How To Find the Best Kids Bedding Online

How To Find the Best Kids Bedding Online

Shopping for kids bedding can be lots of fun for you and your children. Yet all the fun can turn into disappointment is you are not happy with your purchase once you begin using it. It gets even more disappointing when your kids love the bedding but it shrinks or tears, fades, stains easily or simply does not hold up to the wear and tear kids give their bedding. How can you avoid this disappointment? The best way is to become an informed, cautious shopper when choosing bedding for kids.

You’ll want to create a sleep environment that’s fun and makes the bedroom a cozy, comfortable place for your child to fall asleep easily. Comfortable sheets and blankets are a must. Hard, scratchy bedding can result in your kids having difficulty falling asleep.

You’ll also want the child’s personality to be reflected in the bedding you get. Sometimes your kids will want bedding that isn’t what you would select for them as far as patterns or colors. But it is the kids who have to sleep there. As long as the bedding your kids want is not objectionable for some reason and is well-made, why not allow them to have bedding themes that interest them?

By selecting several bedding themes for kids that you have determined to be of good quality construction and materials, you can allow the kids to choose the bedding they like best from this selection.

You want everything well made so that they will hold up through long, hard use. Most bedding for children is made of cotton or polyester cotton blend fabric. As an adult, you may be very concerned with bedding that has a high thread count but kids very don’t really care about such things. They want bedding that looks interesting, is brightly colored and is smooth and soft. While high thread count sheets are soft, just about any bedding made from percale, which has a thread count of 180 or more, will be soft and smooth. Even sheets with thread counts of 120 are readily accepted by most kids. Kids care more about the patterns and designs on their bedding.

The material quality used to create bedding for kids depends on the quality of the raw materials used, the density of the fabric weave, the finishing processes involved and much more. The quality of the final kids product depends on how the bedding is sewn, hemmed or, in the case of comforters, how and what is used for fill material.

While there is no need to purchase extremely expensive bedding for kids, many of the cheaper choices are made using shortcuts. If you buy fitted sheets that are not sewn securely at the corners and don’t have quality elastic that extends far enough, the fitted sheet will quickly come off the mattress as your kid moves about on the bed.

If comforters are made with fabrics where the weave is not dense, the filling can begin to work through the outside fabric. Buy purchasing well-respected kids brands of bedding, you can avoid these problems.

It is important to obtain bedding in the correct size. Trying to keep a standard fitted sheet on a thick mattress is nearly impossible. Select deep pocket fitted sheets for thicker mattresses such as pillow-top and those that have egg-crate padding added to the top.

Kids sometimes have allergy problems which must be considered. If your kid is allergic to dust mites or has asthma, you’ll want to select bedding that is mite-proof and anti-allergy. Top quality mattress covers and pillow covers can be a great help in controlling allergies. While this certainly won’t solve all the allergy problems, it will make a big difference in allergic reactions. Some kids are also allergic to the latex used in some bedding. Most bedding does not include latex in their fabric, however those rare selections containing Lycra do. Also, the elastic used to hold fitted sheets onto the mattress has latex. Consider allergic reactions when choosing bedding for your kids.

The next issue to consider when choosing bedding for your kids bedroom is cleaning. Children often spill things on their bedding, no matter how careful they try to be. Stains can result from kids becoming ill or having an ‘accident’. Choosing kids bed sheets that are machine washable and states that clearly on the label will ensure that the inevitable spill or accident will not ruin the bedding your kids love.

Always read the cleaning directions on the label so that you wash the bedding properly. Using hot water on bright colors can result in fading even the most fade-resistant dyes. If the label directions state that no bleach should be used, it is very important to follow that direction. Beautiful, brightly colored bedding that your kids love can be ruined very quickly if laundered improperly.

Kids often remove tags or repeated launderings may result in missing laundry instructions. One way to prevent this is to note the bedding description and laundry instructions on a note card that you keep on file or tape to the wall inside the linen closet. This will remove any possible guess work should a label be lost.

There are so many great designs in bedding for kids. Olive Kids, Dan River, California Kids, Kids Line and dozens other fine bedding companies create beautiful bedding ensembles for kids.

