Category Archives: Children

How Co-Parenting Affects Your Children

When a child enters your life, it can be one of the most magical and exciting experiences you will ever encounter. It goes without saying that many parents do everything they can to ensure their child lives a happy and healthy life.

What is Co-Parenting?

Co-parenting can be explained in several different situations. For some households, it is when both individuals have a child together but are not married. In other cases, it is when the parents have divorced and may not be living together, but are still both raising and remain active in their children’s lives.

Regardless of the situation, when both parents are still active in a child’s life, it can make things a little easier even after a messy divorce or separation.

Do You Get Child Support?

Co-parenting may seem confusing for your children, but it won’t be. If you have recently gone through a divorce, but you and your ex-spouse are both still active in your child’s life, you are considered co-parents.

If a divorce results in any child support obligations, then they must still be paid. Many parents think that they may be unable to receive child support if both parents have custody, but this is not the case. Child support is determined by other factors as well.

Is it Bad for the Children?

Co-parenting may not necessarily be easy for a child to deal with, but it is still an acceptable way for your children to grow up.

A divorce isn’t easy for anyone, especially a child. Many children blame themselves for their parents’ divorce or separation. Though it may seem stressful on your children to bounce between their parents’ houses, it is actually quite the opposite.

Spending an equal amount of time with both parents will allow your children to live a seemingly normal lifestyle. Although both parents aren’t living in the same house, your children will still be able to spend quality time with the both of you-and that is what is healthy for them.

How Much Time Should Each Parent Get?

When it comes to co-parenting, you certainly want to have your children be exposed to both parents as often as possible so that they can continue living a normal life. A divorce can disrupt a child’s life but it doesn’t have to be the end of normalcy.

Writing a parenting plan together can allow both parents to participate and agree on equal visitation times and schedules. A parenting plan is a legal document that states the role of each parent to the child. This is also what displays the time-sharing schedule, choices regarding the child’s health care and schooling, and his or her overall well-being.

Of course, if both parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, a judge will. A judge bases his or her time-sharing decisions on:

– The relationship between each parent and the child

– The criminal background of each parent, such as criminal history or any form of abuse

– The financial stability of each parent

The Parent-Child Relationship – How to Earn and Keep Your Children’s Trust

Trust is an extremely powerful concept. It takes time to build yet can be broken within seconds. Once broken, it takes far more time to rebuild it than it did to establish it in the first place. An honest relationship with open communication is imperative between parent and child, with the relationship of trust probably being the hardest one to establish. Aside from love, trust is the most important and strongest element you can establish with your children. If they can trust and believe in you, they will model that and become trustworthy. However, if they can’t trust and believe in you, they lose all faith in humanity and grow to have no respect for the bonds of trust.

Before writing this article, I asked my own children, “Do you trust me? I mean, do you really trust me?” What I learned from their answers and reasoning is that what creates trust from a parent’s perspective differs than from a child’s perspective. Parents have a hard time trusting children because of their sometimes dishonest and sneaky nature. However, if children are raised to value honesty, they will talk openly with parents and not feel the need to sneak around or lie. This allows parents to be informed and make informed choices when guiding children along life’s road. But I can guarantee you, if children don’t trust their parents for whatever reason, they will do everything they can to keep mom and dad in the dark. If you want to know what your children are doing, they need to be able to trust you enough to let you in on it. With that in mind, from the perspective of a child (which is the most important one because it is the one we, as parents, are trying to establish), here are the 5 most effective ways for a parent to earn a child’s trust:

1. Keep your word. Keeping your word about everything possible, no matter how small, is imperative. When parents tell a child they are going to do something, they need to make sure to follow through and do it. A pattern of promises kept lets children know that when mom or dad says something, they can take it to the bank. They trust that your word is as good as gold. In our home, we try to abide by the old principle, “Your word is your bond.” If you say you’re going to do something, do it. If you say something will happen, it needs to happen. But if you say something will be and repeatedly fail on your promises, your children will quickly learn that they can’t trust a word you say. Broken promises are a good way to lose valuable trust.

