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5 Places to Find Free or Inexpensive Books

December 19, 2013

By Dr. Bruce Marchiafava

Inexpensive books

As holiday gift giving is in full swing, it’s the perfect time of year to help put books in children’s hands. Between infancy and age six, a child could easily read 25 or more children’s books. Since children will outgrow books within a few months, you can acquire books in various ways that won’t break the bank.

  • Library. If you have a library, it will have a children’s section. Remember that librarians are a wealth of knowledge. They can help you select the right books for your child’s age.
  • Internet. While you’re at the library, you can use their computers to find websites that offer free books for children to read. Two such sites are Children’s Story Books Online – Stories for Kids of All Ages and Children’s Books Online: The Rosetta Project. The second site offers its books in a dozen or so different languages.
  • Friends and Families. You can trade books with other young parents, or ask friends or family members to borrow their old favorites. 
  • Garage Sales. Most garage sales have books for sale, especially children’s books, at a minimal cost. 
  • Goodwill and Other Recycling Center. Some centers collect books for resale. Again, costs are low, and you can trade your books with other parents.

Reading doesn’t have to be limited to books, however. Take a trip to the grocery store or the doctor’s office. Read the cereal box on the breakfast table. Read words on TV, especially on Sesame Street and similar child-oriented programs. It’s easy for parents to build a home rich in literacy, setting their child up for a lifelong love of reading.


Modeling Good Behavior to Prevent Bullying

November 25, 2013

By Sunny P. Chico

Model Good Behavior For Your Child

Whenever I think about bullying, I can’t help but think about what kinds of things we may be unintentionally teaching our children. As an educator, parent, and grandparent (as well as an aunt, a sister, a daughter, and a friend), I’ve seen how closely children model their behavior after their parents. How we treat each other and those around us will be how our children treat the people around them at home, in school, and well into adulthood.

This is why, as parents, it’s so important to think about what values we model at home. First, we have to show how to communicate respectfully, whether it’s with our children, our partners, or with our own family and friends. There’s a respectful way to have a disagreement where nobody is wrong, where you agree to disagree. We all lose our cool, but it’s important that when that happens, you go back and explain to your child why you lost your cool and that this was not a good way to behave.

It is also important to remember that the behaviors we allow in the home are behaviors that our children will practice out in the world. Recently I’ve seen how my daughter models this with my grandson, David. He says to me, “Nana, I don’t like it when your voice is raised.” I tell him, “I’m not raising my voice, it’s a different tone, David.” But still, I see that my daughter has instilled in him a sense of how our words, actions, and even tones, affect each other, and that it’s always important to be aware of how we’re treating each other.

As parents and grandparents, this awareness can help us guide and shape our children in a way that can prevent bullying later in life, but we can’t always prevent it at first. All we can do is deal with it as best as we know how.

If you ever learn that your child is bullying or being bullied:

  • Talk to your child. Try to understand the situation.
  • Seek assistance from the teacher. Find out what the teacher has observed and what he or she recommends.
  • Review the school bullying policy. Many schools are legally obligated to follow their stated bullying policy exactly as written.
  • Work with the school to make an action plan. Determine what steps will be taken, what the ideal outcomes are, and when to assess progress.
  • Sometimes, it may be best to call the other child’s parents and say, “I need your help.” You should make this discussion as positive as possible, and not angry or negative. Let them know what is happening. Tell them, “My son told me about this today, and I was wondering if I could seek your help with it.” 

We all want the best for our children and want to protect them from any pain or heartbreak, but so often the best protection—and prevention—is to be a positive role model for them.

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