Thursday, October 31, 2013

Exciting Weekend Events in Needham

After the candy buzz wears off, get ready for a fun filled weekend in Needham!

The Grand Opening of the new Greene's Field playground will be held on Sunday, November 3rd at 2:00pm. Join the fun at the ribbon cutting ceremonies and play on the fabulous new play structure. Have fun finding your board if you made a donation last year to support the rebuilding of the playground.

Needham's 2nd Annual Luminary Stroll returns on November 3rd -­ Residents all over Needham will place candle lit luminaries along their sidewalks and walkways connecting house-­ to-­ house and street-­ to-­ street in a non-­ denominational celebration of our community.

Visit to find a list of stores where you can still get your luminaries, illuminate your neighborhood on November 3rd, get your neighbors involved and take a magical stroll.   

Also on November 3rd, visit the town center from 4:00 to 6:30 PM for Fire Performers, a Juggler, Magician and much more!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Parent Talk would like to share some tips with you on how to prevent Candy overload!
1. When passing out candy, decide how many pieces to give out to each trick-or-treater ahead of time. Help your fellow parents out and avoid letting kids take handfuls of candy home.
2. Map out your route ahead of time with your kids to reduce the number of houses you trick-or-treat at.
3. Establish how many pieces of candy your child is allowed each night ahead of time.
4. On Halloween, serve a healthy meal that your whole family can enjoy. This will prevent a dinner consisting only of snickers, skittles, and butterfingers!
5. Once home, sort through the candy to make sure that all wrappers are securely on and safe for kids to eat. Have your kids then sort their candy into piles of their favorites and least favorites. You can donate their least favorites to prevent overeating (see tip #10).
6. This next tip is for both parents and kids: Avoid eating candy in front of the television or computer as this can lead to mindless eating and consuming more calories than you intended. Be mindful of the candy you eat, enjoy it, and remember moderation is the key!
7. Try to limit the calories from the candy you eat to under 200 each day. If you go over this amount, aim to increase your physical activity that day.
8. Store Halloween Candy in a place that is out of sight and not convenient to access (think top shelf of pantry or closet). Studies show that if food is out of sight and not easy to access, that you won’t eat as much of it.
9. With tip #8 in mind, keep healthy snacks within reach, especially in the days following Halloween.
10. Finally, throw out or donate extra Halloween candy. Check out the following two websites for information.

Have a fun, safe, and healthy Halloween! These tips have been provided by Maggie Shapiro, MPH, RD, LDN.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Simplicity Parenting Lecture Nov 6th

Simplicity Parenting Lecture Nov 6th via Parent Talk Inc

With so many choices for activities, events, and devices for children, we parents can be faced with a lot of pressure to do or buy more, more, more.  Not unsurprisingly, our kids may also feel the effects of this pressure and of being bombarded with so much activity and distraction.  We all have times when we yearn for a quieter approach to living, so we can avoid the stress of a hyper-speed schedule and the conflicts that we have with our over-stimulated kids.
Join us on Wednesday, November 6th at the Newman Elementary School Auditorium to listen to Kim John Payne talk about how we can simplify our homes and our kids’ schedules, introduce more predictable rhythms to their lives and filter out stuff they might not be able to cope with. The results are calmer and happier kids who do better socially and emotionally, are more focused at school, find it easier to comply with family rules – and even become less picky eaters!  To register, please go here:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Joy at the End of the Sale

Written by Kathy Fritz
PT Sale clothing

The Parent Talk Used Clothing, Toy, and Equipment Sale was once again a huge success. We raised money for Parent Talk, shoppers were thrilled with the items they bought at bargain prices, and many new people volunteered. What many Parent Talk members don’t know, however, is that the sale serves another important function. When the bag sale ends at 1:00 p.m., charities enter the church and collect what is left. This is my favorite part of sale weekend, and I’d like to share what one charity (Arm2Arm) emailed to us about this opportunity.

We were overwhelmed by the generosity of Parent Talk. We got plenty of gently worn children's clothing and shoes for the kids in the DR [Dominican Republic]. The volunteers from the other charities were also fun to work with and generous. They put shorts aside for us and we tossed them warm clothes. The Parent Talk volunteers just swooped through filling our bags with t-shirts, dresses, and shoes. We are especially excited about all the sneakers and sandals we got. Honestly, [on our last visit to the DR] all of us volunteers left the DR with just one pair of shoes to wear home and left our others there, because kids and adults were walking around with bare feet. From a health and safety standpoint, the shoes were important. We bring down hundreds of flip-flops, but the boys especially get excited about the sneakers. I grabbed quite a few pairs of boys’ jeans, which I am so grateful for. I know I told you about the young boy wearing the little girl jeans inside out so the pink stitching would not show. That image just sticks with me. I think of all my son had at that age and all our kids have. This is a wonderful partnership because it allows the generous parents in your group to reach out to kids and other parents in need. It is such a good service. Thank you.

