Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Burns From the Playground

Going to the playground provides fun and excitement for a child, as well as exercise. Yet, a day at the park can be dangerous if you are not aware of some of the hazards that could potentially arise. Specifically, if the playground has a black rubber mat that is meant to protect children if they fall. Recently, a 2 year old child in New York took off his shoes and ran to the playground in excitement. As soon as his feet hit the mat, he started to scream in pain. His mother ran to his aid and picked him up. As soon as she lifted the child, she noticed that his skin was hanging off of his feet. 

The black rubber mat, meant to protect children, had scorched the child's feet with second degree burns. However, the cost to replace the mats would be $150 million. New York's parks commissioner remarks that it wouldn't be practical.

When you visit the playgrounds, take every necessary precaution when you go. If there are signs posted that shoes must be worn at all times, or any other warning, please pay attention to it and abide by it. The warnings are there for a reason. When those black mats become hot, it can burn your child's skin. With that being said, do not be discouraged from taking your child to the playground. Simply be well aware of the dangers that could potentially arise. Check for such things before your child scurries off.

Monday, July 28, 2008

An Interesting Study of Empathy

Are you aware that your child is naturally inclined to feel empathetic for another in pain and is aware of right and wrong? Some may feel that the acts of right and wrong are learned through childhood from their own doing. However, a study done by the researchers at the University of Chicago shows that “children ages 7 to 12 appear to be naturally inclined to feel empathy for others in pain,” says Science Daily in the article Children Are Naturally Prone to Be Empathic And Moral.

The study was done by way of using a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). Seventeen children were shown images of people being hurt either intentionally or by accident and the results of that were shown from their neural response. This study shows that the “programming for empathy is something that is 'hard-wired' into the brains of normal children, and not entirely the product of parental guidance or other nurturing." The moral and empathic growth of a child is not completely determined by what is learned from experience, however, it is more determined by what was already "programmed" into their brain. 

The results of when the children were shown the images of someone intentionally being hurt, compared to the results of the images where people are accidentally hurt, show that the regions of the brain associated with social interaction and moral reasoning were engaged. The study was not able to show the results from moral judgment, but was able to see that children were able to process perceptions of right and wrong and how they process other information.

By the end of the testing, the children were asking about the situations and what they felt. Thirteen of them said that the situations where people were being intentionally hurt were unfair. This study shows that when children bully their peers, there might be more to be seen then just one kid pushing another around. There could possibly be something more to do with the growth of the child's brain and the activity going on there.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Push Creativity

Parents, you hear this often: push creativity, do not harbor it; let it sail. In the article "No New Einstein" by Lee Smolin in PHYSICS TODAY, Smolin discusses the possible reasons for not having found the next Einstein. The article points a finger towards institutions and universities for not pushing their students and those involved to be more creative and forward thinking. According to Smolin, creativity and intellectual independence are not promoted and encouraged within the walls of these universities and institutions. Yet, Marlys Stapelbroek of North Tustin, California, wrote in to PHYSICS TODAY in response to the article.

Stapelbroek regales readers of her own experience with the harboring of creative thought with her daughter. While in the first grade, Stapelbroek's daughter was asked by the teacher to take a rectangular sheet of paper and "cut it in half the long way." With creative thought and her best interpretation of that statement, her daughter cut the paper diagonally, from one corner to the other. The teacher told the little girl that she was wrong. 

Technically, it was the longest cut the little girl could have made on the sheet of paper, yet it was not what the teacher had in mind. Was the little girl wrong? Or was the teacher wrong for not encouraging such a creative young mind and perhaps finding a way to take it a step further?

The point Stapelbroek was trying to make is simply this: though Smolin has a valid point that harboring the encouragement of creative and intellectual thought within the universities and institutions is prohibiting us from finding the next Einstein, perhaps it starts well before students reach the doors of universities. Stapelbroek ponders on the thought of where her daughter could be today had there been more encouragement from her teachers when she was a child. Her daughter is undoubtedly successful with her studies today, however, how much further could she have been had the search for the next Einstein started sooner than when students reach universities?

Everyone is given an extraordinary gift as soon as they are conceived, and that is the power of thought and the capability to learn and grow. Spend more time nurturing those young minds.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Successfully Put to Bed

Children are smart! They know their instincts and they know them well. Every night just before you even think about putting your children to bed, they know what thought is about to cross your mind and so the rounds begin. Perhaps they flick their super charm switch, or they lead you to the forefront of the battlegrounds. You both try to psych each other out, but in the end, you are still fighting the same battle yet again. The point now is trying to avoid the battle all together. Having said that, parents everywhere just sighed an exasperated, Duh! But lets try this; here are a few tips that you probably have not considered:

The first thing that you need to realize is that habits are what children thrive on. Once on a routine, they will be able to grow and learn more quickly and with better results. The last thing their little bodies need is to always be guessing when they are going to get their rest and how much rest they will receive. You need to eliminate the guessing game, and eliminate the surprises. Include them on the decision of their bedtime. Ultimately, yes, the decision is up to you. However, if you make your child feel included on what they will be doing, then they will be less apt to feel as though it is a punishment, and they will feel better about doing the discussed task. Sit your child down and explain to them that there will be a set bedtime that will not be disputed later, but rather stuck to. Then give them options that will be suitable for them. Choosing a bedtime between 7pm and 9pm would be reasonable.

