Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Insight on How to Cultivate Little Brains

Don't you just love it when you read a book and it really changes your perspective?  When it really makes you start thinking about things in a new way?  I recently read a book written by a Kindergarten teacher and it really has changed the way I interact with the kids.  For example, here is one section that really opened my eyes:

"Decode your child's questions.  A curious child's questions may seem never ending but they reflect a child's cognitive and emotional development.  Parents should take their child's questions seriously and answer in a way that will strengthen and deepen the relationship.  Don't just always say 'yes."

Keep in mind that Munchkin Girl talks ALL the time.  Even though I do try to to answer her, sometimes I can't hear her in the car very well so I find myself saying, "I don't know.  That's a good question."  Or, "Yes, you got it!"  I never tell her to stop talking, but I don't really appreciate what she's saying.  My mind is always on which customer I need to call back or what needs to be added to the grocery list.

It never occurred to me that her questions would help her in her development.  So, the other day on the way home from my parent's house, it was late and I was alone with the kids (seems to be a common theme on this blog, huh??  He's an orthopedic surgery resident).  She was murmuring something in the back and so I asked her to talk louder so I could hear. 

"Mommy, where did the sun go?"

"It went to bed already," I replied.

"Mommy, where is the sun's bed?  Is it comfortable?"

Look what happened when I really listened and took her seriously!  I really got to see her little mind at work and it made me so proud that she made the jump from me telling her the sun went to bed to her thinking about the sun's bed.  Being a Mom really can be fun if you're not distracted.

Another section that really helped me was the section on Play:

"Promote the artist in your child....Make learning fun.  For example, 'Is there something blue in this room?'  Give your child a notebook and play Blue's Clues.  Help your child find different shapes in the environment..."

Normally I put the dishes away in the morning, and again, my mind is in the clouds, thinking about all the things I need to pack for the day, both for myself and for the kids.  I sell medical equipment so every day I have to pack my car full of equipment, my computer, etc.  However, I decided to really focus on Munchkin Girl this time.  As I was putting away the dishes, I asked her to help me.  I kid you not, she picked up the crockpot cover and looked at me and said, "Mommy, what shape is this?"

"That's an oval," I said.

"Is that different than a circle?" 

So I took her over to her chalkboard and showed her the difference.  Now she loves to draw ovals and she's so proud of herself for knowing what it is.

This book also says:

"Play is an expression of the soul.  Take children to a park to swing."

I happen to agree with this.  My kids definitely think swinging is good for the soul, even Little Buddy who isn't even old enough to do it right yet.

One of the things I have loved about writing this blog is the wonderful people I have met along the way.  The author of this book, Susan Case, sent me this book several weeks ago to review and although it sounded interesting, I've been busy and didn't get to it right away.  Plus, my daughter is only three so I wasn't sure how much it would apply.

I have to say, I think even though the title is about Kindergarten, I really did enjoy this book and I think all Moms could really get a lot out of reading it.  I found it to be pretty inspiring and her love for children really comes through in her writing.  Her ideas and persepective as a teacher helps me see what my daughter is capable of learning.  The book also has good tips on how to get kids ready for school.  I will say that it is also geared toward kindergarten teachers, so I recommend that you skip the first two chapters and then go back and read them later when you have time. 

The book is called Kindergarten: Tattle-Tales, Tools, Tactics, Triumphs and Tasty Treats for Teachers and Parents. Susan taught Special Education, Early Childhood, and Kindergarten and now edits and writes. You can visit her blog at Kindergarten for Teachers and Parents.

If you do read it, let me know what you think! 

PS...I got no money at all for this review and will make no money off the sales of the book.  I just really did like it!!

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  1. Thanks for the sharing your thoughts on this book. Sounds like a really good book and some great new perspectives! My little girl (2.5) talks ALL the time too so I can totally relate to you and your little girl!

  2. I love this...great post! My 2 year old son is really into "why?" right now. So it's a neat process seeing how his brain works and connects ideas. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm following you back :)

  3. thanks for sharing! This looks like a great book - I have a 6 month old and an 8 year old and the talking doesn't stop as they get older :)

    just hopping through from the finding new friends blog hop - hoping you'll come check me out too!

  4. Great Post! I am a firm believer in playing, playing, playing :)

  5. I love when kids are so inquisitive because it shows that they are willing to learn. I had a formula for the million questions though. I would give my nephew really long answers and go into so much detail that he would get confused and tell me that he'd just wait to ask his daddy. LOL

  6. Hey there! Thanks for visiting and linking up with me on the perfect line. Returning the favor and following you via GFC :)

  7. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. Good role model moms are needed today. I'm happy to know you are enjoying motherhood and realize this time is precious. Your children love you for all you do!