How to best spend your Memorial Weekend

My family and I know that “Old Glory” does not wave by accident. We have lost loved ones to war. Memorial Day is special.

Memorial Day is for remembering the sacrifices made by others – for us – for our continued freedom. But I believe the day should also be used to create new memories.

Having lost family to war, I believe I can put this particular holiday in perspective. It is a day, in fact, an entire weekend, for us to accomplish two things: remembering and appreciating the ultimate sacrifice made by others and exercising those won freedoms in a way that creates fond memories with those we still have to love.

Memorial Day should undoubtedly be more meaningful than only a three day weekend or mini-vacation. It is a sacred day of remembrance, but it should also be a time for the living to celebrate each others company while time permits. I especially like to surround myself with family and friends on this day, or even on this entire weekend, to celebrate what we (still) have because of those who gave their lives.

Memorial Day was born out of the horror of war – first the Civil War – and now for all those who have departed as a result of the war. The purpose of this holiday may seem to be fading from some peoples’ consciousness. Is it now only a three-day vacation? Is it merely the unofficial start to summer and the barbecue season? Is it an excuse to go shopping since many businesses promote Memorial Day sales? Has the original meaning of the day been lost?

My family and I know that “Old Glory” does not continue to wave by accident. We take time throughout the Memorial Day weekend to remember the fallen. We go to the cemeteries and place the flags. Old Glory flies at half mast at home. We tell stories, some sad – some happy, about those that cannot be at our family party. We remember them with reverence.

We also remember my first husband’s last words as his Cobra helicopter was on fire and about to explode: “Tell my family I love them. Tell them to live for me.”

So, my family and I celebrate our freedom – and life. We live our lives together. We do this best by being together and enjoying great recipes and the food they create.

One of the things my family and I do is talk about how to support our troops today. We put together a “care package” or two or three or four. We send the packages to soldiers somewhere in this world. We don’t care where they are stationed or what branch of the service they serve.

As one soldier wrote recently, “All soldiers need the simple knowledge of one thing; someone must want them to come home. If a soldier has that, he may be able to make it through anything!”

After the package(s) are wrapped and sent, we do as ordered by our missing loved ones – we celebrate with food and beverage and memories – and we create new memories to be enjoyed forever (see link below). What a gift they have given us!

Now You Enjoy! Live your lives wellScience Articles, celebrate and remember. These Memorial Day Recipes will help guarantee you and your family a memorable day.

 


 

6 Great Places to pop the question in New York

There cannot be a better place to pop the question other than the greatest city in the world, New York. In its centuries of existence, New York has stolen the show from classic Europe by being a modern city fusing the old and the new. The majestic beauty, the racial tolerance and integration, the street parties, and the artificial structures are already appealing for anyone to pop the question in front of all of New York. But we all know that is not possible as the city of over 8 million is too big and we are so small on its face.

With thousands of romantic places scattered all over the city, we have a few places that you might consider.

 

  1. The St, Patrick’s Cathedral

The Spiritual Center of 33% of New Yorkers is not only a site to behold but also a structure of beauty and opulence that brings the medieval age of Gothic romance to the romance of the modern times. You can either pop the question after a short prayer at the pews, the many statues around, the nave, or even at the facade. The somber mood will most likely make her say Yes! Who wouldn’t?

 

  1. The Met Cloisters

There are many proposal spots at this medieval-like structure near the Hudson River and the Fort Tyron Park. You could initiate a play at the romantic garden and hold her waist as she wrestles you jovially. When it is time to catch her breath, take her hand and lead her to those cloisters. Look right in her eye and pop the question, the aura of the place will do the rest for you.

 

  1. Flushing Meadow-Corona Park

This site has a fascination to it. Besides, there are so many hot spots that you can pop the question. It is effortless to convince your lover to accompany you anywhere in the park bustling in sceneries and hot spots. To get started, you might consider a picnic date at the shores of the Willows lake or even the creek or river.

 

  1. Prometheus statue-Rockefeller Centre

At first sight of the statue, any person will forget about the ups and downs of life and drift to a utopia of a perfect Greek world. The golden statues will exhilarate the spirit and awaken the feelings of romance from deep inside the most hard-hearted person. It’s no wonder that marriage proposals are a regular sight at the beautiful place.

 

  1. Governors Island

This island is car-free, and there are displays of arts and cultures. Romance is all about detaching yourself and your lover from realities of life to ideal stress-free world happiness of just two people. You will be able to connect with your loved one from a perspective that is unachievable in a bustling place.

 

  1. Gallow Green

Forget about the name! (A Scottish place where witches were hanged in the 17th century). Gallow greens are the place that your gal will like and fall head over heels for you. The site has occasional bands, comedians and art performers whom you can request to help you out by singing a song in honor of your lady. Afterwards, you can party through the night while looking at the beautiful city landscape below.

 

Before popping the question

You should visit the place of choice prior to the big day. You can notify the management for precautionary purposes. One last thing, forget Central Park, it’s overkill.

