Archive | March 13th, 2013

Games That Teach Children About Money

Teaching children about money is very important. It is a skill that will benefit them for a lifetime. Here are some fun and easy toddler games that can help teach children about money.

Piggy Bank Game

Toddlers love putting coins in, whether in the meter or a piggy bank. Give your little one a piggy bank. Buy him a Money Savvy Pig piggy bank instead of a traditional one-slit piggy bank. A Money Savvy Pig is a see-through piggy bank with four slots – spend, save, donate and invest which allows your toddler to see that his money is really there. Each time you give your toddler allowance, say, if he gets $5 for a week, give him five $1 bills instead of a $5 bill. This will help him allocate how much money he wants to drop in each slot.

Sorting Game

Toddlers love sorting things, so let your little one pile your coins with this entertaining game. Write the numbers 1, 5, 10 and 25 in four clear plastic cups. Then, give your toddler your spare change and help him arrange those dimes, nickels, pennies and quarters into their corresponding cups.

Money Bingo Game

Money bingo is a fun substitute to the classic bingo game. This game teaches toddlers the value of currency. On every square, you will see a picture of a group of coins instead of a number. Ask your toddler to determine how much money is in each square. Encourage other family members to join to make this game more exciting.

Cash Register Game

Role play with your toddler by setting up a pretend grocery store or restaurant using empty food containers. Use play money to pay for the products and take turns buying or ordering items and working the cash register (you can buy one from your local toy store).

Payday Game

Payday is a classic board game of earning and spending money. Start by setting the number of months the players are going to play and then start budgeting. Your toddler will be able to learn a lot from this game since something happens every day such as paying bills, birthdays, going on trips and doctor visits. Your little one will have to pay all of his bills and see how much cash he has left. Your toddler might have some trouble playing this game at first so make sure you guide him.

Open For Business Game

Put up a mini store filled with snacks, inexpensive toys, stickers or tickets for weekend trips. Give your toddler chores for a week. Pay him with play money. Give him a dollar for picking up his toys, two dollars for making his bed, three dollars for setting the dinner table and so on. At the end of the week, ask your toddler to count how much many he made and then let him spend his cash to buy what he wants from the store. Your little one will surely enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Teaching your toddler about money can be tricky. But through these games, your toddler will learn the difference between a dime and a dollar and that money does not grow on trees.

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The Importance of Reading To Children

Reading is one of the most common activities parents share with their children. Even if a toddler is still unable to completely grasp everything, he can still learn a lot of things. Here is why reading to children is very beneficial.

Strengthens Parent-Child Bond

Now that your toddler is able to run, walk, play and explore his environment, you will have less time to spend with your toddler. Reading a book with your little one allows the two of you to stay close to each other. It is a special activity that offers one-on-one bonding time you enjoyed when your toddler was a baby. Cuddling with your toddler and hearing your lovely voice not only builds strong connections but also offers your toddler a feeling of security.

Hones Language Skills

Toddlers learn words through listening. Reading to your toddler everyday exposes him to new speech concepts and develops his capability to construct sentences. A toddler’s brain is experiencing massive growth which means he can understand words at a faster rate as compared to you. In addition, reading teaches your toddler how different words are spoken and used. This experience provides your little one an opportunity to improve and enhance his language skills. As a result, he will be more likely to communicate and express himself in a positive manner.

Builds Literary Skills

Literary skills are the skills an individual needs to manipulate words and form sentence structures. Reading is the perfect way to build the foundation for mastering the alphabet and grow phonemic awareness (an understanding that words are made up of groups of sounds) as well as comprehension that the marks on a page symbolize words or letters.

Preparation For School

Reading gives your toddler a head start for school. According to studies, children who are exposed to books at an early age are more inclined to read earlier themselves which helps them excel in their studies. After all, if a toddler has difficulty forming words and sentences, how can you expect him to understand more complex instructions, math and other concepts he will be presented when he starts elementary school?

Teaches Life Lessons

Books cover a variety of topics that toddlers normally go through – moving from a crib to a toddler bed, potty training, welcoming a new sibling, making friends, etc. Reading books is the best way to show your toddler that other children have the same problems and frustrations he is experiencing which can help him adjust to changes more easily. Plus, hearing stories about other children can teach your toddler the value of sympathy as well as how to respect different people, cultures and beliefs. Furthermore, reading will encourage your toddler to use his imagination which will enable him to make sense of the world around him.

Helps Develop Personal Interests

Reading is also another way to help your toddler discover and follow his hobbies and passions. Reading books that tackles a topic he is interested in helps him learn more about his interests. This can be an instrument in honing your toddler’s talents which will help him succeed later in life.

Reading to your toddler is fundamental for his overall development. Make this activity a part of your daily routine and watch your toddler reap the rewards of reading.

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Common Issues of A Blended Family

When two parents of previous marriages decide to marry, it can bring a lot of emotional baggage to the children. Use these tips as your guide to help you rise above the most common issues of a blended family.

Problem # 1: Hurt and Angry Feelings

Toddlers in blended families can become defiant. Having a new parent can cause a toddler to feel doubtful about life which may lead to lack of cooperation. Oftentimes, a stepparent will be held liable for the divorce of a biological parent. The toddler can also feel confused between staying loyal to the biological parent and liking the stepparent.

The Solution: Be empathetic. Allot time for adjustment and accept whatever hurt feelings the toddler may have. But, do make sure the toddler still shows a certain level of respect for the parent and stepparent. Avoid dictating how the toddler should feel. Tell him that you understand that this situation must be hard for him.

Problem # 2: Difference In Parenting Styles

One of the biggest problems of blended families is parenting. You and your partner may have your own parenting style and once you make changes, that is when conflicts arise. Your toddler may think his new stepparent is controlling you which can make him resentful towards your new spouse.

The Solution: Come up with a list of values the two of you want to instil such as honesty and respect. Then, discuss your perspectives on parenting. For instance, you may think withholding privileges is the best way to discipline your toddler while you partner is in favor of using time-outs. Next, tackle household rules such as your toddler’s bedtime. Once you are both clear on each other’s beliefs, you can discuss parenting strategies you can apply that will be valuable for your family and that respects everyone’s opinion. After that, hold a family meeting and talk about your agreed rules and discipline methods. Your toddler is more likely to follow you and your new spouse when you present a united front.

Problem # 3: The Need To Compete

Divorce can make children question their parents love for them. Toddlers often believe that they have to compete for their parent’s attention and affection if there is a new parent and child in the picture.

The Solution: Toddlers need reminders. It is important to spend quality time with your toddler, minus the stepparent. Hug and kiss your toddler. Say “I love you” often. Treat every family member equally. Allow the children to bond.

Problem # 4: The “Ex”

An ex who meddles with the formation of a new family can make the situation more complicated. An ex can rant about you or your new spouse in front of your toddler. Or, your stepchild’s biological mother may take your stepchild out to an amusement park and leave your toddler behind.

The Solution: This one is out of your control. But, what you can do is try to be the best parent you can be. Do not thrash talk your ex in front of your toddler. If your stepchild is out with his mother, spend time with your toddler to avoid feelings of rejection.

Problem # 5: Creating A Family

A blended family does not function like traditional families. Having a new parent is already difficult, but having a new sibling just makes things more complicated.

The Solution: Connect with one another. Read books together during bedtime. Organize weekend trips with your new family. Create a “return ritual” when doing a house switch such as stopping for ice cream on the way home. This gives everyone grace period before jumping into a different routine.

Growing together as a stepfamily is not always easy. But with time, patience and effort, you can form a secure and happy family.

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