Thursday, July 29, 2010

Child Development and Public Health - NCBDDD, CDC

Child Development and Public Health - NCBDDD, CDC: "Cost to society of less than optimal development are enormous and far-reaching. Children who grow up in environments where their developmental needs are not met are at an increased risk for compromised health and safety, and learning and developmental delays. Failure to invest time and resources during children’s early years may have long term effects on the foster care, health care, and education systems. Therefore, it is in the public's interest to ensure that children develop in safe, loving, and secure environments."

Breast-Feeding Cuts Risk of Myopia

Breast-Feeding Cuts Risk of Myopia: "Nutrients in breast milk thought to help eye development"

LLLI | Benefits of Breastfeeding

LLLI | Benefits of Breastfeeding: "Benefits of Breastfeeding"

BBC NEWS | Health | Breastfeeding 'helps to boost IQ'

BBC NEWS | Health | Breastfeeding 'helps to boost IQ': "More evidence is being put forward that breastfed babies eventually become more intelligent than those who are fed with formula milk."

Brain Plasticity

From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development

From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development: "From Neurons to Neighborhoods:
The Science of Early Childhood Development"

The Secret Life of the Brain : Episode 1

The Secret Life of the Brain : Episode 1: "A baby's brain is a mystery whose secrets scientists are just beginning to unravel. The mystery begins in the womb -- only four weeks into gestation the first brain cells, the neurons, are already forming at an astonishing rate: 250,000 every minute. Billions of neurons will forge links with billions of other neurons and eventually there will be trillions and trillions of connections between cells. Every cell is precisely in its place, every link between neurons carefully organized. Nothing is random, nothing arbitrary."

Neuroscience For Kids - Brain Development

Neuroscience For Kids - Brain Development: "The brain grows at an amazing rate during development. At times during brain development, 250,000 neurons are added every minute! At birth, almost all the neurons that the brain will ever have are present. However, the brain continues to grow for a few years after birth. By the age of 2 years old, the brain is about 80% of the adult size."

Baby Brain Growth and Development - Stimulate Baby Brain Development Video

Baby Brain Growth and Development - Stimulate Baby Brain Development Video: "Encouraging your baby's brain growth can be fun for both parents and children. See how to become an active teacher and begin stimulating your baby and promoting brain development."

HowStuffWorks Videos "Understanding the Brain: Development"

HowStuffWorks Videos "Understanding the Brain: Development": "Understanding the Brain: Development"

Better Brains for Babies | Welcome

Better Brains for Babies | Welcome: "Did you know that the brain is not fully developed until late adolescence? Tour our site to find out more interesting facts, as we provide you with current research-based information about the brain, early brain development, and its implications for children in Georgia and throughout the United States. Here you will also find information about practices that contribute to healthy brain development, along with resources to support brain development in young children."


ZERO TO THREE: Homepage: "ZERO TO THREE is a national, nonprofit organization that informs, trains, and supports professionals, policymakers, and parents in their efforts to improve the lives of infants and toddlers."

Child Development - NCBDDD

Child Development - NCBDDD: "The early years of a child's life are crucial for cognitive, social and emotional development. Therefore, it is important that we take every step necessary to ensure that children grow up in environments where their social, emotional and educational needs are met."

Developmental Screening, Child Development - NCBDDD, CDC

Developmental Screening, Child Development - NCBDDD, CDC: "Developmental screening is a procedure designed to identify children who should receive more intensive assessment or diagnosis, for potential developmental delays. It can allow for earlier detection of delays and improve child health and well-being for identified children."

Early Years - Child Development

You may have heard the phrase: “The Early Years Last Forever.” There is a lot of truth to that phrase. The foundation for attachment, relationships, communication, physical senses, mobility, education, and career, are is set during the early years.

Some things can be made up later if they are missed during the early years; however, because a child’s brain is learning, growing, and expanding during the early years, these years are crucial. A healthy enriching; but not over stimulating environment can have an extremely positive impact on the life of a child. This kind of environment does not require a great deal of money, even impoverished homes can provide this type of environment for a young child.

Reading to and interacting with your young child will have a lasting impact. Learning to communicate with your child and understanding your child’s communication will help you provide more stimulation and a chance for your baby’s self-regulation and calming according to your child’s individual needs.

Understanding typical child development will help you know what skill to emphasize and when and will help you know when to seek additional assistance.

Child Development
What is typical child development?
What can you do if you have concerns?
What is Child Development Screening?

Fortunately there is now considerable research and material available on child development. In the United States , there are also a lot of resources for children with developmental delays and disabilities.

While playing and working with children you will notice certain behaviors as they grown and develop. Many of these are called milestones and you may even have a baby book that your parent put together for you that included such information as when you took your first step or said your first word. There are a lot of these milestones that help us understand how well a child is developing, as well as gives us ideas on things that we can work on with children which are developmentally appropriate.

