Archive for June, 2012

Have you ever wondered how the birth order of your children will impact their personality, their success, their struggles in life? This idea has been playing on my mind a lot lately. Now that I have 4 children (3.5 year old son, 2 years old twins daughters, and 4 month old son) I have been noticing a lot of difference in how I parent my different children and how they all are so unique. I am reading a book called, Making Children Mind without Losing Yours by Kevin Leman, which is a great book on discipline by the way. But in the book, Dr. Leman briefly discusses the effect of birth order on children and their behavior. I think understanding birth order has made me more aware of what I need to work on with all of my children. I found a pod cast by Focus on the Family called “The Impact of Birth Order”. During this prodcast, Dr. Leman gives a short description of each birth order. I encourage you to check out the pod cast. I also plan on checking Dr. Leman’s book out entitled “The Birth Order Book“.

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I have started the process of teaching my 3.5 year old how to read. I have really enjoyed teaching Cooper how to read so far. I plan on sharing some of the strategies and lessons that I am teaching Cooper on my other blog “Teaching Toddlers and Preschoolers”. If any of you have preschoolers and want to check out my blog, I hope to update it with something at least 2-3 times a week.

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My son Haydon just turned 4 months old today! Yippy! I am finally out of the land of newborn-hood and on to baby land! Along with Haydon’s 4 month birthday, he also dropped his 4th nap. I knew it was time to adjust his schedule because his 3rd of 4th nap of the day were just brief catnaps and no longer than 45 minutes each.

From 9 weeks- 15 weeks, Haydon’s schedule looked like this:
8:20-10:00 Nap
1o:00 Nurse
11:30-1:00 Nap
1:00 Nurse
2:30-4:00 Nap***
4:00 Nurse
5:30-6:15 Catnap***
6:15 Nurse
7:30 Bottle of expressed milk, followed by bedtime

***However, from 15-16 weeks his 3rd nap of the day went from being 1.5 hours long to only 45 minutes long. I played around with his waketime, but that still did not fix the nap length. I also noticed that Haydon was not nursing as much every 3 hours so I thought it might be good to try and extend his schedule to eat every 3.5-4 hours, except in the evening when I cluster feed. Extending the schedule worked. It got rid of the 4th nap and he is nursing better. Also, by extending the scheduled feedings, Haydon started taking a longer nap!

Haydon’s new schedule at 4 months (17 weeks old)
7am Nurse
8:30-10:30 Nap
10:30 Nurse
12:15/20-2:15 Nap
2:15 Nurse
4:00-5:00 Nap
5:00 Nurse
7:00 Nurse +Bottle of Expressed milk, followed by bedtime


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My twins got a floor puzzle that I love! It is the Infantino Counting & Shapes Floor Puzzle. I have used it to teach their numbers 1-10, colors, and shapes. Here is a video of the girls playing a short activity to find shapes and numbers on the puzzle. I like to call out a number, a shape, or a color and the girls have to put their small plastic animal on that part of the puzzle. We also build the puzzle together, which helps with their spacial relationships and fine motor skills. Also while we building the puzzle, we discuss the shapes and colors of the shapes. We also make sure we put the numbers in order (but this is a skill the girls are still trying to acquire). I would say this puzzle is a great learning tool for any toddler or preschooler trying to learn their shapes, colors, and numbers.

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Now that I have my new iphone, I have been having fun looking for good educational apps for my son (3.5 years old) to use to help his learn to read, write, and spell better. Prior to becoming a mother, I was a reading specialist and worked with struggling students and those with learning differences. I have been also trained in Orton-Gillingham, Lindamood- Bell LIPS, and Phographix- all are programs designed to be used with dyslexic and struggling readers. So I think I know a good learning app when I see one. Here are a few that I think are worth your while to download.

