Sunday, July 11, 2010

Parents = Toy Experts. Meet Maureen aka SpellOutLoud

Our first weekly interview is with lady who is real life parent and eductaor. She shares her experience with her kids both through her blog and as Squidoo lensmaster:

Who is Maureen in real life?
I'm a SAHM with 5 kids (6th on the way). I'm a former elementary school teacher turned homeschool teacher. I love to be up in front of people teaching, but at this point in my life I am content with working with small groups and sharing things via the internet. I can be a little reserved at times, but I do enjoy talking and meeting new people.
How does your real life reflect on your online life?
I blog about things that that we have done, are important to my family, or that I'm interested in learning more about. I find that my real life and online life intersect in many ways. Much of my real life is spent online. :)

What are your favorite topics to write about?
I like to write about educational crafts and units. Some units I have posted are Butterfly Unit for Young Children and Toddler Turtle Unit. I also like to come up with activities that go along with books we read. I have several Read and Do activities listed on my blog. I'm a teacher at heart and love to share what we are learning. I also blog about my hobby, digital scrapbooking and hybrid scrapbooking crafts.

Which are your favorite activities for toddlers?
I have many favorite activities to do with my toddlers. It really depends on their mood and their learning styles. My 3yr. old loves to create and make things, so right now many of our toddler activities involve painting, playdough, and crafts. When my son was a toddler, those crafty-type of activities would not hold his attention. He needed to be moving, so we did a lot more gross-motor games and activities (jumping on letters on the floor, throwing balls, etc.) I've compiled a list of activities that I frequently use to help me remember good activities to do with toddlers: Toddler Workbox Ideas

What would be one special toy your toddler wouldn't ever give to someone else?
Currently it is her Fisher Price Doll house which she uses for her Little People. She's recently moved into the phase where she loves to pretend play and do some role-playing with her dolls. It's fun to watch and listen as she plays with her dolls. Many times the dolls reinact situations that have happened during our day. :)

As a parent and educator, which tactics do you use to teach toddlers the importance of sharing? (We all know toddlers tend to be a bit of selfish ;)

For me, it all depends on the situation. I usually use three tatics:
a). Redirect
In some instances in our household, you do not have to share. For example, we do not share food on our plates or drinks. So if my toddler is wanting something on my plate, I tell her that she needs to ask me and I will get some for her.
Another instance of redirecting is when my 3yr. is playing with a toy and my 23mo. comes up to me and cries because she wants the same toy. In that instance I don't require that my 3yr. old has to share immediately with her little sister. Instead, I redirect little sister to a similar toy and say that when 3yr. old is done then she can play with it.
b.) Praise
Lately my 3yr. old has been willingly sharing with her almost 2yr. old sister. When I see my 3yr. old making that effort, I make sure to praise her and tell her how nice it is to see her sharing. Now when the 2yr. old shares with her, my 3yr. old says, "Oh, you are being so nice!"
c.) Model
Sometimes I intentionally create opportunities for my toddlers to practice sharing. For instance, I might bake a batch of cookies and then have my 3yr. old pass out cookies to share with her siblings or friends.
I also try to explain to my toddlers that the toys are for all our friends (and sisters) to use when we are playing. If a friend is playing with their baby doll, they cannot take the doll away. It will still be there when their friend leaves, but while they are visiting us, they get to use our toys too.

Thank you for your words of wisdom and for sharing your story with us, Maureen! :)

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