Let’s look at a few.

Many children will be able to:

By 3 months:
Follow moving objects with eyes
Turn head towards bright colors and lights
Move eyes together in same direction
Recognize breast or bottle
Respond to loud sounds
Make fists with both hands
Grasp rattles or hair
Wiggle and kick with legs and arms
Lift head and chest while on stomach
Make cooing sounds

By 6 months
Turn towards source of normal sound
Reach for objects and pick them up
Roll from stomach to back
Transfer objects from one hand to other
Play with toes
Help hold bottle during feeding
Recognize familiar faces
Sit well while leaning on hands

By 8 months
Turn head when name is called
Smile back at another person
Respond to sound with sounds
Enjoy social play (such as peek-a-boo)

By 12 months
Get into sitting position
Pull to a standing position
Crawl on hands and knees
Drink from a cup
Enjoy peek-a-boo and patty cake
Use basic gestures i.e. Wave bye-bye
Hold out arms and legs while being dressed
Put objects into container
Have a 5 to 6 word vocabulary
Walk with help
Make sounds such as “ma,” “pa,” and “da”
Imitate actions in play i.e. clapping

By 18 months
Like to pull, push and dump things
Follow simple directions like “bring the ball”
Pull off shoes, socks and mittens
Like to look at pictures
Feed self
Make marks on paper with crayons
Use 8 to 10 words that are understood
Walk without help
Step off low object and keep balance
Stack 3 blocks
Do simple pretend play i.e. talk on a toy phone
Point to objects s/he thinks are interesting
Look at objects when you point and look at it and say “look”

By 2 years
Use 2 to 4 word phrases
Say names of toys
Recognize familiar pictures
Carry an object while walking
Feed self with spoon
Play alone and independently
Turn 2 or 3 pages at a time
Imitate parents
Identify hair, eyes, ears, and nose by pointing
Build a tower of 5 blocks
Show affection
Follow simple instructions
Show interest in other children

By 3 years
Walk up steps alternating feet
Ride a tricycle
Put on shoes
Open door
Turn one page at a time
Play with other children for a few minutes
Repeat common rhymes
Use 3 to 5 word sentences
Name at least one color correctly
Use the toilet
Show affection for playmates
Imitate playmates i.e. run when other children run
Play make-believe with dolls, animals and/or people i.e. feed a teddy bear or doll

By 4 years
Balance on one foot 4 to 6 seconds
Jump from step (just one step up to the floor below)
Dress and undress with little help
Cut straight with scissors
Wash hands alone
Play simple group games
As questions beginning, “What, Where, Who?”
Give reasonable answers to basic questions
Give first and last names
Show many emotions
Use 5 to 6 word sentences
Follow 3 step commands i.e. “get dressed,” “comb your hair,” and “wash your face”
Cooperate with other children

By 5 years
Skip using feet alternately
Catch a large ball
Bathe self
Dress alone
Speak clearly
Count 5 to 10 objects
Draw a body with at least 5 parts
Print a few letters
Copy familiar shapes (square, circle, and triangle)

Much of the information about these developmental milestones is taken from information at the CDC website.

You may know some children who are significantly behind (two to three months) for some of these milestones. When that happens there are many options.

You may want to view the following video:
CDC Video Player. Flash Player 9 is required. CDC Video Player. Flash Player 9 is required.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provides some wonderful additional information on basic child development, positive parenting tips, and child safety. It is arranged specifically by age and can be found at:

If you have concern about a child’s development and you are not the parent, tactfully and with care speak with the parent. It can be very difficult information for a parent to receive. Questions come up about what they might have done wrong or what might be wrong with themselves. Sometimes parents realize that there may be a problem but it is difficult to face and deal with. It’s much easier if you already have a good relationship with the parent. You would want to have this discussion in private with the parent and ease into it very gently. Share positive things about their child that you have genuinely noticed before you share concerns. If possible, provide potential resources with the parent at the same time you share your concerns.

You will find good information about Developmental Screenings in the US at:

So, if a child has a developmental delay or disability, why is early intervention important?
When a child is born, if s/he is developing typically, is healthy and has good enriching environment s/he will make 3 billion synaptic connections per second (according to some experts, some others place the number as lower; however it is still at least in the hundreds of thousands) in his or her brain during the first three years of life. While we continue to learn throughout our lives, unless a disability makes it impossible, we never again learn at this rate.
Some things are very difficult or impossible to learn. For example, if a child is born without hearing and gets a cochlear implant at a very early age, s/he will probably develop typical or fairly typical speech. If an adult, who has never been able to hear, gets a cochlear implant; while s/he may be able to hear the sounds s/he will probably never be able to process language.

