Search
Explore

Do-It-Myself Guide on Babble.com How to float, swing, tie your shoes, blow your nose, and be a kid.

400x236.jpg

“I can do it myself!” Surely, a battle cry for the ages: well, ages 2-18. In the spirit of the DIY revolution, we’ve put together our own home schooling guide, Babble style. Here are 25+ tips and how-to’s for teaching kids lots of useful and, frankly, not-so-useful-but-really-fun new skills, from floating in the pool to curing an ice-cream headache to losing like a winner. – Allison Pennell

How to Make a Couch Fort

The perfect antidote to cabin fever: the couch fort. Let your kids gather every pillow and cushion on the premises. Use the big bottom couch cushions vertically as walls (either on the couch or the floor nearby) and drape sheets over for the roof and doors. A play tunnel makes a great entrance. You can also use chairs to drape sheets over. Remember, there’s no one right way, and necessity IS the mother of invention.. Bunk beds also make for a great two-tiered hide-out; just hang sheets with a sturdy clip or shoved into the mattress. Last but not least, give all builders their own flashlight before retreating to the comfort of your cushion-less chair to read the paper.

How to Tell Your Left

from Your Right

lefthand.gifKids can learn this as soon as they know what the letter L looks like. Have your little guy hold out his hands, palms facing away, fingers to the ceiling, thumbs facing each other. The hand that forms an L is the left hand. Simple!

How to Cure an

Ice Cream Headache

icecream.gifHave her press her thumb up against the roof of her mouth as soon as the pain sets in.

How to Clean Up

If you’ve found yourself trotting out the evergreen “Do I look like your maid?” lately, this one’s for you: five parent-tested ways to get kids to “do their share”:

• Toy Out, Toy In – Teach the golden rule: Only one class of toys can come out at a time.

• The Carrot – If she can clean up the clutter in the next ten minutes, there’s a reward in store.

• The Stick – Not too PC, we know, but the quiet threat of toys heading off to the Good Will can work wonders. Place a garbage bag or can prominently in the center of the offending area and let ’em know they’ve got 15 minutes.

• Musical Accompaniment – We like Laurie Berkner’s song Clean It Up, available here as a 99-cent download.

• Make it a Game – Play “I Spy” (something green or round or fluffy) and the room could be cleared in record time.

Page 1Page 2

Page 3

Page 1

Page 5

The Babble Do-It-Myself Guide

How to float, swing, tie your shoes, blow your nose, and be a kid.

by Allison Pennell

July 21, 2009

400x236.jpg
Page 1

Page 2Page 3

Page 1

Page 5

How to Blow Your Nose

As any parent quickly discovers, blowing your nose is not an innate skill. It takes practice. Lots of practice. We’re talking years here. And it’s kind of hard to explain, somehow. So we asked NYC pediatrician Philippa Gordon to do it for us.

What you’ll need: a CLEAN tissue (not that desiccated science experiment in your pocket). Get snot- nosed child to take a big breath in through the mouth before attempting the big blow. Instruct him to keep his mouth a little open and, blocking one nostril at a time, blow out in little, gentle puffs (no honking; painful to everybody’s ears, literally and figuratively). Then switch nostrils. Don’t expect kids under five or six to really get it but that’s okay. Recent research shows that too much nose-blowing can actually make a cold worse by (warning: this is going to be a bit gross) sending mucus back into sinus passages.

How to Wipe

A learned art, for sure. We know third-graders who are still calling for assistance! Think three little words: front to back. For those who don’t want to have to call the plumber, try flushable wet wipes. Treat them to two or three to protect their delicate sensibilities.For wipers-in-waiting, librarian Lisa Von Drasek recommends her favorite potty book of them all: Time to Pee! by Mo Willems

How to Make Nice With the Cat

It’s not for nothing that many cats make themselves scarce when they hear the pitter-patter of little feet. Kids just want to have fun. Unfortunately, having their tail used like a lass isn’t as much fun for the kitty. Cats want affection, but on their terms, and it’s up to parents to help set the ground rules: take it slowly and wait for the kitty to come to you; don’t stick your face too close; gently pat and lightly scratch under the ears and along its neck.

