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Archive for January, 2019

Six ways to raise a resilient child

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Helping our children navigate the stresses and strains of daily life is more important than ever. Figures released in November last year by NHS Digital show a worrying rise in young people’s mental health problems; sadly, my experience as a GP confirms this. One in eight children aged between five and 19 in England has a diagnosable mental health condition; the prevalence of emotional disorders, including anxiety and depression, has risen by 48% since 2004. “The pressures young people face range from school stress, bullying and worries about job and housing prospects, to concerns around body image,” says Emma Saddleton, helpline manager at the charity YoungMinds.

While we may not be able to remove all these challenges, we can pass on skills to help young people cope with stress and adversity. “It’s what’s known as resilience,” Saddleton says. “The ability to overcome difficult experiences and be shaped positively by them.” Our brains respond to the information around us, so resilience can be taught, modelled and nurtured at any age. “By doing this, through strong support networks and encouraging communication, we can help young people understand when they feel down and know what they can do to make themselves feel better,” she adds.

As a parent myself – I have a son of eight and a daughter of six – it’s something that’s high on my agenda, and I’ve discovered some effective techniques. Crucially, they don’t require you to overhaul your parenting style, but simply to make a few tweaks that will help your children thrive.

Have one-on-one time with each child, without distractions

I have a full-on job, two school-age children, and an elderly mother to care for, so I understand that we’re all busy; I’m not trying to pile on the guilt. But I’ll never forget what my daughter, then four, said one day. We were working on a jigsaw, but I kept nipping to the kitchen to check my phone. When I rejoined her for the third or fourth time, she rightly observed, “Daddy, you’re not really here, are you?”

Resilience comes from relationships; children need nurturing. It’s not a magical “inner strength” that helps kids through tough times; instead, it’s the reliable presence of one, supportive relationship, be it parent, teacher, relative, family friend or healthcare practitioner. My key point is, it’s quality, not quantity, that counts. Ten minutes of fully focused attention is better than an hour when your mind is on other things. If you’re on your tablet at the dinner table, you’re teaching them it’s OK to always be distracted. And that they are not important enough for your sole attention.

One-on-one time doesn’t have to be time carved out of an already hectic schedule. Make bathtime, car journeys, meals, queues count. Chat, listen, talk about your feelings, encourage them to express theirs. Once these one-to-ones become regular, your children will know they always have a safe space to open up.

Give sleep a chance

I see so many children who are struggling to sleep, waking tired, with dark circles under their eyes. A lack of good-quality sleep is a huge driver for stress: it has a negative effect on memory, concentration, cognitive function, and decision-making.

One of the fastest ways to improve sleep – for all of us – is to limit screen time before bed. The type of blue light emitted by digital devices suppresses production of melatonin, the hormone that signals to the body it’s time for sleep. In addition, looking at screens before bed keeps us emotionally wired and stimulated, making it harder for us to switch off.

It’s a steely parent who can ban tech completely, and I don’t think you need to. But I would urge you to issue a household ban on devices at least an hour before bedtime. Turn off the wifi, if need be. (TV isn’t so bad if you need that as a compromise; we tend not to sit as close to the screen.)

Earlier in the evening, insist everyone uses “night-time mode” on their devices, which swaps the blue light for a warmer glow. You can download apps that do this (such as f:lux), too, or buy blue-light-cancelling glasses. It’s also worth switching your children’s night lights to red ones – red has the least impact on melatonin production. When I did this in my children’s rooms, they slept in more than an hour later the next morning.

Get out and exercise

We all know that regular activity is important, and that most of us, children included, need to do more of it. But what if I told you that, as well as keeping them physically fit, exercise will increase your child’s resilience? It actually strengthens the brain.

It’s well documented that exercise is on a par with medication when it comes to treating mild to moderate depression and anxiety. This could be because it gets the body used to moving more fluidly in and out of the stress state. The same hormones released when we’re stressed (cortisol and adrenaline) are raised temporarily when we exercise. Regular physical activity teaches our stress-response system to recover more efficiently.

It can be a lot of fun to do this together, and I’ve learned that kids do what they see us doing, not what we tell them to. I’m a big fan of “movement snacking” – short bursts of exercise throughout the day. I’ll put on the radio before dinner and we’ll all dance around in the kitchen. Or my kids will join me doing squats, star jumps, bear crawls or frog hops. The sillier I look, the more they seem to enjoy it.