Don’t wait, early intervention is important.

Though developed specifically to demonstrate the affect of drugs on the brain, this website provides a partial animated view of how the brain works.

The Animated Brain

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the BRAIN two web sites: and

Understanding your Baby’s Vision Development

There is some disagreement on baby’s ability to focus at a distance at birth; however it is generally accepted that they do not have good muscle control for focusing.

In the US, if you have concern about your child’s development you can call 1-800-cdc-info (232-4636)

Birth to Three programs throughout the United States are encouraged to provide services in the child’s natural environment, which can include his or her home and/or the child care center. Often a therapist can come either to your home or the child care center and provide support both for you and for the eligible child on a periodic basis.

Key Words for the Google Parenting Search Engine below:

Children Early Years; Birth to Three; Birth to Three (your state or country)

Key Words for the Google Scholar Search Engine below:
Infant Self-Regulation; Early Intervention

Supplemental Materials:

Developmental Screening, Child Development - NCBDDD, CDC

Child Development - NCBDDD


Better Brains for Babies

HowStuffWorks Videos "Understanding the Brain: Development"

Baby Brain Growth and Development - Stimulate Baby Brain Development Video

Neuroscience For Kids - Brain Development

The Secret Life of the Brain : Episode 1

From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development

Brain Plasticity

BBC NEWS | Health | Breastfeeding 'helps to boost IQ'

LLLI | Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breast-Feeding Cuts Risk of Myopia

Child Development and Public Health - NCBDDD, CDC

Why Babies Cry: Help a Baby Stop Crying

Baby Sign Language

Baby Talk

Communication between baby and me!

CJO - Abstract - Brain development, infant communication, and empathy disorders: Intrinsic factors in child mental health

 Development of Eating Behaviors Among Children and Adolescents

Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning and Development

Social Emotional Development

Friday, July 23, 2010

Depression in Children and Adolescents - November 15, 2000 - American Family Physician

Depression in Children and Adolescents - November 15, 2000 - American Family Physician: "Depression among children and adolescents is common but frequently unrecognized. It affects 2 percent of prepubertal children and 5 to 8 percent of adolescents. The clinical spectrum of the disease can range from simple sadness to a major depressive or bipolar disorder. Risk factors include a family history of depression and poor school performance. Evaluation should include a complete medical assessment to rule out underlying medical causes."

Working Paper #8: Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children - Center on the Developing Child - Harvard University

Working Paper #8: Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children - Center on the Developing Child - Harvard University: "Serious depression in parents and caregivers can affect far more than the adults who are ill. It also influences the well-being of the children in their care. The first joint Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs summarizes recent evidence on the potentially far-reaching harmful effects of chronic and severe maternal depression on families and children. When children grow up in an environment of mental illness, the development of their brains may be seriously weakened, with implications for their ability to learn as well as for their own later physical and mental health."

Depression and Parenting

Many experts believe that depression is on the rise for both children and adults. It is estimated that between 5 to 6% of all Americans suffer from depression, approximately 4% of teens, and 1% of children (many years ago most experts didn’t believe young children could get depressed; however, that is not correct). Fortunately depression is very treatable for most people. There are some great medications and many things you can do to alleviate depression. Depression can be primarily chemical, primarily stress and environmentally related, and primarily related to your own thinking and behavior; however usually it is partially caused by a combination.

Some of the things you can do to alleviate depression are to reduce yours and your child’s stress (which we’ll talk about in another section), improve diet, eliminate drugs and alcohol (alcohol is a depressant), and aerobic exercise (sports like basketball and football do not count.) See your doctor and if necessary ask for medication.

Everyone is different in the way the react to different medications so it is very important to consult closely with your doctor and keep him or her updated on your progress, or lack of progress, and symptoms. Even if you are trying to manage your symptoms without medication, it is highly recommended and important that you work closely with your doctor and keep him or her apprised of how you are doing. In addition, speaking with a good counselor can be very helpful and in fact, for many types of depression working both with your doctor and a mental health counselor is recommended. If something’s not working, ask your doctor and/or mental health professional for other options. As mentioned previously depression can be treated very well for most people.

Depression can manifest itself in a number of different ways. Typically when you think of someone who is depressed, you think of someone who is withdrawn, quiet, frowns most of the time or has little facial expression at all; however, this is not always the case. Sometimes depression can be manifest in aggression and anger.


Prenatal depression is not uncommon and can have an adverse impact on both the mother and child. If you are pregnant, take care of yourself, see your doctor, take vitamins and minerals as recommended by your doctor, eat right, exercise as approved by your doctor, avoid alcohol and drugs (including tobacco).

