Limiting technology & exposing our kids to focus/concentration activities

Society today is focused around technology and almost everything can be done via computers & smartphones. You can painlessly access almost anything with the touch of a button. With that in mind, it has become increasingly difficult to keep our little ones from watching TV, Netflix, playing games (for fun & educational purposes) on the iPAD, iPhone, iTouch, Android, Nook, Kindle, etc.

My 2 year old daughter can probably work an iPad better than some adults, lol. One morning I left her to sleep with daddy while I dropped big brother off and she crawled out of bed and just entertained herself with Netflix “just for kids” while daddy slept. I got home soon after and asked her what she was doing and she’s like “just watching my show on the iPad mommy” I thought it was so cute and smart how she managed to unlock the device & navigate through the icons. With all this available to them, it is so easy to over-stimulate their brains which over time can cause difficulty concentrating and/or focusing on completing a simple task.

I am not against exposing my kids to technology because I do believe they can learn from it, but as parents we should be aware of what they are doing & how much time is being spent on these devices. I am guilty too! My kids have watched more than one episode of Dora in a day, but sometimes it’s tough to get things done without giving them a TV break!!

If you do decide to put TV on for them, then I suggest communicating to them that they are to watch X amount of TV and give them a five to ten minute warning before you turn it off (to avoid any possible meltdown/tantrum).

So in lieu of TV time, I wanted to share with you an activity that can hone in on their concentration & focus. Both my 2yo & 4yo love to play…LEGOS! Although expensive, it is a great activity to get their little minds focused. My husband calls it “the non-ADD” activity because it requires their undivided attention and when you get to the more intricate sets it becomes even more challenging. If your child is young (1+) you can start with the big blocks and move your way up to the duplo sets…and then the sets with the teeny, tiny pieces.

My 4yo puts together the 6-12yo sets with very little guidance from daddy. We sit him down at the the dining table and he begins by grouping all the pieces together by color (which takes time) then he grabs the instruction manual and goes page by page piecing it together until he is done. Once he is done he is absolutely thrilled and so happy about his final product. It is a very rewarding project because from 100+ scattered pieces it turns into something totally functional!

My 2yo daughter loves to build towers and big brother helps her to make things she would not think of which also indirectly nurtures the sibling bond (double score!).

If Legos are not in your budget (because it can get costly), there are many focus & concentration games available that are free! I was researching online and came across this great article: http://www.empoweringparents.com/Five-Simple-Brain-Exercise-Activities-for-Your-ADHD-Child.php# (which is by the way a great website with helpful tips & tools for parents).

The article gives you ideas on activities you can do with your child to help increase their focus. I think my son would love to do the coin game! I am excited to try it with him, God willing. Regardless of whether your child has ADHD or not (since the article is talking about kids with ADHD), this article has some great activities any parent can use. The more we put our children in front of TV the higher the chance of them becoming easily distracted when trying to complete tasks (which may lead to behavior issues in school, ADD characteristics, etc.).  Ultimately, God is the best protector and I put my trust in him.  If we do things in moderation (as God says), then we should not have a problem.  Excess in anything becomes problematic, so try to keep your balance!

Note: this is not an expert opinion just my personal views & suggestions based on research and observations I’ve made over time. 

Building focus & concentration in children

Building focus & concentration in children

Nature’s miracle in a jar – Coconut Oil

I recently started using Coconut Oil as a body moisturizer and this stuff is amazing.  So amazing that I had to blog post about it to you all.  It is such a blessing from God and it has so many uses!! You can cook & bake with it, add it to your tea, rub it into your hair & skin…the list goes on.  Keep one in your kitchen and one in the bathroom!  It really is a super-ingredient.

I mainly use it as a moisturizer on myself & kids.  If you look at all those “baby” moisturizers and check their ingredients…I bet you will find more than one ingredient you can’t even pronounce….which is weird to me.  If you’re into natural & organic ingredients like me…then you should definitely start using coconut oil as a moisturizer.  It has one ingredient: coconut.  How awesome is that? You know exactly what your child’s skin is absorbing.