You can find Bed-in-a-Bag bedding selections that feature your kid’s favorite action hero or other themes or you can select the bedding for your kids’ ala carte. Design names like Men at Work, Garden Bouquet, Farm Friends, Hats and Purses, Moon Gaze, Watercolor Hearts give you an idea of the whimsical, colorful designs you’ll see in the broad selection of bedding for your kids.

Need some help creating the perfect bedroom? Then visit http://www.best-in-bedding.com To find everything you need to know about bed linen, comforters, pillows, blankets, kids and even baby bedding here!

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Young Kids and Money

Young Kids and Money

One of parents’ frustrations is kids wanting things without understanding that “money does not grow on trees”. The dilemma of whether or not to explain to kids about money, bills and finances grows as the kids develop and have more requests and greater needs.

Unfortunately, handling money is not something we learn at school. Just like many other life skills that we find necessary in adulthood, money management is also neglected while lots of energy is wasted on high levels of math.

If you examine the curriculum your kids are covering from prep to year 12 you can understand why many of them will go to university or get tertiary education but only one kid per class will be wealthy. Are you ready to make sure it is your kid?

Handling money is something we all need long before we leave home. When friends have brand-name shoes or a computer game and your kid wants them too, your kid’s ability to understand money is going to be very handy. So if you wonder when it is the right time to learn about money, my answer is: the minute your kid can count to 10.

Children can be taught at a young age that money is their way to get the things they want in life. It is, after all, your way of getting the things you want in life.

Tips to teach kids about money
A bit of history

The first thing you need to do in order to teach your kid about money is to explain the history of money. Tell them about how people used to trade with their neighbours: “I will give you apples and you will give me carrots”. Then they realised that some things take longer to grow, so they decided that some things are worth more. This evolved when they came to the market to trade for the things they wanted. Money came to be when people weighed pieces gold or silver and would trade for it by weight (just think of the British currency called “Pound”, or the Israeli currency called “Shekel”, which means “something that is weighed”). Explain to your young kid that money was a great thing that happened to us because we can buy whatever we want and not just what our neighbours grow.

Pocket money – weekly or in return for chores

Decide if you want to give your kids pocket money every week or as a reward for doing chores. Stick to at least once a week, because young kids’ perception of time is not fully developed and 7 days seems to them like a very long time.

Some believe that giving pocket money should not be a reward. Others think that it is a good way to teach kids that money does not just fall from the sky and that we need to work for it. If you have difficulties finding chores for young kids, remember that small things like making the bed, helping clear the table after dinner and helping with the laundry can be fun chores that will teach kids responsibility and sharing.

Whatever you choose, stick to your schedule and always, always hold a ceremony of giving your kids their money.

Emotional chores

If you do choose to give money based on chores, remember you do not have to reward your kids for things they do for you. You can always reward them for things they do for themselves. “Emotional stretches” are a good reason to reward young kids (and older kids and teens and even adults…). Give them coins each time they manage to do something that was hard for them. Being nice to a sibling, doing their homework without being told, taking a shower by themselves, waiting patiently when mum or dad are on the phone… Every time they do something that is hard for them, reward them to promote their good behaviour and personal growth.

Pocket money rules

When you choose to give pocket money as a reward, remember that the rules must be understood by everyone involved. Kids must understand how much you give and for what. If your child can read, make a list of the chores (and/or emotional stretches) with their matching reward amount. If your child is younger, draw pictures or cut them from a magazine and draw circles to represent the coins they will get for each task. Having an understanding will prevent bargaining and allow both parents to handle the situation in the same way.

Money management

Kids must know what falls into the category of what they need to purchase and what comes out of mum and dad’s budget. Think about this before you start teaching your kid about money. You must be clear with yourself whether you pay for food, for snacks at school, for sweets, for treats or for anything else the kids ask for. Whatever you decide is good, as long as you have a good explanation for yourself and you stick to it.

Piggy bank

Get your child a box to put their money in. Any piggy bank that does not allow the kids to take the money out is a cruel thing for your kid. It does the exact opposite of what money management is all about. Money is not there to keep. It is there to use wisely.

Less is sometimes more

Young kids find it hard to understand that a $1 coin is worth more than 20 coins of 5 cents each. It takes a while for them to understand that the value of the money is not measured simply by the number of coins. Therefore, always use the smallest coins to give them money, to give them the feeling they have plenty of money. Around the age of 6, when they learn the arithmetic of money at school, they will learn the value of each coin. When they do understand this, start exchanging single cents for 10 cents, 10 cents for 25 or 50 cents and 50 cents for dollars, etc.