Postnatal (Maternal/Parental Depression)

It’s not fun to be a depressed parent and it’s not healthy, physically or emotionally for your child either. See your doctor and/or mental health professional and do all the things listed above.

For Child

Two of the strongest predictors of depression in infants and young children are prenatal depression of the mother and a depressed parent after birth. Infant and childhood depression can have a long term impact on the child. Often there are things you can do for yourself, the environment, and directly for your child which will have a positive impact; but do not ignore it. There are often free or low cost services for infants and young children with disabilities and/or mental health difficulties in the United States and many other developed countries. Speak with your physician, Health Department, or other health care professional.

I am doing very well and have been for many years; but am personally and intimately acquainted with major depression. Being well is much better than being depressed and I watch what I eat, get good, almost daily aerobic exercise, and continue to take a low dosage of a medication. I also practice a great deal of stress reduction. All these things have been a tremendous help to me.

All around the world, depression is on the rise in both children and adults. There are many factors that contribute to this, including: diet, exercise, stress, bad economy, lack of employment, and a lack of self-efficacy.

Key terms for either the Google Scholar or Google Parenting Search Engine below.
Prenatal Depression
Postnatal Depression
Paternal Depression
Children Depression
Postpartum Depression
Depression Anger
Depression Aggression
Pregnancy Alcohol
Pregnancy Drugs
Pregnancy Tobacco
Childhood Depression
Infant Depression
Maternal Depression
Depression Alcohol

Supplemental Information:
Talk Therapy Boosts Response to Antidepressants
Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children
Depression in Children and Adolescents
Depression in Pregnancy and Postpartum
Symptoms of Childhood Depression
Signs Your Child is Depressed
Teen Depression: Signs, Symptoms, and How to Help
Slow Brain Growth In Babies Linked To Depression During Pregnancy

Skin-to-skin contact: A natural way to treat postpartum depression? | Fox News

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Curiosity: The Fuel of Development

Curiosity: The Fuel of Development: "'Whas’at? Whas’at?'
—A question from a 3-year-old boy asked of his mother over and over as they walked through the zoo.
Children are such curious creatures. They explore, question, and wonder, and by doing so, learn. From the moment of birth, likely even before, humans are drawn to new things. When we are curious about something new, we want to explore it. And while exploring we discover. By turning the light switch on and off over and over again, the toddler is learning about cause and effect. By pouring water into a dozen different-shaped containers and on the floor and over clothes, the 4-year-old is learning pre-concepts of mass and volume. A child discovers the sweetness of chocolate, the bitterness of lemon, the heat of the radiator, and the cold of ice." Exploring their Environment

Developing Curiosity in Children - Some Simple Tips and Suggestions

Developing Curiosity in Children - Some Simple Tips and Suggestions: "Curiosity is the most critical fuel for all-round development of your children. The power of curiosity helps your children assists them in clarifying innumerable problems, develop ideas and expressions, help solve riddles and problems and later use and apply them in their daily life. Curiosity also helps your children explore and probe how situations and scenarios of life could be different in their finer aspects. When your children explore the surrounding environment in active manner, they can be the most productive people in the world. Asking probing questions, investigating all possibilities, and owning a sense of thrill and excitement will also help your children become wonderful inventors and innovators."

Curiosity and Exploration

Curiosity and Exploration: "The motive to explore the environment is presumably an evolved behavior that enables man and animals to gain information about an object or environment in the interest of survival. Many questions arise; why is curiosity maintained in a known environment? What determines individual differences in intensity of curiosity? Are people that score higher in curiosity measures more adapted? Can curiosity be taught by an aware caregiver? Are there downsides of curiosity and exploratory behavior? These questions will be addressed, not by a specific branch of psychology, but by the core of curiosity/exploration research which is subsumed by an eclectic theoretical framework."



Encourage but do not force exploration. Warmly receive a child’s natural safety checks through your own reassurance and love and assure your own safety oversight.

I have often heard the words from parents s/he is such a good baby/child. S/he never cries, just lies there, quietly stays in his/her play pen without making a fuss. Never wonders off. Never gets into anything.

While it is never fun to have a baby who cries all the time or a toddler who is always getting into things and/or getting hurt, I cringe when I hear parents talk about their GOOD, always quiet, non-curious, and/or non-exploring baby/child.

Of course, you want to make sure your child is safe and child proofing and making your home as safe as possible as well as keeping a close eye on your child is essential.

Safety is always first; however, children fall on their bottom when they are learning to walk and get littlie owies and boo boos as they learn and explore. This is natural. The key is to keep your child safe without overdoing it.

Children will naturally explore, checking back to make sure you are still there for them, reaching out and exploring further and further as they discover and learn. This is an essential part of the learning and maturing process.

As your children continue to explore and discover the world around them, the values, skills, and efficacy you have taught and instilled in them, the firm and healthy attachment you have developed, or not, will have a profound effect, or will manifest as a profound void.

