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Discover the secret of childhood from 0-3 year old:

Speak and communicate

A Great Book

Monday, March 5th, 2012 1:36 pm | By Stephanie Woo

The best books for kids are ones based in reality.

Elementary school kids love fantasy, but very young kids, with their limited time on earth, are still doing all they can to learn about this world. So give them books that are based on things they can see, touch and experience in their everyday life. Don’t confuse them (and possibly scare them as they get older) with fantasy, myths or fairy tales. Put away books with animals that talk or go to school. YOU may find this boring, but it’s good for THEM to play on the swings in the park and then read a book about a child who plays on the swing, or for them to read books about children who nap, bathe, eat and sleep.

Which is why I love this book. It is based on reality, it’s about all the things you can with your hands, and most of the images are ones little kids can relate to, like waving bye-bye, playing peek-a-boo and putting on shoes. My kids love this book. I’ve been reading it to them for months now, and now, they will read it by themselves and do all the hand gestures that go along with it!

The picture shows a girl reaching up to touch a leaf, that’s what M is doing too

That’s M giving herself a hug!

Mackenzie waves bye-bye, just like the boy in the picture

Video: You Must Let Your Child Try This

Monday, December 5th, 2011 2:47 pm | By Stephanie Woo

Mackenzie is going through a phase of pointing at everything and saying, “Da?” She wants to know its name.

It’s like she woke up one day and suddenly discovered that everything has a name.  She’s always asking to be picked up and walked around so she can point at things and wait for us to give her the name. The sheer joy she exhibits upon hearing the names of those things makes it worthwhile to repeat ‘lights,’ ‘flowers,’ door’ a hundred thousand times, which is how often she asks.

Of all her favorite words, ‘light’ is at the top of the list. She loves to point at lights, hear the word ‘light’ in English (from Dad), then hear it again in Chinese (from me), watch us turn on and off the light, she’s interested in lamps, recessed lighting, hanging chandelier, bathroom lights, etc.…you can say she is generally obsessed with lights.

So I went to the hardware store and bought this foot-controlled light dimmer:

There were a couple other kinds, but many of them were hard to slide.  This one has a large switch and slides easily for little hands. I did a couple demonstrations for Mackenzie and Brooke. I would sit them in my lap and then slowly show them, “Turn the light on. Turn the light off. Turn the light on. Turn the light off…” Throughout the day, the light will suddenly turn on or off. I would look over and see someone practicing turning on and off the light.

Montessori says to “Follow the Child.” The key is to observe them carefully over a period of time, see what they’re interested in, then give it to them. When you can connect them to the right thing, it’s like a switch goes on in their head…

The word is ‘hurt.’ Can you say, ‘Mommy, that hurt!

Thursday, November 17th, 2011 11:08 am | By Stephanie Woo

“I don’t like it,” the 3-year-old muttered to herself as the guests left. Miserable throughout her older sister’s birthday party, she was now growing angry. “I want Ally’s doll, not this one!” Her parents had bought her a consolation present, but the strategy went down like a bomb. The girl threw her doll to the floor. “Ally’s doll! Ally’s doll!’ She began to cry…

“You seem sad. Are you sad?” is what the girl’s dad said. The little girl nodded, still angry, too. The dad continued. “I think I know why. You’re sad because Ally’s gotten all the presents. You only got one!’ The little girl nodded again.“ You want the same number and you can’t have it, and that’s unfair and that makes you sad.” The dad seemed to be pouring it on. “Whenever somebody gets something I want and I don’t, I get sad, too.” Silence.

Then the dad said the line most characteristic of a verbalizing parent. “We have a word for that feeling, honey,” he said. “Do you want to know what that word is?” She whimpered, “Ok” He held her in his arms. “We call it being jealous. You wanted Ally’s presents, and you couldn’t have them. You were jealous.” She cried softly but was beginning to calm down. “Jealous,” she whispered.” “Yep” Dad replied, “and it’s an icky feeling.” “I been jealous all day,” she replied, nestling into her daddy’s big strong arms.”

Excerpt from Brain Rules for Baby by John Medina, pg 207

I love this story. It makes so much sense. And it reminds me of Janet Lansbury’s recent article about acknowledging your child’s feelings.

When children fall or hurt themselves, I’ve seen parents pick them up and try to distract them with a toy or something new and shiny. Either the child keeps screaming or has a confused look on his/her face. When I feel hurt, I hate it when my friends try to get me to see a movie or have a drink. But when they say, “That’s hard. It is really tough to have that happen to you.” I always nod and say, “Yes, it IS hard!” Their simple acknowledgement makes me feel so much better.

Brooke and Mackenzie are 11 months now. Whenever one of them falls, gets hurt and starts crying, I’ll pick her up, hold her and then I say, “It hurts, honey. The word is ‘hurt.’ Can you say, “Mommy, that hurt!” It works like magic. A cry or two more and they are ready to crawl out of my arms and move on to the next thing.

One more thing, if you haven’t read Brain Rules for Babies, you must. If you have a baby or are around babies, read this book. To see other books I recommend, click here.