…a whole lot of yelling.
Yesterday was bliss. Continue reading
…a whole lot of yelling.
Yesterday was bliss. Continue reading
He picked a yellow flashlight.
She picked a blue one.
In the car on the way home he wants to switch. He likes the blue one better.
I tell her “that’s ok, yellow is better for fire fighters” (a game they play all the time).
Now he wants the yellow one back.
She takes the blue one.
I can hear and feel the air stop circulating. A storm is brewing.
Before she launches into it, since we’re still in the car (again), I say “the blue one is perfect for night time because the light will be even brighter”.
(Whatever. I don’t care. You do and say what you need to do or say in order to prevent a car accident or infanticide.)
For the duration of the 10 minute ride home she screams her head off.
I WANT THE YELLOW ONE!
I DON’T WANT THE BLUE ONE!
It carries on at home where first she refuses to leave the car, then throws the blue flashlight on the floor, then, after I carry her inside the house, she melts down complete with stomping of the feet and rolling on the floor.
He asks me to open the package.
She takes her blue flashlight and asks me to open her package.
They get their bathing suits on while playing with their flashlights.
It’s Monday morning. Not even lunch time yet. I’m handling this like an old pro.
Then I think:
What time is too early to pour a glass of wine?
How am I going to get through this for an entire week?
When did mom say she was going to take them?
Summer vacation is here. Eight more weeks left before school starts. But…only 13 more days before summer camp starts again!
Aside note: It hasn’t been too bad. The kids have been mostly good. I’m still in learning-phase though when it comes to handling drama from the drama queen…
I witnessed an interesting disconnect in my 5 year old boy the other day. A disconnect in terms of his expectation regarding a result of a little science experiment he invented.
After his bath, he made some very specific requests:
Mommy, I need some cups. And some ice and water. And I need a squeeze of lemon.
We found some little paper cups, and he requested two (plus two for his toddler sister, of course).
Then I asked him what kind of lemon he needs: lemon slices, or lemon juice from the container? He wanted lemon he can squeeze.
So we got out a cutting board, and I sliced off some round lemon slices.
No mommy, I need to squeeze them!
Oops. My bad. I cut out some squeezable slices of lemon.
Then he wanted to know if he could have some cold water and ice.
What exactly are you planning on doing?
He said he wanted to know what would happen if he squeezed lemon into cold water, and what it would taste like.
(This is where the disconnect first started).
What do you need the ice for?
I need to make ice.
How do you make ice?
I don’t need ice, I need to pour the cold water into the cups and leave it in the freezer to make it turn into ice.
(I was relieved he remembered that from toddlerhood, but I didn’t want to start preaching to him since he had this whole thing planned out in his head!)
Where does the lemon come in?
I want to squeeze some lemon juice into the water. Maybe drop some lemon slices in the water. Then tomorrow we can see what it looks like, and what it tastes like.
Hm. What it tastes like? It perplexed me that with all this lemon cutting and lemon squeezing he was still asking what it would taste like. So I asked him:
What do you think it will taste like?
His answer made me smile:
I don’t know mom! I can’t wait to find out!
Well, that is what science is all about, isn’t it.
* * *
Other things we did with ice cubes.
In today’s weekly newsletter issued by Benjamin’s Kindergarten teacher, there is a little remark about March Break, which is coming up next week.
The remark suggests that the children draw a picture, and if they can, write one sentence about something they did during their week off from school.
I read this to Benjamin at lunch. I said: “How exciting, you get to draw a picture of something you did during March Break and share it with your friends at school. You love to draw pictures!”
His response, to my surprise, was lackluster.
“That’s going to be VERY hard”, he said.
“I don’t know what to draw”, he continued.
I said that chances are pretty good that we’ll drive someplace at least some of the time during March Break. For one thing, we’re driving to a church to have his birthday party in their basement on Saturday. I’m pretty sure at one point during the rest of the week we’ll drive to suburbia to visit his grandparents, possibly for a sleepover. Since he knows how to draw cars, there is no excuse that his homework assignment is “too hard”. He could draw a car, with a smiley face in it indicating himself, and then write the word “nonno” (what he calls his grandfather, showing how he went to visit him and his grandmother). Or he could draw a car with a smiley face in it indicating himself going to his birthday party and then write his name and the number 5 next to it, showing that he had a party on his 5th birthday…
The possibilities are endless.
His less than enthusiastic response to the ideas however makes me wonder if this is a sign of things to come in the homework department…
Can you teach preschoolers, who have not yet mastered the ability to read, time management skills?
The answer is a definite YES!
If your family is anything like my family, then at least one adult in the family is organized focused obsessed about keeping everyone’s life scheduled and colour-coordinated on a traditional calendar.
The obsessed one in THIS family is me. (Surprise!)
I keep track of who is doing what and when on a very nice calendar posted on our front closet door. No reason to miss anything if each person would glance at that thing occasionally…
But that calendar really is an adult schedule. The kids don’t know how to refer to it, nor does my scribbling mean anything to them.
The idea to teach the 4 year old about time in terms of days of the week, and month, that goes beyond just memorizing the weekday names, or how to spell them, came to me recently.
True, Ben is learning about days and weeks and months, about time in general, at Kindergarten. But to actually put his learning in practice, that part was something I hadn’t given much thought to.
Until we started soccer on Thursday nights.
Suddenly, Thursday night became not only soccer night, but also spaghetti-and-meatballs night. What could be easier than a crockpot full of sauce, a pot of fast-cooking spaghetti, supper at 5:15, and then a nice walk across the park to the local highschool to play soccer at 6 pm?
