Friday, October 30, 2015

What is Giftedness?

This post may contain affiliate links.

You may be wondering if your child is gifted or not. I think it is super hard to figure that out as a parent. We parents think our children are pretty amazing. Everything our own children say and do is the most amazing thing to ever escape the lips of a human in the history of mankind. We are hardly unbiased. A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children starts off with some signs for identifying giftedness.

The National Association for Gifted Children gives guidelines for identifying gifted people. A person must show, or has potential for showing, "...an exceptional level of performance in one or more of the following areas:
  • General intellectual ability
  • Specific academic aptitude
  • Creative thinking
  • Leadership ability
  • Visual or performing arts" (page 2)
These things are easier to identify as a a child gets older and can be pretty hard to identify in younger children. Even young gradeschool children are difficult to identify. The question that hangs there is this--is the child gifted or has the child simply had a lot of nurturing in the younger years? 

"...giftedness in preschool children can often be seen by their eagerness to learn, quick mastery of tasks, intensity of concentration, and the early age at which they reach developmental milestones" (page 3). If this sounds like your preschooler, your child may be gifted. 

Take note that there are many different areas a person can be gifted, and they are not dependent upon each other. Common areas are (found on page 8):
  • Linguistic intelligence
  • Musical intelligence
  • Logical-Mathematical intelligence
  • Visual-Spacing intelligence
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence
  • Interpersonal intelligence (with other people)
  • Intrapersonal intelligence (with self)
Typically, only linguistic and logical-mathematical are areas of giftedness focused on in school. (I must side bar here and say, just as a student who isn't gifted in school is encouraged to go to school and learn, children who are not gifted musicians or athletes can be encouraged to participate in those areas and learn in them). 

This is just a short glimpse into what giftedness is. If you think your child may be gifted, it is definitely worth reading up on it more to get a better idea. Like I have said before, I definitely wish I had read this book years earlier. There is a lot of helpful parenting advice I could have used.



Thursday, October 29, 2015

Kaitlyn Preteen Summary: 8.5 Years Old

This post may contain affiliate links.

This is a summary for Kaitlyn from 8.25-8.5 years old.

EATING
Eating is going well. It kind of feels like it has taken years, but she has definitely accepted reality of life with foods she doesn't like. She knows she will be expected to try things and she knows she will be expected to have a healthy diet. She knows we don't say "blah" at the table. 

SLEEPING
Kaitlyn has gotten to be significantly deeper of a sleeper over the last few months. I never would have characterized her as a deep sleeper in the past. Not a light sleeper, but not deep, either. She is super deep now! Sometimes to wake her in the morning, we have to sit her up...and she stays asleep. I am strongly hoping this does not mean grumpy mornings as a teenager. 

EXTRA CURRICULAR
This period covered part of summer and part of school. 

Kaitlyn continued playing competitive soccer. More on that below. 

She started piano back up when school started. She also started dance back up. She is also taking swimming lessons about once a week even though she long ago passed everything off. Her teacher still just helps her get better at strokes and learn to swim longer distances. At this point, she doesn't want to join the swim team, but you never know what the future will bring. Plus we are there anyway since McKenna and Brinley are doing lessons (and it doesn't cost us any more--we pay by the hour). Plus I think swimming is a fantastic sport to be adept in; even if she really only used it as a form of exercise as an adult, it would be worth it. 

SOCCER
Soccer is going well. Kaitlyn has really enjoyed playing competitive soccer. I am very concerned about burning kids out of sports, and I think soccer is an easy one to burn out in. The season at a minimum is March through October. Longer if there is no snow on the ground before or after, and longer if indoor happens. But she likes it and misses it when she has a break. 

THIRD GRADE
Kaitlyn is in third grade this year. She has a great teacher and great friends in her class. She really enjoys school. She is a great student. Our district starts gifted program at third grade and Kaitlyn has been put into it.  

