Tag Archives: child development

Creating a Family Cohesive Environment for your Tot

While attending church, we have always gone to the building that allows children to attend with their parents, instead of opting for weekly childcare. When the church recently added a building for high schoolers to participate in a church service with their peers, that felt off to me.  Isn’t attending church a family event to do together, not separate?  Unless they are homeschooled, children are at daycare or school with peers, up to 5 days a week.  Why would a 6th day at church be an additional option or offering?  I’m definitely not the only one that feels this way, because I do see some small tots to high schoolers with their parents during the service.
Recently I was led to a very intriguing book titled, Hold on to your Kids by Gabor Mate’.  This book provides profound information on the reasons that children are most often choosing to bond to peer groups, rather than parents, as early as 8 years of age. The book also cites the detrimental outcomes of children’s confidence, emotional development and even vocabulary by having an allegiance to their peers.  The dramatic increase in peer bonding is a fairly recent occurrence in society.
To get a flavor of the in depth information in Gabor Mate’s book, listen to this eye opening talk on the basis of peer group orientation.  It is a topic typically brought up by parents who are disgruntled and exasperated, yet regretfully accept that their children avoid communication with them and only want to be with their friends.   The link below and his book give perspective on a behavior that is believed to be “normal” for children, but in reality it is not normal, nor is it optimal for child development.  

Are your Children Experiencing Outdoor Play

In today’s world, children are playing indoors a heck of a lot more than they are outdoors.  What are these kids doing?  I am sure most of you have experienced a three year old who can navigate themselves through the computer better than some adults.  How about those computer games?  I know some children as young as two years who can beat adults at some of these games.  Then there is the TV, well I can say there are some educational programs, but we must be curious about this.  Does TV really have a long lasting affect on our children, good or bad?

To get children outdoors, a popular thing to do these days are playgroups.  I find mine on Meetup.com.  In addition to these playgroups, they are playing organized sports.  Have you noticed in your family’s lifestyle or other families that today’s kids have such a tight schedule at an early age that they are being shuffled from this playgroup to the next, and then shuffled to their organized sports team as early as the age of three years!  Life is so full and “busy” that the kids are so called “calmed down” with a movie, TV show or video game, not only at home but on the road with iPads or cell phones.  Wow, just writing it is making me exhausted.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “enough is enough and I just want to relax!” Here is the thing, your child is being robbed of their own identity, being robbed of a sense of independence and self, and most of all, being robbed of real socialization and learning.  Take it from me, I had to learn that the hard way.  We all do our very best to raise our children as best we know how and help our children be the best they can be.

There is another way.  Let’s stop pushing our children so hard, they really need time to explore to find out who they are in this world. We found the best remedy, outdoor play.  Allow them to get in the dirt and mud and let’s cease on nagging them not to get dirty.  If it is raining, hey, that is the most opportune time to send them outside for play.  Stay out of their way parents!  Allow them discover for themselves, it is vital for their health and stability.  They have only been on this planet for a short amount of time.

You are probably saying to yourself, this is all good and fine and my children are extraordinary, head of the class at age 5 and the sports star at age 6 and at age of 2 and 3 my child knows how to spell and add and nearly read!  Great! And here are some of the things that happen without a child stopping and relaxing and enjoying their natural outdoor environment.  Lose sense of self, social skills are not present, they have violent tendencies or aggressive, they have no access to creativity which helps brain function and health, physically they are not strong and dark circles appear under their eyes, hard going time sleep, loss of motivation and the list goes on. No kidding.

There is something about being outdoors, exploring, climbing, digging, playing in the mud and collecting sticks and other cool things, touching bugs and all the sorts that really has a bearing.  This gives the child a sensation of touch, which brings them into self and the present where they know their place.  It is a feeling of stability and owning their domain.  There is something to be said by molding a mug pie, which connects to their brain in a way that creativity and learning is enhanced.  Sitting and watching a computer screen, even educational, does nothing of the sort.  With outdoor play, the child understands what the natural environment feels like and is able to see the beauty of it then take it in on an intellectual level.  Ever see your child outside observing that worm or the little ants walking on the sidewalk?  Observation keeps them focused and grounded by learning in this environment without the toxic frequencies hitting them as the electronics do (Television, Cell Phone, iPads, tablets, computers).  The large benefit of outdoor play is that it clears their mind of the clutter our world puts in with advertisements, movies, plastic toys, etc. Being outdoors in nature, there is no one to impress and nowhere to get to.  It is about living in the moment and a huge opportunity for creative play and curiosity.

