Erin Condren Life Planner – February 1st-7th

I can’t believe February is already here! January flew by us, it feels like I just blinked. It doesn’t help that it was in the high 50’s today. For New England we should be in the thick of snow and winter, not that I’m complaining, but it just doesn’t feel like winter!

We have switched over to a different color scheme, here is the February spread:

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Blank spread for the week of February 1st

I kept it real simple this week, a less is more approach.  I primarily used stickers from Michaels, and then my standard weekly stickers and stamps.  Check out my post from January 25th-31st for where they all come from.

Here is the week before the ink, and a closeup:

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Stickers and stamps added, no writing yet.
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Close up, how lovely!

I didn’t use all the washi tape, and I didn’t glue down any extra’s.  Like I said, simple, less is more.  I love how simple it is and yet still inspiring.  Here is the final spread:

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Completed week of February 1st

Plenty of room and space for me to add to as the week gets underway.  Working on our menu plan now!

What are you up to this week?

Erin Condren Life Planner – January 25th-31st

I can’t believe we are already into the last week of January!  Somehow this year is already managing to fly by.  Here is the weekly spread for this week in my Erin Condren Life Planner:

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Erin Condren Life Planner

You can see that the pages crumpled a little bit from last week where I glued down some card stock.  Oh well, once I fill up the pages it really won’t matter much.

This week I used stickers from The Preppy Planner and stamps from Sandra Amelia.  The ink I used and other stickers came from Michaels.  Here is what it ended up looking like:

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Weekly planner spread

I love the bright greens which brighten up the snowy weather that has finally arrived here!  We only got about 6″ of snow, which really was a blessing.  We braved the weather to host a monthly Free Family Movie night at our church.  I was surprised at the turn out we had regardless of the snowy weather!  I brought along the adult coloring book and markers my sister gave me for Christmas, and it ended up being a decent snowy Saturday!

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Nothing like a little adult coloring and markers for a snowy Saturday evening!

Back to the planner…we have a vet appointment for Cody tomorrow, I ended up using a combination of both The Preppy Planner’s sticker and Sandra Amelia’s stamp:

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Sticker and Stamp for a Vet appointment Reminder

Still working on what our menu plan will look like!  I hope that for all of you who received snow stayed safe and warm!

Have a happy week!

How do Infants and Toddlers Use Books?

Last time I talked about some of the things we can expect Infants and Toddlers to learn through the use of books.  I ended by saying that we cannot expect Infants and Toddlers to sit for a story like Preschoolers, so what exactly do we expect for them to do with books?  That is a really good question!  Lets talk about some age appropriate uses for books.

Just like Infants and Toddlers aren’t able to sit for a story like preschoolers, they also aren’t able to use and appreciate books in the same way that preschoolers or older children are.  Infants and Toddlers explore books differently, oftentimes with their mouths, and that is completely ok!  As their senses are developing they want to explore their world through all of their senses.  Having plastic books or sturdy board books will allow for mouthing without destroying pages.  Another great idea are bath books, mouth away!

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Bath Books are a great alternative to young children who are exploring their world by putting everything into their mouths!

Another sense that these young children are developing is their hearing.  Books that have sounds and songs are great!  They will oftentimes be more engaged, and they are also learning cause and effect.  What happens when I turn the page?  Music starts to play!  What happens when I push this button?  I hear a squeaking noise!  Learning to manipulate these elements of books will take practice, let your child explore them freely.

Many children will enjoy being read to, and now is a great time to make story time interactive.  Engage your children letting them complete stories, point out illustrations, find things on the pages and answer questions.  “Can you find the blue car?” Try to relate elements back to them.  “The caterpillar is eating strawberries, just like you eat strawberries!”

Young children will also start to learn how to manipulate books, usually by turning pages back and forth.  They are developing their sense of sight and increasing hand eye coordination.  They will start to feel a sense of accomplishment, and you will probably notice that they start to gravitate towards books more frequently!

A great way to engage young children with story time is to create your own picture books.  When they see familiar places or faces they will give out a contagious excitement.  You can relive your enjoyment of reading with your children.