Kaitlyn is a perfectionist and it manifests in interesting ways. Brayden is also one, but they both show it differently. A challenge for Kaitlyn is taking tests that are voluntary. We had to make it a requirement that she take tests on books she reads. Her teacher has it as basically voluntary, but she does want children to take tests. Kaitlyn had only taken one a month into school. We talked to her about it and my suspicions were confirmed that she was worried she would fail. We sympathized with her concerns but assured her it would be okay if she didn't pass (you can't really brush off a perfectionist's concerns over failure. "What's the worst that could happen?" doesn't sit well with them). She has been taking tests and is getting over her concerns (and passing her tests...). Kaitlyn finishes about a book every day, so she has plenty of books she can take tests on. I think after she has taken several, she will realize they aren't so scary and get to be okay with them. This is a girl who didn't get anything less than 100% on any test or worksheet until the very end of first grade, so she has some high expectations on herself. 

RACE
Kaitlyn hates running--just plain running. I totally understand her feelings. Despite those feelings, our school does a race fundraiser every year. For two months, Kaitlyn ran a mile 5 days a week. The day of the race came and Kaitlyn was very concerned. She was sure she would come in dead last (back to that perfectionism thing). I assured her she wouldn't because she had worked hard. 

In the end, she came in as the fifth girl in her grade. She was thrilled! I love these moments when they see how hard work pays off. 

SWEET
Kaitlyn is super sweet. I love seeing the natural, inborn talents become manifest in my children. One of Kaitlyn's is her ability to love everyone, and she seems to have extra love for those who need it most. Kaitlyn is the type of person who loves the grumpy old man. She loves the sick elderly person who most children are afraid of. She nurtures young children. 

There is a teacher at our school who Kaitlyn has never had who has some health problems. At times, this teacher is on oxygen. Kaitlyn has initiated being a penpal with this teacher. Kaitlyn will go visit her at recess and loves to write letters back and forth. In one letter, the teacher thanked her for not being scared of her oxygen tank because most children are. 

I just love to see how sweet she is and how naturally she loves everyone around her. 

SCHEDULE
School schedule:

7:00 AM--wake up. Eat breakfast. Get ready. Practice piano. Do morning chores. Read scriptures. 
Then go to school.
4:00 PM--Home from school. Homework. Free play.
5:30 PM--Dinner. Then time with family.
7:00 PM Start getting ready for bed.
8:30 PM--in bed 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Halloween Playlist

This post may contain affiliate links.

Every Halloween, I wish I had a playlist of songs that are fun for the holiday. This year, I finally did it! Here are my songs of choice. You will find the songs below. You can click on a link to listen to a sample of each song and/or purchase each track.


This song is a hilarious parody of "Uptown Funk." It is sung from the perspective of Voldemort. We love Harry Potter around here and have really enjoyed this song.





This just almost seems like a required song for a Halloween playlist.







Once again, requirement. 







This song is on this album linked (track 02).






Once again, we are looking at a song that is a requirement for a Halloween playlist. 





This is a fun update on an older song. Go for one of the Hi Tack songs on this album.





Another classic. This is Brinley's favorite song on the playlist. 






This is not your typical Halloween song, but the words work. There are a few artists who have done this song over the years. I like CCR because my dad loves 70s rock and it just brings me back to childhood.




Another Harry Potter song. I like to have these sprinkled through the playlist. Brayden loves these songs best. 





This is another song not as well-known for a Halloween playlist, but it works.






Any '90s music fans out there will love having this as part of the playlist. 







This is such a great album from the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. I really like track 17, which is only available in an album purchase. This is a great album to get some of the best Harry Potter songs from. 




This is another song that is not a typical Halloween song, but fun for a Halloween themed playlist. 





Again, you don't hear this song on its own and think "Halloween!" but it definitely works on a playlist. 





Do you have any favorites for a Halloween playlist?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Organizing Your Time

This post may contain affiliate links.

I love to organize. I am naturally an organized person and I have great thrill in life getting myself and keeping myself organized. Some of you may be thinking, "Eh--well I am not an organized person and could never be so, so this post is not for me." You can become better at the things you want to be better at. Heber J. Grant once said: "“That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do; not that the nature of the thing is changed, but that our power to do is increased." As you work at being more organized, you will get better at it. Here are some strategies for you to improve your time management.

