When should your child start playing a musical instrument? It depends. As parents of 10 kids playing musical instruments, we share tips about when and how to introduce your kids to music and a possible musical instrument.
When traveling in your state, the nation, or the world, you can make history come alive for your kids so that when they study history in school. Learn the tips to help your kids connect with the places you are seeing and the history. It doesn’t matter where you are at, you can create connections that help your child understand the world.
TIP: Prep for the trip by having family night discussions that explain where you are going and the history of the place.
From Nancy’s Recent Trip, here are the historical places she and her kids visited and learned from:
- Churchill War Rooms gave us an incredible opportunity to see where Winston Churchill ran the British experience in WWII. The incredible Winston Churchill and his example was a great example for my kids.
- Greenwich is a great opportunity for sightseers interested in science since this is the location where modern clocks and other tools of travel were created. Heard of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)? This is the place that the whole world’s time is set.
- Tower of London is a great place to learn about the history of kings and queens of England and how quick the tide can turn on the leaders.
- British Museum includes pieces of history from many times and countries. In one museum, you can see Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and British history. From Mummys to Greek Gods, this place gives you a chance to discuss human history.
- Shakespeare’s Globe Theater provides an opportunity to understand the greatest writer in history. See a play while there. But remember to prep your kids either with a synopsis or by watching the play on a video before you go. If they understand the play before they get there, things will go better.
- The Medieval Banquet was a great way to experience and understand the medieval era in an enjoyable way. My kids LOVED this dinner and show It was one of the highlights of the trip for them.
- Stonehenge takes you back in time over 5000 years. Tours from Antiquity provided the most amazing tour with an archeologist who shared his findings in the area as well as those of others and the theories they currently hold about the culture that created Stonehenge as well as other henges and burial mounds in the area.
- In Copenhagen, taking the Bus Tour and River Cruise helped us get a feel for the city and the history. We also visited the Round Tower and the Changing of the Guard.
Even though Nancy’s trip was to one of the most important historical cities, you can create the same experience in local trips.
She was told her son had autism but today, he is in the top 4% of students across the country. Pilar’s son is brilliant, but he is introverted so he never spoke up in class and had a hard time socializing with kids. In our extrovert-oriented society, her son’s skills were not immediately valued. Now that he has won national prizes for a documentary and an app that he created, people are beginning to see her son’s talents shine (even if he is still the quietest kid in the class. Learn how to parent an introverted child and how to help them find their mojo.
Pilar recommends reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
And Check out the TED Talk on Introverts
We expect our children to practice their handwriting, their piano, and their jump shot to get good at them but we don’t often think that they have to learn and practice social skills to be successful at school. One blogger starts the conversation on what social skills we need to teach our kids and we continue the conversation.
Here is her list to get the conversation started:
- Make eye contact, smile and say hi.
- Learn to converse: don’t monopolize, ask questions, pay attention, listen (be a reporter).
- Learn people’s names.
- Include everyone.
- Be kind.
What do you think and what ways have you found to teach these skills to your children?
Mike McQueen, author of Getting Boys to Read, discusses his new book and tips on how to get your boys interested in reading. Do you know a boy who struggles with reading? Mike has great tips that come from his own personal experience as a struggling reader turned teacher-librarian. He knows what boys struggle with and how parents and teachers can help. This book is filled with practical tips as well as interviews with authors. With 114 tips, there is sure to be something that will help inspire you and get the boy in your life reading.
The book is divided into 7 main ideas:
- Create the right environment.
- Strengthen your relationship.
- Connect reading with his interests and needs.
- Lure him with the best materials.
- Make reading interactive.
- Make reading fun.
- Try different techniques.
Some of my favorite tips included in the book include:
- read aloud daily
- recruit male role models
- set up a book club for boys (we podcasted about this 4 years ago–listen here)
- never criticize what he reads
- use Amazon’s related titles
- take him to the library
- allow him to read comic books
- introduce him to non-fiction
We discuss these and SO many more ideas. For even more great ideas, check out the Getting Boys to Read website.
With some tips, your kids can learn to handle bullying (the garden variety). We discuss what works in the elementary, middle and high school years. Check out more tips on the website http://www.stopbullying.gov/.
- Be a Role Model—Don’t Be a Bully. Show them how to treat others with respect and kindness
- Use situations to teach—if you see something in a show or in life that is wrong or right, point it out
- Role Play with your kids to help them respond under stress
- IF they get bullied, replay the situation and try out different responses
- Can your child say STOP and look the bully in the eye?
- Can your child deflect with humor?
- Is your child too shy and needs to walk away?
- Don’t downplay their feelings (empathize with them but don’t make them a victim)
- Teach your child how to stay safe:
- Stay away from places where bullying happens
- Hang where there are adults. Most bullying happens when adults are not aroud
- Talk to someone so you don’t feel alone
- Read Wimpy Kid
- Teach your children to embrace their own uniqueness and not want to be just like everyone else
- Stand up for others and be kind to a kid being bullied. Show them someone cares
Stop Summer Brain Drain with some simple math programs and websites you can use to keep your kids doing math all summer.
Nancy’s favorite is Khan Academy.
Check out math and other school programs at Costco as well.
Think it is too late to learn an instrument? Lindsay is living proof that it isn’t. She takes lessons from Tricia. Nancy and Shelly learned to play guitar as adults (Shelly much better than Nancy). We discuss what it takes to learn an instrument as an adult and what it can give to your soul to take on the challenge.