Learning is not only with your head but physical too? Have you ever thought about that? Growing up, the only time I actually got good grades if I was interested in the subject, where I got to experience it in real life or witness for myself. Homework and group projects assisting me in my learning as I went to public school.  Why settle for just classroom learning, let’s give your child a boost with outdoor play.  Children can pick up things quickly, academically and socially. Without this kind of play, it comes to a point that they are just now memorizing.  There were many people who we have talked to that insist that being raised playing outdoors, it is easier for them to learn in school.  Why is this? Just by being outside and touching trees, digging and finding bugs under rocks and amongst trees, children learn easier.  You may say, “my child is doing extraordinary in his/her learning in pre-school and or kindergarten.”  Let’s not dismiss your child’s unique abilities and the learning they do with you and in school at a young age.

Here is something for all parents to think about.

When it is the child’s free will, through outdoor learning and play, they tend to learn and master their education.  Need some more evidence?  The Tots Cafe has interviewed Jodi Levine, Founder of Earthroots, which is an outdoor education and learning for children.  These kids are outdoors all day long in the woods or the beaches. They get to play in mud/sand and with sticks and in streams and observe tide pools.  They are being educated about their natural environment and the instructors are giving them the gift of song, play and story.  It is a kind respectful education where there is no need for discipline, just guidance.

You may be wondering, that sounds nice but what are the differences between these nature children to the children who mostly play indoors? This I invite you to ask yourself.  There are many stories of parents and children a like that nature playing has made tremendous impact.

Personal Story. My 4-year old son and I experienced Earthroots Forest Kindergarten class.  Before we took the class, we were having difficulty with going to bed early (7:30am), as he was consistently going to bed at 9-10pm and getting up at 8-9am, which affected him in many ways than one.  Brings us to our experience at Earthroots. How it works is one parent or guardian must be present at all times. This was new to me being a city slicker and all.

The day consisted of children socializing, the parents socializing too, the kids playing wherever they felt the need and the parents socializing, the kids and parents together singing in a circle, snack time with organic foods for all of us and eating on our blankets, more signing, kids activities which were outdoor running games and a bit of hiking. Followed by an activity and then the best part was quite time. Quite time was to give us a rest and to allow nature a chance to come in and be with us.  That was so needed.  The day was so exhausting for me and all I really did is sit on a blanket, eat outdoors, do a small hike and went exploring with my son as we collected some amazing looking sticks. Okay, that says something about me, but what about my son? The next day and the day after that and so on, he has now been consistent on sleep, falling asleep no later than 8:00pm. Huge improvement! Sleep has now been regular, his actions are now calm instead of tantrums or outbursts, and he seems to be a lot gentler.  There is nothing like the experience of outdoor play and learning.

Stories may inspire you, but if you like to really see results with you and your children, experience the outdoors is the way to go.

There is so much evidence out there toward the benefit of outdoor play, we as parents need to know this and give every possible thing to our children so they grow up healthy, abundant and secure adults. Playing outdoors is one of the most important activities.  Give them this opportunity of playing out in nature.

Written by Tina Hiatt, Director of Holistic Health & Fitness.  http://www.HolisticHealthFitness.net

Music Together: A Most Special Experience to Share with Your Little One

About five years ago, I met my dear friend Dorothy at a conference in Calgary, Canada. She is a Music Together teacher in New Jersey.  Music Together is Music Together is an internationally recognized program that is a beyond words incredible for baby or toddler or young child and their parent (or Grandma or Nanny). The class teaches babies and little children the language of music, from rhythm to tonal patterns and much more. Much in the same way as children learn to speak by being immersed in the language of their culture from the time they are born, so do babies and toddlers learn the language of music by being immersed in the musical learning environment of the Music Together classroom experience which includes tonal and rhythm patterns as the basic building blocks of music among so much more.

When my daughter was about 18 months, Dorothy reminded me that there is an amazing Music Together teacher in my area.  Her name is Judy Woodson and she teaches in Irvine!! When it worked out for my schedule, we enrolled. We have been doing Music Together for almost two years, every Thursday morning for 45 minutes. During class the adults role model by singing and moving to the music. At first the little ones typically watch whats going on in class and then either at home and/or at class, as soon as the music starts to play, baby shows a definite connection to the music through movement!  When I play the CD at home, my tot imitates the unique movements and hand gestures used for the different songs in class. She also adds in her own unique dance moves. I just watch in awe as she is completely in HER joyful musical moment of expression having the best time.  I’ve spontaneously sung the songs at times to ease Little One, make the car ride interactive and introduce a new word or concept. The songs are fun and relate to life. One night I started singing a song on the CD called “Great Big Stars” and pointed to the starry sky and began singing along. Now in the evening she points and says, “stars”.  I shared the star experience with Dorothy and she mentioned how Music Together and these songs will be always special to Isabella and me, similar to a very fond memory that occured as a certain song was playing in the background.  She also told me how musical development and appreciation is similar to language use…starting early and consistency is key. I hope you check out Music Together in your area and post your experience.

