your lesson plans. They usually come with books and other teaching materials all included in one package, which helps you save time when you need to figure out how to approach a certain unit or lesson plan. A good thing about the boxed set is that you don't have to put every item to use-you can pick and choose if you think your ideas are better. Additionally, you don't have to rely exclusively on the boxed set for your curriculum-you can decide on areas that you don't already have curriculum in place.
You may choose to homeschool your kids for any number of reasons. There could be concerns about your local public schools. You may not be able to afford the high tuition of the private schools in your area. Maybe you've read the studies saying that homeschooled kids perform better later in life. Whatever your reasons for keeping everyone at home, make sure you choose good homeschool curriculum packages and projects. It is very important to find the best curriculum for your child. You and your kids will be better off the more you can learn about the available homeschool curriculums.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Arts and Crafts for Children

You Need More than Left Handed Scissors for Kids Craft Time
Practically all kids love doing crafts and making things - it's fun. Adults, often, love to do crafts as well, but sometimes it is hard for adults to just relax and enjoy craft time with their kids. Sometimes it can be a real production! But... we want to say that it really does not have to be such an ordeal. What follows are some proven crafting time tips and strategies to help you have the maximum amount of fun and minimize the heartaches.
Do all you can to take the best measures to prevent any damage where you'll be working. Put newspaper down on the table and on the floor under the table and the chairs. Just that one thing alone will help prevent disasters as well as making the clean-up process faster and easier. It also keeps things (like your daughter's left handed scissors) from going missing because they get put under something you won't lift up again for months. It will be a lot easier to keep track of where everything is and your kids will learn to be careful, as well. There are time savings involved, and that is what it's all about; a little here, and a little there.
Try to get ready before hand. Read through the instructions on each craft you want to do ahead of time. Some crafts are going to be harder for some kids. Left handed kids have a much more difficult time working on crafts that involve using scissors, they need special scissors designed to work with left handed people. If this tends to be a major matter of contention for your then you'll need to reconsider a project that uses no scissor work.
You let them choose the project now you have to guess what it is, never ask them what it is they will be hurt that you don't recognize it. They may say "look what i made!" You won't like the look on your childs face if you guess wrong. You don't want to call it the wrong thing.
Doing this can be disasterous when your child busts out in tears and says it's supposed to be grandpa! A better approach to finding out what your child has created is to have them tell you about it. The child will get to tell you an animated story and you'll avoid hurting their feelings this way. We know, maintaining happiness and peace can be challenging. You need to get everything straight and right, as best you can. The key to making craft time a happy time is to prepare for it. Do you have left-handed children, if so - be sure to get left-handed scissors. Have a place to work that is large enough. Anything extra such as supplies just in case. The most important thing is to always have a great time while crafting with your kids.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Mother’s Search for Eco-Friendly Children’s Books

Tiana Krahn started stocking her daughter’s first library when she was six months pregnant. She sought out books with healthy messages that were also produced in an environmentally friendly way. Being acquainted with the disturbing fact that the U.S. book industry emits over 12.4 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and approximately 3 billion trees are cut down each year just to produce paper, She found it surprising so few Children’s books were eco-conscious.

Krahn decided to ‘be the change’. So was born Honeymoon Press, named after her daughter. Honeymoon Press uses 100% recycled post-consumer-waste paper, printed chlorine-free with vegetable-based inks and manufactured in North America. Krahn released her first book, LOVE in December 2009. LOVE describes the myriad of ways we experience love, shows how we are all interconnected, and celebrates the importance of having love in our lives. Her second book, PEACE  was released at the same time. PEACE helps children explore the meaning of harmony for different kinds of people, teaching children how to say the word in multiple languages. Honeymoon Press is a children’s publisher dedicated to making ecologically sound choices
Both available at Cora Carolina

Sunday, February 13, 2011

PlanToys – A Brand committed to minimizing their impact on nature.

A company founded in 1981 as a pioneer in using replenishable rubber wood to make wooden toys.
Their toys enable children to play, learn and become closer to nature. 

The company have set a high standard of ethics. It’s wonderful to find toys that are made with integrity.

  • Green - As a Green company, they strive to use environmentally safe, responsible and sustainable methods to produce their Green Toys
  • Safe - In addition to industry standards, PlanToys® follows their own stringent in-house safety standards to ensure a worry-free playtime for your children.
  • Smart - The educational merits of their toys are recognized by some of the most prestigious awards in the industry such as the Parents' Choice Award and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award.
Here at Cora Carolina, we now offer the PlanToys line. We love the simple beauty of these toys that inspire children's imagination as well as promoting their physical and intellectual development.

Have Fun!

Friday, February 4, 2011

For Valentine’s day Give your Heart.

Valentine’s day is about showing love and caring not just for your loved ones but also the less fortunate.
With each purchase you make at Cora Carolina until February 14, 2011 we’ll donate 15% to Save a Child’s Heart.
Together we can save the world on heart at a time.
A happy childhood filled with joy is something everyone deserves. Support us in helping save a child’s heart and you’ll be helping to save a child’s life.
All children, regardless of race, religion, sex, color, or financial status receive the best possible care that modern medicine has to offer.
Save A Child's Heart (SACH) is one of the largest undertakings in the world providing urgently needed pediatric heart surgery and follow-up care for indigent children from developing countries. Based in Israel, our mission is to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for children from countries where the heart surgery they need is unobtainable. 
"Every 29 hours our doctors save a child's life in our medical facilities in Israel or on medical missions in partner countries around the world." Thousands of children are alive today because of a small group of medical professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to perform life-saving cardiac surgery and train local medical personnel. More than 2000 children have already been saved directly by SACH personnel, while thousands more are receiving the life saving treatments they need from local personnel who were previously trained by SACH.
Cora Carolina is in no way affiliated with save a child’s heart, this is just a cause that we feel strongly about and chosen to monetarily support.