Key Words:

In either the Google Parenting or Google Scholar Search Engine below: Children, Curiosity, and Exploration.

Supplemental Materials:
Curiosity: The Fuel of Development Exploring their Environment
Developing Curiosity in Children - Some Simple Tips and Suggestions
Curiosity and Exploration

Friday, July 16, 2010

Parenting and Culture

Sometimes when we talk about cultures we think of stark contrasts; however, the differences are often more subtle. The word Culture has many meanings, two of which, from, are as follows:

1) The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group: i.e. the youth culture; the drug culture. and

2) The sum total ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.|utmccn=(referral)|utmcmd=referral|utmcct=/browse/segue&__utmv=-&__utmk=220713624

Cultures can bring a richness of traditions, values, and ways of looking at the world around you.

Even when someone moves to a culture where a different language is spoken, aspects of their native culture and language will linger with their children and grandchildren for generations. Even when there is an overt attempt to erase all aspects of a native culture it continues to impact generations of children.

Sometimes this can be manifest in very interesting ways, such as being uncomfortable when someone asks about items in your home; but you don’t really know why you’re uncomfortable. The reason may be that in the culture of your grandparents it was rude to ask such question unless invited to comment.

These differences can manifest strongly in a marriage and raising children. Sometimes the contrasts can be so large and significant that it is difficult to maintain a marriage, a budget, agree on many things, and cooperatively raise healthy children. Some of the differences are misconstrued as child abuse and occasionally they really are.

My point is not to say that you shouldn’t marry someone from another culture than your own; however, research is very clear that it is easier to raise children when both parents are members of the same religion (something that can be influenced by culture). What is very clear from the research is that marriage and raising children is hard work. It is important for both parents to be on the same page or at least close to the same page most of the time. If you decide to marry someone from another culture, or if you have already done so, both of you need to learn as much about the other person’s culture as possible. You need to discuss child rearing practices and come to sincere agreement, not just acquiescence, on how you will deal with the many issues which will come up as you nurture and teach your children. You need to have a well thought out and even written plan before the issues arise, which they will. This doesn’t mean you can’t adjust the plan as you go; but do it together without your child(ren) present. Respect both cultures, teach your children the best from both cultures and help your children feel good about their cultural roots.


My wife and I were both born in the western United States . Our ancestry is Western European. To look at and speak with us, most people would assume we have the same cultural background; however this really isn’t the case.

I grew up in a Danish/German home. Most of our traditions included a mélange of German tradition such as opening Christmas presents at the homes of my mother’s relatives on Christmas Eve. (Things like this may seem insignificant; but the whole cultural legacy is huge.)

At the time, I didn’t know it, we had enough to eat; but, we were fairly poor. I milked from one to three cows, had lots of chores to do, and we had a huge garden, which I helped tend.

My wife on the other hand grew up in a home where sometimes they all lived with both their mother and father and a lot of the time they only lived with their mother. Her mother was French and Irish. My wife’s maternal grandmother died when she was fairly young, soon after giving birth to my wife’s mother. My wife’s mother was raised by her French relatives. My wife’s father was from Sicily . My mother-in-law’s father had been quite wealthy and the estate allowed her many financial privileges that many do not have.

Neither cultural was better than the other; but the experiences, traditions, and ways of viewing things were quite different. Different enough that there have been many struggles in coming to an agreement on how to handle certain things.

In any marriage, be prepared for and work through the differences. When there may be cultural differences, be planful about working through those differences in advance.

One last note: If you are raising a child from another culture i.e. through adoption or as a grandparent of a grandchild who has cultural differences other than your own, be mindful and respectful of the child’s culture legacies. Any disrespect for the culture is also disrespect for the child and the child will often feel that disrespect for him or her.

Key words: Google parenting search engine below: Cultural differences in raising children.

This will bring up both scholar and general articles.

Supplemental Material:
Conveying Meaning Through Language and Metaphor

Monday, July 12, 2010

Creative Writing Activities for Kids

Creative Writing Activities for Kids: "I believe that most children want to write before they want to read. There is something magical about putting pen to paper and making your words appear."

Music and Movement

Music and Movement: "Welcome to the Music and Movement Area. Do you have some favorite songs, fingerplays, movement activities, or music that you use with your preschool children and would like to share them with others?"

Free Kids Crafts & Activities Library - crafts, science, and more

Free Kids Crafts & Activities Library - crafts, science, and more: "Each month we will post new ideas for childrens craft activities and science projects that kids and adults can do together. These free childrens crafts and science activities should be fun for one or more kids as long as the adults plan to be involved too. The crafts supplies needed will be items commonly found in most households. It could be anything from an empty milk carton to a newspaper."