2. Be honest. Sure, parents sometimes must tell a little “white lie” to protect their children. But when it comes to important and meaningful questions, the best policy is to be honest, even if you have to sugar-coat it a little. Being honest does two things: It lets the child know that your answers are truthful, allowing them to be able to act upon them with confidence, and it sends the child the message that honesty, no matter how difficult it can sometimes be, is the right thing to do. By believing in honesty by seeing your example, children grow to be honest in return, allowing you to know they are where they say they are and they’re doing what they said they would be doing. Honesty without distorted repercussion establishes a child’s trust that they can talk to parents about anything.

3. Keep your cool. Parents who are approachable about sensitive issues build trust with the child. If a child knows he can come to you and you won’t “flip out” over something that warrants attention, he will trust you to help him come up with solutions and will trust your guidance through the situation. Parents who fly off the handle about issue after issue quickly send the message that they can’t be trusted to hear the child because the child is afraid of yelling, screaming, beating, and punishment. Parents who lose their cool and throw judgment at the child teach the child never to come back with an issue again. When the child can’t trust the parent to listen calmly, they turn to their inexperienced friends instead, and those are the last people you want guiding your child.

4. Be there for them. When kids know that mom and dad will be there for them, supporting them through crisis after crisis, they develop a bond of trust that is critical to open communication. My daughter said, “You were always there for me. Right or wrong, I knew you’d be right there.” By her knowing that I was on her team, even if we did have private conversations pointing out what she did wrong, she trusted that I was reliable. She knew that even when nobody else was there, I was, allowing her to put her full faith and trust in me. And since she trusted me, she shared a lot more with me than other girls did with their parents.

5. Be a role model. Don’t do anything sneaky or wrong that you wouldn’t raise your kids to do. Cheating, stealing, and disrespecting authority are behaviors your child will emulate. When a child hears you talk about trustworthy behavior, then sees you doing things that are completely contradictory to what you preached, they learn that if YOU can’t be trusted to be a good person, it’s okay for them to drop the efforts that establish trust, too. Exemplary behavior teaches lessons and establishes trust in your integrity. Poor, unacceptable behavior teaches a double standard, which is the same as being two-faced, and that’s the best way to lose your integrity and trust from your children.

Children watch how we, as parents, behave. If we keep our word, are honest, remain calm, are steadfast, and are well-behaved as we ask them to be, they learn that we can be trusted under all circumstances. And this level of trust, while hard to establish, is critical in raising children through the confusing years of adolescence. If you lay the groundwork for trust early, keep it strong through adolescence, and continue to respect it into adulthood, your children will never take anything you say or do with a grain of salt. Establish trust and you’re on your way to raising respectful, honest, moral human beings. Fail to be trustworthy and you can bet your children are up to way more than you know. As for me, I’d rather have trust and know what’s going on than be a lying dictator and be left in the dark. Aside from love, which is inherent, trust is the hardest, yet most valuable bond available when guiding children through the smoke and mirrors of life.

How to Improve Children’s IQ

Parents need to realize the important role they play in the overall development of their children’s intelligence. Parents can positively influence every aspect of a child’s life, including their I.Q. – (Intelligence Quotient). Recent research has suggested that it is possible to improve intelligence in children. The activities listed in this article focus on developing a child’s mental faculties.

We will examine how the I.Q. can be influenced by several factors. Some of the factors include environment, overall health, reading, and parental influences.

One of the biggest contributors to improving a child’s I.Q. is the creation of a home that is educationally stimulating. This can start as early as when the child is still in the mother’s womb. It involves reading and talking to the fetus daily. After birth and as the child grows older, the reading should continue, especially at bedtime. Reading is so important. Parents need to understand that children should be encouraged to read at all times. Children should read several books a month, at least 3-4. This way their intelligence can increase with the knowledge they gain by reading a variety of subjects. Do not limit a child’s reading to one subject. Allow them, within reason, to explore a variety of subjects and interests. In addition to reading, singing songs or playing music that is void of profane language and haunting rhythms and lyrics is stimulating for infants and young children.

Their environment should be conducive to progress at all times. That can be done by being in a good school, having positive and intelligent friends, participating in activities that are challenging, and a home environment where educational achievement in stressed. Children should be encouraged to exchange ideas, listen to people and give an intelligent opinion on age appropriate topics without the fear of repercussions from adults. Parents should encourage their children to talk and not be afraid to initiate productive conversation.

