Reading is crucial for academic success, but it’s also a great way to help kids develop their imagination and creativity. Here are 10 ways to make reading more enjoyable.
1. Let them choose what to read and help them find books that speak to their interests.
2. Make reading more fun. Change your voice when reading stories out loud, or have your child read every other page. When they’re older, share a nice moment by sitting alongside each other as you each read your own book.
3. Engage them. Ask them what they liked, answer their questions about what they read and explain difficult words. Showing interest in the books your kids enjoy will motivate them to keep reading.
4. Set up an inviting reading nook at home.
5. Make reading a part of your child’s daily routine. Aside from reading at bedtime, you can also slip notes into their lunchbox and get them to help you read road signs, your grocery list and even your mail.
6. Make time for regular reading in your own routine. Your children will likely want to imitate you. Share your enthusiasm for what you’re reading and demonstrate how fun it can be.
7. Make them read aloud. Be patient and congratulate them when they do well.
8. Listen to audio books. Hearing the words as they follow along in their book facilitates learning.
9. Diversify their reading materials. In addition to books, get them comics, illustrated novels and magazines.
10. Visit a library. Many offer activities for children and they’re typically staffed with people who want to share their passion for reading.
What you should know about helicopter parenting
Do you oversee every aspect of your children’s lives? Do you tend to hover around them managing every challenge that arises? While it’s a good thing to be involved in your children’s lives, smothering them — a.k.a. helicopter parenting — can have serious consequences.
In order to develop autonomy, confidence and self-esteem, children need to learn to navigate trials and tribulations on their own. As kids grow, it’s best to allow them to manage their problems, make mistakes and learn from their successes and failures.
Studies indicate that children of helicopter parents tend to have difficulty developing their independence and regulating their behavior. A young person whose early childhood spats with playmates were managed by well-meaning parents may come to have little tolerance for disagreements and act out in ways that isolate them from their peers.
Children who were raised by parents who continuously spoke on their behalf may also have trouble expressing themselves. In some cases, they may even believe they aren’t capable of being responsible for themselves.
What you can do
Parents can and should be involved in their children’s lives. However, it’s best to offer love and support while encouraging autonomy and self-sufficiency.
If you think you’re a helicopter parent, take stock. Determine what things you’re doing for your children that they can and should do on their own (it may be helpful to write out a list). Gradually, back off from performing these tasks.
Remember, it’s okay for children to make mistakes, take wrong turns and sometimes fail. Undoubtedly, these are the moments that will provide the most meaningful lessons.
A brief introduction to canning
Do you have more produce on hand than you know what to do with? If so, canning is a great way to make sure your food keeps all winter long.
Preparing food for canning
Here are some ways of preparing produce before it goes bad.
• Cooking. Turn your fruit into jam, make tomato sauce or blanch your vegetables before canning them.
• Pickling. Vinegar helps produce become acidic enough to be canned in a water bath. Try cucumbers, carrots, green beans or even peaches in a brine of vinegar and water.
Methods of canning
Home canning involves using sealed glass jars to conserve your food. There are a couple of ways to do this.
• Water bath canning. This method uses boiling water to heat jars and seal them. Only foods with high acidity like berries, pickles and tomatoes can be safely canned this way.
• Pressure canning. This technique involves using high temperatures to can meat and vegetables that aren’t acidic enough to be safely water canned. You’ll need a pressure canner, which is similar to a pressure cooker.
No matter what canning method you use, make sure to sterilize your jars and always use rings that are free of rust and lids that are brand new.
Teaching children to appreciate diversity
The ability to respectfully relate to people from all walks of life is an essential life skill. To this end, parents should strive to teach their children to appreciate differences in others. Here are some things you can do to ensure your kids respect their peers and understand the value of diversity.
Seek out other cultures
Exploring an array of different cultures is a great way to familiarize children with diversity. Traveling is one way to do this, but you can also attend multicultural events in your area. Reading books and watching documentaries are also good options.
Consume inclusive media
Set a good example
If you demonstrate an interest in others and approach differences with understanding rather than prejudice, your child is likely to imitate you. Teach them to take pride in what’s unique about themselves too.
Children need to be taught from a young age that all people are worthy of consideration and respect. Above all, encourage your children to ask questions and be curious about others. Just make sure they understand how to be respectful when doing so.
Is the best blueberry fertilizer grass?
Blueberry bushes are notoriously vulnerable to iron deficiency. This condition causes low fruit yields and can decrease the concentration of antioxidants in the berries.
While the solution is usually to apply artificial fertilizers to the soil, new research suggests there’s a simpler, safer and more sustainable way to help your blueberry bushes: plant grass around them.
Standard ways of correcting iron deficiency
However, both solutions are expensive, difficult to manage, generate toxic byproducts and can harm plant growth.
How grass helps fertilize blueberry bushes
Intercropping, or growing a crop among plants of a different kind, may be a better solution. The roots of some grass species, including the common creeping red fescue (Festuca rubra) and Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis), secrete an acidic compound that forms a soluble complex with iron in the soil and blueberry bushes can easily absorb it.
Researchers found that bushes grown in close proximity to these grasses had higher fruit yields and berries with an increased concentration of antioxidants.
If you notice yellow leaves on your blueberry bushes, consider buying some grass seeds. In addition to fertilizing your blueberry bushes, grasses make a great cover crop and will help reduce soil erosion.
Into the woods
Come September, there’s no shortage of reasons to venture into the woods. The leaves are changing color, the days are getting cooler and wildlife is on the move.
If you’re a hunter or fisher, grab your gear. Enjoy a brief escapade in the wilderness and then return home with food for your family to feast on. Or, if you have a free weekend and a tent, you could turn your hunting trip into an overnight excursion.
Is adventure your middle name? Then consider hitting the trails on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) or a dirt bike. If you want to do so with your spouse or partner, take the wheel of an off-road utility vehicle (UTV); it has room for more than one.
Do you prefer a quieter, more contemplative experience? Then enjoy the serenity of the local flora and fauna from a canoe or kayak. If you want to stay on dry land, consider hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding through the woods.
Studies have shown that spending time in nature can improve your mood. So, what are you waiting for? Go head out into the woods!
Fall gardening: best bulbs to plant
With the arrival of fall, gardeners should start preparing their yards for winter and spring. For most, an important task is to plant their spring-blooming bulbs. Here are some of the hardiest types.
• Crocuses. This will be one of the first to bloom in your spring garden. Choose from a variety of species in different colors and sizes, and plant them in a spot that gets partial or full sun.
• Daffodils. These spring flowers will grow back year after year with little help from you. Plant them in partial shade or full sun for best growing results.
• Alliums. This ornamental variety of the onion family produces big purple balls of blooms. They love the sun and will return every spring.
• Tulips. These blooms come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. They do best when planted in areas with partial shade or full sun. They’re perennials, so you won’t need to plant new bulbs every year.
To ensure they take, bulbs should be planted before the ground freezes but only after the weather is reliably cool. For a spring garden that’s continuously in bloom, be sure to plant bulbs that flower at different times during the season.