“Be careful!” “Not so high!” “Stop that!” Concerned parents can often be heard urging safety when children are at play.
Recent research suggests that this may be overprotective and that kids need more opportunities for risky play outdoors.
Risky play is thrilling and exciting play where children test their boundaries and flirt with uncertainty. They climb trees, build forts, roam the neighborhood with friends, or play capture the flag. Research shows such play is associated with increased physical activity, social skills, risk management skills, resilience, and self-confidence. Read more
Starting the year off right can be as simple as having a pair of confidence-boosting sneakers or a backpack full of brand-new pencils, pens, and paper.
But for families struggling to pay for housing and food, school supplies can be an unaffordable necessity.
On August 10, Cradles to Crayons hosted its 10th annual Backpack-A-Thon at Lincoln Financial Field, in partnership with the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. Over the course of just two hours, 600 volunteers filled 30,000 backpacks, assembly-line style, with new school supplies. Read more
Time-out is over and your 18-month-old is still flailing on the floor, pig-tails flying and tears streaming down her face. “Time out is over,” you say, trying to console her, but she continues to cry. She cries so long she forgets why she started.
Here are ways to help your heated up, frustrated toddler “cool off”:
–Offer a favorite stuffed animal or “blankie.” Gripping his familiar Read more
Questions: Why does that child run into the road? Why does that child hit other kids?
Answer: Because no one ever taught him not to.
Toddlers need lots of teaching, so where do you start? To help teach your on-the-move, act-first-and-ignore-the-consequences toddler how to become more civilized, first make sure BOTH parents agree on the rules. Teach your toddler that you mean what you say. When you call your toddler and he does not come right away, GO TO HIM AND LEAD HIM BY THE HAND OR PICK HIM UP no matter what the situation. Also remember that civilizing a toddler is a work in progress, not an afternoon project. Read more
As Father’s Day approaches, retail sales are everywhere. Yet although fathers have a secure place in the annual sales calendar, their role in the lives of their children is underappreciated by government at every level.
Too many children, including here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, lack the benefit of being raised by both parents. Usually it is the father who is absent. In Philadelphia, for example, 60 percent of children live in a single-parent household. Of all single-parent households, 83 percent are mother-only households and 17 percent father-only.
Social research strongly suggests that a father’s absence from a child’s life has a negative impact on child well-being throughout the child’s formative life and beyond. Negative effects include economic deprivation, increased probability of later incarceration, double the probability of dropping out of high school, greater likelihood of smoking and use of alcohol and drugs, plus higher risks of economic, physical, and emotional neglect.
Further, the tendency of child protective services is still to focus on serving mothers despite research highlighting the important role of fathers in their children’s development. “Current policy regarding child protection services places increasing demands for providers to engage fathers whose children are involved in the child protection process. Implementation of this policy clashes with the ongoing challenges that fathers have historically faced in working within these systems” (“Engaging Fathers in Child Protection Services,” Children and Youth Services Review, August 2012).
The current policy and practice of state intervention in family affairs suffer from an institutional and cultural bias that undervalues the role of fathers. This Father’s Day, let’s take time to reflect on the pressing need to help all fathers become fully involved in the lives of their children. Let’s hope, too, that those who provide children services of all types will make a greater effort to include fathers in their programs. For those fathers affected, the added time spent with their children would be far more appreciated than a new necktie.
My thanks to Rufus S. Lynch of The Strong Families Commission for educating me on the urgent need for father involvement.
Summer is here, time for kids’ action adventure.
Reread that opening sentence. Did you think of movies released in the summertime?
Or did you think of the adventurous active pastimes that kids engage in during summer? Did you think of: Diving off the high diving board into the deep end of the swimming pool? Climbing toward a tall tree’s top and perching there for a while looking down at the world? Crawling in through the window of a homestead that nobody has lived in for years? Riding a bike with no hands on the handlebars down the steepest hill in the neighborhood? Read more
When your baby turns 1, you’ll realize he has a much stronger will. My oldest threw his first tantrum the day he turned 1. At first, we puzzled: why was he suddenly lying face down on the kitchen floor? The indignant crying that followed clued us to his anger. “Oh, it’s a tantrum,” my husband and I laughed, relieved he wasn’t sick.
Parenting toddlers requires the recognition that your child innately desires to become independent of you. Eat, drink, sleep, pee, poop: eventually your child will learn to control these basics of life by himself. We want our children to feed themselves, go to sleep when they feel tired, and pee and poop on the potty. Of course, there’s more to life, such as playing, forming relationships, succeeding in school, etc., but we all need the basics. The challenge comes in recognizing when to allow your child more independence and when to reinforce your authority. Read more
The Zika virus in the news these days reminds us of another microcephaly-causing virus which scourged our world in the not-so-distant past. In the years right before the Two Peds doctors were born (late 1960s), the virus rubella routinely swept through the United States and the rest of the world. The airborne germ rubella, just like the mosquito-spread Zika virus, caused most people just a mild illness that they usually never even knew that they had. After they were sick, they became immune to the virus. But when pregnant women contracted rubella early in pregnancy, their unborn children sometimes ended up with microcephaly.
Microcephaly is a condition where a small, underdeveloped, or abnormal brain leads to a small head at birth. Many children with microcephaly have significant mental disabilities. Read more
Well, in case you had notions to the contrary, I’m here to tell you that a small Danish town isn´t exactly a fountain of exciting things to do, that is, after the bakery has lost its sheen and become merely a routine pleasure. At some point, our family had to face the reality that in Billund, a town of 6,000 people, we had to make our own fun, especially once the LEGOland theme park closed for the season.
As a remedy, a friend and I formed a ukulele group, BUF (Billund Uke Forening, the last word meaning club or association), and we play together about once a week. Though other members will Read more
Parents’ smoking habits could contribute to the most common form of childhood cancer, according to a new study.
A new study by researchers in California suggests exposure to parents’ tobacco smoke, especially during pregnancy and early childhood, may be linked to gene changes commonly found in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a blood cancer that occurs Read more