Children should always be involved in several activities, both physical and mental. This will help boost the blood flow to different parts of the body including the brain and nervous system. Physical activities will promote clear thinking, stimulate brain activity, and increase concentration. Continuous physical activity will also help to develop gross motor skills, which will allow the body to function properly and give children more endurance for their daily activities.

There are several games and activities, which can help improve I.Q. They include computer games, chess, checkers, backgammon or any board games – which will help children utilize mental strategies, and critical thinking skills which are needed in school. In addition children can learn how to play an instrument which is a great way to help eye and hand coordination as well as improve reading and concentration skills When parents purchase toys for their children, they should purchase those that require mental stimulation as well as physical exertion. These challenges will help improve a child’s I.Q. level.

Children should start early taking I.Q. tests to see how intelligent they are. The test can also be used to see what subject areas the child needs to focus on for improvement. Parents can go online and find several free I.Q. tests that only require carefully reading the directions before administering the exam. When taking these tests, parents should make sure that the child has an area conducive to test-taking, and is quiet and peaceful with no distractions.

The following list is a summary of some additional things that can be helpful with improving a child’s I.Q. level:

Note: P = Parent Focus / C = Child Focus / P-C = Parent and Child Focus

P-C Eat plenty of foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids for brain development and function.

One excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids is fish – salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, halibut, and herring; flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, canola oil, soybeans, soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, walnuts, and walnut seed oil, to name a few.

Online Resource: University of Maryland Medical Center

P Breastfeeding is important for supplying lots of vitamins and nutrients if the mother is eating a well balanced diet. Otherwise, supplements will need to be provided to assist with the diet.

P-C Eat plenty of vegetables, and fruits. Approximately 5 servings per day.

C Keep children away from lead to prevent lead poisoning. This is leading cause of mental deficiencies often found in lead-based paints.

P-C Daily exercise will promote intelligence. This promotes blood flow not only to the brain, but also to other vital organs of the body.

P Avoid smoking and consuming alcohol while pregnant. There is a direct link to lung cancer from smoking/chewing tobacco products and fetal alcohol syndrome from excessive amounts of alcohol.

C Learn to play some kind of instrument at a young age. This promotes eye-hand coordination and brain concentration.

P Read to and with your child daily and/or at bedtime. This promotes shared, quality time with your child, intellectual stimulation and reading comprehension.

C Children should read for themselves everyday other than at school. This promotes intellectual stimulation and reading comprehension.

P-C Parents should play creative and mind/physically challenging games with their children. This included the new Wii Game.

P Introduce games that have math, spelling, grammar, memorization and logic. This promotes intellectual stimulation and reading comprehension.

P-C Limit mindless, unsupervised television watching.

P-C Limit the amount of sugar and caffeinated beverages that are consumed.

P-C Make breakfast a mandatory meal for all members of the household.

P-C Eat the evening meal together as often as possible to discuss the day’s events. Sharing time is important to let each other feel that they are a contributing member of the family unit. Discussion stimulates brain development.

P-C Repetition of facts is needed for some areas of skill development. For example: repeated practice/review of multiplication facts will promote learning and skill acquisition.

Increasing a child’s I.Q. is possible if the parent is willing to work with that child. Parents should be patient when working with their children. The I.Q. does not increase overnight. We are all blessed with gifts from God and there may be a limit to what a person can achieve. If parents are ready to provide good nutrition; sound sleep, uninterrupted sleep; enough exercise opportunities, and additional brain boosting activities, children can and will improve their I.Q. level.

All Author Interviews Award-Winning Children’s Author, Donna McDine

Author Donna McDine grew up in Rockland County, New York and has lived in several different towns within the County, such as Congers, Suffern and currently Tappan. As she was growing up she had the desire to become a reporter someday, but for one reason or another, she did not explore becoming a reporter. The characters of Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters are based on real-life events of Donna and her fraternal twin sister, Debbie. Powder Monkey is her second historical fiction book and the character Tommy Kitt is purely fictional. The author describes her journey as a writer as exhilarating, educational, engaging, roller-coaster and eye-opening.

