Sparking learning beyond school grounds!

Summer vacations are over, and children who did not receive access to enriching learning opportunities are falling behind those children who did. These skills can’t be regained once they begin the school year and this effect is only repeated year after year -adding to the already existing educational disparities among individuals of different socioeconomic groups, which can be observed as early as 18 months of age.

There are evident efforts to fix this and most of them focus on improving K-12 educational systems. However, kids only spend around 20% of their time inside their classrooms, so a broader range of solutions is required.

A study was published last year regarding an intervention designed to support kid’s language skills. This intervention aimed at sparking parent-child interactions in places that families are naturally likely to visit, like the supermarket. They posted signs with a “question for your child” in grocery stores serving low and middle socioeconomic neighborhoods. This signs aimed to encourage dialogues between children and their caregivers, and they prompted more and higher quality talk between adults and children under the age of 8 years old. In front of the milk section for example, you might see, “I come from a cow. Can you find something else that comes from a cow?”. Researchers tested how these signs affected the interactions. The results? Both the amount and the quality of the conversations between adults and children increased significantly –by three times more! Continue reading

Motor Milestones: Learning to roll

Has your baby mastered head control? He’ll soon be ready to learn how to roll over. This is an important milestone for your baby because it marks his first big movement all by himself. As strength in his arms, back, and neck increases, he will begin to discover new ways of moving his body.

When should I expect my baby to start rolling over?

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), babies should be able to roll over in both directions by 7 months. But around 3-4 months your baby will develop enough upper body strength to turn from his tummy to his back. It may take him until he’s about 5 or 6 months to flip from back to front, because he needs stronger neck and arm muscles for that movement.

Rolling over for the first time usually comes as a surprise for you and your baby. It’s a new experience for him, so it may be scary at first, but don’t be surprised if rolling soon becomes one of your little one’s favorite tricks. Continue reading

Teaching our children to cope with challenges

Children who develop helpful coping strategies are more likely to become resilient by working through their worries and reducing stress. Coping strategies are what we do and think to get through difficult situations. For children, those stressful situations can present themselves as having to say goodbye to a parent or through interactions with their peers.

Helping children cope with these kind of worries will give them the tools to later deal with the stresses they’ll face during their adult life. Likewise, it helps reduce the risk of mental health problems.

How can parents help?

Psychologist Erica Frydenberg from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education says parents can help their children learn to cope by discouraging unhelpful strategies and encouraging helpful ones instead. For example, parents can discourage blaming oneself, but encourage and model asking for help and staying calm when faced with a problem.

Encouraging children to talk to an adult about their troubles is particularly effective, especially when it leads to dialogs about coping strategies. Continue reading

What do I do if my baby falls?

No matter how careful you are, a fall might happen one day. You look away for a split second, and your baby can roll off the couch, bed, or changing table onto the floor. It’s easy to feel like the worst parent ever. However, you are not alone, each year in the United States alone, 2.8 million children head to the emergency room for injuries related to a fall.

So if your baby falls, remain calm. Most of the falls are not serious, but you should learn about warning signs and what to do when it happens.

What symptoms should I look out for?

  • Swelling
  • Significant bleeding
  • Loss of consciousness and/or rolling eyes
  • Dizziness/sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of balance
  • Prolonged crying (for over one hour)
  • Crying when touched
  • One pupil being larger than the other
  • Your baby is unusually weak and/or unresponsive
  • Cannot be awakened or is extremely difficult to wake him up

Continue reading