Teach delayed gratification

Resilience means understanding you can’t always have what you want as soon as you want it. It’s an important concept to pass on in the age of Amazon Prime, Spotify, Netflix and Uber. Psychology teaches us that people who can accept delayed gratification lead happier, healthier lives. Without the ability to defer pleasure and reward, our kids are losing an important skill for their wellbeing.

One of the best ways to teach it? Playing board games. These require impulse control, turn-taking, and mental flexibility. They exercise the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain involved in decision-making, emotional regulation and, yes, resilience. Board games are also a good way for you to model resilience by being a good loser.

But there are no shortage of other ways to encourage delayed gratification: learning a musical instrument; listening to whole albums instead of skipping from track to track online; mastering a new sport; even watching a TV series together week by week, instead of bingeing in a couple of sittings.

Eat the alphabet

Nutrition has a significant impact on mental health. Good-quality food changes the composition of our gut bugs, which helps send calm signals to the brain. Poor-quality, highly processed food sends stress signals instead. A diverse diet, rich in fibre, will lead to greater diversity in our gut bugs, which in turn will help make us more resilient, and anxiety and depression less likely. Persuading kids to eat more healthily can feel like an uphill battle, though, especially if they’re fussy, so this is not about becoming a top chef – just trying a few tricks that can really benefit them emotionally.

Related: ‘It’s been bittersweet’: three Indian women on 50 years in the UK

I like to challenge the whole family to “eat the alphabet” over 30 days. I think it’s a realistic goal to consume 26 different plant foods in a month: A for asparagus, B for banana, C for chickpeas, and so on. It turns healthy eating into a game, and encourages children to try new foods. Turn it into a competition and see who can tick off all the letters first.

Model gratitude

Instead of pestering your children with questions such as, “How was school?” and, “What did you do today?”, teach them to reframe their day.

The following is a game I learned from a friend, who played it with his daughter over dinner. Everyone must answer three questions:

1) What did someone do today to make you happy?

2) What did you do to make someone else happy?

3) What have you learned today?

I love this simple exercise for how it helps us all find the positive in every day. It teaches gratitude, nurtures optimism, and recognises kindness. It doesn’t matter what may have happened at work or school, or how stressed any of us may have felt when we sat down at the table; the whole mood seems to lift once we’ve played this game. I learn things about my kids that they’d probably never have thought to tell me otherwise. Try it. It might just become the highlight of your day.

 

This article was written by Dr Rangan Chatterjee from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

7 Ways to Stay Healthy When Your Kid Is Sick

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Every parent expects her child to get sick sometimes. After all, you’d get sick too if you spent the bulk of your days crawling on dirty playground equipment, drinking out of your friends’ cups of juice, and touching (or mouthing!) every little thing that grabs your attention. And while little kids typically aren’t big fans of sharing, when it comes to spreading bacteria and viruses, they’re extremely generous: According to a recent study from the University of Arizona, a woman’s chances of getting sick double when she becomes a mother. So how can you stay healthy this season when you’re constantly playing nurse to your sniffling, sneezing kid? All you have to do is put our brilliant germ-fighting game plan to work.

1. Spend More Time at the Sink

We know you’ve heard the “wash your hands” tip a million times before, but that’s because it works. If you do it frequently, you can reduce the odds you’ll catch your child’s cold by 30 to 50 percent. A quick rinse doesn’t count; follow the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to scrub your hands for 20 seconds. For added insurance, rub a moisturizing, alcohol-based hand sanitizer on your hands post-wash when your child has come down with something. (Soap helps rinse away many types of bacteria and viruses, but hand sanitizer will kill any germs that soap left behind.) Stock up on mini bottles of sanitizer to keep in your bag too—kids have a knack for sneezing on you the minute you’re nowhere near a sink. Doing all this may sound obsessive, but considering that most infections are spread through hand-to-hand contact, the extra effort is worth it.

2. Make the Kitchen Off-Limits

Your child may like coloring at the kitchen table or banging on pots and pans, but you should encourage him to hang out somewhere else when he’s sniffling. “The kitchen is one of the germiest rooms in the house,” says Charles Gerba, Ph.D., a microbiologist who studies soil, water, and environmental sciences at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Bacteria can survive on countertops and tables, so your child’s germs could easily be transferred to your food and make everyone sick.” At the very least, don’t let him help himself to food in the refrigerator. People open the fridge door more often than any other one in the house, making the handle the perfect germ-swapping spot. Plus, bacteria breed there easily, since many people hang damp, food-spattered dish towels over the handle.