What readers are saying about McDine’s children’s books…

“The Golden Pathway is a tale of compassion and courage. This book earns the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval, a designation reserved for those books which uphold the rigorous criteria set forth by the Children’s Literary Classics review committee, a team comprised of individuals with backgrounds in publishing, editing, writing, illustration and graphic design.” -Literary Classics Book Awards & Reviews

“The fast moving action, bewildering immediacy, and vivid descriptions and illustrations make Powder Monkey an intense time travel experience for middle grade readers.” ~ Reviewed by Midwest Book Review, Children’s Bookwatch, The Fiction Shelf

Hockey Agony… “is a great lessoned learned for kids, really of all ages. I love the illustrations and love the message.” ~ Debra Beck, Empowered Teens and Parents

I enjoyed reading A Sandy Grave. Donna added to the allure of the story with each page as she pulled me deeper into the storyline. As with any children’s book, illustrations can create an atmosphere that allows the story to leap from the page. Julie Hammond’s illustrations were a perfect collaboration. To this day, many of the books that I have read during my childhood are my favorite stories. I am happy to say that A Sandy Grave is now a part of those cherished stories. I highly recommend this book to readers 8-12.” ~ Reviewed by La Isla Bonita, Amazon reviewer

Dee and Deb Off They Go Kindergarten First Day Jitters… “Author Donna McDine has a delightful way of supporting children through life’s challenges and transitions. Her stories are realistic and feature likable characters that kids can easily relate to. With this book, she has lifted ‘kindergarten anxiety’ in a light and humorous way – leaving children with a smile on their face and an eagerness for new beginnings.” ~ Tina M. Games, certified creativity coach and author of “Journaling by the Moonlight: A Mother’s Path to Self Discovery”

“Angel’s Forever Home… is a great children’s and adult book! The story line has great lessons within it and the artwork is beautiful. The underlying lesson of appreciating life is for all to enjoy.” ~ Shilamida Kupershteyn, best-selling author – 31 Days of Gratitude Create the Life You Desire

Visit with Donna McDine to explore her writing life further at today McDine enjoys engaging with visitors so feel free to leave a comment or question.

Children Beware: Cultural Landmines Abound

We live in a time when childhood obesity is reaching epic proportions, as are the typical food servings dished up to our nation’s youth – much to their naive delight. The old adage remains true: ignorance is bliss, but its time for our children to get educated on the relationship of lifestyle and health!

Rather than hemming and hawing about the gravity of the problem, practical methods of teaching children how to recognize and, in turn, circumvent negative societal influences while also imparting how and why to make better lifestyle choices is long overdue. Given all of the negative stimuli our kids encounter each and every day – sometimes hour by hour – of course they are going to make poor choices. Simply put, they are easy prey, and society is setting them up for failure.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that over 20 percent of American children are either overweight or obese, now more than ever we must help our kids recognize the overwhelming number of cultural influences outside their span of control that impact their decision making, and lessen the emotional burden carried by children who have internalized the responsibility for their weight problem. Rather than harboring displaced blame or guilt, our nation’s children would greatly benefit from re-focusing their emotional and physical energy on effecting positive, healthful changes in their life.

This all sounds good in theory but, rather than conjecture, we need action…primarily by parents who are the true foot soldiers in our kids’ battle of the bulge. And, it’s NOT rocket science. For starters, parents must teach their children the vernacular of healthy living, so they understand exactly why they are being asked to do things as it relates to their health so they make the proper connections. Children should know that it’s important to drink milk because it contains calcium that will make their bones strong, or to eat protein because it will help them develop muscle strength. They should know that their parents go to the gym to work out or walk outside because exercising helps keep their heart healthy.

Parents, teachers and other adolescent caregivers should TALK about the health risks of a chronically overweight and obese condition, including age-appropriate concepts related to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Parents should point out those television commercials, billboards and other commercial advertising that attempts to influence their child(ren) to make a poor choice, and talk about what a healthy alternative would be. While out and about, parents should show the child exactly how temptations are strategically placed practically everywhere they go, and how to read the Nutrition Facts on food labels so they don’t fall victim to false or misleading health claims.

