It’s Never Too Early to Learn to Read

Reading is a key skill that can help with academics as well as in life. Critical thinking, understanding abstract concepts, effective communication and a slew of other skills can develop once basic reading fundamentals are mastered. On average, kids learn to fully read on their own by age 6 or 7, but reading shouldn’t wait for that age to start. Reading can start from the moment your child is born. There are many benefits to reading to your newborn, and it can be more helpful (and in more ways) than you think.

Quality Time

Even if your child is a newborn, reading to them can be extremely beneficial. They get used to your voice and they can experience the quiet calm that comes with storytelling. Even if your child cannot understand the details of the story you’re telling them, they are slowly becoming more acquainted with language and with you.

Brain Boosting

Research shows that the more words a baby is exposed to, the better prepared they are to start reading on their own when they’re old enough. Exposing kids to language can help them develop speaking and reading skills faster and it can also help them build an impressive vocabulary. Studies have shown that children who were read to as newborns generally have a larger vocabulary, as well as more advanced mathematical skills, than other kids their age.

It Still Garners a Response

Many parents who read to their newborns may actually notice their little one responding to the rhythmic movement of their parent’s voice with their little arms and legs. Reading has proven to help children learn to listen but also to see and hear what is around them, often eliciting a personal response as they become more familiar and try to interact, too.

Getting Emotional

Reading can help kids of all ages learn to empathize and sympathize. Older children learn to see the world through someone else’s eyes, exposing them to different hardships, problems, and general perspectives. For younger children, simply the tone of voice can say a lot about how a character is feeling as well. Your child can develop key listening skills that can communicate emotion and feeling without using outright words or simply stating so.

Visual Excursions

Since many children’s books include pictures and illustrations, reading to your child can open their minds to images, pictures, symbols, and more. Plus, the visual correlation between the story and the images on the page can help kids develop skills that will allow them to imagine and understand abstract concepts as they get older.

Making Reading Fun

Making it a part of your regular family routine will teach your child that reading is something to be enjoyed, not a chore that needs to be done for school.

How To Boost Your Child’s Memory

As time goes on and as people age, certain things may become more difficult. Retaining information and remembering certain things can become increasingly challenging, and as a result memory games are making a comeback among adults of all ages in hopes of boosting their memory skills and their overall brain functionality. It is never too early to promote a healthy brain, and there are plenty of ways parents can help boost their child’s memory. Whether you are helping a child who struggles with retaining information or is studying for a big test, or even if you are simply looking for fun, interactive games your children can play that will also boost their brain power, then here are some ways you can help hone your child’s memory.

Practice Visualization Skills

After reading a book, going on a trip, or even after a long day at school, ask your child to draw some pictures about what they did that day or what happened. Visualization is a great memory tool, not only for improving your child’s overall ability to remember details and keep them fresh in their mind, but it also helps with understanding abstract concepts and communicating abstract ideas.

 

Visual Memory Games

Speaking of visualization, visual memory games can help to significantly boost this area of your child’s brain. There are plenty of games like this on the market whether they are video games, apps, or physical board games. You can also make up your own games as well – ask your child to circle every instance of the word “the” in a magazine or play “I Spy” with the letters in license plates that drive past you on your next outing.

The Student Becomes the Teacher

If your child is struggling with a particular subject in school, ask them to teach you about it. This may be difficult at first, but they can start out by telling what they know before delving into what gives them pause. From there, as kids begin to explain the subject matter, they may develop a different understanding of it. By switching their point of view, kids can learn how approaching subjects from different angles can not only help broaden their understanding, but it can help them find out which methods help them learn best. Plus, kids will have to call upon their memory in order to teach you, whether they are teaching you about their homework or about the rules to a game they enjoy. Outside of schoolwork, this exercise can be applied to fun things and whatever interests your child has.

Playing Cards

Card games rely on memory a great deal, whether you are playing Uno, Go Fish or War. This can be a more indirect approach to building memory skills, plus these classic games can be played anywhere. Your child will have to keep the rules of the game in mind while also actively remembering what cards they have as well as which one’s other people have played.

Active Reading

Active reading can mean anything from taking notes and highlighting sections to asking questions and reenacting scenes from the last chapter. Adding additional activities to reading can not only make reading more fun and engaging, but it can help kids make connections and better remember the events of the story.

Volunteer- Getting Your Family Involved

In the wake of the devastation in Houston and now the Caribbean, parts of Florida, and southern US, there is a demand and a need for volunteers that want to help. It is in times of disaster and loss that a helping hand can truly make a difference, though it is important to be charitable whether there is a current disaster making headlines or not. Regardless, it can be extremely beneficial for families to reach out and do what they can to help those in need after Hurricane Harvey and Irma, and it can be a great way to introduce a lifelong charitable quality in children, too.

Volunteer work can be a great family activity, exposing kids to the good in the world while reminding them to always be mindful of others and to look after them. There are many ways in which parents and guardians can get their kids involved with volunteer and charity work, and it can also help bring your own family together as well.

Hurricane Relief

Since there are a lot of drives going on right now, a simple way to introduce your kids to giving back and helping out is gathering needed supplies and bringing them along for the drop-off. This may sound simple, and it may feel a lot like going shopping on any other day, but with the idea of helping others in mind, children may have a new outlook on life and learn to realize how lucky they are. Look for things around the house that you can donate such as canned goods and extra home items like blankets, clothing, toiletries and more. For kids, you can turn this bit into a scavenger hunt and have them check items off a list as they find them.

Local Events and Drives

Many community establishments host food and clothing drives on a regular basis, especially before the new school year starts or when it begins to get cold in the winter. Instead of just donating, going out to these events can allow kids and other members of your family see the good in others who are helping as well as provide them with an opportunity to meet those they are helping out. Look for drives and other events at local libraries, churches, and schools.

Marathons and Fundraisers

Make sure to look out for any locally hosted walks and benefits where proceeds go towards finding cures and funding medical research. Chances are, many families know someone with cancer, Alzheimer’s, or other special needs that rely on the donations and the support of others in order to continue looking for a cure and to care for individuals with these conditions. Taking part in things like Relay for Life or other events can also help kids stay active while also getting involved and getting to know their community.

Animal Shelters

Many kids love animals or have pets of their own, so a good way to help encourage an interest in volunteer work is to have the family help out at your local animal shelter or foster program. Many places struggle to find homes for abandoned or stray animals, and sometimes simply coming in several times a week to play with the dogs and cats at the shelter can do wonders for their health and wellbeing. This is also a great way to introduce kids to the idea of caring for a pet if you are looking to adopt – plus, you may just help an animal find their forever home!

There are so many things that kids and parents can do to help others. Parents Magazine has a helpful resource guide for families looking to volunteer with their kids here and many community centers have programs or at least post flyers for upcoming events, drives, and other opportunities to volunteer.