VTech Parentinghttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/VTech Parentingen-usMon, 01 Feb 2016 00:00:00 -0500 Teaching Children to Understand a Healthy Expression of LoveSusan Bartellhttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{42962A9F-EFFE-47F2-9EE8-736F54D7A0FB}Each year, on Valentine’s Day, the expression of love becomes ‘official’ for twenty-four hours. We might not embrace this commercialized view of love, but in reality, it’s important to spend not just one day, but, the entire year teaching your child healthy ways to express love, as well as how to receive it from others. Love and its relatives, respect, empathy and sympathy, are the cornerstone emotions that support your child in becoming an emotionally healthy adult. Children are born with the capacity to feel and express love, but having healthy role models is critical to helping them realize their true potential. Since parents are a child’s most meaningful role model, it’s of great value to consider the messages you convey to your child about love. Here are four questions to ask yourself—each will help you understand whether you are successfully role modeling healthy love to your child. Supporting Struggling or Reluctant ReadersDeborah Sharp Libbyhttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{6F17E612-1EE0-4305-8F3F-644F98140D52}For some children learning to read proves to be especially difficult and they are reluctant to read. In this situation, our goal as parents is to help our struggling or reluctant readers view reading as an enjoyable experience. <b>How do we achieve this goal?</b> Ultimately, we need to immerse our children in daily reading experiences and support their growth and development as readers. Wintertime Classics – Great Books for Kids – Part 2Deborah Sharp Libbyhttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{65314E6B-B4DC-4817-A073-9432ECD54F0E}Foster your child’s interest in reading through “shared book” experiences. Shared book experiences are an interactive time when children sit and enjoy a good book with an adult. During this experience children are encouraged to join in and talk about the story, pointing to illustrations and words, reading along or simply repeating well‐known words or phrases. Reading stories aloud with your child is important to foster your child’s interest and love of reading all while exposing them to important concepts of print such as reading from left to right and building their knowledge of letters and words. When you read the same book to your child multiple times, you’re exposing them to great literature and encouraging independent reading. Check out these books that you can both read over and over again. Keep Your Family Healthy During the WinterSusan Bartellhttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{03C32563-311B-450D-A45C-B078436379DA}As the cheer of holiday season ends, the cold and dreary months ahead can seem long and bleak. Both kids and adults usually feel the urge to retreat to a cozy couch where big and small screens beckon us. We then wait out the winter with hot chocolate and other sugar-laden goodies that trick our brains into feeling happy! While this may be a great time to catch up on TV shows, the dark and cold winter months can trigger feelings of sadness, isolation and loneliness. There is also a tendency to gain weight in the winter (even for young children) since we eat fewer fresh fruit and veggies and we’re less active. Despite this bleak picture, it is possible to ensure your family a happier, healthier winter—by following a few simple suggestions. How Musical Training Can Benefit Your Child’s DevelopmentLise Eliothttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{49B34BD1-07CC-4460-907F-9982BABB4D41}Human beings are naturally musical. Every culture in the world has some form of music, which binds people together, communicates feelings, and brings joy to our shared human experience. The reason music is universal is because it employs many of the same brain circuits as language, which is also why musical training is so beneficial to young children. A child who learns to play a musical instrument is essentially bilingual, having two systems of sound and rhythm for communicating his or her feelings. Wintertime Classics – Great Books for Kids – Part 1Deborah Sharp Libbyhttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{1C37BFAB-A65F-4547-A6A6-985E6BE9EE98}It is a great time of year to enjoy a good book. Library and bookstore shelves are filled with wonderful titles. Enjoying books, listening to stories, and singing or saying favorite nursery rhymes all support language and literacy development. Children enjoy reading great stories with their families and daily reading helps develop children’s interest in books and love for reading. Check out some of these wintertime classics for a way to spend a cold winter day with your little ones! Encouraging and fostering dreams in young girlsSusan Bartellhttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{426ADD91-AC5D-44B0-98A4-36917B3E3C59}Research shows that it’s important for children to dream about all they can become and everything they want to accomplish in the future—even if these dreams never come true. Dreaming increases cognitive flexibility, encourages creativity and supports healthy risk-taking. Dreaming is particularly important for young girls because it empowers them to begin thinking about themselves as a nurturer (playing with dolls and playing ‘house’), thinking about the ways they might contribute to the world in other ways, and also imagining financial security (pretending to be a teacher, business owner or doctor). A recent survey by VTech confirms that parents recognize and value the importance of supporting their child’s dreams—even when these dreams seem like a fantasy (like being a famous actor or world-class athlete). Creative role-play helps girls grow up to be greatSusan Bartellhttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{5E28C0B8-9D00-4D8F-966C-AA06777DA0A7}Does your daughter love to play ‘school’, pretend she’s a veterinarian, super hero or her favorite pop star? You may not realize it, but she’s doing a lot more than just playing. In fact, this type of imaginative, creative role-play helps her to develop cognitively, socially and emotionally. How to keep your child's brain active during the winter breakLise Eliothttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{38F11B60-79C5-47FE-99FD-18966072CC96}School vacations give families a nice break from their hectic routine. But, like any time off from learning, winter break allows time for school-aged children to lose some of their recently-acquired knowledge. Parents can help your children stay intellectually engaged by planning fun, but mentally stimulating activities during the winter break. Here are a few suggestions that are not only good for your child’s mind but are great bonding activities for the whole family: "Tis the Season!" Grab A Hot Chocolate And Curl Up With A Good Book!Deborah Sharp Libbyhttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{2EEBADE4-EDD7-4992-94F0-C649C67E1147}Now that the temperatures are dropping, it’s a great time to grab a hot chocolate and curl up with a good book. Reading with your child introduces important literacy concepts and helps build children’s understanding of story. Specifically, regular reading experiences expose children to important concepts of print such as reading from left to right, from top to the bottom of a page and from the front to the back of a book. In addition, reading great children’s literature supports print awareness helping children attend to letters, beginning sounds, words and learn that the printed word carries meaning. Manners matterSusan Bartellhttps://www.vtechkids.com/parenting/article/{E7B5CD96-EF28-4EB1-926F-797909151686}The holiday season is upon us and everyone is all smiles until your child behaves in a way that embarrasses, frustrates or angers you at a holiday event. Sleep deprivation, hunger or just bad manners may all contribute to a child having public meltdowns or other less than appropriate behavior. However, you don’t have to accept this as the norm. In fact, you might not realize it, but, this is an excellent time of year to teach your child important lessons that will be of value for years to come. Here are four important steps that will help your child develop better behavior through the holidays and leave you much less stressed.