My son tends to have dry skin and so do I, but ever since we started using coconut oil we noticed a big change! I bought mine from Whole Foods – 365 Brand.  It is Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – Expeller Pressed.

Whole Foods 365 – Organic Expeller Pressed Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

 

 

I only have one warning – When applying it on yourself or your child just steer clear from the face or hairline because then you are left with greasy hair!  The first time I tried it on my kids, I put some on their faces and it ended up going into their hair and their hair got greasy looking like as if it hasn’t been washed lol.  After this incident I learned to quickly wash my hands after applying so I don’t risk running my fingers through my hair (or my kids).

Tips on establishing a nurturing & loving bond between siblings

I think every parent of two or more has this on their mind – establishing a strong sibling bond…life is so much easier when the kids get along and you’re not refereeing all day. Ever wonder why some siblings get along why some cannot even be alone in the same room together? Well in this post, I have a few tips that have worked really well in my house. Don’t get me wrong…there are days where I feel like I’ve been the ref between a 2 and 4 year old ALL day, but we can minimize those days with proper communication & by building the sibling bond.

Below are some tips on how to create a loving & nurturing home:

Responsibility

Give the older sibling a sense of responsibility over the younger sibling. For example, if we have a babysitter I will talk to my older son and explain to him that he needs to watch over his sister and take care of her. I’ll ask him to help his sister put on her shoes, again simple tasks. Have the older sibling teach or read to the younger sibling. My son loves to play flashcards with my daughter. He always tries to help out with potty training by explaining to his sister how he uses the potty. You can get creative and add your own twist to this.

Show don’t tell

If your son or daughter does something to make the other sibling upset you can let them “show” their apology by making a drawing and present it like a card and apologize as they hand the card over. (I don’t do this every time, but depending on what the issue is you can choose to do this on occasion).

It’s also important for the parents to “show” their love towards each other. Kids learn by example…so in a way it’s contradicting if you’re constantly arguing with your spouse in front of the kids and then turn around and try to establish a loving relationship between them. It sure does not help.

Reminders/Communication

Kids need tons plus more reminders. Sometimes by the end of the night my throat is dry from the amount of times I’ve repeated something lol. Just remind yourself that the reward will eventually pay off and to always remind your children what good behavior is vs. bad behavior. They will test you like no other to see how far they can go and if you do not explain to them right from wrong then who will they learn from?

Consistency

Be consistent with them. It’s pretty simple but we all need reminders…if sibling B receives something (ex: a toy or candy) make sure sibling A is included or be ready to have a good explanation. Kids thrive on consistency, whether it’s learning a new word or telling their sibling that they love them every night. Be consistent by displaying loving behavior and eventually it will become the norm and they will just do it on their own.

Also be sure you & your spouse are on the same page and are consistent with the types of behaviors you choose to instill in your children.

In conclusion, our roles as parents are intertwined and you will definitely see the pay off if everyone in the family works towards establishing a strong bond early on (as early as possible). Remember that parenting is not easy and we have huge responsibilities! By God’s grace, we have so much information & research available to us at our fingertips, so do not ever feel like you’re stuck! If you have any tips please share 🙂 I am not a professional…just a mom who only wants the best for her children.

IMG_9963 copy

Teaching your child to read

Last week, my son who is four years old read us his first book all by himself !  As a parent, it was such an amazing moment that I will cherish in my heart forever.  He was so excited and we were so excited for him.  My eyes were all watery as he read his short little book because all the time & effort we invested in him finally came together, by God’s grace.

Reading is definitely an acquired skill and like anything else you have to build on it until finally one day everything comes together.  At around 2.5 he was identifying letters & currently my 2 year old daughter is identifying letters & sounds too.  As the progression went on he learned sounds, blending sounds, writing, sight words & small sentences.

It’s so important for parents to be involved in the education of their children because we cannot rely on the school system.  I realized that unless you are going to a really academic-based school then most of their focus is socializing your children through play and group activities.  Don’t get me wrong socialization is super important too, but I feel like my kids get a ton of socialization thank God.  We have a lot of family & friends which allow for play dates galore (thank God).