Wallet

Get your kid a wallet to take with them whenever you go out. When a young kid takes a wallet with them for shopping, this is the greatest lesson about money management. When you go shopping and your kid asks for you to buy them things, refer them to their wallet and explain what they can buy with the money that they have. Always show them the options, “This costs this many coins, the other thing you want costs that many coins”, and teach them to choose. When they see the money going out of their own wallet, they are not so enthusiastic about buying things, and if they are still enthusiastic, the feeling disappears after the first time when they realise they have no money left in their wallet.

Loans

If you go with your kid somewhere and they did not bring their wallet, use the opportunity to teach them about lending and let them borrow some money until you get home. Only lend them amounts they can return and make sure they give you the money back the minute you get home. If they have their wallet with them, but not enough money and they ask for a loan, make sure they understand what this means. Again, time is not something they understand and if you tell them, “That means that next month I will not give you your pocket money”, they might not understand. Just like in real life, teach them that things that require loans also require more time to think about. In these cases, not giving them the loan, or giving part of the loan is better for your kids than being nice and giving it to them whenever they want.

Savings

The first time your young kids ask you for a loan, be happy, because now you can teach them about savings. Only when kids want something beyond their financial means can you explain why saving money is a good idea. Teach them to always put 10% of their money aside. At a young age, they will not understand what 10% is but tell them it is a tiny piggy bank in the piggy bank of money you keep there for emergency. This is the money you keep for something big or special that you want later. Tell them to put 1 out of every 10 coins in the tiny piggy bank. Saving is a good lesson in waiting, something that is hard for young kids, because their perception of time is not fully formed.

Young children can learn about money from as early an age as 3. Having a healthy attitude towards money is important to help your kid grow with skills that school is not going to give them. They are going to need them desperately the minute they leave home. If you think they are too young to know about money, remember that one day they will have to pay for your nursing home…

A Things Your Kids Will Remember About You

A Things Your Kids Will Remember About You

It’s no mystery- children are extremely impressionable. Busy learning about and taking in the world around them, they are open to a spectrum of ideas, thoughts, actions and reactions that far surpasses our own experiences in diversity and number. As parent, you are tasked with a dual role- you are charged with helping your child sieve his/her experiences and impressions, assisting them in making sense of the world around them as they go along; and you are also charged with being a primary source of information, ideas and impressions for your kid.

What you do, say, feel, think, encourage, discourage, like and resist, all go a long way to shaping the person your child will be as well as the world your child will choose to inhabit. Very often thus, we are on our best behavior around the kids, letting realities percolate through only when they are safely tucked away. But your kids are much smarter than you realize- they aren’t just learning off the behavior and conversations you may be spoon feeding them; they are also learning when you aren’t paying attention or busy with the demands of your day.

It isn’t always the grand gestures and planned family trips that form their opinions and perspectives on practically everything in the world around them; it is the subtle and the little gestures that make all the difference. Here for instance, are 5 things your kids are sure to remember about you- now and even much later on in life.

How You Taught them To Love

The first place kids learn about love is from you. This may not come as a big surprise, but just what it entails might. It means your kids learn how to express, feel, perceive and respond to love, and therefore every word, gesture and thought about love you might hold may well get passed on to your kids and determine their relationships and how they love. So make sure to teach them well.

When You Wiped Their Tears

One of the deepest memories a child holds is about the comfort, security and love their parents provided, especially on a rough day. Therefore more than the picnics and the treats, your child will remember how and when you were there for them in the harshest and most trying of moments.

Your Funniest Eccentricities

Children don’t expect their parents to be perfect; you are perfect to them just as you are. While you might be busy trying to be an ideal adult and role model to them, it’s the little slip ups and eccentricities that they often find most endearing and remember even after you are long gone. So don’t be afraid to laugh at your own goof ups; better yet, share your laughs with your kids.

How You Responded Under Fire

Teach your children about courage and dignity under fire through your own example; your children will remember how you survived and responded to a crisis through their lives, using it as a guiding beacon to inspire themselves and their kids. Whether it is all about being victorious or your actions speak louder than words for you, choose your steps wisely- not only for yourself but for your kids as well.

