By Small Talk Speech Pathology

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

FREE inspirational printables about motherhood

Here are some beautiful, free printables containing quotes about motherhood.



 Click here at Simple as that blog to print

Love,
V & L


Saturday, 22 September 2012

FREE printable guide - 50 photos to take with your kids

Embrace the camera! Photos with your children capture precious memories that will be treasured for years to come by all.  Here is a simple guide that contains 50 fantastic ideas of photos to take with your kids.  Take advantage of the gorgeous warm weather and school holidays and get smiling!

 Click here at Simple as that blog to print

Love,
Vanessa & Lauren

FREE printable bookmarks


Start summer with these SUPER cute bookmarks!  Print and laminate as an end of year gift or to simply reignite your child's passion for reading! We have also included some free printable bookmarks for Mum!





Click here at The Curriculum Corner to print - there are six awesome designs available

Click here at Clip Arts and Crafts to print


Click here at Delightful Designs Wordpress to print


Click here at Simple as that blog to print

Click here at here at Better than chocolate book co to print

Print, laminate & enjoy dear readers!
Vanessa & Lauren

FREE printable reading tips for parents



Tips for Reading with Your Child

Courtesy of The Curriculum Corner

Helping your child become a reader is easy!  Parents often worry that they are not doing the right thing.  However, chances are, you are doing everything right!  

Just to reassure you, we’ve created a list of tips below.  

 Encourage your children to use the pictures!  This is not cheating, it’s what good readers do!
  
 Children learning to read should be encouraged to look at the beginning letters.  Not all words can be sounded out but the first letter is a good clue to help children understand what will and will not make sense.  

 Have your child break the words into parts.  They should look for little words they know inside of big words.  

  Read on.  Have children skip the word they are stuck on and read to the end of the sentence.  When they finish the sentence, ask them what would make sense.

 Give your children vocabulary clues.  If they are trying to read a new word, help them make a guess by telling them about the word.

 Make sure you are giving your child just right books.  Matching a book with your child is important.  A child who is reading a book that is too hard will easily become frustrated and stop trying.  

And, most importantly….read with your child every day.  Reading to your child is just as important as having your child read to you!

Happy Reading!
Vanessa & Lauren

The secret to raising happy kids


Courtesy of Body and Soul

by parenting expert Michael Grose
The secret to raising happy kids

Raising confident, well-behaved children can be challenging. Here are several steps you can take with your kids and be on the path to happiness.
Michael Grose is one of Australia’s most popular writers and speakers on parenting and family matters. The author of seven books, including the best-selling Why First Borns Rule The World And Last Borns Want To Change It(Random House, 2003), Grose educates parents and teachers around the world on how to raise well-adjusted kids and resilient teenagers. Here are the key elements he believes will help you to raise happy children…

Build self-belief in your child

"Children’s self-esteem influences their social behaviour and learning,” says Grose. “Children with low self-esteem are less likely to step out of their comfort zone to extend themselves, take risks or try new experiences. Quite simply, if kids have a healthy level of esteem and feel good about themselves, they’re more likely to make friends and succeed at preschool and at school. “The way we interact with our kids on a daily basis infl uences the positive picture that they construct of themselves,” he says. “It’s important we let them know through our language and behaviour that they’re capable and worthwhile, then they’ll start to believe it. The messages we send influence the way kids see themselves as well as our relationship with them. Encourage your kids to do things for themselves and focus more on what they’re doing, rather than the result, to help them grow, develop and become self-confident.”
How to promote healthy self-esteem in your kids:
  • Build on your child’s strengths and point out their areas of expertise.
  • Give realistic responsibility. Develop self-help skills from an early age.
  • Help to develop the courage to be imperfect; mistakes are part of learning.
  • Help to develop the attitude that anything is possib
  • Establish an achievement board or star chart.
  • Look for small victories or achievements and celebrate them.
  • Help children set goals and stick to them.
  • Leave notes of appreciation under their pillow and in lunchboxes.
  • Give objective feedback, but begin with a strength or positive point.
  • Compare them only to themselves.

