It’s no surprise that 2020 is a Leap Year. You know, when once every four years, February gets an extra day and becomes 29 days long instead of 28? We call it a Leap Year, but in fact it’s more of a Leap Day. Since it takes 365.25 days for the earth to get around the sun one time, it’s how we account for the extra 0.25 day.
There are so many interesting facts about Leap Year and Leap Day. The history of this extra day is quirky and offers unique reading opportunities with your children. Here are seven of the most interesting ones to share with your children.
Want something fun to do on Leap Day?
Celebrate by making a frog-themed craft, making 29 treats, and inviting 29 people to the party. You could keep it simple and read the history of Leap Year with your children. It’s an interesting milestone that only comes once every four years. Do you have a fun Leap Year story? Share it on our Facebook page. We'd love to hear from you.
Did you learn to read by reading sight words? If you were born in the 1980's or earlier it's more likely that you learned how to read using phonics instead.
ASK MOM offers parents and caretakers two perspectives on today’s child-rearing issues--one from a mom with grown children, the other from a mom raising small children. If you're looking for creative solutions, or your mom isn't around to ask, drop in!
THE PROBLEM: I’m feeling like a hypocrite. When my son was a baby, I used to be disgusted when I saw a parent plant their toddler in front of a screen at a restaurant. While the grown-ups are socializing, the kid is zoned out, staring at some cartoon or other. Now that my son is three, watching a cartoon is the ONLY way he’ll sit still. Gulp. That’s me, now. Sitting in a restaurant, plugging my son in, and (mostly) chatting with everybody but him. I don’t know how to unpack my mixed-up feelings about this. YUK!
MARY SAYS: I think we have two issues here, the first one being ‘mom guilt,’ which happens when you compare yourself to others. You know, that feeling you get when you see yourself as better or worse than other moms? There are only two things you can do with that kind of guilt. Get used to it or get over it. Easier said than done, I know, but for now, can you set it aside? We have more time-sensitive work to do.
Using screens as babysitters is becoming more common, so it’s critical to consider what the implications are. When my kids were little, there were no portable screens. Children were invited (expected!) to engage with siblings and adults. Social skills take years of practice. Why not focus these few short years when your children are small to challenge them (and yourself) to create real-world experiences? How else will they develop a natural ability to talk to people? Who would you have grown into if your social engagements as a small child all felt like Saturday morning cartoons? Give this some serious thought. Make your decision, then please let other families make theirs.
KRISTI SAYS: Sometimes we as moms do things we never thought we'd do because we don't realize the circumstances that lead other parents to do them. It's hard work to train a toddler to sit for a meal. My little one is always on the go, and when we eat out, he definitely has a short attention span. While you may feel like a hypocrite, that's okay. It's okay to admit where you were too judgmental in the past. It's okay to think, "Wow, I never understood why parents did those things until now."
We all know that tons of screen time is no good for kids. But to use it on occasion so they won't run around screaming in a restaurant is probably fine. Maybe offer it as a reward for a short amount of good behavior. Like: "If you can sit here for 3 minutes, I'll let you play on the tablet for 3 minutes". Put yourself in their shoes. Sitting at a restaurant with nothing to do but watch people eat and talk is boring. Also, another option besides screen time is to let your kiddos bring a small toy or a coloring book. I find that when I do that and include my kids in the conversation, they have more fun and they behave better.
THE ISSUE: I’ve always heard how important it is to let children make their own decisions about little things, which I try to do with my three-year-old daughter. (What shirt to wear to school, if she wants to go to the park, etc.) But it feels like it’s backfiring on me! She takes forever to make a decision! She also becomes resistant to anything I suggest, and even throws tantrums when she can’t have her way. Help!
MARY SAYS: When children are young, they need trusted adults to show them how to make wise decisions. Three-year-old doesn’t want to be in charge—it’s too scary! Your daughter’s ability to make her own decisions will mature after watching you make decisions for her. Instead of presenting multiple options, offer her one and tell her why you’ve chosen it: “We’re having oatmeal today because it’s cold outside and it will warm you up!” Gradually, she will ‘get it’ after watching you, and she will be able to make her own decisions with confidence—and without tantrums.
KRISTI SAYS: I'm right in the thick of things with my threenager. If your kids are like mine, they say they want something one way, then change their minds moments later! It drives me crazy! The most important thing is that when a tantrum ensues, do not try to placate your child or "give them whatever they want.” This will only teach them that fits get them what they want. Let them have the fit (in a safe place of course). When they’ve calmed down, they’re much more likely to be reasonable humans. I find that too many choices can be overwhelming. I stick with letting my kids make choices when time doesn't matter, and only giving them two options when it does.
Speaking of Kids
Online phonics program blog: Musings, stories, and tips about teaching, reading, and parenting.
ABOUT MARY FOLLIN
Mary is the author of TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ and ETHYR, winner of the Moonbeam Children's Book Award and the Gertrude Warner Book Award. She is mom to two grown sons and enjoys sharing her more seasoned perspective with parents of younger children.
ABOUT KRISTI CROSSON
Kristi is a professional photographer and homeschooling mom of three small children. She has a passion for helping other moms make healthy choices for themselves and their families. To learn more about Kristi, please visit her website.
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