Monday, July 23, 2012

Making Back to School a Smoother Transition

Making the move to a new school is a big step and for some children this can also be quite an unsettling time. The My Growing Up Reward Chart has been developed by The Victoria Chart Company for children from 4 years. It is ideal to help smooth the transition from pre-school to elementary school and help to build a child’s self esteem.

It is a available to purchase from and they are offering 15% OFF their whole range of children’s reward charts when you use the discount code ‘VCHART15' at checkout.
Putting this chart into practice ahead of the return to school will help to create good structure and routine in the family home. Here are some more suggestions to help through this time:

• Things for children to practice (you may like to add these to your chart):

- taking coat/shoes on and off and put in a suitable place.

- pulling clothes through the right way once taken off and folded neatly.

- being able to carry their own backpack and lunchbox.

- being able to find and recognize their name tag on their clothes (if you need to label clothes). Tip: Write these using upper and lower case letters and putting both first and last names in full, for ease of recognition.

• Talk to your child regularly about their new school and the positive exciting things they will experience there, i.e. making new friends, learning lots of interesting things, having packed lunch or school lunches.

• Don’t leave it too late to get your school supplies, make the most of coupons to keep the cost down - find out when the sales tax weekend is in your state.

• Once they have started school, take time to hear about new friends and show interest in what they have learned.

• During this time, you may experience some unsettled behavior. They may also be tired when they come home and could benefit from a rest and a little something to eat. Be patient and sympathetic, this time will pass once they have got used to their new routine.

• It is normal for a parent to feel anxious at this time, try not to let your anxiety feed through to your children.

• And finally, start a new sleep routine - having a lie-in is one of the best parts of summer, but can be a shock to your child’s system when they suddenly have to wake up early again. Help them by getting them to bed earlier in the weeks leading up to the start of school, so they have an easier transition.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What Can Families Do to Keep Children Reading During the Summer?

As children's first and most important teachers, families have a major role to play in motivating children to read during the summer months. Thanks to Laura J. Colker, Ed.D. for these ideas to help you. There are many strategies families might employ to encourage summertime reading:

Combine activities with books.

Summer leaves lots of time for kids to enjoy fun activities, such as going to the park, seeing a movie, or going to the beach. Why not also encourage them to read a book about the activity? If you're going to a baseball game, suggest that your child read a book about a favorite player beforehand. In the car or over a hot dog, you'll have lots of time to talk about the book and the game.

Visit the library.

If your child doesn't have a library card, summer is a great time to sign up for one. In addition to a wide selection of books to borrow, many libraries have fun, child-friendly summer reading programs.

Lead by example.

Read the newspaper at breakfast, pick up a magazine at the doctor's office, and stuff a paperback in your beach bag. If kids see the adults around them reading often, they will understand that literature can be a fun and important part of their summer days.

Talk it up.

Talking with your kids about what you have read also lets them know that reading is an important part of your life. Tell them why you liked a book, what you learned from it, or how it helped you—soon they might start doing the same.

Help kids find time to read.

Summer camp, music lessons, baseball games, and videos are all fun things kids like to do during the summer. However, by the end of the day, children may be too tired to pick up a book. When planning summer activities with children, remember to leave some time in their schedules for reading. Some convenient times may be before bedtime or over breakfast.

Relax the rules for summer.

During the school year, children have busy schedules and often have required reading for classes. Summer is a time when children can read what, when, and how they please. Don't set daily minute requirements or determine the number of pages they should read. Instead, make sure they pick up books for fun and help find ways for them to choose to read on their own. You may even want to make bedtime a little bit later if you find that your child can't put down a book.

Have plenty of reading material around.

Storybooks aren't the only thing that kids can read for fun. Be sure to have newspapers, magazines, and informational material on hand that might spark the interest of a young reader.

Use books to break the boredom.

Without the regular school regimen, adults and kids need more activities to fill the hours. Books that teach kids how to make or do something are a great way to get kids reading and keep them occupied. Don't forget to take your kids' favorite reading series along on long road trips.

Read aloud with kids.

Take your children to see a local storyteller or be one yourself. The summer months leave extra time for enthusiastic read-alouds with children, no matter what their age. Don't forget to improvise different voices or wear a silly hat to make the story that much more interesting!

Visit our website at and perhaps use a reward chart to help monitor the number of books read by your kids over the summer break.