The featured blogger of the week is Julie of Bartlett Family Adventures! Julie is the proud MoM of 8 year old Aidan and 4 year old twins, Anna and Joey.
What made you decide to start a blog?
In 2005, our oldest son was a few months old, I heard about blogging on a radio station and thought it would be a great way to stay in touch with my family who all lived in different states. I’ve blogged nearly every Sunday since I started. As I kept blogging, I realized it was a chronicle of both the routine and the wonderful activities that we have experienced since we started parenting. Reading my blog over the past 8 years, I can watch my family grow and change.
Were you surprised to find out you were having twins?
I was surprised. We don’t have twins in our family. We found out at 10 weeks. I just looked at the ultrasound screen and said, “That’s funny, it looks like there are two of them.” We had never considered or planned for twins. It was tough at first to adjust to having 3 children, and twins were particularly challenging. Now at 4 they seem perfectly, obviously, meant to be with us.
How did Aidan react to the news of having a new brother and sister?
Aidan just turned 3 when we found out we were having twins. From the moment we told him he was certain that he would have a brother and sister. We said nightly prayers. Aidan would always end with, “Please send me a brother and a sister.” When we found out at about at 24 wks that this was indeed what we were having, Aidan said, “Of course, that’s what I’ve been asking for.”
You mentioned to me that you really worked on vocabulary with your kids. What tips do you have for fellow parents of multiples to expand their vocabulary and help them prepare for school?
As an educator, I know preparing children for school means building their vocabulary and schema. Schema is the interconnectedness of words, ideas, images, and facts. Think of it as a series of pathways or roads connecting information all over your brain. The larger the amount of schema, or connections between ideas, the faster you are able to access information, process new information, and store newly learned information. From birth to 5 the brain is developing very quickly, and the more pathways to information you create, the faster your child will be able to learn new information once they start school. The more schema and vocabulary a child can build before age 5 has a significant impact on future performance in reading.
Children with wide nonfiction text reading experience and diverse experiences are often best prepared academically. These experiences don’t need to cost money, often they involve just library books and talking to your child about how things in the world work. We developed vocabulary mainly by reading, watching educational TV, and having weekly family outings. We started with using the video Signing Time to try to teach the twins to communicate their basic needs. What we found was that the connection between the many pictures, the repetion of words, and the hand signals helped the twins to develop communication of basic needs, and a wide vocabulary of basic terms. An excellent tool we utilized were the books by Richard Scarry that shows scenes and all the words that relate to the schene. Another tool was reading most of the “My First Books” published by Priddy Books over and over until the kids could picture read the book to themselves. Finally, we try to get out of the house and find something free and educational in our area. Experiences build vocabulary and forge tagible memories complete with sensory information. Our blog is titled Bartlett Family Adventures because that is part of the early education we are giving our children. Going to the park, grocery store, beach, bike path, or even riding a bus in a city helps to create a new path in the brain that future information can be more easily connected to.
What are some of your favorite things to do as a family?
We love to hike and take road trips.
What question(s) do you have for the other families in the community?
We have been starting to separate the twins for activities, but they resist and want to have everything the other one has. How do you help your multiples develop their own interests and not compete for attention?
Be sure to leave your answer to Julie’s question in the comment section and then head over to the Bartlett Family Adventures to leave some bloggy love!