I was so touched by Arm2Arm’s email, but more so, I’d like to say to them and the other charities that were there, “Thank you. You do such good service.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The 5Rs: Encouraging Early Literacy Skills

The 5Rs: Encouraging Early Literacy Skills in Children

Written by Lori de Brun Nothwang

As the parent of an 8 month old, I struggle with reading to my Bean. Sitting down to read a book with an 8 month old is ….what's the word….challenging? She twists and turns and tries to eat the book as my head moves all over trying to read the words through her fingers and tongue. Before I can get through the first few pages she has spotted something across the floor that she now wants in her mouth. I follow her with the book, then think to myself, is this how it is supposed to go? 

I know she needs to listen to the language and have the exposure to books, and our nightly story is certainly important to our bedtime routine, but the parent part of me can't help but wonder if the time spent trying to read to her is worth it.  The teacher part of me knows that, yes it is. I know this because I know the stats and I have seen the struggles.

The U.S. Department of Education conducted a national survey in 1996 and found that less than half (48 percent) of parents said they read or shared a picture book daily with their children ages 1 to 3. This statistic on reading aloud is upsetting because it's known among the teaching world that one of the best predictors of how a child will do over the course of their schooling is how much s/he was read to prior to the first day of first grade.  Those who’ve been read to have working vocabularies of 40,000 words. They have heard over 3 million words. Children who haven't been read to have 10,000 word vocabularies. They’ve heard under 1 million words. Staggering difference. 

I know that reading to my daughter will get easier, and I am setting myself up for that time.  I mean, at least I hope she won't always want to eat the book.  What we parents do, or don't do, has a lasting impact on our child's reading skills and literacy. There is evidence of a relationship between reading regularly to a child and the reading achievement of that child later on.

The toddler and pre-K years are developmental stages in which literacy becomes so much more important because of its relationship to brain development.  "Children develop much of their capacity for learning in the first three years of life, when their brains grow to 90 percent of their eventual adult weight (Karoly et al., 1998) children grow and experience the world, new neural connections are made. This orderly and individualized process, varying from child to child, makes reading possible...As parents talk, sing, and read to children, the children’s brain cells are literally turned on (Shore, 1997). Existing links among brain cells are strengthened and new cells and links are formed. "

When reading to your child in the toddler and pre-K stage, there are 5 important Rs to remember. These Rs will remind us what to look for when reading, and they will also remind us of our purpose.

Rhyme Books that rhyme provide enjoyment in listening, fun in reading, and exposure to word families and patterns of language.  Rhyming helps children discover many common word patterns (such as those in cat / hat) and the more familiar these patterns are in oral language, the easier they are to recognize when learning to read. You may be able to pause and let your child finish a line in a rhyming book. Repetition (whoops, I gave away my next R) will also come in handy here, as your child may have read this story before and, through rhyming and memorization,  will know what word to fill in. 

Repetition Again. Again. Your toddler wants you to read the book again. We are once again humbled at the power and instinct behind nature. Toddlers need repetition to remember information and increase their memory. Reading their favorite book holds meaning to them, and it is this repetition that is critical to vocabulary development, motor development and learning the ways of the world. 

Rhythm The way we read and the intonation we use creates rhythm. Children love rhythm and given the opportunity to take over, will imitate your rhythm. I will never forget seeing a video of a friend's son reading Knuffle Bunny at age 2. Was he reading? No, of course not. But he had memorized the whole book because he had read it with his parents so many times. He even mimicked their voice patterns and expression.  Learning the rhythm of speech and language develops overall fluency. 

Routine Try to spend 15-20 minutes every day reading to your child. Don't look for perfect, uninterrupted time. We all know that finding uninterrupted time with a toddler, and possibly with other children in the house, is nearly impossible. If you read a few books interspersed throughout the day, your child will learn that reading doesn't have to be saved for one special time. Do try to make those few minutes here and there quiet time where the book is the focus.

Having a routine with books is important because children like and need to know what is coming. Maybe your routine has to do with reading the same time every day, like before or after nap time, or maybe your routine has to do with where you read books or how you read books. Regardless, make reading something special between you and your child, and have some semblance of routine so your child knows what to expect. When your child drops their nap, their routine could be adjusted to quiet time with books. 

