What To Do After Halloween And Other Holidays

Halloween is a funny holiday. It is very important for so many children. Yet, to me this particular holiday does not hold much historical or national significance in comparison to other holidays we celebrate...but there is lots of sugar and fun involved!

 Kids get excited, have lots of candy, and inevitably get into a sugar "low" right after Halloween

Read these tips to help your child recover after the excitement of Halloween

Balance Your Child's Diet!
Your child's diet will affect their energy level, performance at school, and ability to do their homework. Interestingly, research now shows that sugar in small quantities is not harmful for children. A piece of candy after a healthy meal will not harm your child. The problem? The candy comes in much bigger proportions around Halloween. After the candy rush of Halloween, focus on salads, fruit, and healthier meals! Balance their diet to keep their bodies healthy and their minds sharp!

Your child has collected too much candy after Haloween. They would eat nothing else!
I have lots of parents who come for lessons after the week of HAlloween reporting that they have enough candy at the house for nearly a year. This can be dangerous.
Having lots of leftover candy can be a good way to sneak in some discipline and studies into your child's routine. You can use what they are motivated by to help them build routines.

Set rules on how much candy they can have and what they need to do in order to get it! For example, they can have have a piece of candy on a weekend after lunch and if they have helped with the dishes. They can have a candy every time they have done 30min of instrument practice, math HW, etc.
It is also great to use the leftover candy for after-Halloween educational games. For ideas see post Treasure Games

Your child starts acting out at school!
This may be the time you experience an an Unexpected Phone Call Home from your teacher. You may have a perfectly well behaved child. And during this time of year they may start acting up.

Realize that everybody is tired. This is difficult time in the school year. At that time students start getting tired and the school work demands increase. Both teachers and students start feeling overwhelmed at that time. Simply realizing that and being able to let go a bit will take care of a lot of stress. Don't jump into quick conclusion both about your child or your child's teacher. Instead, take a step back and carefully think about the situation. If you need support handling a phone call home, see this post.

Your child is too tired all the time!
Imagine a sugar rush and then dropping your energy level. This is what your child may be experiencing   after Halloween. Whether permitting, get your child outside. Get them moving. Allow anough rest even if things at school are busy. Watch your child's nutrition after Halloween. Balancing the candy with greens and healthy food is always a good idea to get their little bodies back on track.

Remember, balance is the best way to parent! Balance fun with serious, tasty with healthy!
For First Year Teachers...
Get Deeper Into Learning about Art this Halloween

In many of the posts in this blog, I like to reinforce that when children are having fun, this is the best opportunity to learn! Fall and the anticipation of Halloween is a great opportunity to deepen your child's learning on many different levels. Decorating, crafts, costume preparations, these are all opportunities to spend time with your child and to think about taking their education one step further at whatever stage in life they might be. See this best selections of wonderful articles about making Jack-O-Lantern, pumpkin carving, and Halloween to get a bit more art education with your child. To me as a teacher, Fall is wonderful time of the year as the ideas about motivating a child are endless.

Take Halloween art education one step further with these ideas:

I simply love this post and I feel all parents should read it. Fall is a great time to not only decorate but also learn some of the basic principles in art. Creating Jack-O-lantern is a great way of doing that.

Fall season is a good time to reinforce reading and language comprehension. I love this simple Halloween activity about making a Jack-O-Lantern bookmark. After making it, see if you can start a game or a friendly family contest with how much your child can read. For example they can track how quickly the Jack-O-Lantern bookmark can move from the beginning to the end of the book they are reading. They can have a little treat once the new bookmark goes through a certain number of pages, etc. 

Learning about the history of Halloween is always a good idea no matter what other activity you want to do with your child. Even, if you are not celebrating Halloween, that could be a starting point of discussion with your child- explain how it all started and share your reasoning about your family beliefs. This site also provides lots of other art ideas related to Halloween you may decide to use. 

What do you do with your child around that time of the year? 
Pumpkin bread is almost in the oven!!! 
Oh, I just need a few minutes to get it ready! 
What do I do with my kids while preparing it?

The holidays can provide a wonderful educational opportunity for children. As a teacher I see how enthusiastic students get right before a holiday. They also get very engaged when the educational activity is connected to the holiday coming up. This could be a powerful tool for learning! Parents and teachers can use the holidays to not only engage in fun activities but to also fit extra learning into the daily routine. This can be especially effective with the reluctant learners as well as studying more difficult subjects. 

