parenting

Great Brain Games for Children

Brain-training games have grown in popularity, especially with the rise of smartphones where thousands of apps and other games are made available on the go. Many games, especially those featured on sites like Facebook, are aimed towards Baby Boomers, claiming to reverse aging and prevent things like Alzheimer’s. While these sorts of claims are more difficult to prove, brain-training games have worked wonders for kids who are still actively learning, growing and developing, especially kids with learning and language disorders. Brain games can help kids build essential skills that help them process things like problem solving or help boost their memory.

Language Games

Language games may involve building essential skills for English but there are also fun, free apps out there that can help children learn to speak other languages, too.

For parents looking for native language boosting games in English, PBS.org has plenty of vocabulary games that can help children master the alphabet, learn new words, and practice their spelling. PBS also has plenty of reading games that focus more on word association, reading comprehension and writing aspects of language.

Language games can help kids develop key communication skills, reading comprehension skills, and it can boost their vocabulary (reading and speaking) significantly, too.

Math Games

Sites like mathplayground.com and coolmath-games.com feature traditional puzzle-solving games like Sudoku, chess, and more but they also have plenty of games that focus on specific areas of math like addition and subtraction, geometry, ratios and percent’s, and much more. Mathplayground.com has a grade-level feature so kids can play games that are appropriate to their age, grade, and skill-level and divide games into categories to make finding specific types of activities much easier. This is a great way to help kids struggling with a particular topic at school and can make studying much more

Memory Games

Parents may be familiar with apps like Lumosity, but this app actually gets a significant amount of revenue from kids as well as adults. Memory boosting games can be both challenging and fun, encouraging kids to develop skills that are useful in everyday situations as well as a myriad of different school subjects, too.

Puzzle Games

Parents may be more familiar with games like Tetris and Bejeweled Blitz (as well as other games like it) but these are great games to introduce to kids, too. Spatial reasoning is an often-overlooked skill and it can be applied to many situations and circumstances. These games encourage problem solving within a timeframe, which can be anxiety-inducing for some kids, but can also help children make better, more informed decisions on the fly, making moves based on educated guesses without overthinking.

There are many sites with plenty of resources, links and information on games for kids. Brain boosting games can be an essential tool for kids with learning disorders or children who may not benefit as much from a traditional school setting. Trying a different format for learning can be incredibly life changing, and fun, too.

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Decluttering Tricks for Kids

Kids are not exactly known for being neat and tidy. Keeping up with the trail of toys and other things your children leave behind on a daily basis can be challenging, and putting things away can be an even bigger obstacle. Kids’ rooms may be full of stuff, especially since kids always seem to be taking things out and not putting them back. Here are some ways you can declutter your child’s room to help maximize space and cut down on cleaning time.

Toy Rotation

Buying toys for kids is always a bit of a gamble. You might find something you think they’ll like or they may ask for something specific only to have them play with it and forget all about it. In other cases, your children may be “into” certain items for periods at a time but not all the time. You can create a toy rotation where you round up all of your child’s toys and separate them into bins or boxes. Keep only one box of “current” toys out at any given time, and take out other items as kids ask for them. This way, you only have a limited number of toys out and about at any given time, lessening the amount of time you spend putting them away as well as freeing up some space in your child’s room. This toy rotation system can also help you learn more about toys or other objects your children may never end up playing with, which you can then consider donating to family, friends, or toy drives.

Kid-Proof What You Can

Make sure that certain areas like drawers and closets are kid-proofed, especially for younger children. Paying attention to not only cluttered closets, open drawers can be dangerous for small children, but access to these areas can tempt kids to empty everything inside onto the floor and around the house. By limiting or controlling access to certain storage space, you can have more of a handle on how much of a mess your kids make, plus you can teach kids to think about what they want to play with or do with more focus, encouraging them to manage their time and make decisions on their own.

Maximize Your Wall Space for Storage  

Furniture can take up a lot of room, and it can be expensive, too. Consider limiting furniture like toy boxes, sets of drawers and other such bulky pieces of furniture to only the essentials and increase your shelf space. Shelving frees up the center of the room while still allowing you to put things away or organize items or reading books in a visual manner that can double as storage as well as decoration!