Prioritize
Earlier this week I posted on Prioritizing Your Time. Please read that if you haven't. 

Keep a List
You really need a way to keep track of the things you need to do. You might use apps, a notebook, a planner, a sticky note, a planner...whatever works for you works. Just make sure you have a list of the things you need to get done and the places you need to be. 

Keeping a list helps keep you on task. This is a basic of goal-setting, and your usage of time each day should be essentially a goal. You want to have a goal to use your time wisely. 

You also want to outsource your brain. When you are a mom, you wear so many hats that it is challenging to keep track of everything that needs to be done. Keep your lists in your preferred method so your brain is free to focus on the task at hand. 

Baby-Steps
It is wise to take a task and break it into several manageable tasks. So let's take sewing something for an example since I am currently making Halloween costumes. You have this large task of needing to make a costume. You can break that into smaller steps. One day, your goal might be to cut out the pattern pieces. The next day, it might be to cut out the fabric. The next might be to sew the project. Another might be to hem. As mothers, we rarely have a huge chunk of time to tack a project all at once, so breaking it down into manageable tasks you can fit into your day will help you be more effective with your time and get things done. Just be realistic in your baby-steps. 

Know and Think
Now that you have your priorities and you have a list of things that need to be done, you can apply the method of knowing and thinking. Since you have outsourced your brain, you need to check in with that brain so you know what is going on. It does you no good to outsource if you never consult back. 

Early each week, go over what is going on during the upcoming week. In our family, we do this during our family home evening each Monday night. This way, we all know what is upcoming for the next week and know what to expect. 

Each evening before I go to bed, I look at the schedule for the next day so I can think through and prepare anything that I might need to prepare. It helps me hit the ground effectively the next morning so if anything needs to happen right away or if I need to be ready earlier than usual, I make sure that happens. 

Around breakfast each morning, I then review the day, my to-do list, and decide what we will have for dinner that night (from my list of meals for the week). For me, having dinner as a family each night is a high priority, so I make sure I have things prepared and ready to make that happen. See 

Prioritizing Family Meals for more on that. 


Completing Tasks
Now you are ready to actually start completing the tasks you have before you. 

Small to Big
A great strategy for paying down debt is to pay off your smallest debt first, then apply the money that went toward that debt to your next smallest, and so forth. This strategy is also effective for getting things done. Each day, you will have small and easy tasks before you and larger tasks that will take more time. I find it effective to do the easiest and fastest tasks first. This frees my mind to focus on fewer things that day. It also helps me feel motivated and good about my time spent because I get a lot of things done. If you take on the biggest project first, you might find the day ends and that is all you accomplished, and it leaves you feeling discouraged. 

Do Not Multi-Task
Women are natural multi-taskers, and sometimes multi-tasking can be your friend in trying to get things done. You can visit with a friend while you iron. That kind of multi-tasking is fantastic. Some multi-tasking can actually decrease your productivity, however. 

I am talking about when you are cleaning a room. You then take something to put it away, and while there, you see your laundry that needs to be folded, so you pause the room cleaning and do some folding. Then you take the laundry to put it away and notice your bathroom is a mess. As you are putting away the random items that were trailed into the bathroom that morning, you see an email pop up on your computer so you sit down to respond. 

This is classic "Laura Numeroff"--you know--If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and the like? You are doing a lot of things but not really accomplishing any one thing. Stay task oriented. 

Set Aside Chunks of Time
Like I said earlier, it is hard to have large chunks of time to get things done when you are a mom. I have a list of things I like to get done in a week. I have my cleaning, blogging, some crafting, and I love to have some time to read a book if I can, also. For a while, I would try to do some of each every day, and for a while, that worked for me. At some point, I realized it was no longer working. I was "Numeroffing" it. 

My current system is to have a day for things. One day of the week is my laundry day. On this day, my main goal is to get laundry done. Naturally there are other things that need to be addressed, like taking care of children and feeding the family, but the main goal of the day is laundry. If I get done early, I can do something else.