Create a sense of family community

“It’s important to build and maintain distinctive traditions that make each family special signify a child’s significance within his primary social group – his family,” says Grose. “Creating sense of community in your family and building traditions and rituals gives kids strong anchors back into family when they are older. “Rituals can be as simple as the way you habitually say to your child ‘I love you’ each day as he goes to school, or the way you always read their favourite book before they go to bed,” he says. “The permanence of these rituals give them much of their significance, they’re like ‘coat hooks upon which we hang our family memories’. Also try to focus more on what’s good for your family, rather than each individual family member, and start insisting that kids take an interest in each other, so the whole family benefits.”

How to develop rituals that bind your family together:

  • Having regular family mealtimes is a simple but powerful ritual.
  • Have a regular one-on-one activity that involves each child, something both of you can look forward to, such as a bedtime story or a weekly walk.
  • Celebrate birthdays, Mother’s Day, Christmas or other religious festivals in your family’s own special way.
  • Ask your children about the rituals, special occasions and celebrations that they most enjoy and let them contribute ideas on how to celebrate them.

Develop your child’s resilience and coping skills

“Resilience is important for kids to help them cope with life’s hardships, frustrations and difficulties [HFDs],” says Grose. “Developmental HFDs are those that children routinely experience, including loss, rejection, change, disappointment, failure, confl ict and fear. Dealing with these helps to build coping skills for the future. “One way to build coping skills is to not overprotect your child,” he says. “Life happens and things don’t always go our way. It’s important that kids learn this and learn how to keep their confi dence up. Parents can support their kids by focusing on how they’re feeling and letting them know it’s okay to feel this way. Then they should help them learn to manage it, deal with it and move on.”

How to promote resilience in children:

  • Remind your kids that they don’t always get what they want.
  • Be attentive to their particular situation and needs.
  • Work hard to keep their confidence up and help them get on with life.
  • Give kids plenty of opportunities to solve their own problems. Children will only develop their inner resources when given the opportunity to develop their resourcefulness.
  • Expect your child to be helpful at home from a young age without being paid. That’s how they learn to be useful.
  • Make sure your expectations for success are positive, realistic and based on each child’s interests and aptitudes rather than on adult wishes.
  • Normalise the HFD situations so they understand that others also experience similar situations.
  • Be a good role model by being a resilient adult rather than an adult who’s continually stressed and has no real life outside immediate family and work.
  • Starting a hobby is a good place to begin if you feel that life is all work (and kids) and no fun.

Look after your child’s mental health

“About one in 10 children struggle with anxiety and nearly 50 per cent of adult sufferers identify that their anxiety began in childhood,” says Grose. “Most kids, like adults, experience some anxious moments or have fearful thoughts and feelings from time to time. These thoughts and feelings prompt them to proceed with caution rather than rush in where angels fear to tread. But anxiety and fear can be paralysing and some kids simply can’t stop their ‘bad thoughts and feelings’. They don’t know how to silence them. “It’s important to remember that anxiety is a normal part of life and it can bemanaged,” he says. “But you should also recognise that it takes time to manage anxiety and understand that it can’t be solved in one conversation.”

How to help children overcome anxious moments:

  • Anxiety is contagious. Parents and children can feed each other’s anxieties. When kids get anxious, it’s the job of parents to stay calm, think clearly and role model confidence.
  • When your child becomes anxious, create calmness through your words, voice and facial expression.

Help your kids unwind

“Modern kids are busy kids. Regardless of age, their days are filled with activities and it’s not uncommon for kids to have four and five extracurricular activities a week,” says Grose. “There’s nothing wrong with kids being busy as long as they also have plenty of chances to relax and unwind. Relaxation is a key to good mental health and wellbeing and it’s an important life skill for kids to learn.
“One way to ensure busy kids unwind is to allow them to be bored every so often. There’s a temptation to fill days with activities so that no time is wasted. ‘I’m bored!’ is often the last thing parents want to hear their kids say. Many parents feel compelled to do something to alleviate a child’s boredom. But there’s nothing wrong with a little boredom now and then,” he says. “Boredom can be good for kids’ mental health and wellbeing, because it gives them the chance to muck around and take it easy for a time.”

