As the school year begins, too many children are already falling behind. I am 1 of 30 bloggers helping #FindtheWords with @SavetheChildren to raise awareness of the need for early childhood education for all kids. I am participating in this social media campaign to highlight 30 words in 30 days -- to symbolize the 30 million fewer words that children from low-income homes hear by age 3.
Save the Children provides kids in need with access to books, essential learning support and a literacy-rich environment, setting them up for success in school and a brighter future. Learn more about Save the Children’s work in the US and around the world: http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6153159/k.C8D5/USA.htm
Words are so important, especially when words are used to build the memory bank of our children. Many times we don't think about how we use our words and we also take for granted the fact that our children can get the help they need when they're in the school system. When I was asked to partner with Save the Children, I immediately jumped at the chance. Upon hearing the statistics that 30 million fewer words are heard by children in low-income homes, I was shocked. Have you considered how important hearing words are, to a toddler? Communication is the foundation of any future relationship for a person. Knowing how to speak, using vocabulary, and understanding context is crucial. I think it's sad that so many children are missing out and I hope that by spreading awareness through this campaign, we can get more help to those children and their families.
When I think of the word, "build..."
I think of growth, expansion, and development. I envision something that is being built as moving forward and increasing in size. As a mom, I think of how I can build my children's memory bank as rich as it can possibly be. With five kids it can be a little challenging to get all of their minds on the same page when it comes to activities or outings. More often than not, they all want to do something different. There are many moments of magic that we have been graced to experience and having day to day conversations with them have always been some of the most amazing times.
We are a talking family. We are not perfect, but we make every attempt to be open and honest with each other; whether my husband and I are chatting with our seven year old, or our thirteen year old, they know that we are always available to talk, laugh, cry, or ponder something with them. Our goal is that our children will be able to communicate with their peers, educators, and future employers. We want them to be able to resolve problems with each other and enjoy conversations with their friends. How do we go about that? We let them ask questions. We seek out answers with them and give them tools to do a little research on their own. Sometimes the most profound moments come from just a simple conversation.
Build Your Family's Memory Bank
It doesn't have to be an extravagant gesture like a surprise trip to Walt Disney World, or a new pricey piece of technology. While the aforementioned treats are definitely building a great memory for the kids, what are some ways that we can share moments with them without forking out a bunch of cash? I'll share some of our family's favorite and fairly frugal ways to spend extra time building our memory bank. Simple things like reading, coloring, day trips, and even the sometimes daunting task of running errands can all be positive experiences for you and the littles, increasing that bank of memories. A lot of it comes back to making time and being purposeful with family time.
Let Them Share and Ask Questions; Build Confidence for Communication
Life is full of every day occasions and when you're actively parenting, you'll take full advantage of these times that can segue into a learning moment. There have been plenty of times where my kids have enlightened me and given me something to thing about. Children are intuitive; they are always willing to give their input.
We love conversations that stem from school topics, movies, music, or entertainment. Did you recently watch a movie that sparked interest in an extracurricular activity or had a wonderful story? Talk about it! My sons and I saw Planes: Fire and Rescue, and we had a great chat about we learned. One thing that I love doing is analyzing films and finding ways to take away the plot, applying certain things to my own life. If you're at home, don't be afraid to pause the TV and have a conversation about something that they might not understand. I enjoy watching Playhouse Disney with my kids, even though they are well over the preschool age, because it reminds them of simple things that are important for everyday living, plus who can resist Mickey and Friends?! I feel like life gets too complex so much faster for our kids than when we were younger; the life skills basics, like be kind, don't cheat, and try something new, are things that should be instilled in the home. We should not take for granted the influence and nurturing time that we have with our most precious gifts as they are growing up quickly in a world drenched in overwhelming societal standards. There are many children that don't have the luxury of parents who care, so make sure to appreciate these moments!
Take Special Trips and Build Happy Memories
Our family recently took a day trip to Half Moon Bay. It was a great time of exploring, fun, and getting away from the everyday stresses of school, work, and chores! If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen my first sneak peek social media post of this campaign.
You don't have to go far to have fun with your kids. While our favorite place is always Disneyland, we've learned to bring the magic with us, wherever we go. The past year has been one of great strides for our family; we experienced many "firsts" as a family. We finally got into our own home, my husband and I were both blessed with full time work, we bought our first family car, and we are ready to take on the world! What I've learned is that our children actually like us. I know that might sound silly, but when you're caught up with the daily routine, shuffling schedules, and trying to find time to keep connected, perspectives get lost. When our family love tanks are not full, we tend to be more snappy at each other and overall disillusioned with our place on the home front.
When my husband asked the kids if they wanted to do a day trip to the beach, do you know what they asked him? "Is Mommy coming?" It broke my heart. On more occasions than one, Jeff and the kids have taken day trips because I've had to work (I used to work Saturdays and we had no days off together). Even when they came to visit me at work, if I'm out of town, they usually venture off on their own fun adventures; sleeping in the same house or hotel does not constitute to family time. So, to see their pure happiness and excitement, when they realized that we would ALL be together for the WHOLE day, was really special. We're looking to make that one day a week OUR day as much as possible. Take a trip to the kids' favorite store (we often do Disney Store trips to get our fix), go to a drive in movie, and explore your city by checking out the local parks and museums.
At the end of the day, all they really want is your time. The intangible value of memories and feelings that you build with your children will last a lifetime.
How will you help build your family's memory bank? When you think of "build," what comes to mind?
Join me as we help children #FindtheWords! Share your thoughts in the comments and enter to win a $100 Amazon.com Gift Card courtesy of Save the Children! :)
xo, Spread Magic!