As always, leave out appropriate books that are easily accessible for your child.  Enjoy when you can spend quality time reading together.  If you find that your child is getting bored, or has a short attention span, that is perfectly ok and completely developmentally appropriate.  Don’t force books on them, let it be a choice, and when they loose interest allow them to move on.

These moments you spend with your children will go a long way towards increasing their vocabulary and language.  Even if they are too young to be expressing themselves, they are internalizing what you are saying and doing, their brains are developing at a rapid rate, and new vocabulary words are being discovered and internalized.  Early Literacy can play a huge role in language development.

As children get older, you can expand their learning by using activities that relate to stories they are reading.  Come back later this week for some great book activity ideas!

Erin Condren Life Planner – January 18-24

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Weekly Spread for Erin Condren Life Planner
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Completed week at a Glance

On my weekly spread you could see a little bit of the bleed through from the markers last week.  So I knew I would need to use stickers or paper or something to cover that up.  I stayed with a similar color scheme as last week since January tends to be the teals.  For this week I used stickers from Michaels, Washi Tape and card stock from Target, Stamps from Sandra Amelia , and stickers from The Preppy Planner.

Sandra’s stamps were some of my favorite.  I used the dollar bills as a reminder of when I have bills due this week, but it would also be adorable as a payday reminder.  Unfortunately this week isn’t a pay week!

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Bill reminders

I also love her little grocery cart stamp, I mean come on!

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The cutest little grocery cart stamp!

The “buy it” label is really a page flag that I cut and glued to the page.  It came from the dollar spot at Target.

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Page flags from the dollar spot at Target

What does your week look like?

What are Infants and Toddlers learning through books?

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents” – Emilie Buchwald

When books are introduced at the infant age it is not with the expectation that children will sit still to read them, but more with the purpose of introducing literacy and creating a “normalcy” to having books available.  Why do we have books for young children if they aren’t able to use them “appropriately” yet?

Books are used for a number of reasons.  Obviously the most important being literacy and language.  Books are a great resource for teaching vocabulary and language concepts, which in turn helps to promote cognition.  Before babies are even able to talk, they are benefiting from hearing you read and are internalizing the words that you are using.  As they get older they will start to learn that the words and pictures together are telling a story.

Books can be used as a great sensory tool, particularly for Infants and Toddlers.  Babies and young children like to touch and taste, so books with textures, sounds, moveable and pop up pieces can all incorporate meaningful sensory experiences.  Older Infants and Toddlers are developing motor control, which can also be incorporated as they learn to manipulate different pieces of various books.  Sometimes just being able to pick up the book and pretend to turn the pages is satisfying enough! Squishy, colorful and fabric books will particularly enhance sensory experience for young children.

Books can help support emotional development in children.  As I talked about in a previous post, children have a sense of accomplishment when they master something.  Books with repetition are one of the best way for children to master a story, and gain that sense of accomplishment.  This can strengthen their sense of self and build positive esteem, snowballing into that positive emotional development.  Books are also a great way to incorporate conversations about emotions.  For example by using the book “When Sophie Gets Angry – Really, Really Angry…” by Molly Bang.  Conversation starters are almost built in!  “Why is Sophie feeling angry?” “What do you do when you’re feeling angry?”

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Another added benefit to reading with young children is the social aspect.  If you are reading individually to your child you are teaching them that they are important and you want to spend your time with them.  That individual attention can be invaluable.  In a group setting, reading stories with a small or large group can still give that individual attention and feeling of importance to children.  Sometimes children might look at books together, or sit near each other and look at different books.  Again, this gives that social interaction and shared experience around a love of reading.

When children observe adults reading for fun, they internalize that reading is fun, important and beneficial.  It is impossible to read too much to a child.  Remember to have appropriate books located in accessible and various locations.  The more you read, the more you will start to see your child gravitate towards books, even when you aren’t initiating the story time!

We cannot expect Infants and Toddlers to sit for a story like Preschoolers, so what exactly do we expect for them to do with books?  Tune in later this week for my explanation!