Parents should teach children how to eat “appropriate” portions of food – even when the restaurant serves entrees that could feed a family of four, should stock their home with nutritious snack and other foods so that their children are enabled to make proper choices, and should limit the amount of time their child is allowed to spend in front of the TV, computer and/or video game system. Parents should teach their child to take the stairs even if an elevator is right nearby. This is the tip of the iceberg…there are so many practical ways we can teach our kids to make the right choices in life.

The bottom line is simple: childhood obesity not only spells danger for the future health of our children, but for our nation at large. As such, it’s our collective responsibility to help kids navigate the omnipresent cultural landmines.

Benefits of Free Online PC Games for Children

A lot of parents are afraid of allowing their children to play online games because they believe that these games can be addictive and harmful to their intellectual development. However, this could not be further from the truth, as there are a lot of benefits that online games can offer children. These games have proven to be very entertaining, educational and safe for kids who love playing them.

One of the obvious benefits of online games for children is that they will learn hand-eye coordination from an early age. This is a skill that will be useful to them in future in the various career paths that they choose to take.

Another benefit of some of these online games is that they help the child to become more alert and attentive. A lot of children cannot concentrate on one thing at a time. Children get bored very easily, and they are always looking for the next exciting thing. However, these games are very exciting, and children can concentrate on them for hours. Researchers have concluded that by helping kids to learn how to sit still and to concentrate on something for long periods of time, these games help children to remain alert. This is a skill that will be useful in future when they need to concentrate in classroom, or to remain alert while reading.

There are online games that have a global following, and children get the chance to play with other kids from all corners of the globe. This will help the child to become more aware of the world that they live in, as they make friends with people from different countries and cultures.

Some of the games offered online are very educational, and they help children to develop different skills such as improved memory. Some games even help the child to understand subjects that they are taught in school in a way that is more enjoyable to them. These games will help the child to learn in a fun environment, and they are more likely to grasp the concepts that the games try to teach.

Online games are very diverse, and most of them offer a lot of benefits to the young one. Even those that do not seem to have any educational or intellectual value will ensure that the child has a lot of fun. Parents can supervise their children as they play these games in order to ensure that they play online games that are appropriate for their age.

5 Tips on Raising Happy Children

Nurture and nature play important roles as far as raising children is concerned. There are several things that parents should do to ensure that children are raised in the right manner. Parents should ensure that the children consume the right nutrients, get enough quality sleep and stay healthy, both emotionally and physically. Here are some steps that may help you raise a happy child.

First, you should let your child be aware that you’re excited to see them as they enter the room. You should let them see that light dance inside your eyes when they look at you. You should be mindful of their presence through showing them your smile, and warmly greeting them. Call out their names aloud. Your child adores you the most. And imagine the returns after childhood that’s filled with much affection.

Secondly, you should teach the child it is okay to be bored. Yes, as parents our normal instinct is to keep on entertaining the child every waking hour. If we don’t have the energy and time, we allow the babysitter to do it on our behalf. However, when we depend on TV, or any other form of entertainment, we only succeed in limiting their imagination. The child has clear imaginations that only flourish when nurtured. But without opportunity for creativity, it all withers away. Give the child a piece of paper and crayons instead.

Thirdly, the child should know that they are more vital than work. You should give the child tender loving affection. The child doesn’t just need you around. He or she need you present. Therefore, play with the child. Discover what’s important to them through asking questions and be attentive to their answers. The child deserves a little bit of you every day. You shouldn’t let your work separate you from the child. Letting him or her know they are important just makes them happy.

Fourthly, you should allow the child to make a few rules. You do not have to make them the boss so as to let them feel that they are empowered. Sometimes, power struggles with the children are a result of them feeling they have lost control. You may curb easily such instances through allowing the child to feel like they are making some decisions. This is going to make them follow the rules.

Lastly, you should model appropriate behavior. Children normally do what they see, and not what they are told. When you need the child to be mindful of others, you too should do the same. When you need the child to be happy, you should also smile without hesitation. You are the role model to your child.

12 Keys to Using Songs For Teaching Children English As a Foreign Language

Teaching Children English Using Songs

In answer to a reader question on using songs for teaching Italian children English, I gave the following twelve quick keys. They’re equally effective, however, for children from any country, or of almost any age too for that matter.