Official Crayola Site - Free coloring pages, crafts, lesson plans, games and more

Official Crayola Site - Free coloring pages, crafts, lesson plans, games and more: "Crayola offers lots of information on bringing creativity into the home."

Crafts - free, easy, homemade craft projects; craft patterns, craft ideas.

Crafts - free, easy, homemade craft projects; craft patterns, craft ideas.: "Over 1200 crafts, free craft projects and easy homemade gift ideas."

Creativity and Parenting

Creativity is not only important for children; but for you as well. It reduces stress, builds self-efficacy (an important precursor to healthy self-esteem) and expands the mind, helping to build important problem solving skills. When creative activities are done together, where the child’s personal creativity and choices are fostered and honored (within safety parameters) healthy attachment and bonding are further developed and solidified.
There are too many ways to develop creativity than can be mentioned here; however some include simple building blocks, coloring, or even building sand castles or making mud pies. Making cookies, candies, cakes, and casseroles and crafts are also a way to develop and exhibit creativity. Some creative ideas will be included above. More information will be provided under Stress Management.

One year when our children were young we decided to do something different for Christmas. Instead of a Christmas tree in the living room, we got a few discarded appliance boxes from local stores and butcher paper and created a nativity scene in the living room. It was a great creative/bonding experience for our children and myself.

Key Words for both Google Parenting and Google Scholar below: Creativity Parenting and Creative Parenting

Supplemental Materials:
Creative Writing Activities for Kids
Music and Movement
Official Crayola Site - Free coloring pages, crafts, lesson plans, games and more
Free Kids Crafts & Activities Library - crafts, science, and more
Crafts - free, easy, homemade craft projects; craft patterns, craft ideas.
The Activity Cupboard - Free Arts and Crafts Projects for Kids and Families
Free Crafts for Kids, Kid's Craft Ideas
Welcome to
The Role of Art in Early Childhood

The Activity Cupboard - Free Arts and Crafts Projects for Kids and Families

The Activity Cupboard - Free Arts and Crafts Projects for Kids and Families: "Click on any link below to be taken to pages full of free craft projects, how-tos, and much more! You will find something for everyone."

Free Crafts for Kids, Kid's Craft Ideas

Free Crafts for Kids, Kid's Craft Ideas: "Here we offer over 70 free kid's crafts - arts and crafts for children using inexpensive craft ideas, plus arts and crafts projects using recycled materials."

Free kid crafts, ideas, and activities for toddlers, preschoolers, and beyond.

Free kid crafts, ideas, and activities for toddlers, preschoolers, and beyond.: "As a mother of three active kids, I learned the value of doing art and crafts projects with my children when my oldest was still a toddler. You're probably aware of the many ways that doing kid crafts positively affects children..."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Parenting tips: the importance of consistency

Parenting tips: the importance of consistency: "Keeping regular routines with a child is also an important part of consistency. Days are less chaotic and arguments more infrequent if a child knows what is expected of them upon rising, after school, or when going to bed. Consistency helps a child develop a sense of responsibility in that they know exactly what is required of them.
Children are also less likely to test boundaries or push limits that are firmly set when they know that there will be consequences for deviant behavior. They learn that “no” means “no.” Consistency teaches children cause-and-effect relationships, which helps them as they grow with their ability to make wiser decisions."

Welcome to

It may be something that you never thought about. Do you make rules, but after an infraction you let the kids slide by without consequences? Do you say “no” to a request, but then back down and relent to a “yes” if your children persist and whine? Do you and your spouse disagree on the rules for the children? Does one spouse say “yes” and the other say “no” to the same request from your children? Do you make threats to your children, but you never really intend to follow through? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, there’s probably room for improvement in the consistency department. With a firm tweak here and there in your parenting practices, you’ll notice a positive change in the behavior of your children. However, if you have been inconsistent in many ways for a long time, it will take patience and time as your children test your newly defined boundaries. Hang in there!"

The Best Parenting Advice Ever: Consistency - Associated Content -

The Best Parenting Advice Ever: Consistency - Associated Content - "The key to parenthood: Consistency. I have read several books on parenting since I became a parent. I want my children to have every opportunity possible."

Power of Positive Parenting – 7 Rules for Consistent Parenting « Kingdom Living

Power of Positive Parenting – 7 Rules for Consistent Parenting « Kingdom Living: "Consistency is one of the most important parts of effective parenting. There are a lot of parenting techniques and programs out there. The most important thing is that you decide what you are going to do to discipline your children and stick with it.
One of the reasons we have to be 100% consistent in our discipline is because of the power of reinforcement schedules. Studies have been done where children are rewarded 100% of the time for something, rewarded randomly, or not rewarded at all. Guess which behaviors were the quickest learned and repeated?"