The Little Gestures You Made a Habit Of

In love, including love shared with your children, grand gestures may be fun and exciting, but it is the small gestures that reaffirm and revive the bond you share. What you say first thing every morning to them or how you tuck them into bed, the little touches that pour your heart out or help them pour theirs out to you- every little move is a lifelong impression in the making.

The Top 5 Children’s Museums In The United States

The Top 5 Children’s Museums In The United States

No two children are alike, but they all seem to respond to fun. The more fun, the better. Some destinations, attractions, and historical sites across the country rank higher than others in the eyes of children. Here are the top five children’s museums in the United States that are kid approved.

The Children’s Museum Indianapolis- Indianapolis, IN

With over a million visitors each year, it’s safe to say that children love to visit this attraction. Who wouldn’t after hearing about the life-sized dinosaurs and amazing exhibits that cover nearly half a million square feet of exhibition space? But that’s not all. Explore a modern Egyptian town, view specially licensed exhibits featuring Barbie and Mr. Potato Head, experiment in science labs, or ride carousels. With so much to see and do, no wonder this attraction has been labeled as one of the best.

Please Touch Museum- Philadelphia, PA

The name pretty much says it all, which is exactly why children love this place. Smaller children enjoy the replica of Philadelphia that allows them to experience the neighborhoods from planes, automobiles, trains, or on the river. Older children love to explore the Alice in Wonderland exhibit. With activities for children of all ages, this attraction is the perfect destination or stop-over during your summer travel with children.

Center for Puppetry Arts- Atlanta, GA

For nearly 40 years, the Center for Puppetry Arts has been more than just a local favorite attraction, but also a destination for children all across the country. This nonprofit museum is dedicated to the art of puppetry and features the works of famed puppeteer Jim Henson and his famous puppets. Children get to enjoy exhibits and a Create-A-Puppet Workshop in addition to shows featuring resident company artists and international artists reenacting classic stories and new ones.

Discovery Center- Rockford, IL

With 250 exhibits for children to enjoy, The Discovery Center is one of the best attractions for children of all ages, especially those with an interest in science and sports. In addition to lots of exhibits that are guaranteed to enlighten and entertain, children also get to experience a virtual snowboard, give a weather report in the interactive news studio, and ride a real tractor in the Ag-Zibit.

The National Museum of Play- Rochester, NY

Known for its whimsical architecture, this attraction is also a favorite among children’s museums, namely because of its dedication to all things fun and play. From exhibits featuring Sesame Street characters recounting historical events to the interactive nature seen throughout, it’s no wonder children love this attraction. Additionally, guests are often treated to special events such as the Lyric Opera Performance or getting the chance to meet Finley, the mascot from the Rochester Razorsharks basketball team.

Turn fun time into an educational opportunity by visiting these or any local children’s museums.

How To Surprise Your Kids With Some Live Entertainment

How To Surprise Your Kids With Some Live Entertainment

Kids love surprises. As long as the surprise is something they want to be surprised about. Most kids’ lives are filled with activities and responsibilities, from school to homework to sports. Days, weeks and months can zoom by quickly without much fun things happening. Whether it is birthdays or Christmas or just a surprise to celebrate the end of school (or the beginning), it’s often a bit difficult to put together a surprise and then give them something to be happily surprised about.

So here to inspire you are some surprises with live entertainment, which is something they don’t often see.

Watch out for shows with figure skaters that are usually on tour in all part of the United States. Watch for skate-clad princesses and other characters coming to an arena in your area.

Taking kids to the circus doesn’t always have to include the usual litany of clowns and smelly elephants. Aided by music, it would be nice to surprise the little ones with some awe-inspiring acrobatics. These type of shows almost always has some theater element to them.

Find an interactive show that is a mix of comedy, multimedia theatrics, and music. Some of the best shows are those where the kids (and adults) can be asked up on stage to participate.

Surprise them with a trip to a restaurant, but one with a action-packed theme. Have their favorite dinner along with their favorite thing to see (some action) and there cannot be much better than that.

Head to an amusement park where they have live shows, from stage plays featuring stories to dance shows with large ensembles and heavily-choreographed songs and dances. Most of the songs are set to modern, hip, trendy music, with most of the singers and dancers not all that much older than they are.

