Kindermusik with Chryssa's Blog

Kindermusik International e' il leader nel mondo per programmi di musica e movimento per bambini / Kindermusik® is the world's leading provider of music & movement programs for young children, enjoyed by over 1.5 million families in 70+ countries.

Good Bedtime Habits for our Little Ones!

I always used to wonder why my mom would send us to bed so early and as I a child I often thought of it as unfair…Now years down the line, I understand why and I want to say: THANKS to my mom!

Research has shown that a good night’s sleep is vital to building the brain development and academic achievement of young children.

After having followed approximately 11, 000 children aged 3, 5, and 7, researchers from the University College of London found that children at 3 years old who had an irregular bedtime, or who went to bed after 9 p.m., performed badly on tests for spatial reasoning, math and reading, even if the children started to have more regular bedtime at a later stage.

Yes, you read right!  Poor bedtime habits for young children have an affect on them later on in the classroom, stunting their ability to learn and setting yet another barrier in their attempt to learn to their full potential.

During the early years of a child’s life their brain development – brain architecture, that is the neural connections that make the brain function, is most sensitive.  Much of the development that takes place during this first five years of our lives defines what our brains will look like as an adult.

So, as any architect or engineer would warn us about the high risk of a structure falling down when its foundations are unsteady, likewise children that don’t have solid foundations of emotional, physical and mental development suffer the consequences years down the line.

Research after research shows that the key to reversing these trends while also setting society up to reap major benefits in the future is early intervention, largely because, as Frederick Douglas opined, “[It’s] easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Who has the most powerful tool to start addressing these critical problems? Parents! They have undivided access to their young children and the ability to positively intervene in their lives.

Some of the best science is on the side of parents. For example:

  • One of the largest studies of its kind last year, showed that children are exposed to an average of 232 minutes of background television per day!  This stunts their cognitive abilities and ability to engage in social play. By turning the television off, parents can limit this exposure.
  • Make sure that children have a chance to hear as many words as possible. Studies shows us that is it is vital that children are exposed to as much vocabulary as possible so they are later successful in school and life.
  • Keep it fun. Researchers at the American Academy of Pediatrics found that unstructured play is critical in the development of strong emotional, social, and cognitive abilities. The more children have a chance to develop their creative thinking and problem solving skills through play, the better they are at coping with stress and learning in a classroom setting later in life.

Parents play the most important role in a child’s life, and can make a difference, as they are their child’s best teacher!

So even though it might take one or two more readings of a bedtime story to get your little one to sleep, science proves that it will pay off in the long run!!!

Original post can be found here.

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11 Things I Wish Every Parent Knew

A wonderful post by Dr Stephen Cowan….something that all parents should read and take into account…you won’t be disappointed!

After 25 years practicing pediatrics, and caring for thousands of children, I’ve noticed some patterns that offer me a deeper vision of health. Here are some of those invaluable lessons:

1. Growth and development are not a race. 
These days we’re in such a rush to grow up. In our mechanized, post-industrialized world of speed and efficiency, we’ve forgotten that life is a process of ripening. To get good fruit, you need to nourish strong roots. Pay attention to the ground that supports your child’s life: Go for a walk with your child, eat with your child, play together, tell him a story about your experience as a child.
 
