On any given day my kidlets ask me hundreds of questions. “Who is picking me up from school today?” “What are we having for dinner?” “Where are my sneakers?” “Why do I have to brush my teeth every day?” “When will you stop telling me what to do?” These questions are pretty simple for me to answer. I don’t even have to think twice about my reply because there is no doubt that I have the correct answer.It’s when my kidlets ask me questions such as: “Why is the sky blue?” “Where does the wind come from?” “Where do plants come from?” and “What are clouds made of?” that I feel like I’m on the hot seat. Not only do I want to be able to give them the correct answer, but I also want to answer them in an age-appropriate way for them to understand.
When my kidlets were really little there were two books that they begged me and The Hubs to read to them at bedtime each night. One was Goodnight Moon and the other was Big Red Barn, which both happen to be written by Margaret Wise Brown. Brown is one of the most popular children’s authors of all time. Her use of rhymed verse coupled with beautiful illustrations of realistic characters and objects have lulled children, including my own, to sleep for generations.
Though Brown died in 1952, she has a new book of out now called Goodnight Songs from Sterling Children’s Books. The book is a collection of previously unpublished lullabies that is gorgeously illustrated by 12 award-winning artists.
Yesterday I got an email about the results of a new study, compiled by PBS Kids and youth and family research firm Smarty Pants, on parents with young children aged 2-6 which found that American families are struggling to prepare their children for kindergarten with five out of 10 parents worrying that their child won’t have the basic skills they need when they start elementary school.
I shared this info on The Harried Mom’s Facebook page and asked readers along with some of my IRL (“In Real Life”) mommy friends to share with me their top tip to get kids onto the path to school readiness. The most common response I got was reading to/with children on a daily basis and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree!
Every Monday is library day in our house. After school the kidlets go to our local library and they each get to pick out four to five books for the week. I never know what kind of books they’ll check out. To me, there never seems to be any rhyme or reason to their selects. When I ask them they just tell me that from the cover it “looks” like it would be a good read (note to authors/illustrators – cover art is SUPER important in selling your book to the 10 and under crowd!).
Even though my six-year-old can read on his own, he likes to check out chapter books that The Hubs and I can read to him before he goes to bed each night. Captain Underpants, Batman and The Notebook of Doom series are some of his favs, but I’m starting to have trouble mustering up the vigor to re-read, for the millionth time, the adventures of George Beard and Harold Hutchins as they battle the Turbo Toilet 2000!
Sometimes heading back to school can be scary, especially for younger children who aren’t quite sure what to expect. Take my son for example. You ask him about school last year and he’ll tell you that he totally mastered kindergarten. Ask him about going into the first grade this fall with a new teacher, new classmates and a new classroom routine and he’ll tell you that he’s nervous.
To ease his jitters and to help transition him smoothly back into learning mode, The Hubs and I have been reading him lots of “going to school” or “back to school” books. The one my son has asked us to read him the most (and sometimes he’ll even read along with us) is Rufus Goes To School from Sterling Children’s Books, written by Kim T Griswell and illustrated by Valeri Gorbachev.
With back to school just around the corner, The Hubs and I have upped the ante on our daily reading with the kidlets to help ease them back in the learning groove. This week on The Harried Mom I’ll be featuring Kit Lit – books appropriate for younger readers, aged 3 to 7.
Today’s book is We Go Together! from Sterling Children’s Books, written by Todd Dunn and illustrated by Miki Sakamoto.
I’ve come across a lot of talking pigs in my life — Ms. Piggy from “The Muppets”, Piglet from Winnie-the-Pooh, Porky Pig from “Looney Toons” and even Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web – but I’ve never met a smarter, more well-mannered and thoughtful one than Peppa Pig!
In case you are not familiar with Peppa Pig, it’s a British cartoon that jumped the pond and can be seen here in the US on Nick Jr. It centers on the adventures of a giggly little girl pig named Peppa along with her family and friends. Peppa Pig is a good character that is aimed at both pre-school and kindergarten-aged children. As I mentioned earlier, she has impeccable manners and she teaches the values of family, friendship, fun and humor.
Peppa is now jumping off the small screen and into the pages of a great new hard-cover children’s book Peppa Pig and the Muddy Puddles from Candlewick Press.
I’m a big fan of any company that give back to the community and support philanthropic organizations. In our home, we show these companies our support by patronizing their stores or buying their products.
Kohl’s Department Stores has a great program called Kohl’s Cares. Throughout the year Kohl’s sells kid-friendly cause merchandise with 100% of the net profit donated to support kids’ heath and education in local communities nationwide. Since 2000, more than $231 million has been raised through Kohl’s Cares.
Now thru the end of June, Kohl’s Cares is helping to kick off summer with a smile by offering Deborah Diesen books, including “The Pout-Pout Fish” and “The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark,” along with coordinating plush toys and matching tote bag for just $5 each.
Cuddling up with a good book has always been one my favorite things to do. I love escaping into the worlds and lives of the people, either real or fictitious, that I’m reading about. It doesn’t matter if it’s a book that I’m reading myself or one that I’m reading aloud to my kidlets –I start imagining myself as the person in the story and even start reading in their “voice,” which brings much delight to my kids! I ’m thrilled that they also enjoy books and listening to stories.
My kindergartener son recently discovered the many literary and gross delights of Captain Underpants. It’s different from any of the other books I’ve read to them before because it is a novel, with chapters and multiple volumes. So far we’ve read through six of the ten books in the series. Now while my three and half-year old daughter has listened attentively to these books, “Tra La La!,” she did asked me to find a book “just like that,” but for girls.
So we tried out Disney Publishing’s new chapter book series and magazine featuring Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck.
Counting is a huge milestone for any child as they are starting to learn and grow. Now counting to 10 is “easy breezy,” according to my five-year-old kindergartener son, but what about counting to 30, 50, 80 or even 100? Aside from learning how to count by 1s, my boy is also learning how to count by 5s and 10s all the way to 100. Sometimes he gets confused trying to remember how the larger numbers progress so I’m always looking new ways to help him to practice his numbers.