Classes in Orange County and Palm Desert, California (Judy Woodson): http://www.southcoastmusictogether.com/

Classes in New Jersey (Dorothy Sikora): http://www.joyofmusic.info/

Main Website: http://www.musictogether.com/

The Baby Talk Dilemma

Ever since having a child, have you noticed an interest in magnifying your choice of words?  It can be so tempting to bequeath the societal and generational “baby words” or expressions and at the same time feel obsessive making the effort to refrain from them.  When my tot was nearly 6 months, a chiropractor friend highly recommended that I check into the books and courses developed by The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, in Pennsylvania.  I reviewed their website and watched the posted YouTube videos of Glenn Doman, the Founder of IAHP.  It was brought to my attention that I could speak to my child with specific and useful words, rather than patronizing infantile language used by adults when in communication with children.

Expressions including:
“Do you have an ‘owie’?”
“Put that down! That’s ‘yucky’.”
“Ewww….that’s ‘icky’!”
“Look at the bow wow.”
are the types of phrases that would be considered laughable and patronizing if used in communication with another adult.  Yet, I vividly recall them being used in my childhood and I still hear overhear such talk being used wherever children are present.  Before you know it,  a child will soon imitate and refer to things as “owey” ,”ewww”, “yucky”, “icky”, etc., etc., until they realize the truth.  They will quickly observe that adults don’t talk this way to each other and that adults only talk this way only to children.  Children realize they are being patronized.  If you were learning a foreign language, it’s doubtful you would first want to be taught baby words, animal sounds and incomplete sentences, before you learned correct and proper vocabulary and sentence structure.

Even if a baby isn’t yet talking, we all know the brain grows the fastest before 5 years of age and they absorb everything. So, teaching a child these types of general phrases and names will eventually compromises effective communication. Secondly, using these types of phrases and words may seem cute or the most effective way to communicate to a non-verbal or newly verbal child, but all it does is disregard their magnificence and demonstrates a parents lack of confidence in a child’s ability to pronounce and understand words such as train (choo choo) or cat (meow meow). Doesn’t it seem that this type of adult initiated conversation does anything but support or guide a child’s ability to learn, practice, express and accurately understand a vast vocabulary, not to mention create a baby talk habit for the parent?

Here are some options to consider:
– Instead of saying, “Oooh, you have an owie!”
Option: “You have an abrasion or contusion or etc.”
(This one has the most importance. If a child isn’t feeling well and he knows is “owie”, he won’t know how to convey he has an ache, cramp, or contusion.)
– Instead of saying, “That’s icky!” Option: “That may have bacteria or pathogens.  Touching that could result in a stomachache.”
– Instead of saying, “Ewww, don’t eat the food you dropped on the dirty ground!  Yucky!!!!”
Option: “Do you see the dirt on the sidewalk?  Please put the food that fell on the sidewalk into trash can.”
– Instead of saying:  “Your face is so dirty!  What a messy eater!”
Option: You have some avocado on your chin. Here is your napkin.
– Instead of saying:  “Oh, look at the bow wow! What a nice doggie.”
Option: “There is a Golden Retriever (or St. Bernard, Chihuahua, etc.)!” He is really running fast.”
– Instead of saying, “More num-num?”
Option: “Would you like more soup?”
– Instead of saying, “Here’s your ba-ba.”
Option: “Here is your bottle.”

Also, when noticing the overuse and repetition of words and phrases such as, “Would you like to help?”,  how about switching to “Would you like to assist?”, and then on to “Would you like to support?”, etc?  This is fun and definitely keeps the mommy brain in creative mode.  The trusty thesaurus can come in handy again, since tots absolutely love learning and find new words attention grabbing, amusing and interesting.

The Real Problem with Cell Phones, iPads and Laptops

Did you know that if you are holding your cell phone with one hand and holding your child in your arms or touching their hand, the radiation does travel through your body and directly impacts your child’s developing body?  We have to remember to have no babes in arms, when on the phone.  Yes, in this day and age we have to be mindful to protect our tots processed GMO filled food, tap water,  and something that many people don’t realize is harmful……Electromagnetic Pollution.  If parents did know the harm, then the hurried mom I saw in the crafts store would not have handed the cell phone to her 7 year old to handle the call.