 


 

We’re switching from Apple to Google. Here’s why.

As an Apple Family with two MacBook Pros, an AppleTV, two iPhones, and a few discontinued iPods, we enjoy our devices to the fullest and have taken advantage of what these products offer. We’re a techie family, but we’re not Apple die-hard fans. We simply figured out what would work best for us and went from there.

Now that we’ve experienced the Apple craze and have seen what Apple is offering with their iPhone X and the Apple HomePod, we’re not impressed.

 

My wife and I have been discussing automating our home and it was easy to see Google Home and Amazon Alexa are in the title fight. Apple HomePod isn’t even making an appearance at the match. Bringing the plethora of Google apps with it, the Google Home mini caught our attention as the frontrunner immediately.

With a bit of research, you’ll find out what everybody and their mother seems to already know. Apple keeps a tight ship on what is and isn’t allowed to be controlled by their own devices. HomePod is certainly falling behind on compatibility and Siri, no matter how well we speak, cannot understand what we really want it to do. I’ve said it in a recent tweet, and let it be on the record that, if at some point Apple launches their own search engine like Google, things will get interesting.

 

Ultimately, we purchased not 1, not 2, but 4 Google Home Minis to start the switch. We struggled a bit with the setup and using the Home app, but with a little patience, we picked it up and have become familiar with it. It has opportunity for us to use 3rd party apps easily and even a chance to learn to develop our own. Plus the fact that the speakers sync nicely and, even as small as they are, have a nice sound while playing music. Our toddler also loves asking “Goo-goo” to make different animal sounds!

Our next switch will come with the Google Pixel with Google’s Project Fi which, in our techie heads, seems reasonably on par with the quality of an iPhone. It has all we need to get the job done. We might not be ready to give in on our MacBook Pro’s, but we’ll see how the Chromebooks continue to advance. Google is not going anywhere and their portfolio of apps just keeps growing in our everyday use. From Docs replacing Microsoft Word, to note taking, shopping list and even controlling our garage with a combination of IFTTT, Google is slowly taking place in our phones and gadgets.

 


 

John Ebersole – Life: Neat

Every now and then we come across talented people and we sit back and enjoy their work. Then, at the end when it’s all over and they’re packing up, we approach them, tip our hats, tip their jar and ask for an interview. In this case, we trully enjoyed the sounds and lyrics of the talented John Ebersole who endulged us with an awesome laid back rhythm as our Fourteen Robots enjoyed over brunch. John happily agreed with the interview, we asked a few questions and got his reply. Below is the near raw, hardly edited Q&A on his path towards a career in the entertainment & music industry.

 

Typically, one chooses a career related to our parents, friends or by push from a key element in our lives. How did you know you wanted to be in the music business?

Ever since my family had me taking piano lessons at age 8 that was when I knew music would be in my future. It wasn’t until they let me choose drums as my instrument that I knew I wanted it to be a career path. Even then, however, what path in music I would be taking was unclear. When I was 18 I taught myself guitar and would write songs when I should have otherwise been studying for school or doing homework. I would sit out on the balcony of the college dorms playing my songs to whomever the burnt-out student meandering along that would stop and listen. Once I started hearing things like ‘Hey your songs are really good’ or the encoring smile and request for more, this is when I knew I wanted to pursue songwriting and the goal of being the transcendent rock star (still is my goal!)

 

Did you ever think you could be something else other than a composer or songwriter?

I had dreams of being a professional skateboarder, and as a skater I would paint and design my own skateboard decks which led to hopes of being a professional artist (painter/illustrator kind of thing.) My father was self-employed my whole life and I knew that I could do something without having to pursue the traditional corporate career path. I knew I wanted to be my own boss and to do so within a creative field.

 

No business is easy; every business owner knows there will be sweat, tears or hurdles to go through. What has been the hardest part of your career so far?

I find one of the hardest things to do in music today is being and distinguishing yourself in a sea full of other musicians. With the internet having opened up so much access to mountains of music and a variety of genres, you must be the best you that you can be. Ever since I started performing at venues I only play my own original songs. I get questioned as to why I don’t play cover songs at times. Also, after a few venues quit booking me because I didn’t play cover songs I started to question it. This was after about 2 years of performing just my songs. Soon after I started planning a few covers to bring into my set-list, but then I stumbled across a Kurt Cobain journal containing his quote (in reference to learning cover songs)…

 

‘Do your own thing. Others own their own thing. If you copy too much, you’ll find yourself in late night cocktail lounge cover band limbo. … I decided that in order to become a big famous rock star, I would need to write my very own songs instead of wasting my time learning other peoples music too much. It may act as an obstruction in developing your very own personal style.’ –Kurt Cobain

 

Well, that was that. I totally dropped the notion of trying to bring cover songs in. For me its not about the immediate income from smaller venues/bars but rather the long-term longevity of me as a songwriter. I’ve always seen those guys playing at local bars, they’ve been at the same bars for 30 years. Kurt smacked me in the head with that brutal truth. I will not be at the same venues in 30 years. Not only that, but product differentiation is key in the music industry and playing originals enables you to definitely bring something entirely new to the listeners.