3. Switch to Hot Water on Laundry Day

Using your washer’s cold-water cycle is an earth-friendly move, but when your kid is sick you have Mother Nature’s okay to use hot H2O. Why? Hot water kills more germs than cold, says Dr. Gerba. Switching makes a difference: “Studies show that people who wash clothes in hot water miss fewer days of work and their children have fewer sick days from school,” says Harley A. Rotbart, M.D., author of Germ Proof Your Kids. When your child is ill, do as much of her laundry as possible in hot water and chlorine bleach to kill germs. (When washing darks in hot water, add a non-chlorine, colorfast bleach; this kind of bleach isn’t a germ-killer, but it protects against fading and running.) Avoid touching your nose and mouth while you do the laundry. Remember, you’re handling germy stuff like the shirt your child used as a tissue. Scrub your hands when you’re done, and sanitize the washing machine between loads by running an empty hot cycle with bleach.

4. Cut Down on Cuddles

We know it sounds totally unrealistic, but try to put some distance between you and your kid when you can. Fortunately, you don’t have to quarantine yourself, since viruses can’t travel beyond three feet, according to research from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Try using hands-off ways to soothe your child—create a hand signal that means “hug,” blow kisses, or simply say “I love you” more often. If you can’t resist giving him a kiss, aim for his forehead or the top of his head instead of his mouth, says Philip M. Tierno Jr., PhD, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU Langone Medical Center. Also okay: letting him curl up in your bed. “No one’s sure why, but there’s only a one-in-a-thousand chance of contracting germs from a blanket,” says Dr. Gerba. Just don’t snuggle up with him—you don’t want to be in the path of your kid’s coughs and sneezes.

5. Declare a No-Sharing Rule

You try to teach your kid to be generous, but when she gets sick with a cold or the flu, selfishness is a plus. “Viruses and bacteria can survive anywhere from one hour to a few days on a moist surface, so don’t your let children share toys, towels, or even a tube of toothpaste if one of them gets sick,” says Dr. Rotbart.

6. Break Out the Disinfectant

Your cabinets are probably stocked with every type of cleaning product, but some are better than others when it comes to killing your sick kid’s germs. Here’s the dirt on getting clean: According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you should use a cleanser with an EPA registration number and the word disinfectant on the label. That means the product contains the big guns of germ fighting, like ammonia or bleach, and has met the government’s standards for effectiveness. Use it to scrub spots that everyone in the family touches—the phone, toilet handle, remote control, and doorknobs—a few times a day when your child is sick to keep his germs contained.

7. Put Off Washing Your Kid’s Toys

Even if they’re scattered all over your house, let them be. You’ll slash your risk of getting sick if you wait to tackle your child’s germy toys when he’s well. (He’ll re-infect them every time he plays with them, so why keep touching his germs when it’s not necessary?) Once your kid is feeling better, attack his stuff using Dr. Tierno’s bug-fighting routine: Clean them with peroxide or white vinegar, wash them with soap and hot water, then rinse in peroxide or vinegar. “It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s the best way to prevent germs from spreading,” he says.

3 Top Germ Hot Spots

Bacteria and viruses can lurk just about anywhere, but they really love to hang out on some of the stuff parents have to touch constantly.

  • Grocery-cart handles A University of Arizona study found that 55 percent of them were contaminated with fecal matter. “Carry hand sanitizer in your purse and use it when you’ve finished doing your shopping,” says Dr. Charles Gerba.
  • Playground equipment When researchers from the University of Arizona College of Public Health examined various playgrounds, they found feces, urine, and even blood on the equipment. Always wash up when playtime’s over.
  • Your kitchen sink It’s covered in germs—500,000 of them per square inch. Why? When you rinse some foods, particularly raw fruits and veggies, bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella wash down the drain and accumulate there. Scrub the sink with bleach and water at least twice a week.

 

This article was written by Elise Nersesian from Parents and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Trying to Build Your Kid’s Self Control? These Other 2 Skills Will Help

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This will put your child on a path to better behavior.

Ben is repeatedly being poked with a pencil by his sister, Cassie, while they’re sitting at the kitchen table writing thank-you notes. Despite the message on the refrigerator door that reads, “Make good choices,” he’s about to hit her back.