Tuesday is my blogging day. This is the day I try to get everything done for my blog that needs to be done for the week. Wednesday is crafting day. Thursday is read a book day. Friday is cleaning day/family history day. Now, if something comes up (and it often does), I can cut out doing crafts or I can cut out reading a book. I don't live and die by this, but it is a way for me to organize time and a way to dedicate times to different areas of my life I really want to focus on.  

Do Most Important First
You might have something that needs to be done in three weeks that is of high interest to you, but you need to make sure you take care of that thing that needs to be done by tomorrow first. 

Have Hobbies
You will notice I have time set aside to do hobbies. Many hobbies are for the family--any crafts I make/sew are for the kids or home. Reading is for me. 

M. Russell Ballard said: "...even as you try to cut out the extra commitments...find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children."

Having some hobbies will help you to have the mental "umph" to help your family out. 

Do Not Procrastinate
When it comes time to do tasks, don't procrastinate them. I once read a quote from Spencer W. Kimball that said procrastination is "...an unwillingness to accept personal responsibility now." I mean, ouch right? Do it now. Nothing is more stressful than having to get stuff done at the last minute. If you think ahead, you can spend the same time on tasks but do them ahead of time. 

Also, do not get in your own way. We often drag our feet while doing tasks we don't like. Just move out of your way mentally and even physically and get the task done. 

Remember Life is a Journey
Life is a journey, not a destination. Just remember as you work toward having this time management that you are working toward your journey. There will always be things to do. The to-dos will never stop. You have to make sure you are willing to be flexible and that you make time to have fun and spend time with your family. Make sure that is part of your list (plug for not procrastinating, if your tasks are not "fire" situations, you can be more flexible with them). Your point in organizing your time is to make sure you are able to focus on the essential, so do not let lists get in the way of relationships. 

Related Posts:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Prioritizing Your Time

This post may contain affiliate links.

The first step in time management is to prioritize your time. A lot of thought and care can and should go into this. 

Prioritize
We have only been given so much time a day. You have to prioritize the things you will devote that time to. Recognize that time spent is time gone. Be wary of certain mind-numbing activities that can easily suck your time. One such example is surfing social media sites. Social media is a fun way to connect with others. If you find it is a major time suck, you might consider setting a timer and when it goes off, you leave the social media behind you and move on to other tasks. Let's talk about ways to prioritze. 

Scripture Study and Prayer
My number one piece of advice for people who are looking to be more organized and effective with their time is to put the Lord first. If you take nothing else away from this, take this. This is the winner right here. Do your scripture study in the morning. Be sure to say your morning prayers. When I was a teenager, I remember my voice teacher once sharing with me how she had so much to do that day, but she felt she needed to make sure to put the Lord first. She did and she was able to get everything done she needed to. This has always stuck with me and I have always found it to be true in my life; when I put my scripture study and prayers first each morning, my days are much smoother. 



Good, Better, Best
When it comes to prioritizing, one of the best tools you can use is to analyze the idea of good, better, best. There are many things in life you can do that are good. Some are even better. Only few are best. Be sure you are focusing on what is best first. Then if you have time, you can add in what is better. I kind of think that as mothers, at that point we are full, but if not, choose some good things to spend time on after that. As Dallin H. Oaks put it, "...just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. The number of good things we can do far exceeds the time available to accomplish them." 

I also liked this thought on media, "Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in viewing television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading books or magazines. Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it." emphasis mine

Some things may seem harmless, and they are harmless, but always think, is this worth the portion of my life I am giving to obtain it. As you choose how to spend your time, be sure you fill it with the best of your choices. 
Choose What is Essential
Along the same vein, I have recently talked about what is essential

I also wrote on how to figure out what is essential and have created some printables for you to use to figure that out. 

Optimize Your Pace
We all have different capacities. At different times in our lives, we will be able to handle different loads. Learn to be in tune with yourself and keep the pace that works for you

Dieter F. Uctdorf said: "When stress levels rise, when distress appears, when tragedy strikes, too often we attempt to keep up the same frantic pace or even accelerate, thinking somehow that the more rushed our pace, the better off we will be."