Respect Respect of books and reading time has to be taught and modeled. When we show our children that books are something we treat with care and love, then they will treat them the same way. By modeling the sacred time of reading, our children will learn its true value just through taking part in that special ritual.  Make sure you show, through your own actions, that reading is important to you. 

Books are changing these days, and we aren't always opening a beautifully bound hardcover book. We see books online, on iPads and iPhones, and even in McDonald's Happy Meals. Literacy isn't just about being able to read, but being able to interact with all different types of media and text. Respect the art of reading and the methods behind the skill. 

Last bit of advice: make reading entertaining, fun and interactive. Ask questions, point to pictures, giggle together, and enjoy the time reading with your bean. 

For more information on reading, and lists of books appropriate for the toddler and pre-K stage visit

About the Author
Lori Nothwang is an elementary school teacher turned literacy blogger. While teaching she found that many parents had questions about their child's reading and how to help at home. With the arrival of her own daughter, she decided to stay at home and focus on literacy, her passion in the classroom. Lori aims to provide resources to better the at-home reading experience for both child and parent. When not blogging or taking care of Bean, Lori is Crossfitting, running, or eating chocolate in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

A new outlook on the Sale experience.

Written by Kara Veley

I am at a turning point in my Parent Talk Sale experience.  For previous sales, I was excited at the thought of what I would buy.  Cute rain boots!  An adorable Halloween costume!  A picnic table for kids!  Clothes to supplement my toddler’s wardrobe!

I’m still excited about the amazing bargains.  (Wouldn’t it be great to get some new kids’ books?  The old ones are getting- well- old!)  But what I am more excited about this time around is that, for the first time, I feel ready to get rid of the outgrown or generally unused stuff that is taking over my house.  The pink and blue plastic push bike?  My youngest, with her long legs, doesn’t use it anymore, but I know some other child would love it.   Same with the baby carriage that was built for babies to push around- my girls have to bend down to use it now- it seems crazy to me that they’ve already outgrown it.  But I know there’s a toddler out there who will love it and push a baby doll (or, if that child happens to be like mine, baby animals) down the street over and over again.  And I won’t have to trip on it every time I reach for the rake!  And then, of course, there are the clothes.  Piles and piles of clothes, some loved and worn, some never used because the size didn’t match the season or because my daughter went through an anti- button stage when she was that size.  Clothes are piling up in my attic, starting to get disorganized. (Really, who has time to constantly sort outgrown clothes?)  What’s a mom to do with all this STUFF?

The beauty of the Parent Talk Sale is not only that it has amazing bargains for us when we need them most.  (I can’t tell you how many things I’ve scored from the sale over the last four and a half years.) Its other function, almost as important, is giving parents a place to donate or consign all the outgrown kids’ stuff that is taking over their garages, their attics, their playrooms….  You know that train table that your son never uses anymore but it’s still sitting the middle of the family room?  You could consign it, free up the space in your room, and make some money in the process!  Or, if you don’t want to deal with consigning, you can just drop off that pile of clothes that has been sitting in a big box for the last six months, and we’ll sort it and sell it.  I always like the idea that another local family is benefitting from my donations.  And Parent Talk, this wonderful organization that really does bring young families together and build community (it’s not just a byline!), benefits too.

So what’s the moral of this story?  Now’s your chance!  Take a few extra minutes this week and clear out all the stuff that you don’t want to keep and that your child will never use again.  Take a step towards the Real Simple Magazine ideals- Uncluttered house, clean mind, less stress.  Make some money through consigning.  Or just donate and feel good that a local family will be able to truly use the item that was just taking up space in your house.  Consign!  Donate!  You’ll be glad you did.  

For more information about the Parent Talk Sale this Saturday October 19th, please visit us here.

What are you looking forward to at the sale this weekend?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Olympia Moving & Storage Discount for Parent Talk Members!

We are pleased to announce our partnership with Olympia Moving & Storage! Below you will find details and a link to access the discount. Take advantage of this if you are moving anytime soon! You have paid your dues – now get the reward!

Olympia Moving & Storage is offering customers $75 off their move! Please visit this website for details and for the printable voucher.

Olympia Moving & Storage has been in business for nearly two decades and we are proud of our affiliation with Parent Talk.  With locations in Watertown and Northern Virginia, we are one of the premier relocation companies in the Northeast. We are the preferred service provider for numerous universities, law firms and real estate organizations because, simply put, we deliver on our commitments.

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