My mom and dad live more than an hour away from us. As we drive home late at night from a visit to their home and as we drive through my childhood home, past my old elementary school, high school, church, favorite playgrounds, and so forth, my son asks me to tell him stories about when I was a little girl.
He loves to hear the story about when I taught swimming lessons at the pool and my car battery was dead afterwords, so I had to call grandpa to come help me jumpstart the car. He loves to hear about the day when I was three years old and I tried to walk from home to the grocery store because I did not want to be left at home with grandma. It helps that we happen to pass by those places, but I believe he’d love the stories even if we did not still live in my childhood hometown.
Tell Me a Story: Sharing Stories to Enrich Your Child’s World by Elaine Reese (Oxford University Press, 2013) is a volume about the benefits your children gain from hearing and retelling stories. I loved how it included tips for sharing stories with all children, from toddler through adolescence. It reinforced the fact that I’m doing most things right as I discuss the picture books I read to my toddler, read aloud to my son, encourage my son to tell me his favorite parts of the day, and tell my children stories from my childhood.
When I first saw it in the Netgalley catalog, I was startled by the title It’s OK Not to Share and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids by Heather Shumaker (Tarcher, 2012). Not share? Isn’t that the first thing we teach our babies during play dates? I was delighted by some of the concepts in this parenting book, not because I agreed with it all, but because it opened my mind to different ways to approach teaching my children about relationships, compassion, and dealing with the ups and downs of life.
It has been more than a month since I finished reading Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman (published 1998). By waiting to write my thoughts, I may not have as many specific examples and quotes to share with my readers. However, by letting the book percolate in my mind as I went about my life, I can even better declare that Gottman’s slim volume is a helpful and essential reminder of the role of parents in the lives of young children.
While parents and teachers often devote lots of time to teaching academics and well rounded activities (from music to athletics), how often have parents considered the ways they are helping their children develop emotional intelligence? In a world were people are increasingly pulled in a variety of directions, the ability to regulate emotions and control one self in a complicated world is essential. Gottman’s book helps me see my opportunities for teaching my kids. It also gives me realistic ways to implement the teaching of emotional strength. (more…)
One great thing about having a little baby is the cuddling. Not to say that Raisin doesn’t cuddle with me every now and then, but Strawberry is just the right size for a sweet cuddle in my arms as we rock in the chair.
Many times when I try to read to Strawberry, she tries to grab the book and eat it. This is pretty normal, since seven months old is just the age of chewing on everything in site. But occasionally, as I mentioned before, Strawberry really loves to listen to my voice, cuddle into my arms, and listen to what I’m saying. A few of the books are favorites of mine for such moments because they are especially wonderfully for rocking back and forth in a rocking chair. (more…)
I have been looking forward to introducing my son to the favorite books of my childhood, and I’m delighted to find he is finally old enough to appreciate them!
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (originally published 1978) is a perfect chapter book for young readers. The chapters are less than five pages, the stories are compact and yet still inter-related, and the silliness factor meets the needs of a child. My son loved the time we spent reading these together, and as soon as we finished it, he took it from me and informed me he was going to read it again to himself. He is more than half way done.
As an adult, I still enjoyed it. It is silly and yet it does play off of realistic challenges: adults telling you to do things that seem impossible (going to take a note to a non-existent teacher), falling asleep when you should be awake, getting along with other kids, and overcoming stereotype, for example. I really enjoyed revisiting it as an adult. (more…)