2. Creating family traditions encourages strong roots and a healthy life. 
This takes time and practice. Personal traditions are sacred because they promote exchanges that strengthen bonds of love and intimacy and build the kind of confidence that will carry your child through this world.
3. We grow in cycles. 
There is a rhythm and pulse to each child’s life – sometimes fast and intense, sometimes slow and quiet. Just as each spring brings a renewed sense of appreciation for life, each stage of a child’s life is a time of new discovery and wonder. After all, learning is not just a process of accruing information. It’s the process of transforming our ideas, and sometimes this requires forgetting in order to see with fresh eyes. Some children will take a step backward before making a giant leap forward.
Growing in cycles means that we don’t get just one chance to learn something. The same lesson will offer itself up to us again and again as we pass through the seasons of our life. There is deep forgiveness in this way of understanding childhood, which I find takes the pressure off parents to “get it right” the first time.
4. Encouragement is not the same as indulgence. 
We are not in the business of raising little kings and queens. Kings don’t do well in our society. Recent studies have shown that indulgence actually weakens your child’s powers to survive, deflating motivation and diminishing feelings of success.
Encouragement means putting courage in your child, not doing things for him. Create a supportive context that will open up a path without pushing your child down it. Unconditional love is the scaffolding that encourages your child to take chances, to experiment, and to fail without judgment. Sometimes being an encouraging presence in your child’s life means standing a little off in the background, there to offer a compassionate hand when circumstances call for it, but trusting in his innate ingenuity.
There is spaciousness in encouragement. Indulgence, on the other hand, limits freedom by inflating a child’s sense of entitlement and reducing the patience needed to work through obstacles when he doesn’t instantly get his way. Indulgence leads to small-minded thinking.
5. Pushing your buttons is a spiritual practice, and children are our spiritual teachers. 
You don’t need an expensive spiritual retreat to become enlightened. Your little sage-teacher is right in front of you, offering you true wisdom free of charge!
Children watch our every move when they’re little, studying our inconsistencies as they try to figure out this crazy world. And they will call you on it. When a child pushes your buttons, remember: they are your buttons, not hers. Take the time to listen to what your child is trying to teach you. One of the secrets of parenthood is our willingness to transform ourselves out of love for our child. When you’re willing to look at your buttons, you open up a deeper self-awareness that is transformative for both you and your child.
6. A symptom is the body’s way of letting us know something has to change. 
Good medicine asks what is the symptom trying to accomplish? rather than simply suppressing it. Our body has its own intelligence and yet so much of pharmaceutical advertising tries to convince us that there is something wrong with feeling symptoms. Much of my medical training was focused on stopping symptoms as if they were the problem. (This is like telling the body to shut up. It’s rude!) We don’t trust the body’s intelligence. We think too much and tend to be afraid of feelings in our body.
But children have taught me that a symptom like fever is actually not the problem. Whatever is causing the fever may be a problem, but the temperature is simply the body’s way of trying to deal with what’s happening.
Take, for example, the child with a fever. What other symptoms does the child have? If he is playful, you may not need to suppress the fever. It means the body is trying to make metabolic heat to mobilize the immune system. To help it do this, you can give warm (not cold) fluids so it doesn’t dry out and nourishing foods like soups to fuel the fire.
7. Be prepared. 
The one phrase from the Eagle Scout motto that stuck with me since I was a boy was Be prepared. This is a state of readiness that can be fueled by confidence or fear.
These days I practice what I call “preparatory medicine” rather than preventive medicine, so that getting sick is not seen as a failure. Being healthy does not mean never getting sick. Life is a journey of ups and downs and the growing child lives in a constant state of flux. A resilient immune system is one that learns how to get sick and get better. Living too clean a life robs us of the information necessary to be fully prepared to recover.
Rather than living in fear of illness, there are natural ways we can support our children to recovery from illness quickly and efficiently: good nutrition, hydration, probiotics, rest and exercise. But the most important? Rather than focusing on how often your child gets sick, celebrate how often she gets better.
 
