Kas Winters

Words for Families

Words for Families!
by Kas Winters, Mother of Family Ideas™

Kas Winters

Kas Winters

Words are important for many reasons. When children learn to speak, they have a way to communicate with others. When they read and write they are able to learn and to share their ideas. What others say about us help shape who we are—for good or for bad. Encouraging words lift us up to make our world a better place. We can help our children succeed with positive talk. Teach them about the power of the words they think, believe and say.

Read to young children. Even babies can play with cloth books so start them early. Begin with picture books to get their attention and progress to those with words. Create your own stories. Make reading FUN! Use silly voices. Choose nursery rhymes, tongue-twisters, and fairy tales. Play by creating funny faces and sound effects. Tell stories with puppets, dolls, stuffed animals, or other toys.

For older children make books available on topics they enjoy. Read novels aloud together and make family memories in the process. We read the “Hobbit” to our youngest son when he was four years-old. It was a special time for all of us that included baking Hobbit bread, celebrating a birthday with a dragon cake and magic rings, and other related activities that brought lessons from the author into our everyday life. Children identify with characters in stories who overcome challenges. Those words plant seeds for greatness. Go to the library. Collect storybooks at garage sales or second-hand stores. Include new books with gifts for special occasions. Let children see you read. They will imitate your actions.

To teach a child to read, make it a normal part of life. Read cereal boxes, street signs, signs in stores, recipes, and children’s magazines as well as books. When reading is just “what we do in our family” children accept it as something normal and will want to learn how to do it. Play rhyming games and alphabet games when you are riding in the car. This also gives some time and attention to children that electronic entertainment does not. These activities develop creative thinking processes which are crucial to problem solving.

When a child expresses an interest in something, take time to research and find information about it. This shows the value of reading. You can look online, check out a library book, or use any other sources to get answers. Then, if there are possible activities that relate, let them try a few. For example: If a child wants to know about spiders—make some with pipe cleaners, look for spider webs outdoors and spray one with a little water to see what happens, weave a web with string wrapped around pins stuck in a  piece of corrugated cardboard or nails that have been pounded into a piece of scrap wood. Each activity is enjoyable and teaches just a little more.

When it comes to the words we use in conversations with children, know that they will remember and internalize what we say. Words said are not easily forgotten. Young children believe what they hear us say about them. Look for the great and good things in a child and reinforce those. Handle the problems by focusing on solutions without name-calling or negative labels. A teacher once told one of the most amazing artists I’ve ever met that she couldn’t draw–so she didn’t for much of her life. It took her a long time to try and even in her eighties, with many award-winning pieces of exquisite art, she still doubts that she is very good at it. As a child, my dad always brought stacks of paper home from work. They were printed on one side but the backs of the pages were available for me to write and draw. I did that a lot and was told I did it well. Today, I’ve published almost 100 books, many of which I have written and/or illustrated. Give children the gift of believing in themselves by using words that recognize what they CAN do and who they CAN be. They hear what you say.

To access more family fun ideas, my family guide, Mother Lode has over 5,000 activities for children.  http://www.winmarkcom.com/motherlode.htm There are also free March and St. Patrick’s Day ideas at: http://www.winmarkcom.com/marchholidays.htm. Find spring family activities at:  http://www.winmarkcom.com/springactivities.htm. My home page, http://www.everythingfamily.net has directories for family activities and for family-related activity books, children’s story books, and titles for parents too.


Check out my NEW book Get that Book out of your Head and into Print



Kas Winters, “Mother of Family Ideas

Winmark Communications & Everything Family