Thursday, July 8, 2010

SpringerLink - Journal Article

SpringerLink - Journal Article: "This study proposed a new observational definition of parental inconsistency, which analyzed whether mothers follow through their demands during sequences of mother-child conflict. A home observational study showed that mothers of conduct-problem preschoolers acted inconsistently during a greater proportion of conflict episodes than did their normal counterparts. There was a strong correlation between inconsistency and amount of family conflict. Inconsistency varied as a function of the context from which conflict arose. Results are discussed in terms of both coercion (Patterson, 1979) and predictability theories of problem behavior (Wahler & Dumas, 1986)."

Parenting Practices and Child Disruptive Behavior Problems in Early Elementary School - Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology

Parenting Practices and Child Disruptive Behavior Problems in Early Elementary School - Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology: "Examined the hypothesis that distinct parenting practices may be associated with type and profile of a child's disruptive behavior problems (e.g., oppositional, aggressive, hyperactive). Parents of 631 behaviorally disruptive children described the extent to which they experienced warm and involved interactions with their children and the extent to which their discipline strategies were inconsistent and punitive and involved spanking and physical aggression. As expected from a developmental perspective, parenting practices that included punitive interactions were associated with elevated rates of all child disruptive behavior problems. Low levels of warm involvement were particularly characteristic of parents of children who showed elevated levels of oppositional behaviors. Physically aggressive parenting was linked more specifically with child aggression. In general, parenting practices contributed more to the prediction of oppositional and aggressive behavior problems than to hyperactive behavior problems, and parenting influences were fairly consistent across ethnic groups and sex."

Consistency parenting - Google Scholar

"Adolescents' well-being as a function of perceived interparental consistency
AC Fletcher, L Steinberg, EB Sellers - Journal of Marriage and the Family, 1999 - JSTOR
... Key Words: adolescence, consistency, parenting style. ... Although the benefits of an
authoritative parent- ing style are well documented, research on this topic has typically
ignored issues related to inter- parental consistency in parenting style. ..."

Two Families Now: Parenting During Separation and Divorce

BEGINNINGS: Chapter 6: Consistency in Parenting


Consistency is essential in parenting: Consistent love and appropriate affection, consistent rules, consistent and appropriate instruction and discipline (including follow-through), consistent routines, consistent people, consistent enriching but not over stimulating environments, and positive traditions.

As children grow in security they can tolerate increasing variability in environments and activities; however, consistency in other areas remains a staple of good parenting.

Sometimes there are times of trial and chaos; however, keeping as much consistency as possible in the midst of these troubling times remains critical for children.

We can do a great deal to provide consistency for children, even in the times of imbalance.

“The balance of nature itself teaches us the principle of times and seasons. There are times in our lives where balance is imbalance”.

Steven R Covey

Key Words:

Google parenting search engine and the scholar search engine below: Consistency in parenting

Supplemental Materials:
Parenting tips: the importance of consistency
The Best Parenting Advice Ever: Consistency
Power of Positive Parenting – 7 Rules for Consistent Parenting
SpringerLink - Journal Article
Parenting Practices and Child Disruptive Behavior Problems in Early Elementary School - Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology
"Adolescents' well-being as a function of perceived interparental consistency
Two Families Now: Parenting During Separation and Divorce
Children First-40 Developmental Assets: A community project for youth development    

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How to Navigate Media and Entertainment Choices for Kids

Let us let the children PLAY!

How to Encourage Your Child to Make Healthy Food Choices

Ways Parents Can Help Infant Development: Child Care & Development |

Ways Parents Can Help Infant Development: Child Care & Development "Ways Parents Can Help Infant Development"

Why Babies Cry: Help a Baby Stop Crying |

Why Babies Cry: Help a Baby Stop Crying "Why Babies Cry"

Baby Sign Language

Baby Talk

Communication between baby and me!

CJO - Abstract - Brain development, infant communication, and empathy disorders: Intrinsic factors in child mental health

CJO - Abstract - Brain development, infant communication, and empathy disorders: Intrinsic factors in child mental health: "Abstract
Disorders of emotion, communication, and learning in early childhood are considered in light of evidence on human brain growth from embryo stages. We cite microbehavioral evidence indicating that infants are born able to express the internal activity of their brains, including dynamic “motive states” that drive learning. Infant expressions stimulate the development of imitative and reciprocal relations with corresponding dynamic brain states of caregivers. The infant's mind must have an “innate self-with-other representation” of the inter-mind correspondence and reciprocity of feelings that can be generated with an adult.
Primordial motive systems appear in subcortical and limbic systems of the embryo before the cerebral cortex. These are presumed to continue to guide the growth of a child's brain after birth. We propose that an “intrinsic motive formation” is assembled prenatally and is ready at birth to share emotion with caregivers for regulation of the child's cortical development, on which cultural cognition and learning depend.
The intrinsic potentiality for “intersubjectivity” can be disorganized if the epigenetic program for the infant's brain fails. Indeed, many psychological disorders of childhood can be traced to faults in early stages of brain development when core motive systems form."