High school guidance counselor *** explains what our kids really need to be doing to make it to college including what extra-curricular activities pay off and what your child might be doing already that looks good on a college application. She also explains why more activities don’t always lead to a better application and why some kids need to relax a bit.
Your kids learn a lot in school, but some very important lessons are not taught in school. Listen as we discuss several lessons that are not taught and how you as a mom can teach them to your children.
For more ideas about what should be taught in school, check out this article on 27 Things They Don’t Teach in School
Kathy Irving shares the end of her 2 year journey of signing with her hearing daughter. Because she works with hearing impaired children, Kathy is uniquely qualified to explain what happened during this time. Their journey of signing is coming to an end with her daughter’s use of verbal language. Kathy shares how the experience helped her daughter gain a master vocabulary more than 20 times larger than what normal 2 year-olds can speak.
What is a 504 and do you need one for your child to make sure that she is getting a fair shot at learning in schools.
If you have a child in upper elementary grades or jr. high, you have probably faced the dreaded science fair. Listen with us and laugh about this rite of passage. If your kids are not there yet, listen and learn what NOT to do and WHAT WORKS when helping your child with their science fair project.
Our kids are bombarded by media in all its forms. We need to teach them to be savvy consumers of media so that they are not trapped in the false information given by TV, movies, internet, advertising, and so forth. Shelly and Nancy talk about ways to do this successfully including ideas like:
- creating commercials or short movies so kids can see that media is just created like any other fiction
- talking back to/or about (during) shows that are not logical to help your child see the logical fallacies
- allow your kids to look for information on shows (we like www.commonsensemedia.org for this purpose)
- talking about how people don’t have unlimited lives like video game characters
- teaching your child HOW to search the web by exposing your inner dialogue as you search and look at sites
For more great tips, listen to our show.
Nancy and her family share their inter-generational trip to Monterey, CA including their stay at the Hyatt Monterey Hotel and Spa and their experience at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a delicious meal at Abalonetti.
Hyatt Monterey Hotel and Spa is the perfect place for families with members with different interests. With an amazing golf course with an onsite pro, tennis center with an onsite pro, world-class spa with couples rooms and full beauty salon as well as two swimming pools, outside board games and Camp Hyatt for the kids, there is something for every generation to enjoy. The cozy nature of the property is incredible even though it is the largest hotel in Monterey. It is very kid-friendly and the staff is amazing. Dining at TusCA was fabulous and Knuckles Sports Bar fit the bill for a less formal meal. Listen to the Podcast for more details. The Monterey Suite with two separate rooms was fabulous for a family or for our inter-generational group. With two bath rooms and two TVs, it was easy to please everyone. The bedroom had a king size bed and two roll-aways fit easily into the sitting room without taking up all the living space. We were served a different evening appetizer based on locally grown ingredients each night we were there. The pool was a wonderful break for the children and warm enough to enjoy even in springtime.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is an amazing place to take multiple generations for an educational and exciting experience. From the simplicity of picking up tickets to the great staff who fixed a problem with our behind-the-scenes tour and gave us a private tour, everyone in the staff was amazing. Thanks Scott and Andrea! The Aquarium focuses on the local sea life right outside the Aquarium in Monterey Bay. As a scuba diver, it was easy to appreciate the quality of the exhibits. However, grandmother and kids who have never seen these creatures in the wild also were amazed by the exhibits and the opportunities to interact with stingrays, star fish and so forth. The Aquarium exhibits are easy to access for all ages and abilities. With frequent feeding displays and interactive demonstrations, you could spend several hours at the Aquarium.
Lunch at Abalonetti was a incredible. The Chippino is literally the best ever. The calamari is world-famous for a reason–it is tender and tasty. No rubber here. Every dish that passed our table was enticing. The children’s menu is also very extensive and according to our pint-sized tasters, the chicken nuggets were the best on our trip. Just please tell me who thought a child would order liver and brussel sprouts? However, it probably was still the best liver and brussel sprouts the kid ever had. The service was incredible and I will be back.
The food in Monterey was absolutely wonderful–both at the Hyatt and at Abalonetti. This is a foodie paradise.
During a trip to Washington DC, children learn that freedom has a cost and that cost can be very high. Learn how to instill a lesson that helps your child to understand the cost of freedom and the history of the United States. On our quick one-day trip, we were able to see as much as we did thanks to the Old Town Trolley company. Their trolleys took us directly to the places we wanted to visit on our one day blitz of the nation’s capital.
Whether you are traveling to historic places like D.C. or just visiting the local historic locations, a bit of preparation can help your children really absorb and enjoy the history they will see. We share insights and tips on what to do to prepare: things like reading historic fiction, watching documentaries, discussing family stories, sharing pictures of you as a child in those places and many more tips help bring historic travel to life for kids and give them mental hooks they can hang their experience on to savor for years.
We talk to Dr. John Heath, author of When Bright Kids Can’t Learn to discover the research into training the brain to learn better and how it can help your child succeed in school and overcome small and large learning problems like forgetfulness or dyslexia.
If your child struggles at school and you wonder what might be going on, we discuss things to check and how to help your child. A solution might be as simple as a trip to the right optometrist and a few simple exercises or you might want to have an evaluation from a school or private psychologist to pinpoint a learning disability (even when you have an incredibly bright child).