Category Archives: Social & Emotional

Developmental Edge: The Serious Need for Imaginative Play

When people think of play, they automatically think of children engaging in physical exercises such as tag, ball games, or playing on slides and swings – in other words, kids exploring their physical environments. Play has been shown to be a key component in development in a child’s early years – even the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights has recognized it as a right for every child! But although physical play is the first thing that comes to mind, this is not the only kind of play. In fact, there is another type of play – imaginative or pretend play – that has caught the eye of many researchers, educators, and psychologists because of the many benefits it may provide.

According to Laura E. Berk, renowned professor and researcher in the field of child development, imaginative play stimulates the senses and generates opportunities for exploration and creative thinking that can help your little one improve various language, emotional, social, and cognitive skills – including creativity, impulse inhibition, and empathy!

Given the importance of pretend play, many parents may wonder at what age does pretend play start to emerge in children?

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Developmental Edge: When praise backfires, the secret behind motivation

The praise parents give to their kids can strongly influence their self-esteem, intelligence, and disposition to take on challenges. However, according to new studies, certain types of praise may actually do more harm than good. For example, saying: “you are so smart”, may not be the best type of praise – it could even discourage a child to take on new challenges. Research by Carol Dweck, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, showed that children who perceive their success as a result of their inherent intelligence, were more prone to have a “fixed mindset”. This means that they see talent and intelligence as something they were born with, not as skills that can be learned and nurtured through effort. This becomes especially problematic when their identities become attached to an outcome.

But what exactly happens when a child grows up hearing praises like “you are so smart”?

According to Dr. John Medina, author of the national bestseller “Brain Rules for Baby”,  your child will start to perceive his mistakes as failures. This happens because he is used to seeing his previous successes as a static ability, that is, natural talents he was born with rather than a product of his effort. Failure is thus perceived as a lack of ability, which he has no control over. Continue reading

The first few years: social and emotional development

We’re born social animals – from the start, babies love being held, touched, talked to, and smiled at. And it’s no wonder they crave a connection with adults – babies are completely dependent on others throughout their childhood for survival. However, in order to thrive, not just survive, a baby needs more than just food and shelter. Not surprisingly, a baby needs engagement and attention from Mom, Dad, or his or her caregiver. What is surprising, however, is that a baby needs a specific type of engagement – a serve and return relationship. Continue reading