Preparing for Kindergarten

Preparing for kindergarten can be a stressful task for both children and their parents. With the school year approaching, you may be worrying about what to expect and how to prepare your child for their first year of classes.

Kindergarten is where children begin to learn about how they function in a group. They are asked to follow instructions, cooperate with other students, and how to convey their thoughts and ideas. It is less about learning their numbers and letters, and more about learning social skill that will help them later in their life at home and in school.

Socializing with Other Children

Since kindergarten is more about learning how to share and collaborate, children who already know how to interact with others do the best. Kids who go to preschool or spent time in daycare have this in the bag. Children have to learn to share toys in a group and play group games in these settings. If your child hasn’t had this experience yet, try joining a playgroup, or other group activity. Dance, music, gymnastics, or sports teams are great places for children to develop these skills. All while having a great time!

If you’re child is shy, think about the activities they will be asked to perform at birthday parties or in the classroom. Try to recreate these games at home with the family to help them get excited about them when it comes time to play with their peers. They may be more likely to get involved if you teach them how to play games like, “Musical Chairs,” Pin the Tail on the Donkey,” and other party games for children.

If you can’t get your child interested in any of these activities, bring them to public areas where there are other children. Parks, public pools, playgrounds, and libraries are great places for your child to make new friends and play games.

Learning About Themselves

Another part of the kindergarten experience is learning facts about themselves. Your child will learn how to spell their name, how to write their age, address, and phone number. They will also learn the names for various body parts. It’s good to help them to practice these facts before they get into the classroom. Some students will lose self-esteem if other children know these things and they feel behind. If your child has trouble memorizing, try singing songs with them. “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” is a perfect song for helping them learn the names of their body parts. You can also make up your own rhymes and songs to help them spell their name, or remember other facts.

Help Develop Fine Motor Skills

Writing is a hard task for young, inexperienced hands. It’s good to help them develop these fine motor skills before they pick up a pencil and start writing stories. Offering them tasks at home can help them build their self esteem and fine motor skills. Have them complete tasks that require them to be nimble with their arms and fingers. Have them help you open the mail, put away silverware, cook food, and tie shoelaces. I even bought my children their own tiny tool kits so they can help me when I need to hammer a nail or tighten a screw.

Another great way to help children develop fine motor skills is with art projects. Give them thick markers for drawing pictures, have them create sculptures with paper or other creative materials you find around the house or recycling bin.   

Familiarize Them with Words

My first child was trying to read at a very young age. I had to buy two of each bedtime story because he wanted to study the words as I read them to him. He memorized every word of “Goodnight Moon,” and used that book as a key to try to read other books. That made him very successful when it came time for him to go to school. Not all children will have that curiosity, but if they do, support it. Some kids will even ask for more help, and there are workbooks you can buy for kids before they start school. Just don’t do it if they don’t seek it out.

Reading to your child is the best way to get them interested and learning about new words. When you spend time drawing with them, or showing them pictures, ask them to tell you stories about what they see. Another good exercise to try is having your child tell you a story. As they are telling the story, write it down. When they are done, read it back to them. Then they can try to read it to you.

Why Your Home Needs A Dehumidifier

There are so many reasons why your home needs a dehumidifier. You aren’t living alone in a humid home. You are also creating a very comfortable space for mold, mildew, bacteria, and other harmful critters. I had a huge mold problem in my basement. I didn’t even think about how that mold was affecting my family and me. When the mold was removed, my daughter was breathing better within just a few hours. That got me to thinking how I can keep the mold from coming back.

The answer was to buy a great dehumidifier for my basement. Dehumidifiers work by removing excess moisture from the air. Mold can only grow in specific levels of humidity. When you lower the humidity, you take away the moisture mold spores need to grow. I just never thought about it before because the humidity where we live is only uncomfortable a few months out of the year. Who knew how much a dehumidifier could do for the quality of the air in our home.

The problem with many of the dehumidifiers I found was that they didn’t seem very reliable. The best number you can look at to tell if a dehumidifier will work in your room is the CFM. This number refers to how many cubic feet of air is processed per minute. A larger, more damp room requires you to use a dehumidifier with a higher CFM than a small or dryer room. If your whole home is too dry, however, visit this page for whole house options. Mold may grow in damp homes, but dry homes have higher levels of other allergens.

Here are the dehumidifiers I was considering to use in my basement.

Keystone KSTAD50B

This medium-sized, 50-pint dehumidifier is good for up to 1,500 square feet of space with little dampness. My basement is pretty wet, but only 1,000 square feet. I would prefer to choose a dehumidifier that is actually rated for a larger space to err on the side of caution. However, this unit has a very comfortable price I would like to spend on my first dehumidifier.

I like that it is still one of the most energy efficient models in it’s price range, even though it was produced almost four years ago. What I don’t like is the small 10-pint bucket. I would likely have to empty it a few times a day to keep it running. I am not at home all the time, so it may be an issue.