 

Unless you’re still working on a solution for the hurdle mentioned above, what worked to get you through?

Staying focused on those who already like my music. Hearing the new listeners at venues say they truly enjoyed the show. I keep on writing. If there is an energy gap in my performances, say not having enough upbeat songs for earlier daytime shows, I just go write something fitting for my next project. Just to never giving up on things. Keep refining, writing, and pressing forward.

 

First time we heard you was at brunch at 3009 Bar & Restaurant (at H-E-B.) How do you pick your venues or what’s the typical process of booking any gigs? If you were mentoring a rookie musician, what would be the step by step process you’d recommend based on your experience.

This is a 2 part question. When booking shows it is important to find your market. Everyone who finds out you play will tell you ‘Hey you should play here, or here, or here…’ and while referrals are key to continued success, it is crucial for you to find the venues where your music’s energy and sound fit.

 

If I were to ask you, what kind of setting is going on within your music? Where does your music take the listener? Are you on a deserted country road? Are you soaring through space? Are you working out? Is Godzilla pillaging through the streets? Are you on the beach sipping your choice beverage? (That one tends to be where about half of my songs take you.)

Finding venues which compliment that energy/setting are important.

 

After that, referrals from that venue to others will be the most beneficial. Searching for places which have your music’s energy and environment is the most important thing for performing and recordings.

 

We at Fourteen Robots believe that a camera is just as effective as its users knowledge of the camera. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $150 or $25K camera (they exist); the important factor is the user. What’s your opinion on a guitar? Is it the same concept? How do you pick your instrument? By cost, features, capabilities, looks, popularity, nostalgia?

I agree totally with the idea that the user is more important than the equipment. I started performing with a $60 guitar at my shows, now I play with a $1000 guitar. Sure I may have gotten better over the years, but I still received compliments on both. The only difference, is I like playing a handmade, quality instrument, and some would say the latter sounds better. So while yes, it is the user that makes the project, the equipment could enable the user to be even better recognized for what they are doing in both perception and execution. But ultimately the user is the star.

 

Touching a bit on your songwriting: you wrote about Two Guys. Although not mentioning specifics, you simply stated they shouldn’t have taken that ride. Inspiration can come in many different forms. Do you mind sharing where yours comes from?

My inspiration does come from everywhere. Music is where I communicate feelings. I’m very objective in the way I think, so being emotionally involved in things is not at forefront. You will hear a lot of hurt, love, life questioning, and frustration in my lyrics. The sounds behind the lyrics can be just as gut-wrenchingly beautiful. Music feels for me.

 

Two Guys specifically is actually kind of an interestingly inspired track. A friend of mine and I were performing at a venue in Helotes; everyone drinking, myself included, having a great time. It dawned on me that some of the crowd was a bit overly enjoying their liquids. Next thought was, ‘Oh, we all have to drive home in 30 minutes when this place closes, and half of these people are trashed.’ I laughed for a second at how strange the concept of going out and getting intoxicated was, leaned over to my friend and said ‘Hey, I’m going to make this song up real quick.’ And that was Two Guys—a song about the relentless idea of going out and getting intoxicated with a daunting drive home after. MADD would eat that up.

 

You know the old debate on what came first? The chicken or the egg? In your case, what comes first, music or lyrics?

For me I always seem to write the music first. This is the raw form of emotional communication for me. I get all I’m feeling out into the music, and then interpret what I’m feeling for listeners. I also tend to leave my lyrical meanings a bit ambiguous so it can be transferrable between persons without too much specificity in life setting.

 

Would you recommend a school or any training when it comes to songwriting, learning the guitar?

Schools are great, but when it comes down to it, its all about self-exploration and learning to communicate. Pick up the guitar, are you happy about something? Play something happy. Are you angry or distraught? Play that. If you can master communicating your internal to the external, that’s where the real magic happens. Though it wouldn’t hurt to research some chords or scales on the web to figure out exactly what you’re doing. The real progress is made when you put in the time with your instrument. Start playing, you can figure out what you’re doing later.

 

What’s your short and long term goal in your career? Is there a path you have written down or is it all in your head?

I have a business plan somewhere I wrote a while back. I have it pretty memorized. It always changes a little bit, but the approach and the goals are the same.

 

Short term I am about to release a new album, so this is my focus. Giving everything I have to the album itself (music, lyrics, recordings, solos, album art, etc.) and then fully dedicating to the promotion of it (new gigs, marketing overall, and distribution.)

 

Long term I am looking to be renown in the industry. I want to reach a significant enough audience out there to where when I release a new album or project, people are excited to see what its all about. I just love sharing with others what I have to offer. I had a friend tell me he had an amazing date night the other day, and that it ended with listening to my music on the way home together. I want to do that on a large scale. I love setting the tone for people’s lives through music.

