Sunday, January 9, 2011

Getting Started 1 to 2 Years

This is a common place for MOST people to start. They are realizing their children are learning even with out them trying... so we think to ourselves "why not see how far they can go?" and then we pull up Google on our computers type in "how to teach my baby to read" and that's about where the overwhelmed crash kicks comes in! There's a thousand different programs, a million different ideas, a huge argument about weather or not it's natural, so we turn off the computer and go back to watching Nick Jr. 


Yep I've been there to, then after sleeping on it and the thought of "You NEED to do this" haunting me I finally went out and bought a program. Your Baby Can Read! It was alright, but honestly it took a lot of time, and the pieces kept getting lost. I am a pretty organized person but Evie would want to play with the sliding words and then I couldn't find them, and they got broken. It was a nightmare. 


Then I tried putting together my own powerpoints with the 200 recommended words. It worked great for a short time, but we ran though all the words and I ran out of ideas, and then my computer crashed and I ended up loosing all the power points I had spent 2 weeks putting together. It was an AWESOME start but after about 3 months we decided I just didn't have the personal dedication to keep making these things (Keep tuned though because I'm going to post the words I used so you have a starting point.)


After that I just bought a pack of "Babies First Words" Flash cards from Target. It only cost me $2.99 and we used those for a short time. But again we ran out of words after a month and they didn't just have additional packs of cards I could go buy that were all in order. I was beyond myself, I had at this point spent well over $300.00 and really aggravated myself! 


Now before I tell you what's worked for me, keep in mind that everyone operates differently! Just because I wasn't successful with one of the above options doesn't mean you wouldn't be. Each program works for someone, based on how they work. 


Finally I found Brillkids they have a program called LittleReader I wasn't thrilled about investing in another program that was going to cost me even more money; however my baby girl was about to turn 1 and I was determined to do something... So I signed up for the Free 14 Day Trail with very little intention of actually purchasing. IT WORKED! She loved it, I loved it, we didn't' loose the pieces there were 270 lessons, and more you could download! It just kept going. After using it for just a week I found where other members had uploaded personal lessons they had made, and I downloaded hundreds of them... then I figured out how I could make my own lessons! WOW You can also customize every pre-done lesson so that the pictures are objects in your own home, or so the voice over is YOUR voice (or how about this when dad cant' be home record HIS voice... now your child associates dad with being involved in their education!) Do a few lessons with aunts, uncles, grandparents voices too and BAM your baby knows who they can learn from! 


Let's skip right to the part where I bought the program, and the LittleMath program too! Then I found out you can download the littlemath lessons simply by using your Brill Kid points! I'll write a whole post on this. So for now let's just say you spend 5 to 10 minutes running though the Reading Program, and 2 to 3 minutes running though the math program a day... you have now invested a maximum of 13 minutes a day into your child's future and guess what? THEY ARE READING, AND THEY ARE DOING ARITHMETIC! I don't know about you but I spend more time a day flossing my teeth then this little activity cost me, and the best part is my now 2 year old, is starting to read. Keep in mind the number 1 thing  you can do to help your kids read... is to read to them! 


So once we figured out reading and math we started looking at other core subjects? 


SIGN LANGUAGE: 
Don't tell me this isn't a core subjects for babies! IT IS! Not only do they learn to communicate which alleviates crying, tantrums and the need for communication brake downs, BUT they also start to grasp the concept of communicating in other ways! Making the transition to new languages, math, music, and sociology very easy for them. But how do you teach something that most of us don't know? Find 3 things your baby wants or needs, now go HERE and look those three things up. Sign them to your baby when you are asking if that's what they want. (Example: do you want a BOTTLE?) when you say bottle, use the sign. Don't go crazy, find three! When you have those down so that saying it and signing it are second nature to you... add three more! Some babies will start signing back as early as 6 months. Let me tell you the day your baby signs "HURTS" instead of cries for hours, you'll cry with joy! If you do want to let your kids watch some entertaining and educational TV SigningTime is an excellent choice, (another option, is to go onto YouTube and make a Play List using about 30 minutes worth of their shorts, and stream it off the internet on your TV).