There are several great apps from preschool university. The are all free!!!
ABC Magic 4 (Sound Matching Game)
ABC Magic 3 (Sound Matching Game)
ABC Magic Short Vowel Words

Montessori Crosswords ($2.99)
I know this app costs money, but I think it is worth the money. I love how the constants are in red and the vowels are in blue. This really helps a young reader to know the difference between the sounds. It is very user friendly, which I really like so Cooper can do it on his own. You can tap each of the letters and it will give you their sounds. It also has sound boxes you can tap and it will give you a clue as to which sounds belongs in that spot. From a reading specialist point of view, you just cannot go wrong with how it helps a child sounds out each sound and then blend the sounds together to create a word.

ABC Pocket Phonics ($2.99)
This is my favorite beginner reader app!! Hands down you get a lot in this one small app. It teaches handwriting skills, both upper and lower case letters. You can also select which handwriting style you wish for you child to learn (D’Nealian or Zaner Bloser), as well as cursive. It has the child first practice writing the letter while saying the sound aloud. Then the child is asked to build a word using the sound they just learned to write and say. Once the word is build, the sounds are read individually and then blended together. I think the thing that sold me on this app is that the letter sounds are stressed instead of the letter name. Teach a young child to identify letters by their sound rather than their name, helps young readers blends sound easier. Their is a lite version of ABC pocket phonics that is free. I suggest downloading the free version first, just to make sure you like it, but I promise you, you won’t regret the purchase!

Little Writer (handwriting app) (Free)
I like this app., but I would not have paid for it, but it is a good free app.  It allows you to trace upper and lower case letters, numbers, shapes, and some words. You don’t have the option to pick the font, but it is a traditional font style. There is a small animal that must eat apples in the order which you are suppose to trace. As you move your finger along, the apples disappear. It is cute and helps show the correction directionality. It does not refer to the letters by their sound, rather only their letter name. I wish it also did the letter sounds, but for a free app I guess that is okay.

That is all I have found so far. If I find any more neat apps, I am sure to share them with all of you!

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I just got my very first smart phone, an iphone. I cannot sign enough praises about finally having a smart phone. I love that I can take video and pictures of my kids and then text or email them to my family and friends in a snap. I have had a ton of fun finding educational apps for my son (3.5 years old) and my twins (2 years old). They have so many neat apps out there. But I found one that is an awesome baby log app and best of all…its free!!!

Philip Avent’s My Baby & Me App
This is a great app if you breast or bottle feed, since it allows you to record both bottle amounts and breastfeeding lengths. I breastfeed and only offer a bottle of expressed milk in a bottle at bedtime. What I found so wonderful about tracking the breastfeeding, is that you can hit a timer and choose which breast you started on. You can even hit pause if you have to stop in the middle of a feeding, awesome!!! Then simply hit done and the your feeding amount and which breasts were used are recorded. You can even add notes about each feeding (such as spit-up, difficult, ect.). But, you can always go back and edit your entries if you entered anything wrong or even if you forgot to record a feeding. This app will also show you a ratio of how often you breastfeed from the right vs. the left breast.

Similar to the feeding option, you can record what time the nap started and what time the nap ended, as well as take notes. It is so easy to use and then shows you on a chart when your baby sleeps during the day for the week, so you can start to see trends. You can always go back and edit your entries as well.

Diaper Changes:
Keep track of wet, dirty, or wet and dirty diapers- and when they were changed. You can also keep notes. This has been so helpful for me. Haydon has had some crazy weird diapers (mucusy, green, and smelly) due to some allergies that I am trying to figure out. I can place a note about his diapers and what I ate that day so I can go back and see if there are any trends as to what is causing his weird diapers.

Other Features:
There are 3 other categories you can use but I have not utilized much. Moments, allows you to record things like first bath, first time they rolled over, etc. It allows you to put pictures in some of these moments as well. There is also weight and height that you can input from you doctor’s visits, and they show your child’s growth curve based on the WHO (world health organization).

My Rating:
I would give this app 5 starts (out of 5 stars). It is easy to use, you can track a ton of information with this app, and best of all it’s free!!

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