How to unwind your kids:

  • Let your kids stare into the ‘fire’. The TV is the modern version of the camp fire. No need for exertion, to think or talk to anyone, just a chance to chill out and relax. Yes, TV used in this way regularly is good for kids’ mental health.
  • Let kids exercise without rules. Children have always been the kings and queens of play, that is until their lives became highly organised and scheduled. Child-initiated play is the ultimate in relaxation.
  • Let kids experience flow. Flow is a state we get into when we’re so engrossed in an activity that time disappears. It’s the ultimate unwind. Free play generally takes young children to flow state very quickly.
  • Help kids calm down before bedtime. Have a bedtime routine that calms kids rather than winds them up. Be part of the routine by reading, telling nursery rhymes or giving soothing back rubs.
  • Unwind with your kids. Do something together that you both enjoy.

Provide a consistent environment

“Consistency is an essential element in our relationship with our children because it puts them in control. Children love their parents to be consistent, as it enables them to predict how parents will act,” says Grose. “It’s important to be consistent in all areas of parenting, including regular mealtimes, bedtimes and reactions to behaviour. This enables them to grow and reassures them someone is there for them.”
“Children also like limits and boundaries, as they provide themwith structure and teach them how they should behave,” he says. “Of course, children also like to push parental boundaries, so parents need to resist the pressure that children can exert upon them. This is a normal but irritating expression of a child’s push for independence.
“Consistency also means not parenting on a whim, so following through and doing as we say,” he says. “It means not giving children second and third chances. It also means not allowing children to get away with misbehaviour two or three times then coming down hard the fourth time they misbehave. “Consistency prevents misbehaviour from escalating. We help children develop self-discipline, which is the aim, when we are consistent and do as we say we will – every single time.”

How to be consistent with your children:

  • Focus on priority behaviours. It’s difficult to be consistent with every single wrong doing, so focus on one or two main ones. When you follow through with priority behaviours it has a positive effect on other behaviour.
  • Remind yourself about the behaviour you want to follow up. Write a note for yourself saying: “Walk away when they whine. Don’t give in.”
  • Check your routines. Do you have routines for troublesome times of the day such as bedtime or mealtimes?
  • Act rather than talking over or repeating yourself. Sometimes a consequence can be inconvenient in the short term, but long term it pays off with children who end up being better behaved.
Get more parenting advice from Michael Grose - read his books and visit:www.parentingideas.com.au

Monday, 17 September 2012

FREE DIY Homemade Snack Recipes

Satisfy hunger and eat less by choosing snacks packed with fiber and protein. Since healthy snacks aren't always cheap, here are some recipes you can whip up in the kitchen. You'll help keep money in your wallet while also whittling your waist!  Courtesy of FitSugar




Mixed Nut Butter

A jar of organic peanut butter will run you at least $4, and if you go for almond butter, it's $5 or $6. Save money by making fresh nut butter in a food processor. You can choose to use strictly peanuts or almonds, or make this recipe for mixed nut butter.

Granola Bars

You can easily pick up a box of granola bars for around $6, but most tend to be made with a lot of extra sugar. Choose your own ingredients and make a healthier version at home. This recipe for DIY granola bars calls for pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, and dried cranberries. Still not inspired? Here are more of our favorite homemade granola bar recipes.

Fruit and Yogurt Popsicles

To satisfy your sweet cravings, reach for homemade Greek yogurt and fruit Popsicles.
Splurge on a Zoku Quick Pop Maker or go the less-expensive route with paper cups and Popsicle sticks. You'll not only save money, but also discover a great project to do with kids, and you can customize the pops with your favorite fruity ingredients.

Fruit and Nut Bars

Are you a huge fan of Larabars? Save your $1.50 andmake your own fruit and nut bars with this simple recipe. All said and done, it'll cost you 65 cents a bar.

