Monday, October 13, 2014

Sharing Great article around "smart or not so smart kids..." ??

How can we adults categorize and say our kids are smart or Not so smart??
 I have always wondered what the word "smart" really means and more important what does it mean to our children?

I have learned these words in English: Book smart and street smart but are we leaving something out.... shouldn't there then be words like physically smart OR art smart? I think the word is miss used and the word we should really use the word "talented"
 As a Mother of 2 and one daughter with slight dyslexia this has been very much talked about and addressed word and term to use in our family. Last year when then my 8 year old daughter came home in tears from school after only 2 days into third grade:
  "Mom, I am not stupid!! I am smart and I can read, I am just not as fast at it as everybody else!!"
This is from a child who knows "all practice make better" ever since she started learning to zip her zipper and tie her own shoe laces. She was and is always the one to come up with an unusual solutions to a problem and showing great signs of creativity in technical and visual assignments, so what would be the "smart" word for this kind of child?
This will be a reoccurring subject in my blog posts I am sure!! ;-)
--Mia van Beek

 As This article and video below will tell us.... we all learn differently and we all start the same but have different talents:

Why Some Kids Try Harder and Some Kids Give Up


My toddler struggled to buckle the straps on her high chair. "Almost," she muttered as she tried again and again. "Almost," I agreed, trying not to hover. When she got it, I exclaimed, "You did it! It was hard, but you kept trying, and you did it. I'm so proud of you."
The way I praised her effort took a little effort on my part. If I hadn't known better, I might have just said, "Clever girl!" (Or even "Here, let me help you with that.") What's so bad about that? Read on.
Stanford researcher Carol Dweck has been studying motivation and perseverance since the 1960s. And she found that children fall into one of two categories:
  • Those with a fixed mindset, who believe their successes are a result of their innate talent or smarts
  • Those with a growth mindset, who believe their successes are a result of their hard work
Fixed mindset: 'If you have to work hard, you don't have ability.'
Kids with a fixed mindset believe that you are stuck with however much intelligence you're born with. They would agree with this statement: "If you have to work hard, you don't have ability. If you have ability, things come naturally to you." When they fail, these kids feel trapped. They start thinking they must not be as talented or smart as everyone's been telling them. They avoid challenges, fearful that they won't look smart.
Growth mindset: 'The more you challenge yourself, the smarter you become.'

Kids with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be cultivated: the more learning you do, the smarter you become. These kids understand that even geniuses must work hard. When they suffer a setback, they believe they can improve by putting in more time and effort. They value learning over looking smart. They persevere through difficult tasks.
What creates these beliefs in our kids? The type of praise we give them -- even starting at age 1.
The research
In one study, Dweck gathered up fifth graders, randomly divided them in two groups, and had them work on problems from an IQ test. She then praised the first group for their intelligence:
"Wow, that's a really good score. You must be smart at this."
She praised the second group for their effort:
"Wow, that's a really good score. You must have tried really hard."
She continued to test the kids, including presenting them with a choice between a harder or easier task.
Kids praised for their effort tended to take the challenging task, knowing they could learn more. They were more likely to continue feeling motivated to learn and to retain their confidence as problems got harder.
Kids praised for their intelligence requested the easier task, knowing there was a higher chance of success. They lost their confidence as problems got harder, and they were much more likely to inflate their test scores when recounting them.
Later, Dweck and her colleagues took the study out of the lab and into the home. Every four months for two years, Stanford and University of Chicago researchers visited fifty-three families and recorded them for ninety minutes as they went about their usual routines. The children were 14 months old at the start of the study.
Researchers then calculated how often parents used each type of praise: praising effort; praising character traits; and "other praise" that has a neutral effect, like "Good!" and "Wow!"
They waited five years.
Then the researchers surveyed the children, now 7 to 8 years old, on their attitudes toward challenges and learning. Children with a growth mindset tended to be more interested in challenges. Which kids had a growth mindset? Those who had heard more process praise as toddlers.
I give more examples of ways to praise effort in my book, Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science.
Can you unfix a fixed mindset?
I got an email from an inner-city high school teacher. "Is it too late to learn algebra, or third-person singular conjugation, or rocket science if you didn't [develop a growth mindset] when you were 4 years old?" she asked.
Dweck had the same question. So she took middle-schoolers and college students who had fixed mindsets. She found that the students were able to improve their grades when they were taught that the brain is like a muscle: intelligence is not fixed.
It's not too late -- not for your kids, and not for you. Salman Khan of Khan Academy is on a mission to let you know it. He created an inspiring video, based on Dweck's work, titled "You Can Learn Anything":

The message: The brain is like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. The way you exercise your brain is by embracing challenges, practicing skills, learning new things. As Khan puts it, "the brain grows most by getting questions wrong, not right."
Which is why, when my toddler was trying to snap her own buckle, I needed to encourage her to take on the challenge by saying, "Almost!" and "Try again" instead of "Here, let me do that for you."
Pass it on
Sharing is caring, as they say. "If society as a whole begins to embrace the struggle of learning, there is no end to what that could mean for global human potential," Khan writes.
So pass it on!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 summer experiences

 The summer activities of hot temperatures outside and a lot of water play takes the best out of kids and there is nothing better than a well deserved nap, Meanwhile Mommy get a chance to assemble the new BBQ,,,, in which came free out of credit card points,, YEY

 A commitment to my self is a minimum of 30minutes moving every day, I am now into my 7th week and already feel stronger with more energy,, but have to say the first 2 weeks was filled with clumsiness and terrible coordination with body and mind,, ha ha luckily it turned around!!
This inspiration to change comes from seeing my Mother's struggle Physically with simple things during our visit in Sweden!