The biggest surprise of all would be a trip to see the taping of their favorite television show. While this might take making a big trip, it would be worth it if the kids are really into the television show. Tickets to the tapings of shows are always free, and getting in is relatively easy if the tickets are applied for long in advance. Sitting in on tapings is a lot like seeing a live play. They would be a part of the studio audience. As part of the audience they will get a chance to see everything that goes on that viewers at home won’t get a chance to see.

There are a number of live entertainment options out there for kids. It just takes some digging.

Tips for Last Minute Dads Looking for Family Fun Activities

Tips for Last Minute Dads Looking for Family Fun Activities

Okay dad, it’s time to put on your planning hat!

But don’t worry, even if you’ve been procrastinating, you have plenty of options when it comes to last minute ideas for family fun activities.

The first thing you want to do is a quick online search of area attractions. Check out the convention and visitor’s bureau and city sites, this could make the decision easy for you, depending on what your family likes to do.

1) Parks and Recreation – You could spend an entire day in a park. Pack a picnic lunch, a blanket, and your favorite gear and get the entire family excited about a day in the great outdoors! Spend some time on two wheels – biking is not only fun, it’s a healthy activity. Head to a place with some water and you could turn it into a fishing trip. Or take a hike. Just be sure to read trail reviews to make the path you choose is suitable for younger children.

2) Sporting Event – Whether it’s a local sports team or big league play, be sure to look into any sporting events that may be happening this month. The weather shouldn’t be a deciding factor as there are always indoor and outdoor games. It’s always fun to take everyone to the ballpark, stadium or arena. Ask all members of your family to wear the team color and don’t forget to buy concessions that you can only find at sporting events. It’s acceptable to eat unhealthy for one meal, right?

3) Visit a Historic Site – If someone in your family is a history buff, you may want to take a trip to a museum or war memorial. You could make it memorable for the entire family by playing a trivia game along the way or helping to illustrate how people lived during that particular era of the place you are visiting. Fun and educational.

4) Build Something – You may not have to go far for a fun family activity. Get all hands on deck to build something – together! If the kids are too young to use tools, break out the paintbrushes to decorate the creation.

5) Entertainment Venues – There are plenty of venues that offer family fun, all in one place. Golf or mini golf, depending on the kids’ ages. Bowling is another option. If you have young children, you can leave the bumper up during the game. Or what about a live show? The theater or even a jousting event is sure to keep everyone’s attention!

Get Ready for Back to School

Get Ready for Back to School
Summer days may still be among us, with plenty of time to enjoy the beach, pool, movies, and hangouts. But it’s also time to prepare for another school year or semester. With some simple planning, you can easily get ready for back-to-school and have plenty of time to enjoy the remaining summer days.

1. Make a List

How is your wardrobe? Do you need to replace anything or buy new clothes for school? Look through magazines to get an idea of what the latest looks are. Make a list of what you need and want for the new year.

Write down your classes and make a list of the supplies you’ll need.

2. Buy Your Supplies

Determine your budget before you head to the stores so you’ll know how much you can spend on clothes and supplies. Depending on what stores you like to shop at, you can do it all in one day, or plan one day for supplies and one day for clothes. Take your shopping lists with you, and check off each item as you add them to the cart. You will probably come across extra items you’ll want to grab. Just be sure they fit into your budget before you buy them.

3. Get Organized

When you’re done shopping, it’s time to organize all of your items. Clean off your desk and make room for your new supplies. Store them on the shelves and in the drawers of your desk. Keep everything organized so you know where to find everything. The cleaner you keep your desk, the easier it will be to study.

Clean out your closet. Remove all of the old clothes you’re replacing and set them aside to take to the thrift store. Hang up your new clothes neatly, and in order. Keep outfits together, or create sections for your pants, shirts, etc. Line your shoes up on a rack or the closet floor so you can see them easily. The cleaner you keep your closet, the easier it will be to get ready in the mornings.

4. Create a Schedule

Look at your class list, and block off specific study times for each class every day. Block off times you have other commitments, such as after-school activities and family obligations. Follow this schedule throughout the semester. It will help you get your studying and homework done on time during the week, and allow you to take the weekends off.

Always Ask Questions!

