How to Win the Battle at Bedtime

How to Win the Battle at Bedtime

Putting your child to bed at night doesn’t have to be a nightmare.  Most parents are all too familiar with the “bedtime battle” that occurs when a child simply does not want to go to bed. What can you do to put bedtime problems to rest once and for all? Follow these tips to create a bedtime reading routine that your child will look forward to every evening.

1. Let them choose the book

Put together a selection of three to five books for your child to choose from. Include his or her favorite bedtime story even if you read it every night last week. The predictability of the story will help your child relax and fall asleep.

2. Make sure they are comfortable

It’s a beautiful sight when you look up after reading the last page of a book and your child is already asleep. Position yourself so that your son or daughter can see the pictures and follow along while lying down. Find your child’s favorite blanket or stuffed animal and put it in the bed ahead of time.

3. Get into it

Enthusiasm is contagious! If you’re excited about reading a story, your child will be excited about hearing it. Change your voice for different characters, make funny faces, and add sound effects to help the story come alive.

4. Ask questions

Reading should be interactive. Discussing the book with your child will make him feel like a part of the story. Ask questions such as: “What’s happening in this picture?  How do you think that makes him feel? Can you guess what will happen next?”

5. Allow them to read

Children imitate everything they see their parents do. If you read to your child every night, before long she will want to start reading herself. When this happens, it’s time to celebrate! You’ve taken the first step toward raising a child who loves books and is on the way to developing a lifelong passion for reading.

By Matt Freid

Patient Parenting


Patient Parenting

The checkout line at a grocery store. The waiting room in your doctor’s office. The trendy new restaurant in your neighborhood on a Saturday night. What do these places have in common? They test your patience. You put up with the inconvenience of waiting because of the eventual reward – a stocked refrigerator, a clean bill of health, a delicious meal shared with a loved one.

Parenting also requires a great deal of patience – which is just as much a skill as changing a diaper or putting together a crib.

Here are three techniques to help you work on being a patient parent.

1. Resist the temptation to take over.

Children are sponges when it comes to information and experiences. Take a step back and watch them enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing something on their own. It’s okay if it takes your son five minutes to tie his shoe! Allow them the space to grow into individuals – not a junior version of you – by encouraging your children to try new things without your help.

2. Recognize that you’re a role model.

People act differently when they know someone’s watching them. For better or worse, your children see and hear everything you do when they’re with you. So next time the traffic light turns yellow, hit the brake instead of the gas pedal. Stop looking at your watch every 30 seconds while the barista is making your espresso. You don’t want your child to be the one throwing a tantrum because he has to wait for his turn on the slide at the playground.

3. Slow down.    

Spend a few minutes really listening to your daughter’s detailed description of the finger painting she created in art class. Put down the iPad and watch your son try over and over again to do a perfect somersault. When you find yourself getting impatient, stop what you’re doing and really think about why you feel so rushed.

Most of the time you’ll have trouble coming up with a good answer.

By Matt Freid

School is out! An easy DIY to do outside this summer.

Giant Bubble Maker

1. Thread a piece of string (2-3 feet long) through 2 plastic straws

2. Shape into a large loop, tie string in a knot, hide knot inside straw

3. Add two straw handles by pinching ends and inserting inside “loop” straws

4. Dunk string and straws inside bubble solution

5. Lift up by handles, hold in the air, and let the wind do the rest!

Move over paper airplanes!

This DIY twist on the paper airplane really works!

Try this easy and super fun DIY. Your kids will love it.

1. Cut index card lengthwise into 3 equal strips
2. Tape two strips together at one end
3. Form two circles (1 big/1 small) and tape ends together
4. Tape straw to inside of circles – 1 at each end
5. Ready for takeoff!

On Olympian Development and Learning Skills

Did your children find time to watch a few Olympians recently?  If so, what did your children enjoy about them?  Among families we know, children found the athletes inspiring, and well they should!

Many of us marvel at the poise and control of men and women as they swim, dive, run, vault, volley, and perform other nearly miraculous feats of courage and discipline.  One of my children is now inspired to take fencing lessons, and another has developed fresh vigor for badminton.

Perhaps inspired by all that athletic prowess, during the Olympics, busy parents found time for a little more exercise.  Physical activity is very good for the brain at all ages.  Becoming really good at anything, takes considerable discipline, and sustaining a truly demanding level of engagement. The strict training expected of great athletes, is accepted as a given.  “Practice makes perfect,” and succeeding at increasingly challenging performances is part of any athletic regimen.

As children may witness the intense control and ability shown by athletes, succeeding in academic ‘performance’ is also on parents minds.  We aspire to develop principles to live by, that are conducive to children’s stability and increasing competence in learning and comprehension.