There was a mom in one of my mommy groups that was asking about this topic, because her husband is a computer programmer and they have lots of electronics in their home. Her concern is that her spouse doesn’t believe all of the laptops, iPads, and computers are harmful to their toddler and young child. He wants concrete studies. I found it so interesting that someone whose business requires constant exposure to electronics and wifi, had no idea of the impact to the body on a cellular level and is even skeptical of the imposed effects.

Have you heard of Dr. George Carlo? Many years ago he was hired by the cell phone industry to study the health risks of cell phones. His findings were unfavorable to the industry, so a gag ordered was placed on him to keep quiet and his life was even threatened. While in hiding, he wrote a book called “Invisible Hazards of the Wireless Age: An Insider’s Alarming Discoveries About Brain Cancer And Genetic Damage”. In the book is incredible documentation of studies from his research along with thermography photos of the cell phone impact on an adult and a child. The radiation and electro-magnetic frequency is very intense on an adult and you can only imagine how much greater the EMF penetration is on a child, with their developing brain and body. Gratefully I attended a lecture of his about 6 years ago and heard him speak on his research and findings. He spoke of a woman who had developed a brain tumor and the location of the tumor was in the same exact area that her cell phone antenna was at her head when on the phone. The tumor even mimicked the shape of the antenna. It was brought to the attention of phone manufacturer and some news leaked, but not much was reported by the media. Another speaker at the same conference shared that the bombardment from cell phones, computers, hotspots and electronic environment in general can absolutely contribute to or heighten the symptoms of what people call ADHD and even autism.  Also, it lowers the immune system of adults and especially children.

Any pregnant woman can protect herself and unborn child by using a corded headset for the cell phone and landline (if cordless) or speaker phone. The phone should be kept a minimum of an adults arm length away from the body…the farther away the better, especially for iPhones. A tot should never play with the cell phone (‘airplane mode’ will heavily diminish the bombardment). Also, a tot should never touch a laptop, even with EMF blocking stickers/chips. The entire keyboard is right above the electronics and the area above the hard drive puts out the highest frequency. When your older child is on the laptop, make sure to set up a corded keyboard so the child is not touching the laptop or sitting close to it. The same goes for IPads amd Kindles unless they are on airplane mode. When the iPad is playing music or loading a webpage the bombardment is high. If you want to see the impact of your electronics and the hotspots in your home, consider purchasing a Trifield Meter. They start at about $160.00.

I am sure after reading this, you will be highly aware of the harmful impact of your tot playing with your iPhone or computer to play their games. Let’s share this awareness with others.  It’s time adults and children keep a safe distance from cell phones.

Learning through Creative Play (Season 2 Episode 2)

Did you ever think that your child can learn anything through creative play?  Robin Theiss from the Waldorf School of Orange County fills us in on the methods of Rudolf Steiner’s 100 year old school that is still effective in today’s day society when the focus is Creative Play.

Watch on our Facebook Page: www.Facebook.com/TheTotsCafe
Watch Here
On The Tot’s Cafe YouTube Channel

Children’s Book: Learn with Chimmy

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Chimmy is a clever little monkey with lots of friends.  He teaches the ABCs, Numbers, and explores Europe. What is interesting about Chimmy, he speaks five languages.  Chimmy teaches our children through his adventures through multi-learning.

The Tot’s Cafe has found enriching and unique educational materials.  Your child will be able to learn five different languages and each book focuses on a different learning like the alphabets, numbers, geography and travel, that is absolutely cleaver! The illustrations are so colorfully vivid and appealing that it keeps the attention of the little tot.  The impact these creative foreign language books, CDs and DVDs provide your child is a fun and entertaining multilingual learning experience that will enhance the child’s learning development.

Young babies and younger children learn and retain all teachings, especially foreign language, very quickly. The use of the common words introduced in the book will make it easy for you and your child to refer to objects seen in everyday life which will contribute to the foreign language retention.

The word is getting out and reaching daycares about Chimmy 5in1 Languages. Teachers are finding it very beneficial to teach these entertaining books, audios and DVDs to the little ones.  The Tot’s Cafe is so excited to share with you this wonderful find!

The collection of materials is written by Patricia Paigerac and Illustrated by Ivan Ruiz. The Chimmy book series gets a Five Star from The Tot’s Cafe and Annaliese’s School in Laguna Beach.

More Information about the Chimmy Series www.chimmy5in1.com

Watch the videos here!