Self-control is the ability to stop behavior. It means you won’t get in the way of yourself when working towards a goal. Lots of studies have established how important self-control is for life success, but disturbingly, researchers have also shown how our kids’ capacity for self-control has diminished over the past few decades.

We can’t expect our kids to magically have high levels of self-control without help. Self-control can be thought of like a muscle—exertion in the short-term can leave you feeling depleted and tired. But over time, exercising self-control will bulk it up and strengthen it.

The fact that it can be taught is both a ray of hope for parents and a light at the end of the tunnel for kindergarten teachers everywhere, but it comes with the burden of figuring out how we should be actively teaching and practicing self-control. We get there faster by cultivating the two skills that make self-control efforts more effective: creativity and empathy.

1. Teach Creativity

As a society, we say we value creativity, but we don’t teach it and we don’t really encourage it. Creativity is very important when generating ideas to solve self-control issues. If a child can imagine the consequences of his behavior, he might come up with a different path to achieve a goal. These both require imagination.

We can teach Ben to think through possible outcomes in his head. If we stop emphasizing what not to do and teach what can be done, Ben has way more options here than just sit or hit. Ben can cry. Ben can tell his sister to stop, he can pretend to be surprised by something he sees out the window, or he can choose to change seats. He can say, “Hey, are you going to do that all evening?” in a low funny voice. Make it Ben’s job to come up with creative alternatives to the situation.

Imaginative processes are also powerful tools that can control attention in younger children, and thus boost self-control. Take the incredibly hard task of standing still. This is nearly impossible for kids to do for long periods of time (or for some kids, impossible to do for 10 seconds). But if you ask preschoolers to stand at attention while acting as “lookouts,” they can be still for 12 minutes, whereas when simply asked to stand still, they average four still minutes.

Another study found that adding an imaginary friend who watches to see if a child can follow directions boosts the amount of time that she can spend doing a super boring task. (I might enlist this trick to get my kids to unload the dishwasher next week!) Doing things like this with your kids is fun and it will help make self-control a habit.

2. Teach Empathy

Teaching empathy is important for self-control too because there has to be a reason to not act that way. You can either control your behavior to reach your own long-term goals, or you can control it out of consideration for other people’s feelings.

A great imagination sets the stage for increased empathy, which helps your child understand how others think or feel and can lead to a self-control boost. Does Ben’s sister deserve a good smack back? There’s likely a lot more to the story.

Maybe she’s simply bored, but maybe she’s anxious about her test tomorrow. Maybe she has ADHD. Maybe she thinks Ben stole the bigger lemon bar for dessert. Maybe she has difficulty spelling and her dad clearly pointed this out when she sat down with that pencil and a blank pile of notecards. Ben will understand the situation much better if he can appreciate the wide range of days his sister might have had.

Self-Control Is Not Our End Game

Self-control is a straight “no.” That’s hard to hear at any age. But if you can see and choose a better way of getting what you want, that becomes self-regulation. Self-regulation says, “You can’t do or have what you want in this way, but let’s figure out another way to do it or get it.” When you color the edges of self-control with creativity and empathy, you see things differently. You become a “yes.”

We don’t want kids who simply have amazing self-control. We don’t want our son to just sit there being poked with a pencil for an entire hour by virtue of his impressive willpower. No, we want our son to be a problem solver instead. We want him to decide to resolve the situation creatively, with respect for all parties involved, even when he has depleted self-control at the end of a long day.

To get there, we just have to practice. There are neuroscience-based ways to teach our kids great self-regulation using a few minutes every day. The goal of practicing is to make a habit of creativity, of empathy, and of self-control so our children eventually do the right thing as effortlessly as possible.

We want our kids to have good behavior spring up from well-oiled brain machinery. This allows these future adults to save their intentional energy for higher-level thinking, for compassion, and for changing the world.

Erin Clabough, Ph.D., is a mother of four who holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience. Her parenting style has been highly influenced by her background in brain development research. She teaches biology and neuroscience at Hampton-Sydney College and conducts research in developmental brain function and other areas. She writes for popular media such as Psychology Today, TODAY Parenting, and other publications. She is the author of Second Nature: How Parents Can Use Neuroscience to Help Kids Develop Empathy, Creativity, and Self-Control (Sounds True, January 8, 2019). Dr. Clabough resides in Charlottesville, VA.