In determining your own pace, Uctdorf counsels that we focus on four key relationships in our lives: with God, with our families, with our fellowmen, and with ourselves. Evaluate yourself in each of these areas and see where you need to improve and where you need to cut back. 

We don't need to live at a frantic pace. Julie B. Beck once said, "A good woman knows that she does not have enough time, energy, or opportunity to take care of all the people or do all of the worthy things her heart yearns to do. Life is not calm for most women, and each day seems to require the accomplishment of a million things, most of which are important."

We really do yearn to do a lot as women. Being a mother changes you. It softens your heart. You want to help everyone in every way you can. But you can't do it all. Remember your time and season. Beck gave these suggestions:

  • We are doing well when we develop attributes of Christ and strive to obey His gospel with exactness. I would point out here that in order to do this, we must pray and study scriptures so we are familiar with Christ and His commandments. So make these matters a priority each day.
  • We are doing well when we seek to improve ourselves and do our best. 
  • We are doing well when we increase faith and personal righteousness.
  • We are doing well when we strengthen homes and families.
  • We are doing well when we seek out and help others in need. I wanted to point out here that you should not forget to recognize that your family, your children, are others who are in need. Do not think that this statement means you need to be out in the community each day doing massive volunteer work. Find things you can do and still attend to your small children. One thing I often do is make dinner for people who are sick, pregnant, hurt, busy, in mourning, or recently had a baby, etc. It gets to be simple after you have done it a few times. You just make extra of your dinner and you have some great service!
Make Wise Sacrifices
Being a parent means you sacrifice a lot. Organizing your time will not mean you are sitting back and sipping your favorite drink of choice with your feet up. There will be many things you do because it is what is best for your children--from feeding them to taking them to lessons.
"Motherhood is not a hobby, it is a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. It is what God gave you time for." desiringgod.org
Learn to make wise sacrifices. Don't make yourself the martyr. Dieter F. Uctdorf said, "An acceptable sacrifice is when we give up something good for something of far greater worth."  There are many times in life we can and should sacrifice for things. Those are wise sacrifices. Other times, we sacrifice things unwisely.

There isn't some laundry list of things that are good sacrifices and things that are unwise sacrifices. " Every person and situation is different, and a good sacrifice in one instance might be a foolish sacrifice in another." What is wise for you may not be wise for me. What is wise for you today might not be wise for you in six months. A huge trick is to figure out what is the wise move at the moment.

"How can we tell the difference for our own situation? We can ask ourselves, “Am I committing my time and energies to the things that matter most?” There are so many good things to do, but we can’t do all of them." Dieter F. Uctdorf


Do Not Overschedule
In your prioritizing, a painful step will be analyzing your activities and be sure you are not overscheduled. If you are, find what you can cut. Dallin H. Oaks warned, "The amount of children-and-parent time absorbed in the good activities of private lessons, team sports, and other school and club activities also needs to be carefully regulated. Otherwise, children will be overscheduled, and parents will be frazzled and frustrated. 

M. Russell Ballard also discussed overscheduling. "We live in a world that is filled with options. If we are not careful, we will find every minute jammed with social events, classes, exercise time, book clubs, scrapbooking, Church callings, music, sports, the Internet, and our favorite TV shows. One mother told me of a time that her children had 29 scheduled commitments every week: music lessons, Scouts, dance, Little League, day camps, soccer, art, and so forth. She felt like a taxi driver. Finally, she called a family meeting and announced, “Something has to go; we have no time to ourselves and no time for each other.” Families need unstructured time when relationships can deepen and real parenting can take place. Take time to listen, to laugh, and to play together."

Prioritizing is a huge step in effective time management. Once you are spending your time on the essential things in life, it is much easier to fit them all in.

Keep a List
You really need a way to keep track of the things you need to do. You might use apps, a notebook, a planner, a sticky note, a planner...whatever works for you works. Just make sure you have a list of the things you need to get done and the places you need to be. 

Keeping a list helps keep you on task. This is a basic of goal-setting, and your usage of time each day should be essentially a goal. You want to have a goal to use your time wisely. 