Once you have come to an agreement, now it is time to implement it. There will be no exceptions for the bedtime. Children tend to feel as though they might miss some excitement by going to bed. Their favorite movie might just be starting as it is time for them to head to bed, or they were in the middle of a lively game. These, too, are elements you should consider removing. Before they head to bed, you want them to wind down and relax. 

Starting after dinner would probably be the best time. You know that when your belly is full that nothing sounds better than a good nap. So when their bellies are full, start slowing the mood down and concentrate on activities that are less likely to get them riled up. Perhaps you want to read to them or have them concentrate on a coloring book. Television is ok, however, you will probably hear, just one more show mom! or But my favorite movie is on! So beware.

At the appointed time to go to bed, head them to their rooms. It is imperative that you do not make them feel as though they are being punished. Try explaining to them that they should enjoy their sleep and it is far from a punishment. Keep it simple. Do not make a big deal out of bedtime, but simply kiss them goodnight and leave the room. You could read to them, or you could just leave them with some soft music playing that will lull them to sleep.

If you are struggling to get your children to sleep, please relax. Consider these tips and adjust them how you feel they would benefit your children most.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Alphabet Rug

How many of you remember way back when you were a youngster, sitting around at school on those huge rugs with the alphabet embedded on them while the teacher reads to you? Especially in 1st grade, while you were still learning the letters of the alphabet. Those of you who are teachers should really consider investing in one of these rugs.

It will be good for those young scholars to be continuously exposed to letters and numbers. Perhaps before you have them sit for story time, you could make a game out of the letters printed on this educational carpet. The Alpha Rug for Classrooms is quite sizeable and spacious, you will be sure to fit your class of little ones right on it. Expose their eyes to the alphabet and learning, furnish your classroom with the Alpha Rug.

We're aware that funds are always tight when it comes to school budgets. We also offer a great selection of factory second rugs that are still high quality but have a slight defect due to the color being slightly off. Check out our factory second school rugs out for big savings.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Messenger Bag

Going to and from school, parents can agree, children seem to pick up anything and everything and stuff it in their backpacks. Some children try to cram so much in there that their bag is five pounds heavier than what it needs to be. As unorganized as our children tend to be, when it is time to go to an after school program such as piano lessons, sometimes they will need an extra bag to carry what they cannot in their school backpack.

For those occasions, we have the Horse Dreams Messenger Bag. With a durable exterior, a padded adjustable shoulder strap, and two outside pockets, this bag is perfect for those extra activities your child participates in such as drama, the aforementioned piano lessons, or poetry class. 

Messenger Bags

This type of bag can also be used for lite book days at his or her day at school. It is roomy and spacious enough to store all those extra odds and ends that they will be sure to find. Of course this bag is big enough for moms who need to make quick runs to the market, doctors office or pilates class when you need to carry small items.

Send your child off with a great messenger bag they can store not only their homework, but those little gadgets they randomly find!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Individualized Education Plans

If your child is struggling in school, you may request or be advised to start the process of an Individualized Education Plans (IEP). An IEP is held if a child is deemed to need additional help due to a learning disability or disorder such as Autism that may impair a childs physical ability, social interaction or communication skills.

This process can be scary for caretakers if they do not know the system or are not prepared to ask for the proper services their child may need. We have written an article about the IEP process that will guide you in this process. Remember, education is a business and unless you are ready to battle, you'll probably come up short in your fight to get the proper services. However, if you're prepared with knowledge or hire an advocate you stand a good chance of sucessfully navigating the system.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Personalized Toy Box

Those of you who have children know that toys come in abundance. They are anywhere and everywhere you could possibly imagine! It is hard to find ways to organize your childrens toys so that they are still within reach for your children and out of your way. This Wooden Toy Box is perfect for that very thing. It is simplistic in style, however, neat and clean looking enough to sit anywhere in the house.

The dimensions are 40in Lx 21in Wx 20in H. It is roomy and spacious enough to fit your childs toys and keep them out of the way when playtime is over for the day. Yet, when it starts all over again the next day, your child will be able to easily reach in to the chest and grab whatever item they wish. The double lid supports make it safe for your child to lift the lid and you will not have to worry about it slamming shut on their poor little fingers.

The best feature about this toy box is that it can be personalized for your child. You have the option of having their name with a fancy design or if you need one box for multiple children, have the box designed with the alphabet.

Keep their toys in one easily accessible spot and out of your way to keep your house clean and tidy!