 

This article was written by Erin Clabough Ph.D. from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

10 Best Children’s Books That Make Great Gifts

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Excellent stories ideal for reading together.

Still looking for a present for your little one? We’ve rounded up some of the best children’s books of 2018 that’ll get them excited for story time and make amazing gifts. From new tales about mermaids and dinosaurs to library staples like Harry Potter and Mary Poppins, there’s something for every type of reader on this list.

Baby Loves Science Board Box Set by Ruth Spiro and Irene Chan

Four books from the popular Baby Loves Science series are now available in an adorable boxed set. Aerospace engineering, coding, gravity and thermodynamics are all presented in a baby’s-world context with bright illustrations. Ages Baby on up ($22, amazon.com).

Pearl by Molly Idle


Pearl by Molly Idle

A lovely tale about the importance of patience and determination.

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy

Mermaids are growing in popularity again, and Pearl, a gorgeous picture book about a little mermaid, is a delight for little ones. Radiant, expressive illustrations help tell a story of persistence, and the impact of even small actions, that will resonate with children. Ages 3-6 ($13, amazon.com).

Mary Poppins (Illustrated Gift Edition) by P.L. Travers and Júlia Sardà


Mary Poppins (Illustrated Gift Edition) by P.L. Travers and Júlia Sardà

Relive this timeless classic complete with illustrations.

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy

With a new blockbuster movie coming to the big screen, it’s the perfect year to give the gift of Mary Poppins. This edition is beautifully illustrated in full color and the story can be enjoyed by multiple children or as a family read. Ages 10-12 ($19, amazon.com).

The Bad Guys Box Set: Books 1-5 by Aaron Blabey


The Bad Guys Box Set: Books 1-5 by Aaron Blabey

Read about The Bad Guys trying to be heroes in this hilarious collection.

Courtesy of Amazon

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A chapter book series that turns traditional villainy on its head, The Bad Guys’ new box set will keep eager readers—and reluctant ones too—burning through the pages. Ages 7-10 ($20, amazon.com).

Made for Me by Zach Bush and Gregorio De Lauretis


Made for Me by Zach Bush and Gregorio De Lauretis

A tender story about the joy of fatherhood.

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy

The perfect gift for a baby’s first holiday, this remarkably sweet and reassuring picture book about a child and their dad, the unconditional love of parent for child, and all the milestones ahead, is a gift parents will adore sharing with their little one. Ages 1-3 ($13, amazon.com).

Harry Potter: The Illustrated Collection (Books 1-3 Boxed Set) by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay


Harry Potter: The Illustrated Collection (Books 1-3 Boxed Set) by J. K. Rowling and Jim Kay

Relive the magic of Hogwarts with these beautifully illustrated editions of the first three books.

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy

It’s a beautiful gift for kids clamoring to read Harry Potter. These fully illustrated editions are sure to live on a child’s bookshelf for years to come, and they work well for children who want to start Rowling’s books but might benefit from the addition of illustrations and larger format. Ages 8 and up ($72, amazon.com).

The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America’s Test Kitchen Kids


The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs by America's Test Kitchen Kids

Have a budding cook in your home? Encourage their passion with this cookbook.

Courtesy of Amazon

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One of the most trusted culinary resources, America’s Test Kitchen, created their first cookbook for kids and it’s a winner. The 100+ recipes are a good mix of difficulty levels, and the text doesn’t talk down to the audience. Ages 8-12 ($13, amazon.com).

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins


We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins

Prepare for a lot of laughs with the latest picture book by Ryan T. Higgins.

Courtesy of Amazon

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A picture book that works on multiple levels, the story of a little dinosaur who keeps eating her classmates is a book that will have kids laughing out loud and asking to read it again. Ages 5-6 ($15, amazon.com).

Strong Girls Gift Set (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos


Strong Girls Gift Set (Ordinary People Change the World) by Brad Meltzer and Christopher Eliopoulos

It’s never too early to teach your kids about these amazing women.

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy

Inspire young women this holiday season with the true stories of four female pioneers: Jane Goodall, Harriet Tubman, Sacagawea and Amelia Earhart. Ages 5-8 ($22, amazon.com).

Hello Hello by Brendan Wetzel


Hello Hello by Brendan Wetzel

Read about connections in nature—some expected, some not—in this story about diversity.