You also want to outsource your brain. When you are a mom, you wear so many hats that it is challenging to keep track of everything that needs to be done. Keep your lists in your preferred method so your brain is free to focus on the task at hand. 

Baby-Steps
It is wise to take a task and break it into several manageable tasks. So let's take sewing something for an example since I am currently making Halloween costumes. You have this large task of needing to make a costume. You can break that into smaller steps. One day, your goal might be to cut out the pattern pieces. The next day, it might be to cut out the fabric. The next might be to sew the project. Another might be to hem. As mothers, we rarely have a huge chunk of time to tack a project all at once, so breaking it down into manageable tasks you can fit into your day will help you be more effective with your time and get things done. Just be realistic in your baby-steps. 

Know and Think
Now that you have your priorities and you have a list of things that need to be done, you can apply the method of knowing and thinking. Since you have outsourced your brain, you need to check in with that brain so you know what is going on. It does you no good to outsource if you never consult back. 

Early each week, go over what is going on during the upcoming week. In our family, we do this during our family home evening each Monday night. This way, we all know what is upcoming for the next week and know what to expect. 

Each evening before I go to bed, I look at the schedule for the next day so I can think through and prepare anything that I might need to prepare. It helps me hit the ground effectively the next morning so if anything needs to happen right away or if I need to be ready earlier than usual, I make sure that happens. 

Around breakfast each morning, I then review the day, my to-do list, and decide what we will have for dinner that night (from my list of meals for the week). For me, having dinner as a family each night is a high priority, so I make sure I have things prepared and ready to make that happen. See 

Prioritizing Family Meals for more on that. 


Completing Tasks
Now you are ready to actually start completing the tasks you have before you. 

Small to Big
A great strategy for paying down debt is to pay off your smallest debt first, then apply the money that went toward that debt to your next smallest, and so forth. This strategy is also effective for getting things done. Each day, you will have small and easy tasks before you and larger tasks that will take more time. I find it effective to do the easiest and fastest tasks first. This frees my mind to focus on fewer things that day. It also helps me feel motivated and good about my time spent because I get a lot of things done. If you take on the biggest project first, you might find the day ends and that is all you accomplished, and it leaves you feeling discouraged. 

Do Not Multi-Task
Women are natural multi-taskers, and sometimes multi-tasking can be your friend in trying to get things done. You can visit with a friend while you iron. That kind of multi-tasking is fantastic. Some multi-tasking can actually decrease your productivity, however. 

I am talking about when you are cleaning a room. You then take something to put it away, and while there, you see your laundry that needs to be folded, so you pause the room cleaning and do some folding. Then you take the laundry to put it away and notice your bathroom is a mess. As you are putting away the random items that were trailed into the bathroom that morning, you see an email pop up on your computer so you sit down to respond. 

This is classic "Laura Numeroff"--you know--If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and the like? You are doing a lot of things but not really accomplishing any one thing. Stay task oriented. 

Set Aside Chunks of Time
Like I said earlier, it is hard to have large chunks of time to get things done when you are a mom. I have a list of things I like to get done in a week. I have my cleaning, blogging, some crafting, and I love to have some time to read a book if I can, also. For a while, I would try to do some of each every day, and for a while, that worked for me. At some point, I realized it was no longer working. I was "Numeroffing" it. 

My current system is to have a day for things. One day of the week is my laundry day. On this day, my main goal is to get laundry done. Naturally there are other things that need to be addressed, like taking care of children and feeding the family, but the main goal of the day is laundry. If I get done early, I can do something else.

Tuesday is my blogging day. This is the day I try to get everything done for my blog that needs to be done for the week. Wednesday is crafting day. Thursday is read a book day. Friday is cleaning day/family history day. Now, if something comes up (and it often does), I can cut out doing crafts or I can cut out reading a book. I don't live and die by this, but it is a way for me to organize time and a way to dedicate times to different areas of my life I really want to focus on.  

Have Hobbies
You will notice I have time set aside to do hobbies. Many hobbies are for the family--any crafts I make/sew are for the kids or home. Reading is for me. 