Ask Kids for Help

It’s important that you teach your children the importance of picking up after themselves, but it helps to encourage them to do so in a healthy way. It is important that you are not too controlling with what kids do or have access to (like above, you can kid-proof certain areas, but limit this to storage while leaving “current” toy boxes and other items open for your kids to peruse and access freely when they’d like) and that telling them to clean their room isn’t made out to be an overwhelming, and often repeated, command that is eventually ignored and/or resented. When asking your kids to clean their room, make sure to give them specific instructions. Instead of saying something vague like “Clean your room,” say something more direct like “Pick up all the toys and put them in the bin,” or “Try to put all of your books away.” By breaking down the task, it makes the whole chore sound and feel easier, as well as more manageable and less overwhelming.

It’s important that parents and guardians test things out and see what works best for their children. Each kid is different, and different tactics may work more than others, but there are plenty of ways in which you can improve your life and your child’s life by decluttering their room and by making cleaning much less of a chore.

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Giving your child the right kind of praise

There are so many different facets to parenting, that praising children for their successes and accomplishments seem like a given. It sounds like it should be the easiest thing to do, especially since any parent would love to be able to celebrate things their child has done whether it be doing their homework, remembering their chores, or winning a prize. But praise can also lead to arrogance, and negative comments can be disheartening.

According to Michelle Macias, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, “A parent’s job is to shape children’s behavior. Children consider praise a reward in itself, and praise is a way to help them learn which kinds of behaviors are acceptable, even from the earliest days.”

She also suggests offering kids ten positive comments for every negative one. Praise is often seen as enough of a reward, and provides satisfying amounts of incentive for kids to do good and to keep trying their best. And while negative comments can be hurtful, they can still help steer kids towards making better choices while also teaching them that it’s okay to make mistakes, especially if they learn from them.

Process vs. Outcome
It’s also important that parents notice what they offer praise for. Is it for behavior or innate qualities? Things like compassion, consideration, and dedication are all great qualities to have. But praising children for being smart can be tricky sometimes.

The American Psychological Association recently published a report that discussed a group of fifth graders that were asked to complete a series of math problems. Some children were given praise for being smart whereas others were given praise for their hard work. The children who were praised for their intelligence ultimately performed poorly, perhaps because they believed that their smarts would help them solve the equations without added effort. The children who were praised for their hard work performed better and proved to be more diligent and persistent in their ability to solve the math problems.

Being smart is a great quality, but focusing your praise on the process, not the outcome, can help produce a positive can-do attitude in children, regardless of other innate abilities or characteristics.

Additionally, offering praise for a child’s process can still prove to be positive if they do not achieve the result they desired. If a child is smart, and is praised for being smart but gets something wrong, they may begin to doubt their intelligence. But for children who are praised for their hard work and diligent thinking, they may be inspired to keep trying if they know the journey is ultimately worth it.

The How and the Why
Researchers claim that how you offer praise is more impactful than the words you use. For younger children, making eye contact and using their name proves to be effective, especially since marked moments like these are more likely to be remembered.

But the way in which you say things doesn’t completely trump your word choice, either. Outright negative comments are not always productive, so wording things a certain way can help inspire kids to keep trying or to explore another approach to a problem or a certain behavior. You can laud them for their ability to get certain things right, but offer help where they’re struggling while promising to let them try again at a later time.

It’s also important to keep tabs on how often you offer praise, too. Too much praise can be damaging, and over time it can lose its power. If a child hears “good job” often enough, it may not mean much of anything to them anymore. Try to be selective when it comes to certain accomplishments, but also consider picking out a specific characteristic of their accomplishment that can be focused on – instead of telling your child that you “love” every picture they draw, pick a favorite part of the drawing, whether it’s the use of color or the subject matter. Make each bit of praise count.

Overpraising, saying things like “you’re the best” or “you’re the smartest” can also be harmful as well. Parents should want their children to have a healthy sense of self-esteem, but too much can lead to arrogance and unrealistic expectations of the outside world as well.

The key is to keep self-esteem and optimism close. Encouraging kids to try harder, and applauding them for their hard work, can go a long way. There are ways you can point out areas where they can improve, but it is vital that you lend a guiding hand instead of push them in a certain direction. Keep things balanced, and pay attention to the little things.

For more parenting tips and resources please be sure to follow us here, share with your world and be sure to visit us at www.KDNovelties.com for personalized books for kids where they become the stars of their very own stories.

 

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