How to Greet a Dog

Teach your kids to always ask an owner first if it’s okay to pet their dog. Have your dog lover hold out the back of his hand for the dog to sniff before dog.jpgpetting a dog on their side and back.

How to Sneeze and Cough

Into. Your. Elbow. Not. Your. Hands.

sneeze.jpg

How to Cure Hiccups

Everybody’s an expert when it comes to hiccups. Some “home remedies” approved by the Mayo Clinic:

A spoonful of sugar.

Hold your breath (swallowing it down, not in your cheeks) for as long as you can, opening your mouth to take a few additional swallows without exhaling.

Bend at the waist and drink a big gulp of water upside down from the opposite edge of the glass, then stand up quickly and let the water push the air bubble down.

Breathe into a paper bag,

Gargle with ice water,

Page 1

Page 2Page 3

Page 1

Page 5

The Babble Do-It-Myself Guide

How to float, swing, tie your shoes, blow your nose, and be a kid.

by Allison Pennell

July 21, 2009

400x236.jpg
Page 1

Page 2

Page 3Page 1

Page 5

How to Tie Your Shoes

Or, why they invented velco. It can be painstaking but worth it for the sheer joy when those little fingers have accomplished their goal. Very soon, they’re going to know that bunny ears are for babies, but in the meantime: Have ’em cross the laces to make an X. Then, put one lace through the bottom of the X and pull tight. Now, have them loop the laces into bunny ears and make another X using the bunny ears, sliding one ear under the X and pulling tight.

How to Snap Your Fingers

According to Ugly Betty, spitting on your fingertips makes it easier to snap. And guess what? It really does, though feel free to encourage a more sanitary way of moistening them. Snap thumb and middle finger against each other hard, thumb heading up, middle finger down.

How to Get Dressed

Take a few lessons from Learn To Dress Monkey by Alex Toys ($37.99), complete with fully removable clothes (down to the socks and shoes!) and 11 “dressing skills” to master (like how to button overalls.)

How to Swing

Think legs straight out, body back when going forward, and legs and body tucked in going backward. The more the swinger pulls back as he swings forward, the higher he’ll go. To help with the timing, stand in front of the swing with your arms out and challenge your swinger to touch your hands with his toes. When he’s at the top, push on his feet to get him to start tucking in. Soon, he’ll be pumping that swing on his own.

How to Keep Soap Out of Eyes

A plague for small bathers and their adult assistants: the dreaded water in the eyes. She could be an Olympian someday if only she didn’t shriek “towel” any time a drop approached. The cure? Get a pair of swim goggles. They’re fun to have around at bathtime and will let kids feel empowered. Any will do but we especially like the comfy, kid-sized Youth Flexframe Goggle by TYR ($13).

How to Wash Your Hands

As long as kids can turn on water, they can do this themselves, although it may be a good idea to supervise till age 4 or so (think flooding). According to John Murphy at the Mayo Clinic, plain old soap and warm water is best. If your little person sings his ABCs or Happy Birthday while he soaps up, it’ll be time to rinse when the song’s over (15-20 seconds will do the trick). And no drying off on the seat of the pants; use a clean towel.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3Page 1

Page 5

The Babble Do-It-Myself Guide

How to float, swing, tie your shoes, blow your nose, and be a kid.

by Allison Pennell

July 21, 2009

400x236.jpg
Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4Page 5

How to Stay Calm

John Allgood, longtime kindergarten teacher (yes, he’s my kid’s teacher), calls it “getting steady” because it’s not a criticism. Who likes to be told to calm down? But getting steady is kind of cool. As he says, calm isn’t the natural disposition of some kids; focus on frenzied vs. loud, active and productive. So how to teach a whirling dervish to keep from spontaneously combusting? Use some teacher tricks:

1. Set up a non-verbal signal (turning off the lights) for everybody to get quiet.

2. Stay “steady” yourself: calm and quiet in the face of the storm.

3. Instead of semi-coherent threats of drastic consequences, count to five slowly.

4. Give them some alone time to collect themselves (ie. a time out without saying it’s a time out).

5. Teach them to breathe deeply: “let your belly get big like a balloon.”

How to Brush Your Teeth

Back-and-forth or up-and-down? It’s the burning question of our own youths. toothbrush.gifThe American Dental Association says side-to-side at a 45% angle. And don’t forget to tell them to brush the tongue. For impatient brushers, the original Dr. Fresh Firefly Blinking Children’s Toothbrush (2 for $2.99) has a built-in one minute timer that keeps kids brushing until the blinking light goes off.

How To Answer the Phone

According to manners doyenne Cindy Senning-Post, kids probably shouldn’t start answering the phone until they’re five, but if you have your hands tied momentarily, you can start with teaching them the basic script. phone.gifAnd with caller ID, you can let them loose on a few known callers:

“Hello”:

“Who’s calling?”

“Hold on a moment, please”

How to Share

The road to the social graces is a long one. It takes some of us upwards of a lifetime to share our toys. So it should come as no great surprise that it is not a natural talent of human beings but a learned social skill – and one that doesn’t come easily. If possession is nine tenths of the law, it is doubly so for our little ones. Four things:

The kid needs to know that not everything in the world is hers for the taking, that some things belong to other people.

Build turn-taking into your time together every day. At the playground, help your child get used to the rule of waiting for the slide or the swing.

If you have a funky pair of sunglasses, let your little one try them on and let them know that they are yours but you are willing to share as long as they are careful and give them back.

Establish some ground rules about sharing and be consistent in your enforcement. When two siblings or older kids both want the same toy, set a kitchen timer for five minutes to help them know when it’s time to switch.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 4Page 5

The Babble Do-It-Myself Guide

How to float, swing, tie your shoes, blow your nose, and be a kid.

by Allison Pennell

July 21, 2009

400x236.jpg
Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 1

Page 5

How to Set the Table

Helping around the house is a self-esteem builder, or so they say. To wit, we love the classic, award-winning settable.gif“I Can Set a Table” laminated placemat.

How to Cook

For teaching kids everything from cracking an egg and kneading dough to slicing and grating, Bank Street College Librarian Lisa Von Drusek loves Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes (Tricycle Press, ages 4-8) by Molly Katzen of Moosewood Cookbook fame.

How to Be a Good Loser

Cut through the usual touchy-feely stuff with a no-bunkum explanation sure to appeal to young competitors: self-interest. Teach them that in most games, there’s always going to be a winner and a loser. And there’s always going to be a next time, if you play it right. Nobody (not even their long-suffering parents) is going to want to play with a sore loser, or a sore winner, for that matter. So, tell them to take a deep breath and let it all go.

How to Take Gross Medicine

Having your child suck on a popsicle or ice cube before taking the big, bad gulp will numb the taste buds long enough to get the medicine down.

How to Ride a Bike

In bikes as in life, it’s all about balance. And pedal-free bikes are just the ticket (albeit a kind of pricey one) for getting kids balanced and ready for a two-wheeler. Of course, you could just take the pedals off of an old Schwinn and call it a day.

How to Float

Any kid can float, no matter how little, says Swim America programmer Rose Cholewinksi. It’s a matter of body position. Stand behind their heads cradling their head in your hands and have them look back at you. Head, bellies and toes are all on top of the water. Let them know you have them.

Page 1

Page 2

Page 3

Page 1

Page 5

Article Posted 6 years Ago
share this article
facebook twitter tumblr pinterest
See Comments
what do you think?
share this article
facebook twitter tumblr pinterest
See Comments
what do you think?
what do you think?
close comments
Subscribe to the
Newsletter
Welcome to
Settings
Sign Out
Follow us on
Social