Here they are:

1. You can use most songs for English Language Teaching, but learners usually prefer songs which are currently popular. Both you and your learners can collaborate on selecting songs.

2. You should also select songs with easy-to-understand lyrics, absolutely NO profanity, violent, illegal or immoral themes like sex, drug use, prostitution, gang violence, kill-your-mother, suicide, etc. (It’s easier to fall into this trap than you think. Many popular song lyrics are horrid)

3. For motivating children take along a dozen or so children’s songs on cassette or CD with the lyrics. Beg, borrow or steal a selection of popular children’s songs and you’re all set. (Okay, don’t steal them, ask – politely, about a million times until they say “yes”)

4. Most popular song lyrics are available online. You’ll need to be very, very careful of downloads from sites like these since they frequently FULL of viruses, Trojans, worms and lord only knows what else.

5. Walt Disney has a truckload of great children’s songs. Us e films and shorts directly or just a recording with display pictures for visual support.

6. In addition to the above keys, there are the standard children’s favorites any primary song child or teacher can tell you. You can even use songs from your childhood, if you were ever a child, that is.

7. Use inter-active games and Total Physical Response (TPR) along with the songs. Choreograph simple moves and actions to the beat and rhythm of the song.

8. Keep a fairly fast-paced class going as children get bored and restless easily with their short, short, short attention spans. Change activities every 15 minutes or so – even LESS with tiny “Chiquiticos”.

9. Try incorporating some simple “dance” moves into the songs too for some added benefit. Have the “kiddies” ad lib, lip sync, pantomime, swing, sway kick, hop, slide, glide, whirl, spin, dip, step, jump and wave – you get my drift?

10. Use pictures as an aid in teaching key words in the song lyrics. Cutouts, posters, drawings, anything that provides positive visual support and reinforcement for lexical elements, grammatical them, connected speech, pronunciation or use in context is fair game in EFL classes for children (and adults too, actually)

11. Practice a couple of the songs and activities beforehand in front of a mirror on your own. (See how silly you look! That’s okay though, so don’t worry. We can’t see you)

12. Oh yes, and be sure to have lots of FUN yourself! Whoever said English and foreign language teachers can’t have fun too? (Certainly not me. Despite my scholarly appearance, sometimes I’m nuts in EFL classes!)

So “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.

I hope this helps you with using songs to teach English to children. Be sure to check out the other article posts of mine like “9 Reasons Why You Should Use Songs to Teach English as a Foreign Language” on my blog for teaching English using songs.

Do Children Need Insurance?

Because children are prone to diseases and accidents, it is our obligation as parents to provide them with the best healthcare possible. We should give them the right care and protect them. With the right health insurance policy, we will have peace of mind knowing that they are well-protected and they are able to function well like other healthy kids.

It is our responsibility as parents that we give only what’s best for our kids that’s why it’s important that we secure them a health insurance policy. Insurance for children plays a vital role in giving the proper healthcare they need. Without this, their health status will be put at risk as well as their families’ well-being.

Disadvantages of Not Having an Insurance Coverage

Research shows that without health insurance, it will greatly affect them in all aspects of their lives and not just their physical well-being. Youngsters who have no primary or preventive care are the ones who receive inappropriate and more expensive services.

Usually, these children have more serious medical problems that need attention. Their health or medical problems are usually neglected. And because of this, they miss school and fall behind in their studies. This will greatly affect their future educational and employment and they will not be able to function well and achieve their full potential. These are serious consequences that they will have to face when they do not have the right protections, and these outcomes should not be neglected at all.

Choosing the Right Health Insurance

Choosing the right coverage for your children is very important. It does not only protect your child’s mentally and physically, it also protects you from expensive hospital expenses brought about by doctor’s fees, hospitalizations, surgical treatments and other medical expenses.

Kids do reach a certain point in their lives when they get sick most of the time and regular check-ups and doctor’s visits are normal. As a parent, you make sure that they are given the right medical attention. And as a parent, you find peace of mind when you know that your their needs are well taken care of by medical people.