As this is a music site...let's begin the Halloween preparation by introducing a music educational and literacy material! While busy getting candy, costume shopping, pumpkin carving, and planning parties, let's use Halloween to also fit some EDUCATION into our child's lives.

Here is just one idea to make the best of Halloween!

While baking your favorite Fall recipes, have your little one entertained and educated with Dem Bones!

What is it: 
Dem Bones and more sing-along stories is an educational DVD with a few little sing-along stories! The animation is quite cute, the ghosts are inviting and funny, and the songs are easy to follow. 

Some of the things your child will be learning:
Music - they will listen and sing along. The DVD is very easy to follow and your child will enjoy singing along with it. 
Anatomy - the first story in the DVD shows the "bone characters" who sing and explain to the kids about the different bones and joints in the body.  Then the DVD takes your child to the  "Dinosaur Bones",  describing the pre-historic bones as well as the history of fossils.
Integrated curriculum- your child will be learning by integrating different subjects with music. We have written many posts stressing the importance of music for young children to retain information. 

Can I get is as a book:
Yes, depending on your child's needs and your learning goals you can get the same Dem Bones sing-along stories as a book. I like having sing-along materials in a DVD format because that gives the child the opportunity to hear the music and see visuals. It also may take the pressure away from a parent who wants to teach their child but does not feel comfortable singing along with them. However, doing a combination between reading to/with your child and watching the DVD would be ideal. 

Now...for the best way to enjoy Fall learning with your child...

Why not connect Fall baking and learning?

Enjoying a treat after learning together can be a great way to spend time and develop relationship with your child. You can also use the time to do it as you are waiting for the treat to bake!

 My top 10 picks of Fall and Halloween baking recipe gems!

Sweet Potato Banana Nut Bread from this site

 Nutella Swirl Bread from A Pinch of Glitter 

Pumpkin Magic Bars from www.bakersroyale.com

Pumpkin Bread from MusicTeaching&Parenting

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins from Give Peas a Chance

Whole Wheat Pumplin Maple Chunk Cookies from The Sweet Tooth Life

Soft Chewy Pumpkin Cookies with Chocolate Chips from Shaken Together

Lightened Up Crumbly Pumpkin Bread from Damn Delicious

Happy Fall Everyone!
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A Short Post on Frustration with Children

I just finished a long day and my teaching today made me think about ... frustration. And balancing out the positive and negative so that we always keep things in perspective. Sometimes it is so easy for us adults to get frustrated with kids. It happens all the time in the process of learning in stages of life-as a parent, teacher, or as a child. How often do we have frustrations outside our family only to come back home and to be faced with chores, more work or more frustrations. Often allowing children to grow means that we need to be strong. Some days we all feel that we are the child who needs support and understanding.

Now think, how easy really it is for us to over react when talking to children?

When you are frustrated, how do you behave at home? Do you take that frustration with you, do you talk about it, do you expect others around you to act differently?

Also, is there really a right answer? Probably not as we are all in the process of learning. It just the awareness of our tendencies that will help us re-direct our thoughts. 

Next time, when I get frustrated, I will appreciate somebody around me for something they do well. I will let positive emotions balance out the frustration. 

How about YOU?

Feta Cheese and Butternut Squash Eggs

There is nothing better than making something super easy and adding just a bit of a twist that will make you family or guests love it! Fall is a very busy season for me as I am sure for many other women. So making cooking easy and delicious helps. This weekend, try a Fall inspired breakfast or brunch by adding butternut squash and feta cheese to your scrabbled eggs or omelet. The taste combination is absolutely delicious!

Looking at brunch recipes always makes me feel of spending free time at the house and enjoying a lazy morning. This is exactly what I need right now and now many of my friends do too! This is why I am posting this recipe!

4  eggs
3  oz fetta cheese crumbled 
12 oz butternut squash
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper

Well...scrambled eggs don't need that much instruction. Pre-roast butternut squash. Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk them. Add the salt, pepper, butternut squash, and the feta cheese. Stir the batter well.
Heat a pan on high. Grease the bottom of the pan. Poor the egg batter. Stir very gently once when the batter starts cooking to ensure that the eggs don't stick to the bottom. Too much stirring while the eggs are cooking will not result in fluffy eggs. Simply do it quickly to make sure they don't stick to the bottom. You may also sprinkle green onions black pepper, or parsley on top!