Courtesy of Amazon

Buy

This stunning picture book introduces little ones to a great variety of the world’s creatures while showing the connection between them, and the diversity of our world. The illustrations are bright and rich with detail, perfect for repeated viewing. Ages 3-6 ($11, amazon.com).

 

This article was written by Seira Wilson of Amazon.com from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Surprise your little one with a zucchini pizza boat! This delicious treat is vegetarian and gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini
  • Tomato-based pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. After washing zucchini and trimming the ends, cut each in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to gently scrape out center of zucchini. Place zucchini halves in small baking dish, then spoon desired amount of pizza sauce into the halves. Top with desired amount of cheeses. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and golden. You can also try adding other ingredients such as green peppers or mushrooms – just be sure to place them on top of the cheese before baking.

 

*An adult should oversee all recipes and activities. Recipes and activities may not be appropriate for all ages.

Winter Scavenger Hunt

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Your local park can be a magical winter wonderland that is perfect for playful learning. Create a scavenger hunt for your family to enjoy while exploring nature. You may decide to separate into teams and see how many items you can each check off before your opponents.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Animal tracks;
  • Hidden berries;
  • Icicles (Only adults should handle icicles. they can be very sharp!);
  • Human footprints;
  • A leaf still on a tree;
  • A tree with no leaves;
  • Something green;
  • A pinecone;
  • A bird;

You can modify your list depending on the ages of the children. Enjoy the endless possibilities!

Five Ways to Encourage Open-Mindedness

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Part of being a good citizen is being open-minded regarding different types of people, cultures and customs. Here are five ways to encourage open-mindedness in children.

  1. Reading books that feature diverse groups of characters. The same goes for TV shows and movies. Simply reading about or watching people from various cultures interact can show a child that the world is made up of different types of people, and that this diversity should be celebrated. However, if there are stereotypes in a book, show or movie, you can talk about these stereotypes with your child and explain the negative effects that stereotypes have.
  2. Celebrating holidays from around the world. Observing holidays from various cultures is an easy way to learn about different cultures and why they celebrate those holidays.
  3. Encouraging your children to ask questions. Whether it is a question about a different race or about a different religion, having an honest dialogue about your child’s concerns can help dispel any myths or stereotypes she might have heard.
  4. Serving different types of food for dinner. You can designate one night a week as “International Night.” On this night you sample the food from another culture. Research the foods with your child and learn why those foods are favored over others.
  5. Encouraging your child’s individuality. For example, if your son wants to play with dolls or do something else that does not conform with the male stereotype, encourage it. Raising an independent thinker means raising somebody who is self-reliant and confident.

What Is Authoritative Parenting and Should You Try It?

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While The Goddard School does not endorse the use of time-outs to discipline children, we do understand that parents have their own philosophies on parenting, so we present this article in its entirety.

You know what they say: Raising a kid doesn’t come with instructions. Fortunately, there are a few helpful tools at your disposal, including a tried-and-true parenting technique called “authoritative parenting.” Here’s what you need to know.

What is it? Coined by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind in the 1960s, authoritative parenting is a style of child-rearing characterized by setting high expectations for your kids but giving them the resources and emotional support they need to succeed. It’s considered to be the happy medium between authoritarian parenting (where the focus is on obedience and punishment) and permissive parenting (a style with a lot of warmth but few rules). In other words? It’s all about balance. Experts agree that authoritative parenting leads to happier and healthier children who are well-equipped to handle future challenges.

How do I do it? Authoritative parents are warm and nurturing, making sure to listen to children and validate their feelings. But they also let them know that there are consequences for bad behavior and consistently enforce these boundaries. Unlike authoritarian parents, however, they don’t expect their kids to obey blindly—they take the time to explain why and work with their child to turn mistakes into learning opportunities. Here’s how an authoritative parent might handle their kid hitting another child.

Child: Charlie took my toy away!

You: It’s all right that you’re angry right now.

Child: I want my toy back.

You: I understand that you wanted to get your toy back. But hitting someone is not OK and when you do that, you get a time-out. 

Child: I don’t want a time-out.

You: Hitting is not nice. When you hit someone, it hurts them and it could be dangerous. Can you think of something else you could do the next time someone takes your toy away instead of hitting?

Child: Get a grown-up? 

You: That’s a really good idea. After your time-out, let’s think about some more things you can do when you get upset so that you don’t hit.

