Preschool is less about reading, writing and arithmetic and more about an introduction to the skills kiddos need for future concepts. Several new toys on the market are designed to help support these skills once children have left the confines of their schools. Take a look at a few of our favorites that will help early learners expand their minds at home.
My husband and I don't consider ourselves to be too strict, but there are certain actions that are absolutely forbidden. Hitting, pushing and cursing are among those that receive prompt disciplinary action – time-outs, lectures, etc. – regardless of where we are when they occur. We recently faced a dilemma when visiting friends for the afternoon and their daughter, 3, began pushing our three-year-old son. Since her parents didn't say anything, we told her to stop. When it happened again, we asked the other parents to separate the children for a while. They said "kids will be kids" and that we overreacted. How do I handle other kids' bad behavior toward my son when their parents see nothing wrong with it?
– Miffed Mama
To see the response from Mommy Dearest, read more
Preschool's out for Summer, but, it's an optimal time to continue the play-based learning the tykes experience in the classroom. Take a look at some of our favorite toys that stimulate young minds.
Most mothers think their children are crack-ups, but some things that come out of the mouths of babes are funny or offbeat enough to entertain the masses. I've compiled a few of my favorites from friends and my own offspring in the last month.
- "I am getting my baby in five years!" — Three-year-old boy to his grandma after his parents told him he was going to be a big brother.
- "You are such a big boy. I love you!" — Two-year-old boy to mother after she handed him an ice cream cone.
- "Daddy has a tail. The baby has a tail too!" — Two-year-old girl to her mom after seeing her dad get out of the shower and her brother's diaper being changed.
- "Cole and I met at the gumball machine and hung out everyday then poof! he was gone." — Four-year-old girl telling her mother about "boyfriend." The mom asked if she was sad and the little girl replied, "No, I'm going to move on because that is what women do!"
- "I didn't do that my imaginary friend Andrew did. Actually, I don't have an imaginary friend, but I don't want to pick up the wrapper and I'm running out of names." — Five-year-old girl responding to mom's question about who threw their wrapper on the floor.
- "Hi, mom! How are ya doing today?" — Two-year-old boy's question to mother after they came home from spending six hours at the park and running errands together.
Has your youngster said anything humorous lately?
When a friend's son came home from preschool enthusiastically telling her about the sunflower seeds he had planted and watered in a little plastic cup, I was inspired to teach my tots about the benefits of gardening. My lil ones know a thing or two about the fruits and vegetables we eat from our frequent trips to the farmers market, but I wasn't sure they knew what was involved in making the food grow. By allowing them to plant and care for the seeds themselves, I thought they would gain a greater appreciation for what ends up on our plates.
Given our limited space and overgrown backyard, I started out with a classic egg carton herb garden. Egg carton gardens require little dirt, no weeding and can fit right on your windowsill for easy watering access. After showing my kids pictures of the full-grown herbs, I allowed them to pick three herbs a piece to plant and nourish in our new garden.
To read how we created the garden, read more
Sleep deprivation comes with motherhood, but sometimes even the most energetic mama can't keep her eyes open. Unfortunately, her tots may not be tired so mom may resort to turning on a movie so her kiddos are occupied while she grabs a quick nap on the couch. Do you do this when you are tuckered or do you think it's unsafe?
Q. My two and a half year old daughter has to be out of diapers by September when she starts preschool. So far she
has shown no interest in being potty trained. Do you have any tips on how I can get her engaged in the process?
A. How to Excite, Engage and Succeed in Potty Training Your Toddler With 100% Success. If I could write that book I would have enough money to end our current economic crisis. Sleeping, eating, tantruming and pooping are the most often asked questions of any early childhood expert. While not everyone agrees, I think pushing a child toward a deadline; school or impending baby sister causes undue stress around a bodily function. While I’m not a therapist or a doctor, that can’t ever be good.
Having said that, there are some steps that can move toddlers in the right direction in a clear yet serendipitous manner. To see Lonna's specific instructions, read more
Stuck in line at the bank, waiting for a table at a crowded restaurant or sitting in traffic with your tots? Parents often find themselves fumbling for something to occupy their youngsters. But all they have to do is grab their iPhone. An ever-growing number of applications geared toward lil ones are offered for a few bucks and may distract them for a matter of minutes. From apps that are time-passers to those that are educational, take a look at our favorite ten tot-friendly iPhone apps.
Any mama who has frantically searched for her lil one's lovey will have a good laugh at Mo Willem's Knuffle Bunny ($11). The book tells the tale of a father that takes his tot to the laundromat and can't make out his lil one's hysteria as they make the trek back home. Of course, as soon as they return home, the mother asks where the lovey is and the family retraces their steps in search of the beloved rabbit. Written by a Sesame Street and Cartoon Network veteran, Knuffle Bunny is filled with photos of the author's Brooklyn neighborhood that are adorned with cartoon images of the characters. The book bills itself as a "cautionary tale," but it makes a perfect bedtime story for the toddler and preschool set. Willems is currently at work turning the book into a musical for the Kennedy Center's 2010 season.
Try as they might to keep their tots away from the boob tube, every mama needs a few minutes to herself to make a phone call, check Facebook or just chill out. Rather than put your preschooler in front of a dancing monster or singing tomato, try introducing him to some pre-reading concepts that will help prepare him for a major developmental milestone.
The LeapFrog Letter Factory DVD has been praised by parents, educators and speech therapists for its fun, yet educational approach to teaching phonics. Tots familiar with the LeapFrog toys will love seeing Tad, Leap and Lily walk through the alphabet singing cute little songs for each letter. The tunes teach preschoolers the proper pronunciation of each letter and encourage viewers to sing along. Educators like it for its ability to teach letter recognition and speech therapists have told me they like the pronunciations used by the characters.