Recipe also shared on www.myrecipemagic.com

Enjoy your weekend!
Welcome to the 44th Kid Lit Blog Hop where we continue to develop a dynamic and engaged community of children's books bloggers, authors, publishers, and publicists. So, you are always more than welcome to join us by popping in a post and hopping around to meet some of your fellow Kid Lit bloggers and authors! We are pleased to be welcoming a co-hostess with us this week, Stephanie Ward, the author of the children's book,Wally the Warm Weather Penguin. Welcome Stephanie!

Happy Hopping everyone and enjoy the Hop!

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I Ate a Cicada Today 
 Wonderful Children's Book
by Jeff Crossan
Enjoy a review of this children's book and CD hot from the publishers as well as the guest posts from the author himself!
There’s a little blond-haired boy who appears several times in I Ate a Cicada Today.  I drew him to look like my son, Jon, when he was still small.  As a boy, Jon loved all animals.  His pets have included a Guinea pig, a chameleon, an octopus, a tarantula and a python, some of which share his room to this day.  That’s because he loves animals as much as ever.  But I’m sure he loves music just as much, if not more.  He plays guitar, bass, drums and piano.  He writes songs and sings in a rock band, The Elevaders, with friends who have played together in various groups since they were in middle school.  Jon graduated from college this year with a degree in environmental studies but he’s focused mostly on music right now. 
I understand.
 When I was invited to write an entry for Music Teaching and Parenting I thought it might be a good idea to interview Jon.  After all, he’s a character in my book and a musician.  I’m a musician, a former music journalist and Jon’s parent.  It just felt like the planets had lined up here.  Let’s see.
Tell me one or two of your earliest music-related memories, Jon.
Some of my first memories involving music are from when I was in elementary school. I remember going to piano lessons and being upset because they were at the same time as my favorite show, Dragon Ball Z. I also remember the day that my music teacher Ms. Bonner asked us all to sing for her. She walked around the room listening to all the other kids sing and when she got to me I remember thinking, “Uh oh, I better sing really well.”  She stood next to me for a lot longer than the other kids and I wasn’t sure what that meant at the time but I guess she thought I sounded good.

Your first music lessons were Suzuki piano lessons.
How do you think they helped you?

I’d say they helped train my ear and familiarize me with musical structure, which helped me later when I played French horn in the middle school band.

You were the student from Williamson County chosen to sing with the Nashville Symphony as a member of the Tennessee Treble Choir in fifth grade. I remember peeking through the door during your first rehearsal. When you spotted me you raised your index finger and thumb to your head like a gun to express your lack of enthusiasm, shall we say, with the tedium of the rehearsal. How did that whole experience turn out?

I hated the rehearsals at first because I was the only kid from my county so I didn’t know anyone or have any friends there with me. And the music sounded very strange without the entire orchestra there behind it. But once we got to rehearse with everything together I got really excited because it sounded awesome.

What did I do right or wrong as a parent in regard to music?

You were very supportive and encouraging when it came to my interests in music, which helped me grow as a musician. I remember riding in the car listening to oldies 96.3 and you asking me “Who’s this playing Jon?” and I would try to guess which artist it was. That type of game helped me develop a good ear because I learned to listen for certain sounds that identified certain artists. The only criticism I’d make would be to say it might have been better to change my piano lesson time to after my favorite shows were over so I would have been less resistant to going to them.

What does music mean to you today?
 That’s a pretty hard question to answer and I could probably go on and on trying.  But long story short -- music is my passion and what I believe I was put on this earth to do. It’s my way of expressing myself. And I’d definitely say it’s a form of therapy when I’m feeling down. Writing music has always made me feel better when I do it and I want to share those feelings with the rest of the world.

We don’t have the same tastes when it comes to some types of music but we do agree on The Beatles. Who’s your favorite Beatle?

That’s a hard choice to make but I’ve always admired Paul McCartney’s bass lines and writing prowess. He’s definitely one of my biggest idols when it comes to music. And listening to his and the rest of the Beatles’ music as a kid definitely helped shape me as a musician today.

Finally, do you have a favorite children’s picture book with accompanying CD?