8. Healing takes time. 
The most alternative medicine I practice these days is taking time. As a society, we’re addicted to quick fixes because we have no time to be sick anymore. As a doctor, I was trained as a kind of glorified fireman, looking to put out emergencies quickly and efficiently.
In emergencies, strong medicine is often necessary to save lives but most health problems in childhood are not emergencies. In those instances it takes more than strong medicine to get better; it takes time. I realize that taking another day off from work because a child has been sent home from school with a runny nose can add real stress to our already stressful lives. But children have taught me that healing is a kind of developmental process that has its own stages too.
When we don’t take time to recover, we rob our children of the necessary stages they need to learn from if they are to develop long-lasting health. When we take time to recover, illness becomes a journey of discovery, not just a destination; we begin to see our health and illness as two sides of the same coin.
9. The secret of life is letting go. 
Life is a process of constantly giving way. Things pushed past their prime transform into something else. Just as spring gives way to summer, so is each stage of development a process of letting go. Crawling gives way to walking. Babbling gives way to speaking. Childhood gives way to adolescence. By breathing in, you breathe out. By eating, you poop.
Each season, each stage, each little rhythm of our life is a matter of letting go. This allows us to get rid of what we don’t need to make room in our lives for new information. Learning to let go is not always easy and each child has his own adaptive style and timing. Nature favors diversity. Remember to honor your child’s unique nature. This is what my book Fire Child Water Child is all about.
Perhaps the most important way children teach me how to let go is in the way they play. Playing means letting go of our inhibitions; it frees us up and allows us not to take ourselves too seriously.
10. Trust yourself: You’re the expert on your child. 
One of the most important things I teach new parents is how to trust themselves. Nowhere is this more daunting than when a new baby comes into our life. We’re expected to know everything and yet we feel like we know nothing. But children have taught me that this knowing-nothing can be a real opportunity to open our powers of intuition.
Mindful parenting begins by listening with an open heart to your child’s life without fear or panic. Studies have shown that a mother’s intuition is more powerful than any lab test in picking up problems. Unfortunately today we are flooded with so much scary information that it interferes with our ability to listen to our own intuition. (Just think of the arrogance of a doctor who acts like he knows your child better than you do!)
Take a tip from your baby. Look into your baby’s eyes. Imagine what it feels like to be conscious of the world before you have language, before all those labels that scare us and divide things into good and bad, right and wrong. Babies have no enemies. This is seeing from the source. It is what Zen Buddhists call “beginner’s mind.” Watch closely how your baby breathes with his belly. This is Qigong breathing. Stop thinking for a moment and try breathing this way. You may just find the answers you need waiting for you there.
11. Take the long view. (Because it’s easy to get caught in the immediacy of a problem, especially at 2am.)
Having watched thousands of children grow into adulthood, what sometimes seems like a big deal at four-months old or 14-years old may be no more than a small bump in the road. Children have taught me how to take the long view of life. When we step back and see the big picture of our lives, we discover wisdom and compassion.
 Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Original post can be found here.

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“One of the Best Ways to Get Your Baby to Sleep”

My baby doesn’t sleep at night….and I am desperate….I really don’t know what to do….I ‘ ll do anything to get my little one to sleep through the night!

Sound familiar?

“When baby ain’t sleepin’, ain’t nobody sleepin’!”

Desperate parents will really go to all lengths to get their baby to sleep through the night.  A recent post on Kindermusik’ s blog suggests that one of the best ways to get your baby to sleep is to sing to them!  What do you sing to your baby I hear you asking?   A lullaby, of course!  Don’t worry about not having a stage – perfect voice, to your baby your voice is the most beautiful sound there is!  In any case, noone else apart from you is going to hear you singing softly to your baby in the early hours of the morning…

Music to help baby sleep

Photo Credit: all-free-download.com

Lullabies for Babies

While your baby has learns to fall asleep on his / her own, you may want to play some gentle lullaby recordings to help your baby in this process. Some suggestions by Kindermusik are the following:

You Are My Sunshine by Kindermusik International – available at Amazon or play.Kindermusik.com

Violin Lullabies, a new release by violinist Rachel Barton Pine

Flying Dreams, a harp and flute recording by Emily Mitchell and James Galway

 

Create a Playlist

If you’re a Kindermusik family, you know that gentle listening music as well as lullabies is always included in Kindermusik music. You could create a playlist of all of your favourite Kindermusik lullabies and rocking songs so that it’s ready at the touch of a button – in the car, before a nap… or when you’re too tired to remember the words in the middle of the night!

