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Parenting Counts

Parenting Information You Can Trust

Is there a “Right” way to praise a child?

The Talaris Institute

Trystan and Mom - PraiseIn the Sept. 14 edition of the New York Times, author Alfie Kohn wrote about the potentially detrimental effects of praise on young children. In the article, both positive reinforcement (praise) and punishment through withdrawal of attention (including time out) were described as manipulations intended to shape children’s behavior to please the adults in their life, regardless of the feelings, goals, and needs of the child. Kohn calls for parents to love their children unconditionally, instead of sending them repeated messages that they are lovable only when they behave in certain ways.

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Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of Their Brains

Center on the Developing Child  Harvard University

Wyatt and MomA growing body of scientific evidence demonstrates that emotional development begins early in life and is closely connected with the emergence of cognitive, language and social skills. Early emotional development lays the foundation for later academic performance, mental health and the capacity to form successful relationships.

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Language Use Decreases When Television is On

2 year old Brielle, sitting in armchair with teddy bearA recent study confirms that increased televison time in a household leads to decreased verbal interaction between parent and child.  Since interaction is one of the most important ways to stimulate a baby’s brain growth, less interaction can only lead to less productive brain growth.  The study also explored the impact of television on young children’s verbal development.

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A Parents’ Guide to Safe Sleep (2008)

The American Academy of Pediatrics

SleepAn article written by the AAP to help parents reduce the risk of SIDS.

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Making Friends: Assisting Children’s Early Relationships

UNC FPG Child Development Institute Authors Barbara Goldman and Virginia Buysse

FriendsBarbara Goldman and Virginia Buysse support the authenticity of friendships among the very young and among children with and without disabilities as they explore the characteristics and benefits of friendship.  The authors also suggest ways parents and teachers can identify and foster friendships in young children with and without disabilities.

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The Science of Early Childhood Development

Center on the Developing Child  Harvard University

Kaili and MomThis edition of the InBrief* series addresses basic concepts of early childhood development, established over decades of neuroscience and behavioral research, which help illustrate why child development—particularly from birth to five years—is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.

* InBrief is a three-part series that offers short summaries of the scientific presentations given at the National Symposium on Early Childhood Science and Policy in June 2008.

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Talking to Children: Why Some Mothers Do It More

UNC FPG Child Development Institute

Noel and Mom 6 monthsHow a mother cares for her baby may determine her child’s future vocabulary and language abilities, regardless of a family’s economic status. Research shows that from a very young age, children are influenced by the way their mother’s verbally interact with them.

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The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture

Center on the Developing Child  Harvard University

Takumi and dadThe foundations of brain architecture are established early in life through a continuous series of dynamic interactions in which environmental conditions and personal experiences have a significant impact on how genetic predispositions are expressed. Because specific experiences affect specific brain circuits during specific developmental stages—referred to as sensitive periods— it is vitally important to take advantage of these early opportunities in the developmental building process.

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Environmental Print Awareness in Young Children

Environmental Print Awareness

Danielle Z. Kassow, Ph.D.

Print is omnipresent in literate societies. Young children begin taking notice of and interacting with print in their environment and are able to identify or “read” the familiar print around them beginning at an early age. Questions pertaining to whether or not children are actually reading when they “read” environmental print were the focus of this research summary.

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A Time for Peace: Talking to Children About Their Effect on the World

Danielle Z. Kassow, Ph.D.

Abby and friendA colleague of mine recently attended several events in Vancouver where the Dalai Lama was the guest of honor. She shared some of the Dalai Lama’s teachings with me: everything we do has an effect on other people, and in order to have world peace people must first have peace within themselves. I found this to be both poignant and completely relevant when thinking about young children’s social and emotional development.

In August, I attended a brain science and early learning conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Many of the presentations focused on social-emotional development in the early childhood years as well as on programs that have been developed to teach children about social and emotional skills.

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