I have definitely noticed a difference in his reading after consistently working with him every day, and it doesn’t have to be long it can be five minutes, ten minutes, or even twenty minutes.  It just depends on how interested he is that day, I don’t want to burn him out.  You can make it fun by making weekly trips to the library, have them pick out books.  Take flashcards with you to places and pop them out when they are starting to act out to divert their attention.  Use your mommy tricks!

It’s a work in progress, but I definitely recommend reading to your child every night and challenging their brains.  You will be surprised at how smart they really are and what they are capable of.

Using social media to track your child’s milestones!

I am a busy mom of two (ages 2 & 4) and unfortunately have not made it a priority to keep my baby books updated (like most moms, from what I hear).  There are just not enough hours in the day!! Thank God for social media! Since I have my phone with me at all times, it makes life so much easier to keep track of my growing babies :*

At first, my husband and I had a shared Google Document where we would both write down & date memorable moments as it occurred.  After a while …. we slowly stopped updating the doc (life got in the way).

Since the demise of our Google doc, we decided to create a Twitter & Gmail account for both of our kids.  I feel like this is as good as it gets (at least for us) because I’d rather have something noted than nothing at all. The Twitter app is right at my fingertips and I can easily switch from my account to theirs by the touch of one button (you can save the login info & essentially skip this step).

So now when my two year old daughter says something cute or funny I quickly tweet her message via her account.  If it’s a milestone or something I want to take note of I just add brackets so I know that it was something I said and not her.  All your tweets are saved and from my understanding Twitter does not delete your tweets.  It’s really cool because even going back one month I sometimes do not remember what happened and I either have another “awww” moment or laugh at how silly they are.

You can get really creative and start the account when your pregnant and start tweeting from the womb! How awesome is that! Also you can go in from Mommy or Daddy’s account and add their tweets to your favorites 🙂

You can follow my kids @arman & @cdj to get an idea of what I am talking about.  Happy Tweeting 🙂

 

Thrifting Adventures

So earlier this week, during my short window “free” time with my 2 year old daughter, I decided to make a quick run to the local thrift shop. I am not sure what it is about shopping “vintage” but it gives me an accomplished and thrilling feeling when I find something that interests me. Maybe it’s because I used to go a lot with my mom as a child and she always found the best stuff. I remember her friends would always be in awe at the items she claimed she got second-hand. So in short, it gives me a nostalgic yet satisfied feeling.
I wanted to share with you the items that caught my eye today:

vintage_watermark teacups_watermark

I think it’s nice to share vintage finds because among the junk you can really find some pretty treasures. I purchased the silver frame for $1.00 and the embroidered fabric was $1.99 (housed in its own frame). I removed it from the original frame and re-framed it into the silver one. Voila! There you have it, cute wall art for my daughter’s room all for three bucks.

I have a weakness for cute tea cups and trays. I found pink toile tea cups with their saucers for a steal!! Then…I came across two glass tea cups with beaded handles…I fell in love with the pair. I searched for more, but there were only two 😦

I think i’m ready for my tea party after I sanitize and goo-gone the darn price tags. YAY!

Oh yeah, lastly I purchased the silver tray for possibly making a candle arrangement of some sort (undecided). I also bought some cute green decorative vases to place on my mantel (not pictured). Everything purchased was under $50.00. Plus every $5 you spend gets accounted for on their “stamp card” which eventually leads to a 30% coupon. 🙂

For those of you unsure about shopping at thrift stores…I think you should definitely give it a go, because you never know what treasure awaits you. You really have nothing to lose!

I follow the religion of Abraham

I am not a Muslim, Christian or Jew. I am a strict Monotheist and worship God alone. I am a Submitter to God and do not uphold anyone or anything beside him. He alone is all I need to survive. My rock & refuge.

This life was not created in vain!

20130321-202638.jpg

Just a reminder to myself that our righteous deeds do not go unnoticed. God is always with us. We reap the benefits of being steadfast in this life & in the hereafter. God is awesome and SO merciful and SO good.

Never too early to start

20130321-121356.jpg

Give your kids easy chores and praise for their good work!! My two year old loves to put the water bottles away so that’s her job!

%d bloggers like this: