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Why Children Should Learn Other Languages

There are many inherent benefits to teaching your child to learn a second language early on, or at least encouraging them to do so. For parents who are bilingual or multilingual, teaching your child another language alongside English can be easy. For parents who only speak one language, accomplishing this becomes more challenging. Whether you speak more than one language or not, there are several ways to help encourage your child to learn new languages, which can help them build better communication skills, increase their global awareness, and help them perform better academically.

Books

There are many books out there that teach basic English vocabulary alongside that of other languages like Spanish and French. By introducing kids to other languages early, they are more likely to pick it up and be able to pronounce more complex sounds. As kids get older, they may begin reading books entirely in their second language, however, that depends on the fluency of the child or if a fluent parent is there to help.

Games and Apps

Being bilingual is highly encouraged in academic spaces as well as in the job market, so it’s no wonder there are so many more fun opportunities for people of all ages to pick up a new language. There are kids games and activities that can help teach vocabulary, but there are also free apps like Duolingo that provide interactive lessons in a variety of different languages. Parents can have fun joining their kids in these activities and may just pick up some skills, too!

Travel

Traveling abroad is a great way to instill your child with inspiration. Learning about other places, cultures, and people can inspire kids to take a more active role in learning another language while also helping them become more globally minded individuals as they get older.

Family Matters

If you have family that lives abroad, or even if your ancestors were from a particular country, learning more about them, where they came from, and what language they spoke can be an interesting way of getting back to your roots. Families with older generations that still speak other languages can also be a big help, plus getting together for lessons or practice is a great way to spend time and make memories.

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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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Tips for Raising a Child with ADD/ADHD

Attention deficit disorder (ADD) and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are not that uncommon, though learning that your child has such a learning disability can be difficult – and raising a child with ADD or ADHD can be a challenge as well. From the moment you learn that your child has a learning disorder, it is important that you understand their condition as much as you can. Not only can it help you understand them more fully, but also it can allow you to see how they think and it can provide you with more insight regarding how you raise them.

It’s Not a Character Issue

The first thing that parents need to understand is that a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD is not necessarily a bad thing. These conditions generally refer to a pattern of behavior that will have an effect on how your child interacts with the world around them, especially since many social atmospheres call for very specific modes of behavior – like school. Kids with ADD and ADHD tend to be more active, fidgety, and are unable to sit still for long. Their thoughts may move quicker than their attention spans, or even their mouths, making holding conversations with them rather demanding and fast-paced. These characteristics may make sitting in school all day hard, and it may have an effect on your child’s grades or overall academic performance, but that does not mean that your child is not smart. Because kids with ADD or ADHD do not operate as well as others when in stricter environments, it helps to understand how their minds work and how you can help adapt your thinking and modes of understanding to get on their level and keep up with their active brains.

Don’t Let it Be an Excuse

It’s still important for parents to monitor their child’s behavior and to understand their intentions. ADD and ADHD can make things like reading or completing homework a challenge, but that should not stop you or them from attempting them.

When it comes to reading, writing, and other assignments that kids may need to complete for school, you can find ways to adapt the task to your child’s needs. It’s important that you, and your child, understand that ADD or ADHD can make these things challenging, but not impossible. Instead of saying or thinking, “I can’t do homework because I have ADD/ADHD” your child should realize that “Homework is challenging because I have ADD/ADHD” and there are ways to overcome these obstacles in a way that suits your child’s needs and preferences.

Play it Cool

For parents with children who have learning disabilities or behavioral disorders, it is important to practice patience. If you find your child having difficulties understanding or remembering rules, or forgetting to do chores and requiring constant reminders, think about keeping both verbal and written reminders around. Because kids with ADD/ADHD have trouble thinking in the long-term, you may need to try new methods of keeping them organized before you get upset with them for not cleaning their room or remembering to do the dishes. It could be a manner of accidental forgetting, and they may simply require additional reminders and tips to help incentivize them.

Emphasize their Strengths

Kids with learning or behavioral disorders may have problems with their self-esteem because of their inability to perform in particular academic areas, in specific situations, or other circumstances, but that does not mean your child cannot excel. Find subjects, hobbies, and other talents that your child is good at and find positive characteristics that can help them remain motivated. Kids with ADD or ADHD may have trouble concentrating in class, but they may excel in other fast-paced activities.

Don’t Overprotect Them

Just because your child has a disorder or disability does not mean that they cannot do certain things or that they should be sheltered. Every kid is unique, whether they have ADD/ADHD or not. Find what works for your child, what they respond positively to and what they like. Adjusting to your child’s needs does not require limiting them, just understanding what might work better for them or what may help them more.

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