 

You mentioned you’re a web designer as well. Any other ventures you currently hold? Do any of these feed or fuel your singer/songwriting career?

Yes I do graphic and web design for myself and several other clients. Have been doing this for about 5 years. I also have an organic pet treat startup company in Los Angeles called Fast Pet Food. We are about to launch our flagship product within the year. I’m also an investor in the markets, have been for 10 years. I feel I need to keep my hands in multiple projects to stay on top of bills, provide the freedom to pursue the music career path, and to stay busy during any downtime.

 

Your new album is about to hit Spotify and other venues, our Fourteen Robots Salute You. How long did it take you from concept to finished product? Any setbacks you experienced?

 

“Life: Neat” This project has been a journey. It is the first project I am doing where I don’t do everything on the album. I am finally working with a very skilled sound engineer, and other instrumentalists in creating the sounds of it all. I have experienced setbacks with life scheduling (for myself and others), dedication and commitment out of artists, and working outside of my house. The project has taken about 3 months thus far, and we’re looking to wrap it up in the next month. So it’s a 4 month project for me. Sometimes I have been known to knock out an album in 2 weeks. So for me this is a longer time-frame to be working on one project. But, I must say the result is going to be phenomenal in the array of the John Ebersole collection.

 

Any advice you’d like to share as a business owner?

Never give up. If you have an idea, it is possible. Keep pushing forward towards your goals. Any other cliché quotes I can throw out there that work?

Oh yeah, NEVER GIVE UP.

 


 

Listen to John Ebersole on iTunes or Spotify. Visit his page at johnebersole.com

 

 

What is time well worth?

Often, dads believe they are doing their best as a parent by working to put food on the table and buying clothes and other necessities for their kids, maintaining the house their kids live in, cutting the yard for the kids to play in, etc. But, what about actually being with your family? A good balance must be created as early as possible in your relationship with your kids (and wife, but that’s a different article). A simple suggestion to add some quality time with your kids is to take advantage of the little times; reading a story to them just before bedtime, playing with them in the morning in the few spare minutes before leaving for work, or just simply talking and singing with them while driving them to school or daycare. You can also take advantage of the tough times and find a way to “play through.” We all know kids are learning to cope and, as parents, so are we. Don’t get me wrong. There are definite times for discipline, but many times, your kids just don’t know how to react to new or changing situations and we, by example, are teaching them how to cope.


This morning, my daughter was crying for what most parents will consider no good reason. She wanted to ride in the “big go”, which she calls our SUV, instead of the “little go”, which she calls the sedan and is what I usually take her to daycare in. She cried through half the drive and I wanted to yell so bad, but I know better and I know that my daughter will just cry louder. What was my solution as a dad, you ask? I started asking my daughter questions about school. I asked her what she’d like to do at school, what games she likes to play with her friends, who’s her best friend or teacher? This calmed her down by thinking of the answers and created a bit of a conversation which lead to a better ride. My daughter is two and a half at this time and her answers are short and sometimes limited to her growing vocabulary, but it truly helps take the edge off and sometimes gives me a good laugh.


When I got home from work, again, grumpy moody daughter wanted to watch cartoons instead of going to bed. We negotiated with a book and some water. All in all, we had a bit of fun with a new book and truly enjoyed the evening with an “I love you, DadDad” just before my wife took her to bed. This is not our nightly routine, (crying over cartoons) but when it comes up, it is good to know there are ways to work through the trying times with your children. You have to take into consideration what is bothering them and if anything has changed in their routine. My wife usually reads to our daughter and then takes her to bed after I get a good night hug and “I love you.” Sometimes, my wife has other things that have to happen during bedtime and it can make for major crises in our daughter’s point of view.


The point of this story is to balance your time. Spend time with your kids. I’m not saying I’m perfect, actually nowhere near. We all have work to do, goals to accomplish, and a mile long to-do list. That’s what comes with being a parent. You can either take this with a grain of salt and keep doing what you do, or you can take our advice and play all the way.

 


 

Complete Love

Not all romantic relationships can be considered to possess complete love. It was Yale University psychology professor Robert Sternberg whose famous Triangular Theory expounded upon the three integral components of love.

First of all, a couple must exhibit Intimacy, which is described as the closeness and openness between them. This is exemplified in best friends who have no reluctance to share their concerns, weaknesses, and dreams. They accept each other without judgment. Communication is the necessary key to intimacy.

The second component is Passion. This is the physical attraction between the couple. It is the desire for physical closeness exhibited through hand-holding, embracing, kissing that should eventually lead to sexual congress. This attraction is necessary because it magnifies the bond between the couple.

The third essential component is Commitment. This is the decision of the couple to stay faithful to each other. It is the continuing choice to remain loyal exclusively with the view of maintaining the relationship.

