Sunday, November 29, 2009
“Well, no wonder the little boy looked at me with such a confused look on his face!” she replied.
Do you sometimes feel like you are speaking a different language to your children? Do they look at you in a confused way, or totally ignore you? Or go on with what they are doing as if you hadn’t spoken?
Maybe we need to learn to speak “childrenese”. The best way to learn childrenese is to understand children and know what they are capable of doing or not doing.
For example would you ask a 2 year old to “go hurry and get dressed”? Would you tell a 3 year old to share his favorite toy—and actually see him do it? How about an 8 year old? Would you expect a 4 year old to own up to doing something wrong and not blame it on someone else? Would you instruct a 5 year old to sit still for 30 minutes without moving while waiting in a doctor’s office? Would you take a 6 year old grocery shopping with you and tell her to walk quietly beside you and not touch or ask for anything? (Ha! You’ve all said that I bet! But it certainly doesn’t translate into childrenese—nor did any of the above situations.)
The next time you speak to your child and she looks at you with a confused look on her face, or just ignores you, think about what you just said. Was it age appropriate? Did you give too many instructions at once? It may take time, but soon you will become fluent in childrenese and suddenly life will become better.
But that's the only dance I danced (except for half a dance with my brother). I was too self conscious to join my nieces out on the dance floor. They were having a great time and when they started line dancing I really wanted to learn the steps and dance. But I thought how silly everyone would think I looked--an old lady out dancing with all the youth.
I missed out on a lot of fun. As the night wore on I noticed two older women about my age dancing on the sidelines. They were smiling and laughing and having a great time. I wished I could be as confident as they were so I could dance too. Oh well. I decided I would dance at home.
What a fun family activity--dancing. Put some music on and dance with your children. Dance by yourself. Dance to decrease your stress, to lose weight, to exercise, to have fun!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Here’s the basic play dough accessories: toothpicks—for poking into the dough, muffin tin—to hold pretend muffins or cookies, rolling pin, popcycle sticks or butter knife to cut the playdough with, cookie cutters, and anything else in the kitchen that looks interesting.
But don’t forget the music. Any upbeat or children's CD will do. I personally think that playing music in the background helps children play longer, more happily and helps them think creatively.
I always make my own play dough (though I hate washing the pan). It’s kind of fun to make and it’s nice and warm to play with. Here’s a site with some fun variations on making your own play dough. http://www.easy-kids-recipes.com/play-dough-recipes.html
So the next time your kids need something new and different to do, make some play dough, put on the music, and watch the creativity flow.
I like to teach rounds at school, but they're harder to sing (and make sound right) than you would think. 3rd graders have a hard time keeping their group going without getting confused unless they know the song very well. But 4th-6th can sing pretty well, after lots of practice.
Some of my new favorite rounds are "Hear the Song of the Nightingale" from the movie Madeline, "Music Alone Shall Live", "Dona Nobis" (which is really, really hard), "Scalloped Potatoes" and "Jolly Red Nose". I can't wait to teach the Tacobel Canon. I just found a recording of it here as well as the Scalloped Potatoes one.
A friend and I go hiking once a week and we love to sing as we hike. I like to sing rounds with her and should be happy with the two part harmony we make. But then I think, wow, if we had another person we could sing three parts......
Do you like to sing? Want to come hiking with us?
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Ahh, music to my ears, “You can’t stop there, Mom. Please keep reading!” Isn’t reading aloud to your child one of the most fun, warm, bonding experiences you can have? Not to mention one of the most beneficial experiences you can give your child. Research shows that children whose parents read to them become better readers. Their vocabulary increases, their language and speech development speeds up, and their listening skills are focused and ready for school.
Many of you are followers of Jim Trelease (http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/). He has championed the importance of reading aloud for years. He has lots of suggestions for books to read aloud, too.
Here has been some of my children’s favorite books that we’ve read aloud: The Wheel on the Schoolhouse, The Hobbit (my husband read the kids this one), Mandy (by Julie Andrews alias Edwards), The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles (another one by Julie Edwards), Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, Summer of the Monkeys, (sniff, sniff) and the Boxcar series.
Share some of your favorites with us.
Kayli, at age 6 could feel the Lord’s Spirit whisper truth to her. Music IS powerful! It affects our emotions. It can soothe, excite, relax, and energize.
When my daughter lived at home, she always had music playing in the background. The orchestra teacher at school, who was a colleague of mine and talked to me on the phone quite often, commented, “you always have music playing at your house. I need to do that more often.”
This daughter has since married and moved away, and I’ve noticed how quiet our house has become. I have lots and lots of CDs sitting on the shelf. But do I play them? I did one summer. I decided to go straight through all my CD’s and play every single one of them. I think I’ll do that again. Right now I’m listening to the soundtrack from Enchanted.
What are you listening to?
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
My daughter called me on the phone from
As you read this blog, you’re probably overwhelmed and stressed yourself. So what do you do when you’re in that situation? Here are a few ideas:
Scream in a pillow in your bedroom (I mean it. Try it and see if it doesn’t help!)
Call your mother/friend
Dance, go for a walk, jog, exercise, just MOVE
Read a book and ignore everything
Lower your standards (It’s better than abusing yourself or children)
Dovetail your “To Do List” where possible
Endure and know that “this, too, shall pass”
Be grateful because at least you are alive and active
Forget being perfect. It doesn’t exist.
Stop comparing yourself with others
Remember to enjoy the journey. This is part of the journey.
What do you do when you're overwhelmed and stressed?
I asked a mother of one of my piano students (who has 7 children who are at various stages of music training) to give her thoughts and ideas about music lessons and children. Here are some of Lisa’s thoughts:
What is a good age to start? Our oldest son was six. He was so hyper that a 30 minute lesson was all he could stand. I have seen younger children begin music lessons, but the successful ones are usually those families with one or two children.
What are the advantages of starting early? It becomes a part of your life and a part of your routine. We have all learned a lot about music. We have also learned about baby steps and small amounts of progress over time. I don’t think it is always that way with other things, like sports.
What other areas of life are affected by music lessons? My son has gained focus and can concentrate better from all of his practicing. He also has learned about team work from playing in the orchestra. With chair auditions, he has been first chair and also 22nd chair, so he has learned that there is always someone in front of you and always someone behind. He has learned that if you practice you will have a good outcome (usually) and there are consequences if you don’t. Another son has learned to work at something that he finds difficult and he is starting to play the piano as a stress release.
How do you keep your children interested in practicing? I think we just do it every day, like brushing our teeth or doing math problems. I have never been big on elaborate reward systems. In the beginning I would help my son practice 10 minutes before his favorite television show came on and he would get to watch it when he was finished. If he messed around, it ate into his television program. Now he practices on his own.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
A friend stopped by and I told her my situation. She immediately said, “You should make an I Love You chart and hang it on the refrigerator.” I replied, “A what?”
“An I Love You chart,” she said. “Every time anyone in the family says I love you to another family member, they put a star on the chart.” I thought, “yeah, that’s really going to help.”
After she left, I decided to try her suggestion. I mean, it couldn’t hurt. So I hung a piece of blank white paper onto the refrigerator and told my little boys,
“okay now, whenever you or your brothers or mommy says,
I Love You, we can put a star on the chart. Let’s see if we
can cover the whole paper before Daddy gets home in 3 weeks.”
Guess what? It was a miracle! There was little fighting.
There was hardly any crying. What there was, though,
was a lot of family members saying “I love you”. And that
chart was covered in stars before Daddy got home!
If all the Raindrops were lemondrops and gumdrops
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Tell Me Why
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Jig Jog Gee