Original post can be found at:

http://mindsonmusic.kindermusik.com/kindermusik/best-ways-to-get-baby-to-sleep/

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Imagination and Pretend Play

I have neglected my blog a bit being swamped with students writing exams, starting my wonderful Kindermusik programme and getting ready for a summer camp and summer lessons and I do apologize about that.

During the June Kindermusik lessons, we will be imagining going on a bicycle ride, going to the mountains and the beach.  Thus, I wanted to write about the imagination of children and pretend play…

In her book Ages and Stages, Karin Miller states that “Learning to imagine [is the] first step in stretching the human potential”.   A child’s ability to pretend and imagine usually starts around 18 months.  From there, the general developmental progression is the following:

the use of one object to represent something else, to dressing and / or pretending to be something else, to role – playing and interacting while in that role.

During Kindermusik classes, children are provided with experiences that give them the opportunity to blossom their imagination, but this will probably be more noticeable at home, where the child feels more comfortable to express himself / herself.

Here’s an idea: Simple toys like blocks and stuffed animals, dress-up clothes from the thrift store, and even empty containers or cardboard tubes can inspire hours of pretend play.  Organize these items into containers that are easily accessible to your child.

Adapted from Theresa Case’s post, M.Ed., whose Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, South Carolina, is proudly among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs worldwide.

Original post: http://mindsonmusic.kindermusik.com/kindermusik/fol-fridays-imagination-and-pretend-play/

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The World through Children’s Eyes

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Benefits of Kindermusik for ALL ages!

Following the series I have blogged about the benefits of Kindermusik for various age groups, I would like to finish with the benefits of KM for ALL ages!  Kindermusik believes that the parent / caregiver is the child’s best teacher and strives on bonding time between the two not only in class, but in the comfort of your own home enviornment!  So, check out the benefits that KM has to offer for all of us!

http://media.kindermusik.com/Images/Teacher/BenefitsOfKindermusik_KidsMusicClassesForAllAges_Infographic.png

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50 Earth Day Activities

Reblogged from Tinkerlab

Earth Day is our annual reminder to slow down and appreciate the bounty of the earth and all of the blessings it gives to our lives. As an avid recycler and upcycler, I’ve always loved Earth Day (April 22 this year), and I wanted to mark it with a round up of activities from some of my favorite sites, categorized in three themes: Natural Materials, Recycled Materials, and Outdoor Art.

50 Earth Day Activities for kids

Natural Materials

fairy garden

Recycled Materials

tin can drum recycle

Outdoor Art

mud pie kitchen

 

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Benefits of Kindermusik for Preschoolers and “Big Kids”

Kindermusik is an enrichment program taught in music studios and preschools in 72 countries around the world!  Have you ever wondered what the benefits of this amazing program could be for your preschoolers?

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I hear you asking what Kindermusik offers for “big kids” aged 5 to 7…..Kindermusik classes and curricula for “big kids” aged 5 to 7 help set the foundations for formal music instruction – and school readiness! So, make sure to involve music in your child’s life as soon as possible, because a good beginning never ends!

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Hope to see you soon in one of our Kindermusik classes!

xoxo,

Chryssa

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Benefits of Kindermusik for Toddlers

I recently posted the benefits of Kindermusik for babies, BUT they are definitely not the only ones who benefit from taking Kindermusik classes.  Below are the benefits for our toddlers and the many reasons why you should find a program near you and enroll.
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So WHAT are you waiting for?? Find a class near you!

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Benefits of Kindermusik for Babies

This poster by Kindermusik International is really interesting and tells you why Kindermusik recommends parents start taking classes with their babies as soon as they can!
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So what are you waiting for? Find a class near you!
…For information about your free preview class and classes held in the province of Varese, Italy please don’t hesitate to contact me. :-D

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