Development of Eating Behaviors Among Children and Adolescents -- Birch and Fisher 101 (3): 539 -- Pediatrics

Development of Eating Behaviors Among Children and Adolescents -- Birch and Fisher 101 (3): 539 -- Pediatrics: "An enormous amount of learning about food and eating occurs during the transition from the exclusive milk diet of infancy to the omnivore's diet consumed by early childhood. This early learning is constrained by children's genetic predispositions, which include the unlearned preference for sweet tastes, salty tastes, and the rejection of sour and bitter tastes. Children also are predisposed to reject new foods and to learn associations between foods' flavors and the postingestive consequences of eating. Evidence suggests that children can respond to the energy density of the diet and that although intake at individual meals is erratic, 24-hour energy intake is relatively well regulated."


From the moment an infant is born s/he can be empowered or learn helplessness on the responses s/he receives from the requests s/he makes to have needs met. There is a natural communication that typically develops from birth and continues on through childhood and into adulthood.

As adults it is important that we know how and have the discipline to make good choices. While children need to learn boundaries and as adults we need to continue to understand and respect them, part of the process is leaning and having the opportunity to make choices as children.

Choosing what to wear, within appropriate parameters, having choice in activities and food are all important. Raising a child that can not make their own choices or does not have the conviction of their choices can be disastrous.

To a considerable extent, decisions determine destiny. Quite often it’s not the big decisions that make the difference but the accumulation of what appears to be small decisions. Guiding children, instilling good values, and giving them practice making choices, helps them develop the requisite skills and discipline to make good decisions.


From the time they were little our children were encouraged to make choices and as much as possible those choices were honored. To be certain, there were times when they wanted to make choices beyond the boundaries, this was especially the case for two of our children. As they have grown, they have for the most part made good choices and even when mistakes were made, corrected those choices for better ones. Like me, they are not perfect, and as noted, I said “for the most part.” Some times they have made choices with which I have disagreed and in some cases as I have looked back, some of these choices may have been the better choice.

One of my grandsons spent most of the day with me today. He is four years old and is often common in a grandparent/grandchild relationship, he mostly had fun choices. Activities, food to eat, games, etc; however, there were some limits to the choices he could make as well. He has to ask and say please and sometimes the answer is “no.” All of this is important not only to help him become a healthy adult; but also in the relationship and mutual respect I hope we continue to develop with and for each other.
(next day)
One of my grandson’s spends part of every other weekend with us. He hasn’t had as much consistency in his life as some children, has some trust and security issues, and has a hard time sitting still for very long unless he’s watching a movie he REALLY likes. Because of these things, going to church can be a bit of a struggle. Today, July 4, was an exceptionally good day for him. He chose where we sat. When we went to the children’s program he was able to choose between sitting with me in the back or with his friends in the front. At first he wanted to sit in the back then decided to sit with his friends. Things were out of hand, with noise and touching, within a couple of minutes so I moved right behind him which only helped for about one minute when I moved him back with me; but right behind his class. He was great the rest of the time. He eagerly and appropriately participated. There were times when the other children were standing during singing and he chose to remain sitting, even during one of his favorite songs. That was ok. We next went to his class and he was really better behaved than his peers. At one point I moved his chair back by me; but over all he was great. During the whole time when he was being reverent I quietly praised him. Told him how great he was doing and how proud I was of him.


Research is clear that it is important to allow children appropriate and healthy choice in order for them to grow to productive, competent, healthy adults. Honoring those choices, within moral, healthy, and legal, limits helps them to develop competence and self-efficacy in the choices they make throughout their lives.

Key Words

Google Scholar Below: Children Choices, Choices Children Competence, Children Self Efficacy, Infant Communication Needs.

Supplemental Material:
How to Navigate Media and Entertainment Choices for Kids
Let us let the children PLAY!
How to Encourage Your Child to Make Healthy Food Choices
Development of Eating Behaviors Among Children and Adolescents  

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Children: How many are too many?

Most of what I have to offer in this posting is based upon my own experiences over the years.

Parents should not have more children than they can: physically, financially, and emotionally support. There are of course times when a calamity or accident occurs and others need to step in and help. Sometimes older siblings end up raising younger siblings.. It is natural for older siblings to help in the home and to help with younger siblings; but problems often arise when an older sibling is required or even put into a position to discipline their own siblings. This is not their role except in the case of an immediate emergency, incapacity ,or death of the parent(s).