Always Ask Questions!

The success principle of asking questions reminds me of the great late Socrates. He was a master at asking questions and getting others around him to also ask questions. The Athenian democratic government however, didn’t like Socrates’ questions. His questions were too disturbing to some of the people in power. So, some of those people in power in the government decided that Socrates would no longer be allowed to ask disruptive, rebellious, and even what they called “treasonous” questions in their town square. “He was corrupting the youth.” is what they said.

The Athenian government arrested Socrates and ordered him to stop asking questions or to face death by poison. Most of us normal human beings would have succumbed and stopped asking questions, but not Socrates. He drank the hemlock… and here we are today saying that he is probably the wisest man who ever lived!

You see, Socrates believed that the unexamined life is a life that isn’t worth living. Many of his elite followers, such as his star pupil Plato, and Plato’s star pupil, Aristotle, and Aristotle’s star pupil, Alexander the Great felt the same! Hmm… Do you see a pattern of greatness forming here among teacher, student, and questions?

You see, what Socrates was really talking about with all of his questions wasn’t that complex or radical after all. His philosophy was really quite simple and something that we could all easily understand. All Socrates was really talking about was creating a road map to a successful life by first pinpointing where you really are right now, a navigation system if you would? Every one of us understands the wisdom and common sense of knowing where you stand and in which direction you need to go in next.

Now teens, and even tweens go learn, lead, and lay the way to a better world for all of us. Don’t ever let yourself,or anybody else stop you from being a leader and asking the tough questions of yourself and society. After all, you are the youth of today, aren’t you? And don’t the young just naturally wonder and ask questions? Come on, it’s already in your nature. Kids are natural philosophers. And Plato preached that all future kings should be philosophers. Maybe some day you’ll be that philosopher King! But, it you’re going to lead us, you can’t let society push you into silence and learned helplessness. And once again, thanks for all that you do, and all that you will do…

8 Reasons You Need To Raise Your Kids

8 Reasons You Need To Raise Your Kids Like the French Do

Living in London, I spent my most peaceful years sharing flat with a phenomenal French lady. She was kind, gentle, caring, patient and intelligent- all the qualities I had not necessarily attributed to her French background as much to her individual personality. But when her family came visiting over Christmas, I saw a much different dynamic between each member than the one I was used to; dynamics that made breakfast a work of art and decision making smooth as silk.

It compelled me to take a closer look and engage further with the culture, only to find that the subtle differences in parenting very early on in life made all the difference- not only to the adults they become, but to the ever day experience of parenting as well. French kids seemed a lot more well-mannered in general and the manners were abundant.

I am not saying we all need to pack our bags and move to France, but there are a few tips we could learn from the French- here are eight to start with.

A Strong Sense of Self

Smothering your child 24-7 is a definite no-no when it comes to the French way of parenting. Children are encouraged to not anchor in the actions and words of their parents, and instead explore to anchor in who they discover themselves to be. A strong sense of identity and self is in focus here.

Patience and Composure

Like their art, their children too can be beautifully composed in their behavior, gestures and general response to the world at large. No, I am not saying they are timid, quite the contrary. But even fieriness is channeled into a gentler and calmer way- one that aligns with social expectations and etiquette- by teaching children the importance of patience from day one.

Fixed Meal Times

The French don’t eat just any time of day; that seems to be much too vulgar a way of living to most. Instead meal times are fixed and kids too are expected to follow suit. That means even if a treat is due, they need to wait for the appropriate time to indulge in it- a great way to not just monitor and temper their diets, but also teach them about patience.

Making Sure You Have a Life

Having a child does not mean you need to give up on your whole way of life. Infact having a life is critical to the French way of parenting. Children don’t see their parents as on call maids, doctors and attendants; instead they learn to share their parent’s time in a way that is fair on both parties.

A Natural Instinct for Parenting

The French, it seems, do not raise children; they raise adults in the making. The French don’t treat their kids like lifelong responsibilities, but as independent beings that will come together in time, and need support, love and guidance along the way. This respect for individuality helps the kids gain confidence in themselves, and step out to explore the world beautifully – much like the rest of nature does.

