What does being ready for elementary school really mean? It used to mean starting the first day of school with all the supplies on the list, but now we know so much more about how young children's brains develop. More and more parents are aware of the positive effects of a high quality early childhood education for their child's success. This knowledge has also led to extra emphasis on acquiring academic skills. Experts suggest parents take a step back and look for programs with a balanced approach to school readiness.
Finding the right day-care center requires a balance of many practical issues: location, cost, hours of operation. And you of course also want a nurturing staff. "But bottom line, your child's health and safety is what matters the most," says Patricia Skinner, executive director of the Capital District Child Care Council, a resource and referral agency serving six counties in the Albany, N.Y., region. "After all, it doesn't matter how stellar the caregiver's interactions are if there's broken glass on the playground," she says. Checklist for Choosing a Safe Day Care.
Summer Fun with Science
Kids love summer vacation, but parents often find it difficult to keep them engaged in productive activities. And most kids experience a summer learning slump during their time away from school. According to the National Summer Learning Association, at best, students show little or no academic growth over the summer, and at worst they lose one to three months of learning.
It's possible to give kids a fun way to keep up with learning by providing engaging books that feature hands-on activities. Three new books from DK Publishing will help kids of all ages fill their summer with science fun.
Kids think that playing "supermarket" and dress-up is fun; child development experts know it's much more than that. Pretend play is a learning experience for young children. It lets them explore the world around them and experiment with social and emotional roles. It also boosts problem-solving skills. So pick up a wand or sword, put on a cape and get into your child's fantasy world. Who knows, you might just have fun yourself!
Here are some new additions to old-fashioned make-believe games that you can enjoy together:
Toddlers love to play with their pals, but as any parent who's refereed a preschool playdate knows, learning how to get along with each other isn't always fun and games. "Kids this age are the most energetic and impulsive that they're going to be their whole lives, and they have short attention spans," says Michele Borba, Ed. D., author of numerous parenting books, including Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me (Jossey-Bass). But this is the perfect time for tuned-in parents to teach toddlers the skills that will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
In the environment of openness and communication that is today's world it is strange that parents often have a knee-jerk reaction to their children's questions about sex. When my six-year old kid piped up from the back seat with, 'Mom, what is 'copulation?' I almost crashed the car! Having received my own sex education via the scare tactics of playground gossip I had vowed that things would be different for my own children. In this instance I resisted the temptation to say, 'Ask Dad,' and instead gave a simple and honest explanation. It really wasn't difficult as I had already dealt wi
... Continue reading How to Talk to Your Child About Sex.
Is My Kid Spoiled?
by Chris Grannis
The screaming child in the shopping cart grabs at the candy while his frazzled mother tries to unload the groceries at the checkout. Before she has the chance to react he rips off the wrapper and proceeds to cram the chocolate into his mouth. Does this sound all too familiar? Have you ever asked yourself the question, 'Is My Kid Spoiled?' Well, you are not alone. According to a recent study* 94% of parents believe that American children are spoiled. Deciding if your little angel is, in fact, a little devil is not rocket science. Thankfully, neither is the solution.