M. Russell Ballard said: "...even as you try to cut out the extra commitments...find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children."

Having some hobbies will help you to have the mental "umph" to help your family out. 

Do Not Procrastinate
When it comes time to do tasks, don't procrastinate them. I once read a quote from Spencer W. Kimball that said procrastination is "...an unwillingness to accept personal responsibility now." I mean, ouch right? Do it now. Nothing is more stressful than having to get stuff done at the last minute. If you think ahead, you can spend the same time on tasks but do them ahead of time. 

Also, do not get in your own way. We often drag our feet while doing tasks we don't like. Just move out of your way mentally and even physically and get the task done. 

Remember Life is a Journey
Life is a journey, not a destination. Just remember as you work toward having this time management that you are working toward your journey. There will always be things to do. The to-dos will never stop. You have to make sure you are willing to be flexible and that you make time to have fun and spend time with your family. Make sure that is part of your list (plug for not procrastinating, if your tasks are not "fire" situations, you can be more flexible with them). Your point in organizing your time is to make sure you are able to focus on the essential, so do not let lists get in the way of relationships. 

Related Posts:

Friday, October 23, 2015

Poll Results: Nursing Strikes

This post may contain affiliate links.

You can find the original answers here.

If you breastfed, did baby ever have a nursing strike? (a time when baby refuses to eat?)
Yes: 6
No: 1

Did the strike mean no eating at all, or just less eating?
No Eating: 4
Less Eating: 4
Fighting Eating: 1

How long did the strike last?
2-5 days: 2
1 week: 3
2 weeks: 1
1 month: 1

Did anything help baby to eat better?
Removing Distractions/Quiet Room: 2
Walking While Nursing: 2
Tylenol: 1
Nursing While Baby Sleeps: 1
Cut Night Feedings: 1
Nothing: 2

Any advice for moms facing a nursing strike?

Christi said: Just stick with it, and pump to keep your supply up while baby is refusing.

Amanda said: Try to stay calm; anxiety makes it worse. You can't force a baby to eat. Pump when they don't eat well to maintain your supply. Try to avoid bottles so baby will be hungry enough to nurse. Maybe back off on solids too.

Nikki said: Keep trying and don't given up on nursing!

toomuchinfo said: Lots of patience, it will pass. And observe the baby to learn what is really bothering him/her.

the mother ship said: Don't panic. Nursing strikes happen but they do pass. Pump if you're worried about your supply. Try feeding baby when he/she is asleep.

See my Nursing Strikes post for more information. 

See more poll results posts here. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Are Book Series Beneficial or Harmful to Reading Skills?

This post may contain affiliate links.

There is a widely held belief that a child reading a book series will be detrimental to the development of that child being a good reader. I see it all the time, especially in groups created for parents seeking to foster a love of learning in their children.

"We have been reading [insert series here]. I know it is so bad but it is the only thing I can get him to sit through!"

"I know series books are twaddle, but my daughter liked..."

Here it is people. The truth.

Reading a book series will not harm the reading skills of your child. 

Reading a book series is okay.

Reading a book series can be beneficial to your child.

Reading a book series can be the "gateway" reading experience that will hook your child on reading and make her a lifelong book lover.

From Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, "The fear that series books (or Harry [Potter]) will corrupt the soul is...a close relative of Y2K paranoia." page 146

The history behind the "looking down the nose" at series books goes back to the 1860s. Around this time, dime novels were being published. These were marketed toward and appealed to the servant and labor class (gasp!). Soon to follow were the series novels, aimed at preteens and teens. Some of the series included in these early series are Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Elitists were so against these series books that companies refused to print Nancy Drew index cards for the card catalog. They also blacklisted certain authors who wrote book series. 

Not only did these elitists believe series were bad, they also believed fiction was bad. Yes, fiction. "...fiction was something to be fed to children in only  small, controlled doses" (page 146). The worst of the fiction was obviously the series books. An actual expert from a quote is "No dissipation can be worse than that induced by the perusal of exciting books of fiction...a species of monstrous and erroneous nature" (page 146). 