It is necessary that couples examine their relationships whether or not they possess Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment. Absent any of theseArticle Submission, the couple cannot claim to have Complete Love. And an incomplete love is almost surely expected to fail. Couples are therefore encouraged to nurture all three components in order that the relationship remains healthy and lasting.

 


About the author

Frederick Fabella, Ph.D. is a graduate and undergraduate professor in the Philippines. He is an editorial board member of the IRP international research journal and a Fellow of the Royal Institution Singapore. He is the author of Transcendence: Essays For Personal Reflection. His blog can be found at Meanings and Perceptions.

Is Teaching Critical Thinking Skills Important?

Teaching critical thinking skills is imperative to a child’s development. Education today needs to focus more on critical thinking, creativity, and curiosity in order to prepare children for the jobs of the future.

In today’s technological and rapidly changing world, children need to be able to assimilate data and demonstrate critical thinking skills versus repeating a list of facts from memorization. Children need to be thinking for themselves and asking the what now follow up question; these skills are what employers today and tomorrow are looking for.  The ability to analyze a situation or problem is important skills that demand from employers will only grow as we continue to adopt technology throughout our lives.

Kids need to be critical thinkers who can make sense of information, analyze, compare, contrast, make inferences, and demonstrate higher order thinking skills. As a parent, our role is to ask our children open-ended questions that guide the thinking process.  This allows our kids to explore and expand their curiosity.

In other instances, it may be more appropriate to experiment with your child; this is easily done with science experiments, cooking lessons, arts and crafts and more.  This allows our children to refine their theories on what why things happen; defining cause and effect. Engaging with your child and facilitating the critical thinking process can have a positive an impact on them.

In other instances, it may be more applicable to encourage your child to experiment and refine their theories on cause and effect.  To experiment and through experimenting develop the cause and effect of what happened. Guiding your child’s critical thinking process can have a positive an impact on their problem-solving skills and leads to greater creativity and curiosity.

Critical thinking is a developed ability to analyze information to distinguish its veracity or truth. In our rapidly evolving technologically driven world, more detail and information is available at our fingertips than we could ever need. The issue is that not all of that information is correct and it can be effortless to get influenced into believing something that is not factual or real. This is one example of where critical thinking skills guide us.

How do you develop critical thinking skills in your children? Here are some tips and ideas to help children build a foundation for critical thinking:

  • Provide ample opportunities for play
  • Pause and wait, let your child evaluate the situation, a parents role is to guide them
  • Do not intervene immediately
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Help children develop hypotheses or the cause and effect
  • Encourage critical thinking in new and different ways

 

A few practical ways to introduce critical thinking activities to your kids:

  • Encourage pursuits of curiosity. As parents, we tend to dread “why” phase. However, we need to allow our children to form and test theories, experiment and understand how the world works. We need to inspire our kids to expand their curiosity, their creativity and explore, to ask questions, to test their ideas, think critically about results and reflect on alterations or adjustments that they can incorporate.  Encourage them on things they could make or things they could do differently to instill critical thinking skills.
  • Learn from others.  By instilling a love of learning, we help our children to think more deeply about things, to grow a desire to comprehend how things work. We need to teach children to look for the answers to their “why” questions using the internet, books, experiments, arts and crafts, building models, from friends, family and play activities.
  • Help children evaluate information. Thinks about this, how often we are given a lot of information at a time, and it is important we assess that information to determine if it is valid, necessary and whether or not we should believe it. We need to assist our children with learning these skills by showing them how to evaluate new information. We need to give them the opportunity to analyze where ideas and information originate, how it relates to what they already know and if it is or is not important.
  • Promote children’s interests. When children are deeply vested in a subject or pursuit, they are engaged and want to experiment. The process of expanding their knowledge base is an opportunities to develop critical thinking skills.  As parents, we need to encourage this activity and facilitate our child’s interests. Be it learning how a 3d model can stand up to how a car engine works or a keen interest in bugs or in programming a simple game as parents we need to encourage our kids to follow their interest and passion.
  • Teach problem-solving skills. Everyone has problems or conflicts in their lives, and kids are no different. Critical thinking skills are essential to develop to understand the problem and develop possible solutions; we need to teach kids the steps of problem-solving to use with critical thinking to utilize as an effective problem-solving process.
  • Provide opportunities for play. Curiosity and experimenting with how things work are crucial to developing critical thinking. It is during play that children learn cause and effect. What happens if I mix water and baking soda?  How do I build a water wheel and how does this create electricity?  How does a mini dancer work?  Can I add a block to balance on the top of a tower? By providing indoor and outdoor space for playing, along with time for the pretend play and development of critical thinking skills.  These activities allow opportunities for open-ended questioning and for your child to experiment to see the reaction – cause, and effect.  Then move on to try something else and see if they can create a different result. Hands-on experiments and experiences are an integral foundation for abstract critical thinking that is required in life.
  • Pause and wait. Giving your child generous time to think, experiment with a task, or develop a response is critical, and not necessarily easy to do. As parents, we need to have patience and Tallow our kids the time to ponder and think, before we intervene or speak. This gives kids an opportunity to reflect on their response and refine, rather than answering with the first gut reaction.
  • Don’t intervene immediately. Observe what your child is doing before jumping in. As hard as it may be, avoid finishing or doing the task for them. For younger children, patiently adjusting and manipulate their hands to grasp a toy on their own encourages problem-solving, develops fine motor skills and develops executive functioning skills. For older children, ask open-ended questions taught encourage critical thinking while providing enough information to prevent frustration, but not enough to solve the problem for them.
  • Ask open-ended questions. How many times has your child asked you a question that you could easily answer?  Rather than answers the question, ask them a question in return to help them think critically: “Why do you believe that this happened? What is going on here?” “Who else would know the answer, why would their answer be that?” Even if the answer isn’t correct, respond with “that’s interesting,” and ask “why do you think that is?” “I am interested to hear why you believe that this happens…” “What would you do to solve this problem?”  “How can we find more information to address or answer this?”
  • Help children develop hypotheses. Taking a moment to form hypotheses during play is a critical thinking exercise that helps develop skills. Try asking your child, “What will happen if we do this?” or “Let’s try it and see what will happen next.”
  • Encourage thinking in new and different ways. Allowing kids to think differently, enables their creative problem-solving skills. Ask questions like, “What other ways can we try?”  Encourage your child to develop options by saying, “Let’s think of all the possible ways we could do this.” If as a parent you need to step inArticle Submission, talk through the why of your decision and demonstrate your critical thinking and problem-solving.  This allows kids the opportunity to model your behavior.  Allowing your children to navigate problems allows them to analysis and develop critical thinking skills that will aid them in the long run.