Before purchasing any policy for your beloved young one, make sure that these plans will work well with your financial requirements. Finding the best one at a very reasonable price is not impossible at all. You can approach an insurance agent regarding the type of plan that you need or you can just do the shopping online and get quotes from different companies.

We want only the best for our kids and it is our responsibility as parents that we provide them with the basic needs that they deserve, including medical needs, to ensure that they are stable, healthy and that they are functioning well and achieving their full potential.

Best Children’s Books: Top Ten Early Readers

The period during which children actually learn how to read is so crucial. Helping them learn to read using books they will love will motivate them to rise to the task and ask for ever more books. The selected books span the range from those learning to read their first words to those who want an increasing challenge.

1) Moo Baa La La, by Sandra Boynton: This little book helps young children to increase their vocabulary by saying words that mimic animal sounds. Many young children adore this book. As they memorize it, you can say the first part of each page and your child will read the second.

2) Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin: Kids love this book because it has soul. They love saying words with spunk and rhythm. The nonsense verse thrills kids with its deceptively simple narrative and with the repeating of such catchy phrases as “skit skat skoodle doot.” The bold color scheme matches the kooky mood perfectly. Children love seeing the familiar alphabet transported into this madcap adventure.

3) You Read to Me; I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together, by Mary Ann Hoberman, These hilarious versions of the three bears, pigs and goats, plus a couple of princesses and one beanstalk make for a charming story set for two voices reading to one another. The cozy appeal of partnered reading and slightly quirky stories are snuggly enough to be read over and over.

4) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin: It’s an excellent introductory book for colors, animals and words.This book is great for teaching basic sight words, because words like see appear often, kids are bound to learn these words. This is a wonderful book that all children should own. Very repetitive and children can read along with you.

5) Green Eggs and Ham, Dr. Seuss: These unforgettable fifty words stay with you forever. “I am Sam, Sam I am” begins this silly tale. Only Dr. Seuss could compose such amusing yet elegant stories, and all with a simple concept. Kids and adults alike have loved and cherished Seuss’s story books for decades.

6) Winnie the Pooh, by A.A Milne: Of course, everyone knows that kids love Pooh. Some people swear that it’s better to forget other versions and find the reprinted version by Milne. There is a special charm the way Milne words and phrases the stories that may be missing in other renderings.

7) There is a Bird on Your Head, by Mo Willems: The story is funny, educational, and the drawings are simple but very effective. Willem’s stories might become a family favorite for you. Kids love the expressions on the faces of both characters. And, more importantly, they want to do the reading at bedtime because they have fun trying to match the reading to the expressions on the faces.

8) Diary of a Worm, by Doreen Cronin: No child can resist the young worm in a baseball cap whose diary chronicles his daily adventures – whether it’s playing with his spider friend, teasing his sister, or doing the Hokey Pokey with his classmates. This book is educational, hilarious, and it takes kids on such a beautiful journey into the life of a worm.

9) How I Became a Pirate, Melinda Long: If your child dreams of treasure chests and wonders what a pirate’s life might be like, then sail away on a real pirate ship. At first, life seems perfect for Jeremy when he joins Braid Beard and his rambunctious crew: no manners, no bedtime and no nagging about tooth-brushing make life onboard ship quite attractive. But soon Jeremy begins to miss the comforts of home and soccer practice.

10) I Need My Monster, by Amanda Noll: This is a unique monster-in-my-room tale with the perfect balance of giggles and shivers. The author does a masterful job of defusing the typical jitters a child might have about monsters. Maybe your fearful child might even welcome this monster into her room.

Honorable Mention: The book, Tuesday, by David Wiesner only includes a few words but it is fantastic in sparking the imagination of young children. Let the kids spontaneously tell you their own version the second time through.

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, by Simms Taback. The pictures help students decode words they otherwise may not know, thereby building their reading confidence

Animals Should Definitely not Wear Clothing, by Judi Barrett: Easy text to read and the belly-laugh illustrations make the book. It pictures various animals wearing clothing that would never suit them.:… sheep wearing a wool sweater, a giraffe wearing neck ties, a chicken wearing pants (Where does the egg go?), just to name a few. Kids love the story so much you may even get a little tired of hearing your child read it to you over and over.