ART:
Let your child spend time every week coloring. Give them a crayon, a magnetic board, a piece of side walk chalk, paint, it really doesn't matter. Let them experiment with it (not eat it)! They don't need a coloring book, a fancy easel, or expensive acrylics. A pencil will do (as long as it's not sharp). If you have a box of crayons (you should have a box of crayons) then use this opportunity to introduce colors as well. Hand them one crayon at a time and tell them what color it is. Praise their art work, and if at all possible display it! The only art kids need to learn at this age, is that THEY are manipulating their environment in some way. That knowledge alone will help them though out life! Also NickJr.com has lots and lots of free coloring projects, art projects, and crafts for kids of all ages to do! All for FREE! 

NOTE: 
If your child isn't walking yet make sure they have plenty of time on the floor everyday! If they are already walking, go on short walks together! There is nothing that will teach them faster then going on a little Nature Walk and showing them colors, shapes, and words you can see outside your house! My daughter and I use to just walk from the front door to the end of the driveway looking for things that were "green" or "yellow" I'd point out anything we could find. We also would find animals and learn what the animals say... "the bird says 'chirp'" she loved it, I loved it and it was a great 5 minutes a day spent together! 

Time Brake Down Everyday: 
Reading - 5 to 10 Minutes 
Read to Your Child - 20 Minutes (if attention span allows for it) More about reading to your child Here! 
Math - 2-3 Minutes
Art - Depending on attention span I just let mine draw in their high chair to amuse themselves while I make dinner. 
Nature Walk - 3-5 Minutes (best done while going to check the mail, now you can multi task)
Sign Language - Done though out the day. 

Maximum Amount of Time This Should Take You: 38 Minutes 


THE BIG DISCLAIMER: 
There's a big debate about weather or not teaching babies is natural, here's the bottom line as I see it. Setting them down in a desk, and demanding they write "I will learn" 100 times before dinner IS NOT NATURAL! Watching a short video that teaches them reading, math, or any other subject (such as BrillKids, SigningTime, Your Baby Can Read, or SquareOne) is COMPLETELY NATURAL! Going on a nature walk and finding colors NATURAL, putting together puzzles with mom or dad NATURAL, coloring with crayons NATURAL, being told to do back flips because you think they should be walking already NOT NATURAL... you get the idea. Don't force your kids into anything and don't force yourself either. If you aren't having fun, they aren't having fun! So find a way that is entertaining, engaging, and fun for both of you. Homework is not a grueling list of tasks for babies! Make sure your child is having fun OR STOP! If your baby just isn't doing it one day DON'T DO IT! If you get half way though the ABC's or just to D and their attention span is gone, STOP! If they get distracted and want to do something else DO IT! You're baby will learn with your consistency and they will surprise you when they come up and ask you to do "reading" with them or "1, 2, 4" with them! If your child is just not paying attention go ahead and continue, they are absorbing things even if it doesn't seem like it. But when they are done, you are both done! This is not a battle, it's a bonding, learning, loving time for you two or three or four to spend together. If your life is busy, you work (from home or outside the home), you have more then one child, or you just don't feel you are organized enough to keep up with this then consider investing the $25.00 a month for the next year to buy BrillKid there you can download all the extras you need FOR FREE to literally do everyone of these things (except tummy time, and contact) for you. You can sit back let it play and enjoy knowing YOU are still teaching your child! Most of all make it fun for both of you!

IF YOU STILL FEEL OVERWHELMED:
Choose two items off the list and do those for one month. Then add one more item. Continue until you feel comfortable doing these activities with your child. This should not overwhelm you if it does your child will feel that and they will become overwhelmed with it too! Think about it this way if you ONLY taught your child to read before their 5th birthday they would already know what 18% off American children graduate high school with out knowing!

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