The important thing here is to follow through (don’t forgo the time-out just because your kid looks miserable and it was kind of Charlie’s fault) and to let your kid know that you’re here to help them learn how to navigate the conflict.

How does it work? Authoritative parenting fosters independence, teaching kids how to be responsible and make good decisions on their own. Consistent rules also help kids know what to expect, ensuring they’re not anxious or confused about who’s in charge. (That’s you, obviously.) Sure, it’s more work than authoritarian or permissive parenting, but like most things in life, the extra effort is so worth it.

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

The 10 Best Children’s Books of 2018

When it comes to excellent reads for kids of all ages, these books truly stand out.

Every year, there’s a new crop of amazing books for children that truly leave an impact on young readers. Though 2018 was filled with many of those types of reads, we’ve narrowed down the 10 best, for children ages 1 to 12, that you’ll surely want to add to your kid’s library. These stories are fun, beautiful and full of valuable messages about empathy, diversity and respect for others.

The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon

Our top pick for the year is a middle grade novel that reads like a modern classic. The Season of Styx Malone follows two brothers in a small Indiana town who become friends with the new kid—a very worldly young man named Styx Malone. What follows is a heartwarming story of friendship, trust and possibility. Ages 8-12 ($12, amazon.com).

8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie and Lizzy Doyle


8 Little Planets by Chris Ferrie

Teach youngsters all about the solar system with this fun and fact-filled story.

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Illustrations of bright, happy planets paired with fun verse and facts made 8 Little Planets stand out from the crowd in 2018. A great way to start the youngest readers on a discovery of how fun nonfiction can be. Ages Baby-3 ($9, amazon.com).

Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan


Ocean Meets Sky by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

Join Finn on his journey to honor his grandfather in this story of love and loss.

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The picture book we couldn’t stop looking at this year is Ocean Meets Sky. The rich colors and detail on every page make this a book you can experience in a new way every time you read it. The message of family and connection are also timeless and important. Ages 4-8 ($15, amazon.com).

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafaél Lopez


The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson and Rafaél Lopez

A wonderful tale about being yourself even when you feel like an outsider.

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Perfect for young elementary-school readers who can easily see themselves in her characters, award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson’s story of bravery and acceptance is beautifully rendered in Rafael López’s imaginative illustrations. Ages 5-8 ($15, amazon.com).

National Parks of the USA by Kate Siber and Chris Turnham


National Parks of the USA by Kate Siber

Learn all about the wonders of America’s fascinating wildlife.

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A glorious homage to the natural wonders around us, National Parks of the U.S.A. takes readers on a journey across the country to visit some of America’s most iconic locations. Great fun to read and even more fun to share with the whole family. Ages 5 and up ($19, amazon.com).

Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman and Beth Krommes


Swirl by Swirl by Joyce Sidman

Learn to spot all the spirals in your world with this storybook, which perfectly blends poetry with beautiful illustrations.

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Gorgeous scratchboard illustrations and charming verse show little ones all the places spirals can be found in our world and even our universe. The board book edition is the perfect companion or inspiration for spotting spirals in our own neighborhoods. Ages 2-5 ($8, amazon.com).

Drawn Together by Minh Lê and Dan Santat


Drawn Together by Minh Lê and Dan Santat

Share this story about how art overcomes all barriers and connects us.

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A grandfather and his grandson speak different languages and struggle to communicate, until they discover a shared love of art and stories. From there the two express themselves with great creativity and joy. A wonderful look at multigenerational relationships and an unexpected bond. Ages 4-7 ($11, amazon.com).

Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey


Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas by Dav Pilkey

If your child isn’t a Dav Pilkey fan, they will be once they read this graphic novel.

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Even the most reluctant readers cannot resist the siren song of author Dav Pilkey. Pilkey’s Dog Man series is wildly popular with early and established chapter book readers, and his fifth book, Lord of the Fleas, is not only funny but also has great messages about kindness and reading. Ages 7 and up ($7, amazon.com).

Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty


Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty

This fantasy story about identity, nature and finding the strength to speak up for what’s right is so good you’ll want to read it yourself.

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This is the first book in a new series by the author of the bestselling Serafina and the Black Cloak books. Set in 1900 in the Great Smoky Mountains, Beatty blends history and fantasy in a story about an orphaned girl born of the forest, ancient ways and a changing world. Ages 8 and up ($8, amazon.com).