Let Your Voice Do the Talking, Not Your Words

French is arguably one of the most beautiful language to listen to, smooth and fluid in its sounds and delivery. I am not saying the French don’t get angry or lose it; but I feel we can take a cue from the language and its potency, and apply it to our parenting styles. Don’t just chose the right words, be gentle and smooth with your delivery as well; your kids respond more to the tone of your voice than you may realize.

Encourage Human Values Early On

While we are busy raising little kids to excel in the classroom or on the football field, we forget that this time in their lives is just as critical to impress the importance of human values. Whether it be compassion, patience or tolerance, teach your kid these values through direct experiences that are sure to hammer the message home.

Strong Cultural Context

A strong cultural context, in my opinion, goes a long way to not only affirming a sense of connection with those around your kids, but also invites them to explore their origins and surroundings. The world feels a lot more interesting and safer with history, arts, theatre and other human triumphs to back it up.

Tips to Get Him Reading Then Keep Him Reading

Tips to Get Him Reading Then Keep Him Reading

“He’s 5 and he isn’t reading yet… ” a father worries.

Strong reading and writing skills are essential to your child’s academic success. These also are key indicators for life-long economic success. It’s a fairly recent phenomenon that we’re worrying about whether our 5 year-olds are reading. Richard Whitmire in Why Boys Fail reports that “boys are falling behind in school. In one Chicago school, girls outpaced the boys by 55 points on the 2007 state reading tests.” He continues, “The world has become more verbal, and boys haven’t. Boys lack the literacy skills to compete in the Information Age.”

Some boys and girls are reading voraciously by kindergarten. There are many more who won’t read until much, much later. Most of these children will be boys where no amount of worrying or hand-wringing will speed the process.

Boys and girls approach reading differently.

Girls can sit quietly and read for long periods. Many boys don’t see the point in sitting still and reading quietly. They view reading as a “female pursuit” as it is typically mom and female teachers that have read with him from an early age.

Whether he is reading – or isn’t reading yet – how do you get him interested and keep him there?

The answer is to tap into his passions. Use the following tips to guide you.

12 Tips to Get Him Reading Then Keep Him Reading

Provide boy-friendly reading materials. Give him magazines, graphic novels, instruction manuals, diagrams, maps, catalogs, non-fiction, the sports pages, and joke books. Boys read in smaller bites.

Make it accessible. Put reading materials in his path. He won’t be able to resist picking up a magazine or graphic novel when he’s in the bathroom. Turn off the car’s DVD player and supply plenty of reading materials including maps and Mad Libs.

Include food! Boys will do pretty much anything for food. Read menus and order pizza. Read recipes and bake a cake.

Order it. His brain is designed to catalog information like baseball cards and dinosaur facts. He can design his own cards based on his interests. You can help him make connections between facts while adding sensory detail and higher order thinking, such as “What would happen if a dinosaur came to our town today?”

Show him men who read. Boys often see women and girls reading and think it isn’t for them. Ask the men in his life to share what they read and why they read. Check out GuysRead.com, their goal is to help boys become “self-motivated, life-long readers.” Consider hiring a high school boy to hang out and read with your son.

He loves gross and humor – and even better when combined! What boy (or man) can resist a fart joke? Be okay with Captain Underpants and others that follow the same formula.

Turn off the media. Reading comes before screen time, always. Resist Kindles and iPads and encourage hands-on reading materials. Set a timer if you have to. You’ll know you’ve succeeded in capturing his reading interest when he doesn’t hear it ring.

Be active and social. Encourage him to act out stories with his friends with simple props. Visit JumpIntoABook.com for some great interactive ideas. Facilitate conversations about books with other boys and men.

Read aloud. Silent reading is often used as a management tool in schools. Read to him then have him read the same material back to you. Talk about what he sees in his “mind’s eye” when you read to him. Being able to visualize is key to reading and spelling success.

Draw it. Have big paper and markers available with a dedicated space to use them. Draw with him, even as he gets older. Story-boarding before writing helps him express ideas that can be used as a springboard for adding sensory and emotional details, with your help.

Location. Make it unexpected – go outside, build a fort, have a book festival day that includes pajamas and lots of snacks. Go to a bookstore and hang out in the magazine section.

Let him move. Playing with blocks, drawing, or even just lying on the floor will help him listen better. Have him help to create a comfortable reading area – include beanbag chairs, pillows, and lots of floor space.