Your Childs First Pet: A Parents Guide to Ensuring Success

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Network with other parents — homeschooling and not — to find the best activities. Also check local community centers, houses of worship, and newspaper advertisements and listings. Define a Homeschooling Schedule. Create a plan to meet the goals you've outlined.

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While a schedule makes some people feel hemmed in, it helps, especially in the beginning, to be organized and have a mission, says Dobson. Purchase a plan book and consider how you want to break up your child's academic schedule and each subject you want to work on. Consider how you want to break up your learning week by week too.

Make time for field trips and visits to the library. And remember, flexibility is one of the key appeals of homeschooling. You can always adapt your schedule to your child's changing needs.

Watch Out for Common Homeschooling Pitfalls. Homeschoolers say there are three issues that often stymie beginners. First: feeling isolated. Make sure you've followed the advice in Step 3 and joined a support group. It's not just for the kids, although socialization is critical for them.

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Homeschooling parents need to connect with likeminded adults too. Another potential problem is committing to a curriculum too early. Dobson notes that some new homeschoolers purchase an expensive packaged curriculum right away, only to find that it doesn't suit their child's learning style. Experiment for a while before you plunk down a lot of cash. Finally, know that you'll need to learn as you go. Adjusting to the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling is a challenge. Each has upper case printed letters and punctuation marks, two styles of lower case letters in print and script, along with animal pictures, and mosaic patterns.

Respond promptly when your baby cries. Soothe, nurture, cuddle, and reassure her so that you build positive brain circuitry in the limbic area of the brain, which is involved in emotions. Your calm holding and cuddling, and your day-to-day engagement with your baby, signal emotional security to the brain.

Build trust by being attentive and focused. When your child is playing, resist the temptation to check Instagram. Instead, get on the ground and spend time interacting with him. Babies who are securely attached to you emotionally will be able to invest more energy in the pleasures of exploration, learning, and discovery.

Give her a body massage. This can lower your infant's stress levels and enhance her feelings of well-being and emotional security. Loving touches even promote growth in young babies: Research has shown that premature babies who are massaged three times daily are ready to leave the hospital days earlier than babies who do not receive massages. Enlist help from your toddler at clean-up times. This is a wonderful way to practice categorization. Toddlers learn that stuffed animals have one place to go for "night-night" time; cars, trucks, and other vehicles also have their special storage place.

Children need to learn about sorting into categories and seriation placing things in order; for example, from smallest to largest as part of their cognitive advancement in preschool. This sweet story about a frolicsome dinosaur tasked to clean up promotes organizational skills and responsibility through loads of laughter and positive reinforcement. Your mobile child will begin to understand spatial parameters and vocabulary such as under, over, big, little, near, and far, plus the relationship between objects of different shapes and sizes those that are big versus little, for instance.

He will start to establish mental maps of his environment and a comfortable relationship with the world in which he lives. This helps your baby connect sounds with large and small motor actions. Songs also enhance your child's learning of rhythms, rhymes, and language patterns. Match your tempo to your child's temperament. Go with the flow as you try to increase a shy child's courage and comfort level, or help a highly active child safely use her fantastic energy while learning impulse control.

Your acceptance will give her the comfort she needs to experiment and learn freely. Make meals positive. Say the names of foods out loud as your baby eats. Express pleasure as he learns to feed himself, no matter how messy the initial attempts may be. This will create pleasant associations with mealtime and eating. Battles and nagging about food, on the other hand, can lead to negative brain patterns.

Sitting down to breakfast and dinner together every day can also provide a great opportunity to check in with your teen at the beginning and end of each day. Reduce screen time. There appears to be a direct relationship between violent TV shows, movies, Internet content, and video games, and violent behavior in teenagers. Limit the time your teen has access to electronic devices—and restrict phone usage after a certain time at night to ensure your child gets enough sleep. Encourage exercise. Once exercise becomes a habit, encourage your teen to try the real sport or to join a club or team.

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Eat right. Act as a role model for your teen. Cook more meals at home, eat more fruit and vegetables and cut back on junk food and soda.

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  7. Ensure your teen gets enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can make a teen stressed, moody, irritable, and lethargic, and cause problems with weight, memory, concentration, decision-making, and immunity from illness. You might be able to get by on six hours a night and still function at work, but your teen needs 8. Suggest that your teen try listening to music or audio books at bedtime instead.

    That means looking after your emotional and physical needs and learning to manage stress. Take time to relax daily and learn how to regulate yourself and de-stress when you start to feel overwhelmed. Learning how to use your senses to quickly relieve stress and regularly practicing relaxation techniques are great places to start. Talk it over. Find support from family, friends, a school counselor, sports coach, religious leader, or someone else who has a relationship with your teen. Remember your other children. Dealing with a troubled teen can unsettle the whole family.

    Siblings may need special individual attention or professional help of their own to handle their feelings about the situation. Your teen can overcome the problems of adolescence and mature into a happy, well-balanced young adult.

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    New Mexico State University. ACT for Youth. Palo Alto Medical Foundation. American Psychological Association.