Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tools to Help Your Kids Succeed

Have you ever heard parents talking to their babies, often in those high silly voices and thought, well that is kind of annoying?  Did you know those parents are actually doing a huge service to their kids?

Did you realize that 90% of a child's brain development occurs in the first five years?  90%!  As a mother of three, with my youngest now five, I can't help but look back and wonder if I did enough.
Baby Brain Development

But don't worry if you didn't do flash cards, enroll your child in every class, find enriching activities every day; as just three simple things can have a huge impact.

Talk,  Read, Sing!® 

From the First 5 California Website it states:
 "A number of factors influence early brain development.  These important factors include: daily experiences, parent responsiveness, nutrition, physical activity, genetics, and love.

So what are some things you can do to help your kids succeed:

  Talk to them, sing to them, read to them

When my oldest was starting solid food, we had a "song" for almost every food he tried.
  "Peas, peas- we love the peas.  Please, please, please pass the peas.  Oh how we love the peas."

It was just a silly few lines, sang to random tunes, but it got to the point where he almost didn't even want to eat the food unless we sang the song.  

We were always singing and talking.  I would just walk around with him on my hip and tell him what things were in the house and what I was doing. I have no doubt it had an influence on the fact that he was speaking in complete sentences around 1 1/2-years old. 

Here is a little throw-back to when my now almost 11-year-old was 1 1/2.

 Read to them, Talk to them, Sing to them, Explore with them

Toddlers are active, they are learning new things almost daily.  Hopefully you have already been reading but at this age they can begin to interact with the book more.  It is often hard to get toddlers to sit still, but short, funny stories with bright pictures can often reel in even the most active toddler.

My oldest seemed like he would never sit still, except for when I read to him; we would read for hours.

The great thing with books and reading is it is free!  The local library is a heaven of books and fun.  If I found a book one of my kids really liked, I would then search the thrift stores for that book, as reading a book again and again (as much as it drives the parent crazy) is actually a great tool for word recognition and learning to read.  
Alex at age 2, would "read" me her favorite book.  "I love Trees"  She really had it memorized and was just saying the words, but as a child does this again and again their brain will make the connection between the written word and what they are saying.

Another throw-back to Alex reading her favorite book. 

Explore with them, Read to them, talk to them, Sing to them

At this age kids will begin to ask why, not only why do they have to do things (the why that drives parents crazy), but why things happen, why things work the way they do.  It can be tiring to answer their endless questions, but this is a time when the world is beginning to open up to them in a whole new way and they are making connection and understandings like never before.   So answer those why's.
When my kids were younger I stared a Time for Tot's Day, where just one day a week I would plan a little "lesson" with activities to go along with that theme.
Teaching The Letter A
  My kids loved these days.  We would talk about science, we would act out stories, we would learn about shapes and holidays.  We only did this one day a week, but that one day seemed to set the pace and attitude for our entire week. 
At this age, you can help prepare for school too.  It always seems to work best when learning doesn't feel like learning.  Trying to teach them sight words-let them whack the word with a toy hammer or throw a ball at the word. 
Ways To Learn Sight Words
Teaching them about science- get some water and freeze it and then put those ice cubes in a pan and watch them melt.  
The key is to just always be talking, always describing, always making connections for their brains. Use big words just make sure you explain what it means too.  You will be amazed at what they can comprehend.  
Resources to Help
There are so many great resources out there, blogs dedicated to teaching, Pinterest is full of ideas, and now there is a new resource First 5 California.  This site is dedicated to resources for those first five years.  They realize the importance and the amount of brain growth that occurs these years so have provided great resources and teaching tools. 
The site has:
  Activity Centers
  Health Center
  Learning Center
  FREE Music 
It really is a great site with so many free resources to help you help your child learn.   Definitely head over to First 5 California and find some inspiration for you and your kids. 
At the end of the day, if you are there for your children, there with your children and talking, singing and reading to them- you are helping your children grow and develop. 


  1. So simple and some of these things we do by instinct without even realizing it serves an amazing purpose!

  2. Love these! What a great read :)

  3. What an interesting fact about brain development! I learned something new today.

  4. I love this post. I agree that some of these things we do without truly realizing what we are doing. I think when we, as mommies realize what a big deal some of the "little things" are, it is much easier to realize just how important our work is. I love that this blog points that out without pointing it out

  5. I love this post. I agree that some of these things we do without truly realizing what we are doing. I think when we, as mommies realize what a big deal some of the "little things" are, it is much easier to realize just how important our work is. I love that this blog points that out without pointing it out

  6. Love this! Reading is everything. We still love reading to our nine year old.

  7. Great information! I think my favorite part of having toddlers was talking and singing and reading with them. I miss that--harder to do with older kids!

  8. I love this! I have a boy who is 2 and a boy who is 4, so a lot of this sounds very familiar - like the questions, especially! My kids love to read books, and we sing a lot. My youngest doesn't talk much, but we teach him things, and he can point a lot of pictures out, so I hope that is helping him.

  9. Thanks for these great ideas. My kids are way past this stage, but I'll remember for my grandbabies! (It will be a while, but that's what pinterest is for, right?)