Yogurt

Yogurt is full of calcium and protein, but it costs about $1 a container, which can start to add up if you enjoy this snack often. Did you know you can easilymake your own yogurt? All you need is milk and a few tablespoons of plain yogurt (to act as a starter culture), and you can whip up a huge batch of creamy, tangy yogurt for much less dough.

Granola
What kind of a snack would yogurt be without a sprinkle of granola? Buy a bag that's homemade, and it'll cost you $8 to $12. Save your money and bake up your own batch with this recipe for almond and flaxseed granola.


Salsa

Noshing on corn chips and salsa is a healthy way to satisfy a crunchy craving, but for a fresh jar of salsa, you'll end up spending $4 to $6.
It's easy to make your own, and since you choose the ingredients, you can make it even healthier by adding fresh mango, red peppers, pineapple, and fresh tomato. For less than $6, you'll end up with an enormous bowl of homemade salsa that will last you a week.

Energy Balls

My favorite health-food store carries these yummy treats called Chunks of Energy, but they're not cheap. To save money, try this recipe for no-bake peanut butter balls. It makes a great pre- or post-workout snack and is much less expensive than buying the ones at the store.

Hummus

Veggies and hummus offer a filling, high-fiber snack, but if you're addicted to this garlicky dip, you likely spend $6 or more on every tub. Making hummus couldn't be easier. Just add chickpeas, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to your food processor, and in minutes, you'll be enjoying fresh, creamy hummus, all for just a few bucks.

Bon App├ętit!

Love, 
Vanessa & Lauren


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

HOW CLEARLY SHOULD CHILDREN SPEAK?


Here is rough guide from Speech-language-therapy for how intelligible kids are when conversing with unfamiliar listeners, or "strangers"

Child aged 1 year = 25% intelligible to strangers

Child aged 2 years = 50% intelligible to strangers

Child aged 3 years = 75% intelligible to strangers

Child aged 4 years = 100% intelligible to strangers

Ref: Flipsen (2006), Coplan & Gleason (1988), Pascoe (2005)

Remember to contact a speech pathologist if you have any concerns regarding your child's communication development!


Love,

V & L



Tuesday, 4 September 2012

KIDOODLES: A FINE-MOTOR-BOOSTING STICKER PAINT CREATION

Courtesy of Lilsugar

Finger painting is tons of fun for lil ones, so take things to the next level with the help of a few puffy stickers. Along with honing fine motor skills, finger painting introduces your tot to color and what happens when they mix together. Adding puffy stickers kicks your tyke's fine motor skills up a notch as they are a bit easier to grasp onto than regular flat stickers. Once the paint has dried, add another step to the project by carefully peeling away those puffy stickers, creating a really fun finished product. Tailor the project to fit the season with different-shaped stickers, such as leaf shapes for Fall, flowers for Spring or Summer, or snowflakes for Winter.
Keep reading for the directions.

What You'll Need:
  • Finger paint
  • White drawing paper
  • Puffy stickers
  • Smock or wet wipes
  • Tape

Directions:
  1. Offer your child a sheet of white drawing paper and an assortment of puffy stickers. Using drawing paper or white construction paper will help keep the paper from tearing later. Invite your tot to peel away the backing from the stickers and then place on the paper. Older kids can create an arrangement of stickers to make an organized picture, while little ones can peel and stick in a random design.
  2. Once your child is happy with the sticker arrangement, get ready for mess by tossing on a smock or having wet wipes handy. Before beginning to paint, tape the edges of your tot's paper to the work table to keep it from moving around while finger painting.
  3. Dollop a small amount of various colors of finger paint around the white paper and invite your tot to paint around and over the puffy stickers. He can use his fingertips to create moving lines of blended colors.
  4. Continue finger painting until the entire paper is covered. Allow the paint to dry and then carefully peel away the puffy stickers, which also builds fine motor skills. Find the perfect spot to display the finished artwork for the whole family to see.

Happy finger painting!
Vanessa & Lauren