Engage Your Childrenin October Celebrations – Opelika Observer

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1.
By Beth Pinyerd
October enters this week with many child-friendly celebrations that the Classroom Observer would like to focus on to benefit your children and families.
This month celebrates Child Health Month, International Walk to School Month, National Clock Month, Emotional Wellness Month, National Book Month and National Reading Group Club.
National Child Health Day occurs on the first Monday of every October. This day emphasizes the kind of daily health care children need in order to live best physically, emotionally and mentally. The guidance tips are to plan and schedule your children’s routine health checkups; make sure your child’s vaccines are current and up to date; schedule routine dental appointments and checkups; model healthy habits in front of your children like good nutrition, exercise such as walking and playing, getting enough sleep and practicing good hygiene habits. 
I know the Greater Generation and we Baby Boomers remember in the “good old days” that we would walk to and from school. It was safer for our generations to be able to do this. “International Walk To School Day” is a worldwide global event that many schools and communities participate in. Families can plan neighborhood walks with their communities.
Autumn brings in favorable cool days to walk. Children absolutely love to walk because they can explore and notice things as they walk. It is so much fun and exciting to meet people of all ages in your community. It provides a social time where your children can meet up with friends. Too, family walking is good exercise that lowers stress, makes a child happier, more focused on learning new concepts and it helps to improve moods which contributes to a good self-image and self-esteem. 
We can see from the benefits of walking for children and how walking contributes to Emotional Wellness Month. This past year with the pandemic, our children had to adapt to new ways of learning. I truly appreciate our educators and families who adjusted learning and teaching styles. It takes a lot of hard work and time to teach our young children during this unusual time. Knowing that October is also “National Clock Month” we are gently reminded of the importance of spending time with our children that truly helps in emotional wellness as they grow and develop. Spending one-on-one time with children strengthens the trusted bond between you and them for a lifetime.
Spending time with your child or children says to them that they are important to you as a parent. Spending time with your children offers  an opportunity to get to know how your children feel.      
October has been recognized as National Book Month since 2003.  Reading has so many benefits in overall learning. We gain knowledge from reading. Our vocabulary increases as we read and learn new words. Our memories are exercised as our brain remembers the  characters in the book, how the plot unfolds and other details that contribute to the story. Reading contributes to sensory and mental stimulation, as well as reducing stress. 
With all the benefits how can we as educators and parents encourage our children to love reading? Here are some tips that will help your children.
Reading aloud to your children benefits and encourages children to love books. From an earlier article, “Babies Can Read Too!” by Beth Pinyerd, babies and young children can listen to your voice, see the pictures, and help you to turn the thick cardboard pages of vinyl books. Young children can express a choice of the books they want to read. Preschool children love for us to read their favorite books over and over. Teachers can take time out in the classroom, parents can read aloud in the classroom their children’s favorite books. I had a parent who was an orthopedic surgeon, in his scrubs, who made it a point once a week to come in between his surgeries to read to my class of children. His daughter was in my class. Readers, this truly made a lasting impression for our class of children, his daughter, as well as this teacher to have this busy parent make time for us. I have had many parents and grandparents give up lunch breaks to come read to my classes.    
Provide books around your home. In the preschool and elementary classroom, I love to see children totally absorbed and engaged in looking at books in the Book Center. Providing books, newspapers and magazines reinforces the importance of reading and the enjoyment of reading. Guide children on how to take good care of their books. 
Have your children choose books which they will enjoy. Our local libraries and staff are so good at guiding parents and children to the books children show interest in. The Lewis Cooper Library has been this teacher’s best friend in gathering different theme books for my classes when I volunteer or substitute teach in a classroom. 
Show or model to children how much you enjoy reading. Share with them what you are reading and ask them to read along with you. The Greater Generation of our society are avid readers. I see them reading in libraries, at home and outside on pretty days.  Their model encourages this Baby Boomer to want to read more to gain wisdom and for enjoyment. 
Reading is a wonderful entertainment activity for children and their families. Too, choosing a night to read and share a good book strengthens family relations for different ages within the family. During sharing time, remove the distractions of television and phones. The entertainment is free.
Also, October is recognized as “National Reading Group Month”.  Its mission is to promote the value of books and reading. Gathering a group of friends to form a book club can provide fellowship with new friends where you read passages from a chosen book and discuss the content. When volunteering with the elderly in facilities, I absolutely love to be a part of their book clubs which usually meet once a month. This same form of fellowship can be done with children, too, in meeting at homes and have inexpensive book theme clubs. Make reading fun and enjoyable.
Happy October to all. I hope these few simple celebrations help you enjoy your children. They grow up so very quick. 
Beth Pinyerd
Classroom Observer

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