This is excellent: on Slate, an examination of toddlers, and the reasons toddlers are so likely to throw a lot of tantrums. Not tips for dealing with tantrums, just perspectives understanding where they’re coming from. If you’ve got a toddler who throws tantrums—by which I mean, if you’ve got a toddler—read this. You’ll feel way more zen about the whole thing.
A nifty little idea from Tinkerlab for making your own light table. What, your kids don’t have a light table? They’re missing out on tremendous fun! And with this simple idea, they don’t have to cost like $150 any more. I also like the mention at the end of “seeding” the light table with ideas to entice the kids. A former director I worked with called these “invitations,” and it’s a great thing to remember all the time.
A really splendid blog post from Abundant Life about an approach to discipline that doesn’t use punishment but does enforce boundaries. It’s all about clear communication and building relationships, and I can say from experience that this stuff works—it’s very much the kind of approach that I help parents find when I consult with them.
An extremely insightful take on a common cause of challenging behaviors in children: they’re doing science experiments on you! Really, they are. Read this—it’s a helpful frame to keep in mind when your kids are driving you nuts.
Some fun ideas for unique painting techniques and tools.
A good post on the insidious nature of the word “bored.” Belann, a director I used to work with, once said, “I don’t use the word bored around kids, because it turns out they don’t actually know what it means. If you ask them, they don’t know. But they’ve discovered that if say the word, adults freak out and make interesting things happen, so they say it. But it’s not a real emotion.” Word. A more in-depth discussion on the importance of letting kids deal with boredom themselves, on HuffPo.
The New York Times had a “Room for Debate” thingy on Obama’s call for national access to high-quality preschool. I think it’s interesting that out of 10 writers, 8 are solidly positive on the idea. Of the two against it, one (Lanza) sites a single study whose link is broken, and the other (Isumi) sites research that doesn’t say what he thinks it says. I think it’s pretty open and shut…
A tricky issue, from the Wall Street Journal: how do you draw the line between noticing developmental red flags in children and understanding that some kids are just different, and that’s okay? With the proliferation of new potential diagnoses and increased attention in our culture to developmental disorders, teachers are often in a tricky position. We know that early attention to a problem is important, but some families think you’re being alarmist, and some think you’re not observant enough. From my point of view? Well, I will say the story in this article of a teacher who saw a child licking his shirt and sent him to the doctor? That’s a bit much. If I’m concerned about a child, I spend weeks carefully observing, taking notes on behaviors, comparing what I see to developmental standards, before I approach the family about it. Preschool teachers are often the first people in a child’s life to be aware something is wrong, but that’s not excuse to be sloppy about noting your concerns…
I normally hate “printables” on early childhood blogs—they’re usually fairly closed-ended activities that don’t really encourage play. But this one from Picklebums is different. If you’ve got a decent printer (or, even better, a laminator) this is like printing your own pattern blocks or legos or something. These shapes encourage play and exploration.
Wondering what kind of preschool to send your child to? Here’s a pretty different take on the issue, from Slate. It’s a bit… I don’t know, nihilist? Fatalist? Something. But the argument—that for most middle-class (and upwards) families, it really doesn’t matter what kind of preschool, or even if you go to preschool at all—isn’t stupid. What’s missing, though, is to me the biggest question: what’s the right fit for your FAMILY?
Do you have a picky eater in your house? Here’s some help, from Slate. It’s a bit glib, but its recommendations are based on research and results. In other words, they work.
A really fun game to play with all ages of children. Newspaper fight! When I’ve done this activity, I’ve turned clean-up into “basketball.” Easy!
Have you read anything good this week? Share it in the comments!