For Benjamin, the challenge was to find out WHEN soccer night was. How does one know what day of the week it is if one can’t ask mommy or daddy? And how do mommy and daddy know that today is, or isn’t, soccer night?
My solution to his questions was this:
We had this little calendar kicking around that no one was using. So I gave it to Ben, along with a marker, and showed him what day we were on. I left him with simple instructions:
At the end of each day, right after supper, you can cross off the day we just completed.
After about a week of this, we started taking a closer look at the calendar. I showed him the numbers, which he recognizes, and also the days of the week. I explained that in this calendar, the first square on the left is always Sunday, and that both Saturday and Sunday are marked in red to indicate weekend.
Then I got him to draw a symbol or write a letter in some of the squares to remind him of certain things:
Learning about the days of the week has been so much for for him, and for the rest of us, that I believe we are well on our way to learning all about time management.
Benjamin’s Kindergarten class is counting. In celebration for their 100th day of school, the children are to count 100 items of something that they can take to school with them on that day. They suggested pennies, or beans, or beads.
Well, we have the Lego King here who decided that counting out 100 pieces of Lego could be fun.
In order to challenge him a tad further, I thought we could make it a little bit interesting. Instead of counting out 100 random pieces of Lego, why not make piles of 10 similar Lego pieces? He figured out quickly that we would need 10 piles, and he had a lot of fun decided which Lego pieces deserved the honour to be included in his piles.
In addition, I wrote out “the tens” (10, 20, 30 etc) on a square piece of paper and let him choose the correct one once he finished counting out the piles of 10.
The book One Watermelon Seed is a good introduction for small children on how to count, and how to count groups of ten.
I was inspired by this fantastic blog. And since my kids love to do crafts, why not teach them something about letters, reading and writing at the same time!
My 4yo boy already knows the letter. He was introduced to reading and writing at his Montessori daycare using the phonetic method. Yet when I came out with the supplies to create art with the letter S, his eyes lit up!
First, I showed both him and his toddler sister how to trace the letter out with his finger. Watching him do this, it emphasized many things for me that allowed me to further expand my role in helping him reach his reading and writing potential. Things like:
While introducing the letter to them, I said the following:
This is the letter S.
It makes an ssss sound.
Sssss for snake.
What other words begin with Sss?
We then proceeded to create a Snake.
The kids decorated their S with stamps, markers, and stickers. Benjamin tried to write it by tracing it, and by copying it right on the page. I then remembered I had some workbooks I used at the cottage in the summer, so I got one and he continued practicing.
If you have younger children participating, just let them sit there along with the older child. They will amuse themselves as long as the supplies are handy.
A few days later, anxiously waiting for snow that never came, I thought of making another S picture.
Do small children tell their parents about their day at school? And if not, how do you get them to talk about it?
We’ve all heard from one source or another that older children, and teenagers, may seem more likely than preschoolers to respond with eye-rolling, or even contempt, to simple questions like “how was school today” or “what did you learn at school today?”. But what about those kids who just entered the public school system?
I have to admit I have not pondered about this too much since Benjamin quite happily chatters about his day at Kindergarten with me regularly. In fact, the idea that a preschooler would not talk about school to a parent when directly asked about it hadn’t even occurred to me.
Until this happened one day.
My 4yo is interested in reading. He had some exposure to phonetics at his Montessori* daycare, and I picked up on that method at home with him.
He left that daycare when he joined the public school system in September and entered Junior Kindergarten. And he likes it there…but he is not interested in sitting at a table with some of the other kids and learn to read and write. He’d rather play with blocks.
Which is fine by me. And by his teacher too.
But I observe my child all the time. He loves books, he visits the library weekly, and he often points to a word at the side of a truck, or on a street sign and asks me what it says. So naturally, I try to teach him to read it himself.
It’s not hard. If he knows what sound the letter makes, and strings the sounds together, he can read the word.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always work with the English language since there are so many exceptions. But it’s not impossible, and since he’s already familiar with this method, we just keep it up.
One of the things they do in Kindergarten each day is look at a calendar and talk about the day of the week, the month, and other related information. I figured, why not do this at home too?
Like most households, we have a box full of magnetic letters. These are great tools for letter naming, phonetics, and reading and writing exercises. Since Benjamin knows the phonetic sounds of most letters, I use that as my starting point.
Let’s say we’re talking about Tuesday. Since each day of the week ends with the word “day”, I scramble up the remaining letters on the board and ask him to write it out for me. If he simply guesses which letter he should use first, I ask him to tell me what sound the letter makes. This is when I see it click in his brain. Oops, that’s not the ‘t’ for Tuesday, that’s the ‘u’ for umbrella, he’s thinking.
Since he is still mostly comfortable with the phonetics though, I make a point of telling him the name of the letter as well.
Yes, that’s the ‘t’ for Tuesday, or Tyler, or Tiger. This is called the letter Tee.
He likes doing this with me.
One thing I have noticed however is that if he does put the letters in the correct sequence, he sometimes puts them backwards, or upside down. Not sure if that is just a common mistake amongst pre-readers, or if it’s because he’s left-handed, but I’m not going to worry about it right now.
The fact that he’s interested in reading at this age is enough for the moment.
When I carefully reflect upon my parenting style, this comes to mind:
I try very hard to stick to a method of parenting, particularly in the discipline department, that makes sense to them (and to me). I try very hard to give them clear instructions in phrases that both can understand. I try very hard to keep my sanity when my method fails. Continue reading