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Parenting Counts

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Children and Disasters: What You Need to Know

Danielle Z. Kassow, Ph.D.

Cason and grandmaHurricanes, earthquakes, war, terrorism, school shootings. We know how scary these events feel as adults, but how do they affect our youngest citizens, our children? Disasters, whether human-made or natural, have a significant effect on the health and emotional well-being of children (Madrid, Grant, Reilly, & Redlener, 2006). It has been one year since Hurricane Katrina changed the lives of so many and five years since September 11 forever left its imprint on all of our lives. As I reflect on the anniversary of these disasters I am reminded that post-disaster effects may not surface until long after the occurrence of the event and can last for years (Madrid et al., 2006). Although these events seem long ago, children continue to need support.

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A Parenting Myth: Can I Spoil My Baby?

Danielle Z. Kassow, Ph.D.

Missael cryingOne question we hear frequently from parents is, “If I pick my baby up every time he cries, won’t I spoil him?” After reviewing a number of parenting books and research articles, I found that everywhere I turned the answer was the same. No, you cannot spoil your baby! According to child development expert Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, it’s impossible to spoil a child in the first year of life.

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Oral Storytelling within the Context of the Parent-Child Relationship

oral-storytellingPatricia A. Cutspec, Ph.D.

This research summary focuses on the practice of oral storytelling, which has been shown to enhance emergent literacy and language development in young children.
A thorough review of the literature reveals the need for parents and other adult caregivers to gain awareness of multifaceted approaches to emergent literacy.
Specifically, it is important to grasp that a love for literacy develops through experiences with adult caregivers. In fact, oral storytelling appears to be just as important to emergent literacy as reading to children.

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Parent-Child Shared Book Reading: Quality versus Quantity of Reading Interactions between Parents and Young Children

Danielle Z. Kassow, Ph.D

Madeline and Mom readingThe home literacy environment has an important role in young children’s emerging literacy and social-emotional development. An emphasis has been placed on storybook reading at home. However, it has been unclear how often (quantity) storybook reading should occur or how parents should interact (quality) with a young child while reading together. Results reveal the role that both characteristics (quantity and quality) play in young children’s (emerging) literacy development and the parent-child relationship.

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Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain

Center on the Developing Child  Harvard University

StressScience tells us that experiences early in life may have long-term consequences for a child’s learning, behavior and both physical and mental health.

Some types of “positive stress” in a child’s life (overcoming the challenges and frustrations of learning a new, difficult task, for instance) can be beneficial. On the other hand, severe, uncontrollable, chronic adversity (defined as “toxic stress” ) can produce detrimental effects on developing brain architecture as well as on the chemical and physiological systems that help an individual adapt to stressful events.

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Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships

Center on the Developing Child  Harvard University 

Mateo and parentsNew research shows the critical impact of a child’s “environment of relationships” on developing brain architecture during the first months and years of life. We have long known that interactions with parents, caregivers and other adults are important in a child’s life, but new evidence shows that these relationships actually shape brain circuits and lay the foundation for later developmental outcomes, from academic performance to mental health and interpersonal skills.

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