 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Miller is the Content Writer for Play2Health –https://www.play2health.com/ – where she develops content that assists families in raising well-balanced kids who excel.

Does Technology Benefit Young Children’s Education?

Parents are constantly struggling with limits on their children’s tablets, mobile phones, computers, and TVs. There has to be a balance between technology and entertainment and education.

 

As parents, all of us have fought the battle with our kids as they are absorbed into a video game or movie on an iPad, tablet or smartphone.  We’ve had a better chance of getting the attention of Tom Cruise walking the red carpet than our kids.

Today, it’s common for two-year-olds to be using iPads, elementary schoolers hooked up to video games, and we all suffer (or live with) the challenge of prying your middle-schooler away from the computer long enough to eat a decent meal. Technology is everywhere and its draw on kids is obvious, but is technology helping our kids learn? Technology is becoming more social, adaptive, and customized, and as a result, it can be a fantastic teaching tool. That stated, as parents, we need to establish boundaries. Today, software is connecting kids to online learning communities, tracking kids’ progress through lessons and games, and customizing each students’ experience. By the time your child is in elementary school, they will probably well-versed in technology.

 

Learning with Technology at School

Schools are investing more and more in technology. Whether your child’s class uses an interactive Smartboard, laptops, or another device, here are three ways to make sure that technology is used effectively.

Young children love playing with technology, from iPads to digital cameras. What do early childhood practitioners — and parents, too — need to think about before handing kids these gadgets? Let’s start at the beginning: what is technology in early childhood Technology can be as simple as a camera, audio recorder, music player, TV, DVD player, or more recent technology like iPads, tablets, and smartphones used in child care centers, classrooms, or at home.

More than once, I’ve had teachers tell me, “I don’t do technology.” I ask them if they’ve ever taken a digital photo of their students, played a record, tape, or DVD, or give kids headphones to listen to a story. Teachers have always used technology. The difference is that now teachers are using really powerful tools like iPads and iPhones in their personal and professional lives. Technology is just a tool. It shouldn’t be used in classrooms or child care centers because it’s cool, but because teachers can do activities that support the healthy development of children.

Teachers are using digital cameras — a less flashy technology than iPads — in really creative ways to engage children in learning. That may be all they need. At the same time, teachers need to be able to integrate technology into the classroom or child care center as a social justice matter. We can’t assume that all children have technology at home. A lack of exposure could widen the digital divide — that is, the gap between those with and without access to digital technology — and limit some children’s school readiness and early success.

Just as all children need to learn how to handle a book in early literacy, they need to be taught how to use technology, including how to open it, how it works, and how to take care of it. Experts worry that technology is bad for children. There are serious concerns about children spending too much time in front of screens, especially given the many screens in children’s lives.

Today, very young children are sitting in front of TVs, playing on iPads and iPhones, and watching their parents take photos on a digital camera, which has its own screen. There used to be only the TV screen. That was the screen we worried about and researched for 30 years. We as a field know a whole lot about the impact of TV on children’s behavior and learning, but we know very little about all the new digital devices.

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages screen time for children under two years old, but the NAEYC/Fred Rogers position statement takes a slightly different stance. It says that technology and media should be limited, but what matters most is how it is used.

What is the content?

Is it being used in an intentional manner?

Is it developmentally appropriate?