Also learning to treat myself for nice dinners, as any single parent can relate to , "how fun is it to cook for your self?" When kids are not around it's easy to ignore what we eat and especially to make it look delicious!
... trust me it doesn't happen every night ,,, but I'm learning

 We did get a new family member this summer, Meet Bella!!! THE CAT that choose to live with us ;-) Long story short:
She wandered inside our place late one evening and didnt wanna leave, after a week we found her owner (who lives 2 blocks down) he says "I don't like the cat anyhow so you can have her,,, hmmmm ok I guess then we have a new pet!!
She is now officially ours AND the Boss around the house, if I don't give her food first in the morning she will Bite my ankles as a reminder,,, ha ha ha
WE love her and we know her LOVE is mutual!!
 Treats as Hot tub bath during dinner at friends house,,,, treats as getting hold of Swedish Crayfish in Virginia and teaching freinds on how to eat them,,,, JOY

My little sister and her girls enjoyed a warm Swedish day at "Skärgården" .... more trip to Sweden events to come in separate post!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How can we parents stimulate our kids creativity?

Found this wonderful article through PBS kids, read and be inspired --Mia

Creativity and Play: Fostering Creativity

Creativity is the freest form of self-expression and, for children, the creative process is more important than the finished product. There is nothing more fulfilling for children than to be able to express themselves freely. The ability to be creative can do much to nurture your children's emotional health. All children need to be creative is the freedom to commit themselves to the effort and make whatever activity they are doing their own.

What's important to remember in any creative activity is the process of self-expression. Creative experiences help children express and cope with their feelings. Creativity also fosters mental growth in children by providing opportunities for trying out new ideas and new ways of thinking and problem solving. Creative activities help acknowledge and celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of your children as well as offer excellent opportunities to individualize your parenting and focus on each of your children. Opportunities for Creativity
To fulfill your children's need for creativity and self-expression, be sure to provide activities that are based on their interests. Learn how to listen closely to what your children are saying. Offer your children a range of creative materials and experiences: drawing, painting, photography, music, trips to museums or zoos, and working with clay, paper, wood, water and more. Provide your children time to explore materials and pursue their ideas. Don't forget to give them time to talk these ideas over with other people, both adults and children.
Varieties of Experience
Look for ways to provide multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and other community experiences for children. The more variety of experiences children have in their lives, the wider their range of creative expression. The more personal experiences your children have with people and situations outside of their own environment, the more material they can draw on to incorporate in their play.
Creativity Traps
Some parents and teachers have a hard time encouraging creative expression, even though they understand and appreciate its benefits. Maybe they don't feel creative themselves or are uncomfortable with the mess and materials. It's best to let your child tell you about their creation rather than guessing. Try not to judge, evaluate, or compare your children's creative expressions. A little assistance and direction can be helpful, but be careful not to interfere with your children's creative explorations.
Fostering the Creative Process
In order to foster the creative process, encourage your children to make their own choices. Give them frequent opportunities and lots of time to experience and explore expressive materials. What your children learn during the creative process is most important. Show your support for the creative process by appreciating and offering support for your children's efforts. Independence and control are important components in the creative process. This is especially true when working with children with disabilities.
Creative Play
One of the most important types of creative activity for children is creative play. Creative play is expressed when children use familiar materials in new or unusual ways, and when children engage in role playing and imaginative play. Nothing reinforces the creative spirit and nourishes a child's soul more than providing large blocks of time to engage in spontaneous, self-directed play throughout the day. But many parents misunderstand and underestimate the value of play in the lives of children, forgetting that play fosters physical, mental, and social development. Play also helps children express and cope with their feelings. Play helps develop each child's unique perspective and individual style of creative expression. In addition, play provides an excellent opportunity for integrating and including children with disabilities.

Avoid dominating the play. Play should be the result of the children's ideas and not directed by the adult. Try to foster your children's abilities to express themselves through play. Try to help your children base play on their own inspirations, not yours. Your goal is to stimulate play and encourage children's satisfaction in playing with each other or by themselves. Pay attention to play, plan for it, encourage it. Learn how to extend children's play through your comments and questions. Try to stimulate creative ideas by encouraging children to come up with new and unusual uses of equipment. Try to remain open to new and original ideas and encourage children to come up with more than one solution or answer. Avoid toys and activities that spell everything out for your children and leave nothing to the imagination.