7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT READING TO BABIES AND TODDLERS




Navigating Your Identity as a Parent and an Educator

Tips for Parent-Educators: These are the top things I wish someone had said to me as I offered my first born to his first school.

1. Be a parent, first and foremost. That's what your kid needs most from you.
2. Proactively build a relationship with your child's teacher at the beginning of the year. Don't wait until there's a problem to sit down with them.
3. If a teacher doesn't ask about your child's strengths and interests, share those.
4. Also share anything you think the teacher should know about your kid that would help them be effective, such as that your kid is an introvert and won't often participate in whole-class discussions. (Again, hopefully they ask this question, but if not, share it.)
5. If your child complains about being bored, class being too hard, not being treated well by peers or adults, listen to your child. Don't hope it'll get better. Go to school and talk to people. Observe classes.
6. Don't be afraid of talking to the principal. Don't be afraid of making requests. You can do this kindly and thoughtfully, but your job, again, is to advocate for your kid.

Kids Can’t Sit Still In School & That’s Why This Classroom Was Built

In an effort to help combat this problem, educator Scott Ertl launched a program in 2010 that has since branched out into dozens of classrooms across the United States. Scott’s program, entitled Read and Ride, combines physical activity with reading by introducing stationary bikes into the classroom setting. Students are expected to read a favourite book, educational magazine, or some other piece of literature from the curriculum while using the piece of exercise equipment.

5-INGREDIENT MAGICAL FUDGESICLES

These are so lusciously creamy, sinfully rich-tasting – the kind of thing you put in your mouth and kind of can’t believe what’s happening. Vegan, almost raw, and full of whole food ingredients, they are also downright filling!

5-Ingredient Vegan Magical Fudgesicles
Makes 4 cups / 1 Liter / 10 fudgesicles
Ingredients:
1) ½ cup / 75g unroasted, unsalted cashews
2) 1 14-oz can / 400ml full-fat coconut milk
3) 1 large, ripe avocado
4) 1 cup / 250g pitted, packed soft dates
5) ½ cup / 55g raw cacao powder (cocoa powder will also work)

Optional add-ins:
1) a few pinches sea salt
2) vanilla (seeds from 1 pod, powder, or extract)
3) a few drops of food-grade essential oils (peppermint, orange, almond etc.)
4) finely diced fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango etc.)
5) a pinch of cayenne pepper
6) espresso powder
7) finely chopped toasted nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios etc.)

Optional toppings:
1) melted raw chocolate (recipe here) or melted dark chocolate
2) cacao nibs
3) finely chopped toasted nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios etc.)
4) dried fruit (I used raspberry on the ones pictured)
5) citrus zest (lemon, orange, lime)

Directions:
1. Place cashews in lightly salted water and let soak for 4-8 hours (overnight is fine).

2. Drain the cashews and rinse well. Add to a blender (a high-speed blender is highly recommended) with the remaining ingredients (and any flavourings, if using) and blend on high until as smooth as possible. Add water only if necessary – you want to mixture to remain quite thick.

3. Spoon mixture in popsicle molds. Firmly knock the molds on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Insert a popsicle stick into each mold and place in the freezer until set – at least 6 hours. To remove popsicles, run the mold under hot water until you can easily pull a fudgesicle out.

4. If you want to decorate your fudgesicles, dip or drizzle them with melted chocolate and sprinkle with desired toppings. Eat immediately, or place back in the freezer to set until ready to enjoy.

What It’s Like When Your Kid Is A Chatterbox

When the time came for my daughter to string sentences together, she never stopped. She talked and talked, and when she ran out of stuff to say, well, she just made noises. These days, my daughter always has a thought to share or observations to vocalize. From the time she’s up to the time she’s fast asleep, there are few quiet moments in between without thoughts, ideas, out-loud play, questions, or commentary. Having a talkative kid has its pros and cons, as anyone with a chatterbox will know.

Should We All Be Raising Gender-Neutral Kids?

After the birth of my daughter, FaceTime conversations with my mother or my mother-in-law usually consist of a lot of cooing. “How’s my little princess doing today?” one of them will ask my five-month-old. “She looks like such a beautiful doll today,” the other will say. After ending a recent call, my husband came up to me and asked if we could please tell the grandmothers to stop referring to our daughter as a princess or a doll. “All dolls and princesses have to do is sit and look pretty,” he said. “Is that the kind of message you want her to grow up with?”