As parents, we need to be aware of the drawbacks of technology and its impact on eyesightvocabulary and physical development.  We also need to be cognizant of our kids overall development, My advice to teachers and parents is to trust your instincts. You know your child and if you think they have been watching the screen too long, turn it off. It’s up to us, as parents, to notice that your child’s computer time is reducing or limiting interactions and playtime with other kids and nudge them in new directions. To encourage them to be physically active, to get outside and play. It’s also up to the adult to understand the child’s personality and disposition and to figure out if a technology is one of the ways the child chooses to interact with the world.

At the same time, cut yourself some slack. We all know that there are better things to do with children’s time than to plop them in front of a TV, but we also know that child care providers have to make lunch, and parents need time to take a shower. In situations like that, it is the adult’s job to make the technology time more valuable and interactive by asking questions and connecting a child’s virtual experience on the screen with real-life experiences in her world.

 

Learning with Technology at Home

Whether you’re giving your child your smart screen phone to entertain them, or it’s your toddlers’ preferred playtime is on an iPad or tablet, here are eight ways to make sure your child’s experiences with technology are educational and fun.

  • Focus on active engagement. Any time your child is engaged with a screen, stop a program, or mute the commercials, and ask engaging questions. What was that character thinking? Why did the main character do that? What would you have done in that situation?
  • Allow for repetition. DVDs and YouTube videos add an essential ingredient for young minds which is repetition. Let your young child watch the same video over and over, and ask him what he noticed after each viewing.
  • Make it tactile. Unlike computers that require a mouse to manipulate objects on the screen, iPads, tablets, and smartphones allow kids manipulate “physical” objects with their fingers.
  • Practice problem-solving. An emerging category of games will force your child to solve problems as they play, potentially building concentration and analytical skills in the process; although the jury is still out on this. There is no clinical data that supports the marketing message of app makers.
  • Encourage technology for creation, not just entertainment. Have your child record a story on your iPod, or sing a song into your video game system. Then, create an entirely new sound using the playback options, slow down and speed up their voice and add different backgrounds and beats until they’ve created something uniquely theirs.
  • Show him how to use it. Many computer games have different levels and young children may not know how to move up or change levels. If your child is stuck on one level that’s become too easy, ask if he knows how to move up and help him if he wants more of a challenge.
  • Ask why. If your child is using an app or game the “wrong” way, always pressing the incorrect button, for example, ask them why. It may be that they like hearing the noise the game makes when they get the question wrong, or they might be stuck and can’t figure out which group of objects match number four.
  • Focus on play. Young kids should be exploring and playing with technology. This should be considered play, and not a focus on drilling skills.
  • Ask for your own log-in. Often, school programs come with a parent log-in that will allow you to see your child’s progress. If it doesn’t, ask to see the reports that a teacher has access to. Then, check his progress every few weeks. It’s a great way for you and your child to be on the same page about their progress.
  • Ask about teacher training. Technology is often implemented in classrooms without appropriate professional development. If your child’s classroom is using a whole-class system, such as Clickers or an Interactive Smartboard, ask how it’s used in class and what training the teacher has had. “As a parent, you want to know if teachers feel well trained and they’re putting [new technologies] to good use.
  • Find Parent Resources. One of the best ways that technology can help your child is by helping you learn more about learning.

Computers, smartphones, and tablets aren’t going away, but with a few tweaks and consideration, you can make your child’s technology-time productive, educational, and fun! Let’s be honest. Most children can use a mouse, open and close apps, and even search the internet by the time they are three years old. Once they have the cognitive abilityComputer Technology Articles, it’s time to talk with your child about internet safety.

 


 

Raising Eager Readers

Inspire your little ones to love reading

It can be difficult for parents to know exactly when to start teaching their children how to identify colors and numbers or when the right time is to start reading to them. However, the earlier parents begin reading to their kids, the better prepared they can be once they reach school age.

In fact, reading to children at home can set them up for success in school and in life, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. With the right resources, parents can influence their kids’ enjoyment of reading. These tips from the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program, which aims to motivate kindergarten through sixth-grade students to read by rewarding them with praise and pizza, can help inspire a lifelong love of reading.

Read to your children early and often. Parental involvement is one of the best predictors of future academic achievement, according to research published in the Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community. Getting into a routine of reading to your children at a young age is a habit that can be pivotal to developing a love of reading. As you read, point out words, colors and images and ask questions about the story to help children develop a deeper understanding and relate what they have learned back to other books and activities.

Regularly visit the library. Libraries typically have lists available of favorite books for various age groups and can help parents and kids create reading lists of stories that match reading levels and interests. Additionally, attending “story times” and other library activities tailored to age-specific target audiences can expose your child to new books.

Make books easily accessible. Having multiple locations in the home where you keep books can inspire children to pick one up any time. Start with a main bookshelf in your child’s room that lets him or her easily see the titles, and place additional book storage locations in different rooms where your family typically spends the most time.