They believed a series was so much worse than fiction because it was addictive. Children wouldn't just read one fiction book--they would read the entire series! And they would do it quickly and with great interest! They were indulging in these books of fiction, which were supposed to be only given in small doses. 

So there you have your foundational history as to why a book series was proclaimed to be the worst of the fiction books. 

But in my mind, the very reason the elitists abhorred series books--the fact that they result in children reading more fiction overall--is the very reason to applaud the series books! These books result in children reading more books. 

There is an old adage that "the more you read, the better you get at it." Series books lead to reading more. One powerful example is the Harry Potter series. It is marvel to see children willingly picking up a book as thick as any in the series. 

In 1926, the American Library Association surveyed nearly 40,000 students. They found that the favorite book of 98% of students was a book series. They also found "...the high-IQ students reading twice as many of the series books." (page 147). 

Dr. Catherine Sheldrick Ross, acting dean of graduate studies and professor of library and infomraiton sciences at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, has done some award-winning research on the topic. She has found that series books have been the "uncontested favorite of young readers for the last one hundred years..." (page 145) She pointed out that reading a series helps children engage in the "private lessons" of reading. It teaches children:
  • Rules about skimming and inferring.
  • When to slow down to decipher clues.
  • The importance of chapter titles.
  • The importance of characters and setting.
As Trelease sums it up--"Series books are avidly read by the best readers, without impeding their skills."

So do not feel like you are damaging your child's academic future by allowing series books to be read. 

Reading a second, third, etc. book in a series is like chatting with an old friend from high school. You know each other well and are comfortable with each other. While you might not make any huge cultural revelations or learn a ton of new things, you can still learn great life lessons. Sometimes those old and dear friends surprise you. You have a history with this friend and therefore you are invested into the future of this friend. You will contact the friend later to see what the life update is. 

The same is true for a book series. 

Weaknesses
While I love a book series and do not have a problem with my children reading them at all (in fact, I strongly encourage them because I know what a good book series will do for a love of learning), that isn't to say there aren't some limitations with a book series.

A book series that is written by one author will only expose your child to a certain number of vocabulary words. You child will gain greater exposure to a rich vocabulary if he branches out and reads books by various authors. This doesn't mean a book series has to be out. It just means read more than one series in life.

Another weakness is that your child will not need to work hard to get to know a new style of writing, new characters, or new plot if he sticks to just one series. 

A book series can also be a major security blanket. Your child might feel hesitant to move beyond the series. Now, some series are short, but many series for children have 50-100 books. Those are the ones you will need to draw your child from and encourage your child read something different. 

So yes to a series, but do encourage a variety of series. I actually had to require my oldest read something other than Magic Tree House initially. He was hesitant to read anything else as a first grader. He found what he liked and he was sticking with it. Once he read something different, however, he gained confident that he could handle other books. 

Good Book Series
There are countless good book series to choose among. Here are some of my favorites--I would love to hear yours!:
Conclusion
Let me end with some anecdotal evidence. In my youth, I loved reading. Most of the time, I read series books. My personal favorite series of all time was the Baby-Sitter's Club. I typically read through about 50 chapter books a month in my later elementary years. Not a typo, and yes, I had other hobbies. 

I have since gone on to get a Bachelor's degree in English. I was even named Most Outstanding Graduate. I am still an avid reader today, and I still enjoy a good series!

Brayden, my oldest, is 10. He also reads series books often--in fact, I think it is safe to say that of the books he chooses to read, 99% of them are book series. He has been identified as gifted and as an 8 year old, he was tested as having a college reading level. 

Kaitlyn, age 8, has also been identified as gifted. She completes at least one book every day. She reads many series books, though her personal percentage is probably more like 85% of the books she chooses on her own are book series.

My other children are too young to have strong evidence to share.

You can see books we love on these Pinterest boards:

  Follow Valerie's board Chapter Books for Boys on Pinterest.

  Follow Valerie's board Chapter Books for Girls on Pinterest.

Today the ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network are all writing on the topic of Reading and Learning. Be sure to check them out, and check out our Pinterest page:

Visit Babywise Friendly Blog Network.'s profile on Pinterest.



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