Let’s reflect for a moment on educational calisthenics, and differing views of routine and repetition, contrasted with spontaneity and child-initiated learning.  Traditional training that includes drills remains one of the best ways to memorize arithmetic in early childhood, though there are increasingly variable drill structures.  And for children who are learning English or are multilingual, drills in conjugating verbs also lead to lasting memorization and comprehension of deeper grammatical principles in language.  To overlook the meaningful impact of drills such as these is to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Spontaneity, and child or student-initiated learning, is that freedom to be creative that is also important to our children’s intellectual, social, and psychic development.  Interesting new studies find, for instance, that students forced to read a topic that disinterests them, struggle learning to read, suffer, and ultimately become less likely to become avid readers.  In fact, the struggle affects their adult lives, as well.  On the other hand, students given the opportunity to select their reading, have positive feelings about it, advance and learn to read more quickly, showing increased gratification and comprehension in reading, as well as a lifelong propensity for reading.

The best learning includes spontaneity and drills, helping a child develop a solid basic foundation for continued learning. Should a child take a liking to certain topics, increasingly, drills become pleasant challenges to be mastered.  Olympians learn by combining natural interests and drills.

Related Online Topics:

Science360:  Science Of The Summer Olympics: Engineering In Sports

New York Times : Math Drills, via the Smartphone

New Update: Introducing Tracing and Counting skills with cloud backup feature

Agnitus new update ver 1.6.0 is introducing two new skills with many new exciting features.

Tracing Letters:
Olly, the Circus Ring Master, teaches phonics and how to trace letters, while keeping your child engaged with fanciful costumes and delightful acrobatic performances, including juggling torches and animals.

Counting Up to 10:
Learn how to count as you get fish on the sea bus!

Cloud Backup & Sync:
Now your child’s step-by-step progress is saved in the cloud.  Whenever you re-install our app, you can easily download all the online-saved data into your new app installation.  You need never lose your child’s progress!

Multi-Child Report Card:
See a child’s or classroom’s performance at-a-glance.  View and touch the details of what children have learned and where each one needs help.

Agnitus Learning Games has 13 different games and activities that are mapped to Common Core State Standards, providing detailed skill-level reporting of your child’s performance and progression through the curriculum.


Counting by Twos and Pairs with Savoir Faire – That is Something Special!

Do you have special games or phrases you use with your child for counting by twos or by pairs, that you’d like to share with us?

When you first introduce your child to counting by more than one, keep it simple.  An ideal way to begin is with the concept of twos, because many real life objects come in pairs.  To the extent that people have pairs of shoes, socks, and pajamas, counting by pairs is a holistic way to help your child develop an interest in sets that have similarities, such as a right and left shoe.

Remember that rhyming words almost always appeal to a child’s curiosity, so inviting your child to join in on rhyming is fun and makes everyone happy.  Don’t worry if your child says ‘close-to-rhyming’ words, you can do that too, and one funny word leads to another!   You can come back to pairs of things gradually.  To make pairs rhyming an ongoing game, you can always begin with someone’s funny shoes, maybe grandpa’s old boots, or Mom’s clogs.  Two!  Shoes!  Blue!  Who? You?  Goo!  When you practice twos and rhymes together, your child is learning important vocabulary and pronunciation also.

From two as a pair, you can introduce another pair.  This helps us go from two to four.  Once this is understandable in your home, several things that are the same can be paired.  By the time you get to a higher number, you can gradually count things with a “little story” emphasis on pairs. This adds a little dimension to rhymes with a story-like context.  Fully spontaneous, it is surprising what we can invent as we go.

Young children also enjoy exploring two eyes and two ears.  The childhood song, Head and shoulders, knees and toes has many versions around the world, but delights all children, as they seek to identify these parts of their body while moving along with the melody.

Tongue twisters for young children might include three or 4 word strings, again, fun and nonsense go together in word and number play.  For example: two – twigs – twirl can become an outdoor game.  How many child-centered things can you do with two twirling twigs? You’d be surprised!  There are wonderfous counting resources available in nature and out of doors.  There are leaves, nuts (acorns are especially fun) sticks, pebbles, clover, fruits, pots, garden tools, flowers…

When you’re traveling, or on the go, and your child needs something to do, this is the perfect time for discovery using an educational app.  Starting with basic numbers you cannot go wrong!  You can also make traveling a more pleasant experience for everyone with a couple of engaging apps.  Our favorite for beginning numbers and colors is the Agnitus Learning Games for Preschool and Kindergarten.

Related Online Topics:
Hap Palmer CDs: Can Cockatoos Count by Twos?