While I like the price, I worry about some of the design features. Many previous buyers say it isn’t very user-friendly. The bucket doesn’t sit flat on the ground when you take it out, which causes spillage. Some people have had issues with the computer just crapping out, leaving them with a useless hunk of plastic. While it can be a great option for some people, I decided to move on. I would probably choose this unit to dehumidify my bathrooms after someone takes a shower. However, Too Humid has some great compact recommendations for bathrooms.

Frigidaire 70-pint

Now this dehumidifier is one of my top picks. Here’s why: It is very high-powered. It can pull 70 pints of water from a room up to 2,000 square feet each day. I also like it because it operates quietly. I don’t really want anything I will be able to hear from the kitchen when I’m enjoying my morning coffee and silence. It is recommended for large, wet spaces. That’s exactly what I’m dealing with!

I also like that I can connect it to a garden hose. All I would have to check for is that nothing needs to be cleaned. The unit will tell you when it’s time to clean the filter. If you are using the tank, it will tell you when it’s time to empty that as well. If I do end up using the bucket, I like that it is easy to remove and carry. It also will sit flat on the ground. It is more expensive than many of the units I’ve looked at. However, I think that it seems to be the most reliable and heavy-duty unit. Some people have complained about the same error message you can get with other dehumidifiers. I will be getting the extended warranty.
I have had this unit for several weeks now. Let me tell you, it has totally improved my daughter’s quality of life. She doesn’t have to take her allergy medication if she is staying home. She sleeps a lot better. Even I have noticed that I am breathing a lot easier. This humidifier is a great option if you have a medium to severe humidity problem in your home, or you’re looking to improve the air quality in your home.

What You Need to Know about Nail-biting

This is everything you need to know about nail biting. Nail biting is a very common habit for young children. Most children pick up this habit at one point or another when they are toddlers. But why do they do it? Your child’s nail biting habit could be caused by a wide range of things. In many cases, children will stop biting their nails. However, some people do continue biting their nails into adulthood. Here is what you should know.

Children bite their nails because of stress, boredom, curiosity, or just because it is a habit they picked up by watching someone else do it. It is one of the common habits many children pick up, along with nose-picking, grinding their teeth, thumb sucking, or hair fiddling/eating. Thankfully, these other habits don’t often last as long as nail biting.

Many children bite their nails when they are in uncomfortable situations. It is one of the most common reasons a child will begin. It is completely normal for young children to feel overwhelmed, especially as they begin to interact with other children and learn new things at the nursery or school. They are in the stage of their life where they begin developing ways to cope with stress. Many children begin biting their nails, but later find other ways to reduce stress.  

While it may be completely normal, there are plenty of methods you can use to stop your child from eating their nails. This is the perfect time for you to help them develop other ways to manage their stress levels and avoid chewing on their nails.  

Tips for Encouraging Children to Stop Biting Their Nails

  • Keep up with nail growth. Some children are biting their nails just because they are getting too long, or are getting caught on things. They are biting them as a response to their discomfort. Keep track of how quickly their nails grow and cut them as frequently as you need to. Don’t forget to file away rough edges with a nail file.
  • Show them you understand how hard it is to kick a habit. Many adults have nervous habits that can take years to overcome. You may be one of them. Never make you child feel bad about biting their nails. If it’s caused by anxiety, that can make it worse. Some kids also will learn that the behavior is a good way to get your attention. Don’t talk about their nail biting when you catch them doing it.
  • Nail biting products like paints and pepper can feel like a punishment. They don’t work well for toddlers.
  • Congratulate your child when they avoid biting their nails. Reward systems are a great way to reinforce positive behaviors. Some families use a point, or sticker, system to help their children choose to make good choices. When you don’t see them bite their nails for a day, they earn a point toward their favorite treat or activity.
  • Validate the reasons why they may be anxious. Starting school, moving to a new home, or having a new sibling could make any child anxious. It will take some time for them to get used to any changes in their life. Just be sure to reassure them that change can be good. Stay positive and try to have conversations with them about what is making them anxious.
  • Some children bite their nails if they are uncomfortable. This can be caused by allergies, or asthma you may not know they have yet. Try using room dehumidifiers and purifiers to help make the air quality better.
  • Subtly let them know when they are biting their nails. This isn’t to make them feel bad. Some children just aren’t even aware they are biting their nails. Choose a gentle signal that won’t embarrass them in public. A little brush on their head or tap on their shoulder is perfect.
  • Offer better habits. Give them something else to fiddle with instead of biting their nails. A stress-ball, or similar object that can fit in their pocket is perfect.
  • Work with them to find solutions. Don’t force your child to wear anything they don’t want to. If they do want to wear stickers or nail polish as a reminder to stop biting their nails, by all means, do it. However, if that’s not something they’d enjoy, talk to them about other solutions.  

I hope these tips help you better understand your child and their habit. Just remember to listen to them. What they say to you can help you find solutions that will help them learn how to handle stress, or give them tools to stop bad habits as they grow into adulthood.