VTech Parentinghttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/VTech Parentingen-usThu, 01 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0400 Teaching kids to be ThankfulSusan Bartellhttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{349BD3FE-DCD0-420F-8438-76E3A63155C2}The holiday season is upon us with its sparkling lights, parties, and stores packed with great gifts. For most kids, it’s difficult to focus on anything other than receiving gifts—can you blame them! As adults, it is our job to help kids recognize the true meaning of the season—highlighted by the qualities of generosity, kindness and appreciation. Young children respond better to action than conversation, so the very best way to connect them to the spirit of the holidays is by offering experiences rather than telling them how they ‘should’ feel. Healthy technology playLise Eliothttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{B9380FCC-4E92-4D4C-9EAA-2FE019347601}What parent today isn’t aware of the massive change in children’s play, compared to our own childhoods? Sure, our parents may have worried that we were watching too much TV, but that was just a drop in the bucket compared to 24/7 digital world our kids are growing up in. Technology is everywhere, and just as most adults have become inseparable from our smartphones, laptops and tablets some children as young as infancy are getting similarly swamped by electronic interaction in ways that monopolize their attention and crowd out other forms of play. Top 10 Halloween BooksDeborah Sharp Libbyhttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{29CFDE11-9075-4915-A34B-0BC4945C15AC}Make time to read every day. Daily reading promote literacy development that exposes your kids to important early concepts of print, a variety of vocabulary words and sensational stories. The ultimate goal of early literacy experiences is to hook your children on books and inspire lifelong readers. It’s a great time of year to enjoy some special seasonal titles so here’s my top ten list to get in the “Halloween Spirit.” How to support a role-model, career based Halloween costumeSusan Bartellhttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{5CA1CBFF-B5EF-454B-9ED4-49ED61A170AF}Halloween is one of the most exciting days of a child’s year. It’s hard to beat a huge pile of candy, but for most young children the real attraction is an opportunity to dress up in a costume. Preschool and elementary kids love to pretend to be someone else because it empowers them to challenge the boundaries of childhood and express themselves in a way that is not ususally possible in everyday life. Very often, children choose costumes that represent a current and trendy ‘hero’—usually a character they admire from a movie or TV show. They hope that by dressing up they will feel the strength, leadership, and inspirational traits that they admire in this fictional character. Encourage Your Budding Writers with These Simple TipsDeborah Sharp Libbyhttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{86D4CD72-E34E-4151-8D67-90F32E3BE324}Help your children become writers. Immerse them in print and provide them with many opportunities to write. It’s just a matter of getting started and developing a fun family writing routine. Begin by creating a writing space at home with your kids. Stock it with a variety of materials such as journals, notebooks and paper in all shapes and sizes. Make sure there are plenty of pencils, pens, colored pencils, crayons and markers so your children have a variety of writing and drawing tools to choose from. Develop your child's brain through sportsLise Eliothttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{83800664-71A7-4EC9-B38E-25AEC00629B5}Mine has become a soccer family. I have spent more Saturday afternoons than I could count watching our three kids play games in pouring rain, muggy heat, biting cold, and occasionally, perfectly gorgeous weather. I’m happy to say that the more years they’ve stuck with it, the better our kids have gotten, so that by high school, the games have become downright exciting. Like many parents today, we encouraged our kids in sports with the goal of strengthening their bodies and developing their physical skills like speed and agility. Of course, we also hoped the sports would be fun, allow them to bond with their teammates and teach them how to win and lose with equal amounts of grace. The Importance of Downtime for ChildrenSusan Bartellhttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{45EAC3A8-B46F-48F7-8817-13688C56E154}Overscheduling a child with activities can happen by accident without you even realizing it. Suddenly your child’s life is so busy that there is no time left to play or relax. It starts with nightly homework, a karate class twice a week, a guitar lesson, religious education and soccer practice once a week with a game on Saturday. Back To School Routines: Making the School Transition Easy Deborah Sharp Libbyhttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{3E430677-F602-472C-8942-53C004B577E4}Back to School time is always exciting. Opportunities to reconnect with old friends and make new ones abound. Early mornings, busy schedules and homework nightly mark the return of the academic year. Some children are excited to get back to the classroom while others are somewhat tentative. Creating simple daily routines make for smooth transitions. Help your children breeze back into their school routine with these simple tips. Back-to-School with a smileSusan Bartellhttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{E0D0251E-88CD-4FE8-96E9-D455399EEB68}For most kids, the sparkling new school year, with its sharp pencils and clean notebooks triggers feelings of excited anticipation. Despite the bad name that school receives (homework, early mornings), most kids look forward to the return of structure, organized socialization and the accomplishment of learning. Of course, alongside the excitement, it is normal to feel nervous about the new teacher, different group of classmates and more challenging schoolwork. In fact, parents sometimes feel pangs of worry for their child—wanting the year to be smooth, academically and socially. While you may not have complete control over ensuring a successful year, there are FOUR important steps that you can take to help your child transition into the school year easily and happily. Balancing physical play with technologyLise Eliothttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{AA45EFCA-19FC-4570-8D39-0D30743EF455}Children love to move. Have you ever heard the story about Olympian Jim Thorpe, considered the greatest athlete of his day, who succumbed to exhaustion after spending just a few hours attempting to mimic every single action of a young toddler? From early infancy onward, children are enormously more active than adults. And it’s a good thing. Their bodies are switched to the GO state for nearly all of their waking hours, which happens to be exactly what their brain and muscles need to develop all those new skills like walking, running, throwing and drawing. Love the Library with Your Little Ones!Deborah Sharp Libbyhttp://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{5FD224F1-7CBC-4781-8C34-EB35566763D3}It’s never too early to introduce your children to the library. Libraries offer rich literacy experiences for the whole family with programs for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers, school-aged children, teens and adults. Make visiting your library a priority and be sure to check out the calendar of events each month. You’ll find programs like story time and literacy activities on different themes. Your children can enjoy great books, experience magical stories and engage in age appropriate projects that ignite their passion for reading.