Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Take Your Pix® Board Book Photo Albums: Purposeful Fun

Laura Miranti and her daughter who inspired the
Take Your Pix® board book albums.

A picture paints a thousand words. Since the dawn of man, we have attempted to communicate with each other in pictures. We've never lost that desire to view images and in particular, images of people we love, places that we've been and occasions that are important in our lives. It is just as important to the youngsters in our lives. Only problem is, most parents are hesitant to hand over archival quality scrapbooks and albums for little ones to explore, tug on, rip at and even drool on.

All of that changes with the sturdy Take Your Pix® board book photo albums! These awesome board book albums offer an adorable and durable alternative to traditional photo albums, making them perfect for little hands and exploring minds! They are so well-constructed and sturdy, which, as most parents and educators know, equals a quality product.

This version has the title, "My First Photos", with flocked letters.
It makes for a wonderful tactile experience!

For Laura Miranti, the creator of the Take Your Pix® board book photo albums, this invention was a labor of love. She was inspired by her young daughter, who had some developmental delays and needed some support to catch up to her peers. One of the specialists that worked with Laura's daughter recommended using photos of family, friends and objects that were familiar to her. Laura was hard pressed to find a photo album that would hold up to the kind of "love" a young child would bestow upon such a book, so she created the Take Your Pix® board book photo albums.

A mother's love knows no bounds. While developed out of the love for her daughter and the necessity for a product that would serve a most important purpose, the Take Your Pix® board book photo albums have translated into a product that appeals to the masses. Young children adore seeing photos of themselves and the people and things they love. And according to the company's website, "Studies have shown that young children only have object recognition with photos. This means that before the age of two, they can not relate a drawing of an object with the actual object, but they can relate a photo of the object with the actual object." That has huge implications when it comes to helping our youngest children learn to communicate.

How this Product Changes Lives

The The Take Your Pix® board book album has so many applications, which makes it so valuable to so many. There really is no end to the way in which these board book albums can be used. We'll share a few ideas here, and if you have an idea to add, feel free to share them in our comments section.

1. Use it to help kids begin to identify objects in their daily lives: chair, book, bed, mommy, daddy, tree, dog, brother, sister, toothbrush, etc. All children need to learn these skills, and repetition works wonders!

2. Use it for alphabet and number recognition. You can scrapbook right on the pages with stickers and other doo-dads, and add picture of an object that begins with that letter. The company's website has some great examples.

3. Use it as a bridge for young children who have relatives and family members that live a distance. This will help young children better get to know what Grandma, Grandpa and Aunt Rosie look like, even though they aren't part of their daily lives.

4. Use it for young children experiencing separation anxiety when they are at daycare. Pictures can be included of the child with mom and dad, with the daycare provider, doing fun things at daycare, and then getting picked back up at the end of the day. (Mommy and Daddy always come back to get me!)

5. For young children struggling to get ready in the mornings for preschool, make a book that shows the steps it takes (getting dressed, eating breakfast, brushing teeth, getting shoes and coat on, etc). For a child having difficulty getting ready for bed a night, show similar steps. The possibilities are endless here.

6. For children with special needs such as autism and other issues that impede communication, the Take Your Pix® board book albums can offer unparalleled assistance. A key support and adaptation for children on the autism spectrum is the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), which I am very familiar with as a behavioral health consultant to early childhood programming. The PECS system goes a long way towards reducing frustration, anger and behavioral symptoms, by allowing children with limited communication skills to be able to convey their needs. Having seen this system in action, I know firsthand how wonderful it is. The company's website has a nice post on this topic.

7. Another grand use of the Take Your Pix® board book albums is for creating Social Stories. These stories are also used for children with special needs, including autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), etc. You can find some great examples of social stories here.

8. As originally intended, the Take Your Pix® can help kids with delays begin to communicate their wants, desires and needs.
One thing is for sure, no matter how you utilize your Take Your Pix® board book albums, it does provide you with purposeful fun. When learning is attached to fun, we are much more likely to be able to recall the information.

Welcome to the Kidlutions family, Laura and Take Your Pix®! We are so glad to have you aboard!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Twooth Timer Makes Toothbrushing FUN

Do you struggle to get your kids to brush their teeth?  And when you do get them to brush, do they do so in a hurried and inefficient manner?  Stop those battles with the Twooth Timer!

The Twooth Timer to the Rescue

Helping your child move towards independence with oral hygiene is an important task, but one that is often easier said than done.  Kids can come up with about a thousand different things that they'd rather do than brush their teeth.  Building skyscrapers out of blocks, jumping through puddles and playing in a pots'n'pans rock band is often way more appealing than tooth-brushing.  That is, until the Twooth Timer makes its entrance!

Antoinette deJanasz, inventor of the Twooth Timer

The Twooth Timer is a tooth-shaped timer that was invented by Antoinette de Janasz, president of the company.  The timer can be set for one minute or two minutes (the amount of time experts recommend we brush our teeth).  The company's tagline aptly reads, "Get your kids to brush for two minutes without 'pulling teeth'."  I have to tell you, they're right. 

If you have never timed yourself brushing your teeth, you will be amazed once you do.  You'll realize that, like most people, you don't even brush for half of the recommended time.  In fact, most young adults brush about a quarter of the recommended time.  Younger kids, I am sure, brush way less than that when nobody's looking.

Why Twooth Brushing Matters

Brushing teeth has always been important for healthy teeth and gums, but it turns out that the proper care and keeping of our chompers also protects our overall health.  According to the Twooth Timer website:

"New research is finding that heart disease and strokes,
as well as diabetes and respiratory disease,
may be linked to gum disease. Consider
your mouth as a doorway to your body. Plaque is a
colorless film of bacteria that sticks to
teeth and if not properly removed, can lead to gum
disease. The bacteria associated with gum disease can enter
your bloodstream and travel throughout your body.
Good oral hygiene is the best prevention."