Get comfy. Creating the perfect spot (or spots) to read has a lot to do with individual children. While some prefer to read with mom and dad in a chair or on a couch, others prefer their own space where they can cuddle up with a good book. If space allows, consider dedicating a corner of your child’s bedroom or playroom as a “book nook.”

Take advantage of technology. The use of technology can aid in creating excitement about reading. To help develop strong reading habits and enhance your child’s vocabulary and ability to comprehend, consider supplementing traditional books with devices such as e-readers and tablets or smartphones equipped with age-appropriate reading and learning applications.

Keep reading. Children often see their parents as role models. If you read often, your children will be more likely to pick up the habit, as well, according to a BOOK IT! survey. It revealed that adults who have gone through the program are more likely to establish regular reading routines with their families, as 54 percent of the survey respondents said they read with their children every day, compared to 32 percent who did not participate in the program.

For more information and ways to help inspire young readers, visit bookitprogram.com.

Source: Pizza Hut

 


 

Guidelines On How To Grow Your Business

Statistically, new businesses tend to fail within the first couple of years. Even though this might be due to several reasons, the primary issue is the lack of knowledge and expertise required to plan for various operations and maintain a steady growth curve. While some startups fail just because the owner couldn’t keep up with its growth rate, others crumb due to lack of proper channels to offload excess inventory. The market demand directly doesn’t meet the supply, and thus the owner will have to sell at a loss to lure more customers.

You have to have a specific skill set for you to succeed in today’s business because so much as changed compared to the old days. A budding entrepreneur has to be flexible, be able to plan efficiently, and have exceptional organizational skills. It’s not just about turning on a computer and opening the doors for the clients. For the business to grow at a steady rate and maintain that growth, you have to comprehend all the economic parameters that affect the firm.

 

Have A Company Mission And Stick With It

What would you be if you never knew what you want to do, or who you want to become in life? Life immediately made sense when you knew what you were supposed to do, right? You had to have a direction so that you could set goals and strive to achieve them. It’s the same thing with business. It’s the baby, and you’re the parent so guide it by creating a strategic direction.

You might face obstacles along the way while trying to stick to it but your company is not the first one to bump into all those hurdles. Nearly all of the multinational corporations have been there, and now they are dominating the marketplace. Therefore, if you need to survive, do so by rolling with the changes and adjust mid-stream. It’s crucial to keep the changes to a minimum because you might lose customers if they get wind of the fact that your company might be going through a rough patch.

 

Develop A Strong Bond With Your Product Consumers And Suppliers

What’s significant is the long-term viability of a business. One cornerstone of any successful company is the trust or loyalty the entity has to its customers. And the same applies to the suppliers. Like a food chain in an ecosystem, when one organism gets affected the entire system goes into an imbalance. You have to bond well with your clients and suppliers.

 

Hold Your Staff Accountable

Once you hire an individual, you have to give them proper training before letting them work without supervision. By investing in the training process, you’ll be ensuring the business has a strong team ready to tackle issues that might arise in future.

It’s also significant to recognize their efforts from time to time by rewarding or promoting them. Treat them the same way you do your kids.

 

Strive To Create A Loyal Employee Base

You want to keep the employee turnover at moderate levels otherwise you’ll spend most of the company’s recourses retraining new staff. A loyal workforce is essential to the long-term goal since it helps you to stay relevant on the market, and assists the business to maintain the momentum.

 

Never Compromise On Quality

Honestly, this shouldn’t even be something worth debating. The only reason why we thought it wise to mention it is because we feel like business owners might be tempted to look for shortcuts during production since our current economy is still stumbling. Cutting on expenses seems like the logical way for the firm to stay afloat but if you go down that road, you might lose some of your most loyal customers. To reduce the cash outflow, consider cutting the wages, or freezing the hiring process. It’s not easy to gain a customer, so if you lose them, that will be on you.

 

Be Creative

Now that you’ve identified a need that’s unsatisfied on the market and managed to fill that gap, you have to keep looking for new and innovative ways that will make you stand out from your competitions and stay relevant. Always have an open mind and be on the lookout for new ideas or approaches that can help your company in one way or another.

 

Consistency Is Critical

The only way to continue making money is by being consistent. A customer will want to buy your product instead of that offered by the competition because what you’re providing has the best quality and is in the right quantity. That’s what they will expect the next time they want to buy the same product. So if they go to the store and find out that you compromised the quality or reduced the quantity, they will channel their frustrations by purchasing from the competition.

 

Know The Risks And Rewards

An entrepreneur who’s not ready to take calculated risks is not business oriented. You have to be prepared to roll the dice once a while if you’re ever going to succeed. Figure out what the worst-case scenario is and if it’s something you can live with dive in without second-guessing yourself. You can generate tremendous rewards that can propel your company to greater heights.

 

While Focusing On The Value, Compete With The Price

Being flexible with the pricing is okay. Just don’t lower it below the market value with the intentions of luring more customers and in the process running other firms out of business.