Big Kid Bed by Leslie Patricelli


Big Kid Bed by Leslie Patricelli

Another lovely tale by Leslie Patricelli that makes the change in your child’s life exciting and fun.

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Patricelli’s familiar smiling baby is now a toddler celebrating an important milestone. The board book Big Kid Bed reassures toddlers about giving up the crib, and they can see for themselves how much fun a big bed can be. A milestone that can present unique challenges, Patricelli comes to the rescue with this one. Ages 1-3 ($8, amazon.com).

 

This article was written by Seira Wilson of Amazon.com from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

8 Parenting Trends That Will Be Huge in 2019

Parenting is all about personal style: Maybe you’re relaxed and free-range, maybe you’re a total worrywart. That said, parenting trends do come and go. (Remember the rise and fall of the Tiger Mom?). Here’s what’s hot in the kid-rearing world for 2019. (Take from it what you will.)

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Authoritative Parenting

This trend is a bit like Goldilocks: As a mom (or dad), you’re not too strict/rigid, but you’re also not a total pushover. Authoritative parents (a term coined by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind) are flexible and more democratic, a balance-focused approach that’s picking up steam going into 2019. A few common traits of the authoritative style: Having expectations for kids, but providing them with the resources and emotional support they need to succeed; listening to your children and pivoting based on their opinions; placing limits on their behavior and fair and consistent discipline when rules are broken.

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Raindrop Baby Names

If you’ve noticed a lot of Liams, Arias, or Emmas in your kid’s class, you’re not alone. So-called “raindrop” names pack two or more syllables into four (or fewer) letters. They also include soft consonants only—think M, N, L, R or Y. And while they’ve been climbing the charts for years, we expect them to blow up, come 2019.

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No More Gender Reveals

After *this* gender reveal gone (very) wrong, it’s safe to say that hosting a Pinterest-inspired party just to announce the sex of your baby is kinda passé. Don’t get us wrong: It’s great to be excited and celebratory about the arrival of your kid, but forcing your closest pals to show up and toast a yet-to-be-born baby at a party that’s either all pink or all blue is a bit over the top. It also forces your newborn to subscribe to gender norms while they’re still in utero, a concept not all parents are into.

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Subscription Everything

No, we’re not just talking about Amazon Prime. We’re talking subscription baby food, toy kits, diapers and more. In fact, there’s even a subscription service that helps with postpartum recovery items. Because apparently you can never have too many sitz baths.

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Grandparents-Only Photo Sharing

In 2018, locking down an Instagram handle for your baby before they were born was all the rage. But going into 2019, parents are opting to be a bit more intimate (and targeted) with their photo updates. Case in point: Tiny Beans. The photo sharing app allows you to add specific people and post a pic a day (plus a caption) into a calendar-like grid. Grandparents near and far get an email alert that a new photo has been uploaded…and you’re spared the internal dialogue as you decide whether or not it’s kosher to post a bathtime shot.

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Audio Books vs. Screen Time

According to Pinterest, searches for “audio storytellers” are up 126 percent going into the new year. What does this mean? For parents, audio books are the ultimate screen time work-around. It gives parents a distraction mechanism for kids resisting bedtime (hey, it’s not a screen, but it has the impact of a screen) and helps them calm down and settle in at the end of a rowdy day. Where to start? Check out Epic!, which features a range of audio versions for best-selling titles, like Giraffes Can’t Dance or Goosebumps.

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Lawnmower Parents

Brace yourself, this term was actually created by a real live teacher dealing with this parenting style in her classroom…and it’s not pretty. In a nutshell, a lawnmower parent acts in a way that cuts down any problem that dare cross their child’s path. “Instead of preparing children for challenges,” the teacher describes, “they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place.” The problem with a lawnmower parenting approach is that your child never has to struggle or fail as they go through their early life. (And you thought being a helicopter parent was bad.)

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Hands-Free Breast Pumps

It’s yet another Pinterest reveal: Moms are on the hunt for wireless breast pumps. (Search for the term is up 114 percent.) If you haven’t heard of the Willow Breast Pump (or the Freemie), familiarize yourselves. This fairly recent technological wonder slips underneath your bra and doesn’t need to be hooked up to an outlet, meaning you can do housework, your makeup, run a meeting…you get the idea.  (Now, if only they could figure out how to spill-proof the bottles…but that’s a problem for 2020.)

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.