Start Early, Stay Strong

Building healthy habits starts from a young age.  Making oral care a regular part of the day from the time your baby is born, makes this life-long skill second nature.  Early on, you'll be doing the cleaning and brushing for your child.  Then, you'll move on to assisting your child, until your child is old enough to brush herself.  Making the Twooth Timer part of the whole routine makes it fun and more effective. 

Be sure to keep the Twooth Timer's contact information on hand, because cousins, friends and other visitors may want to know how they can score one for themselves!  I'm not kidding.  The Twooth Timer is just that fun!  And it costs way less than the copay for the cost of one filling!

The Twooth Timer

Great for Toddlers, Tweens and Teens!

You may think that the Twooth Timer would be something that kids will use as toddlers and preschoolers, then quickly outgrow.  Not so, as my own homegrown research has proven.  When my review unit of the Twooth Timer arrived, I thought I would check it out, do my review and then donate it to a family, preschool or other such program.  Not so!  My two youngest, a tween and a teen, saw the Twooth Timer and begged to open it.  They have been using it ever since.  It is perched (ever so cutely) on a shelf in our bathroom!  My youngest has even discovered that, since the Twooth Timer has the one minute mark, he can use it to swish anti-cavity rinse in his mouth, as well.  He was psyched to find another reason to use it.

In fact, Antoinette shared with me in one communcation, that she developed the Twooth Timer when her kids were well past toddler and preschool age.  They also loved the timer!  And...her children, now grown, have never had a cavity!  Clearly, Antoinette was on to something with this invention!

How the Twooth Timer Changes Lives

Taking care of ourselves goes a long way towards boosting our self-confidence and is an expression of self-love.  People who take care of themselves seem to feel good about themselves and people who feel good about themselves tend to take better care of themselves.  It's a never ending cycle.  Our confidence and self-esteem is tied making healthy life choices.

When Antionette submitted this product, I was so impressed with both its simplicity, and the far-reaching impact it can have on people's lives. I have worked with teens in the past, who have had many dental problems (cavities, poor oral hygiene, etc.), and who were teased mercilessly as very young children.  The effects of that teasing was still very fresh in their minds as teens, even though their beautiful, permanent teeth were in.  Our smiles very much affect our self-esteem.  Therefore, the Twooth Timer changes smiles, changes self-perception and changes lives.

Welcome, Twooth Timer and Antoionette, to the Kidlutions family of award-winners!  We are so glad to have you!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Reading Focus Card Changes Lives

The Reading Focus Card

The Struggle

Reading takes people places. Literally and figuratively. Yet, every day in the world, countless numbers of people struggle to do what you are doing right now…reading.  When someone struggles with reading, every other subject presents challenges, as well. The reverse is also true.  When someone masters reading, it makes it that much easier to master other subjects.

Dyslexia, ADHD and More

That’s easier said than done, though, when you have dyslexia or ADHD or another reading disability. Reading can become a struggle, and many battles are waged in homes and schools across the world because of the challenges that some individuals face. Sometimes people give up all together. At worst, some may feel that they just aren’t smart and that they’ll never measure up.

The Reading Focus Card

All of that can change with the Reading Focus Card (Patent 7,565,759), which helps individuals challenged with tracking and focusing when attempting to read or study.  Designed by a mom and teacher, the Reading Focus Card is an ingenious way to combat all of the aforementioned problems. Joan Brennan, the inventor, has taught children with varying abilities and also has four boys of her own.  She has developed this incredible tool to help with many reading problems.

Joan Brennan, inventor of the Reading Focus Card.

The company's website identifies these features and benefits of the Reading Focus Card:
  • Enables a reader to more easily focus when reading a line of text
  • Promotes better concentration and comprehension
  • Is non-invasive with no side effects because no medication is involved
  • Is portable and easy to store in pocket or purse
  • Can double as a bookmark for easiest access
  • Can also be stored on a binder ring to prevent loss
  • Promotes accurate placeholder work as in column addition or long division
  • Assists with reading charts, graphs, and stock quotes
  • Is non-mechanical requiring no energy/maintenance
  • Is easy on the eyes—pastel (soothing) or bright (for added emphasis)
  • Is very inexpensive to purchase and/or repurchase
  • Is very easy to use!
The Reading Focus Card is appropriate for use with both children and adults.  It can be used by both individuals with reading disabilities and those without, as this tool helps reduce eye-strain for even the most proficient of readers.

View a quick video to learn more about the Reading Focus Card:

How This Product Changes People's Lives

Struggling with reading takes its toll on one's self-esteem.  It saps one's confidence and even their desire to try harder. Having worked as a therapist with kids diagnosed with reading disabilities, I know full well the impact this can have on them.  Kids have told me, "Reading is stupid."  "I'll never learn to read."  "I  don't even care about reading." Saddest of all, some kids have said about themselves, "I'm just stupid."

The Reading Focus Card provides kids with a winning tool and strategy that can change all of the above.  As they gain better ability in their reading, their self-esteem and confidence rises.  Kids with more confidence are willing to risk to try more academically.  As kids experience more success, they may continue to push themselves more.  This product builds reading skills and so much more!

Welcome, Joan Brennan, and Brennan Innovators, LLC, to the Kidlutions family of award-winning products. Your Reading Focus Card is a shining example of Solutions for Kids...and we are proud to put our Seal of Approval on it!