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  • Why the Ritalin Debate Is Asking the Wrong Question: Healing Our Kids' Soul Fever With Simplicity

    Kim John Payne

    Parents across the country know something is wrong. All the hovering, anxiety, medicating, and overscheduling is giving voice to that parental instinct that knows when our kids and family life are in trouble. And it's true, our kids are in crisis, victims of an undeclared war on childhood, drowning in a sensory tsunami, and because we love them so much, we worry, and we search for solutions, ignoring the voice in our heads telling us that something's off when we greet our kids every morning with a pill to fix them. Indeed, something is wrong. But it's not our kids. Our kids are as beautiful, feisty, gifted, and quirky as they have always been. What's changed is their environment, and the levels of stimulation and stress we expect them to integrate.

     

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    Help! My Kids Don’t Listen to Me!

    Slovie Jungreis-Wolff

    Do you feel like you’re talking to the wall when you speak to your kids? How many times do you have to tell your kids something before you get them to listen to you?

    When parents repeat the same thing over and over each day – “pick up your laundry,” “don’t leave your shoes in middle of the hallway,” “do your homework!” “stop bothering your sister” or “get into bed now!” – it’s no wonder you experience a sense of defeat. Children tune us out. Teens and pre-teens test limits. And parents don’t like dealing with the consequences, the discipline, and the negative emotions. We’re stressed and tired, and think it’s simpler to just let things slide, forgetting that these issues will only grow larger.

    How can we be more effective in our parenting?

    Here are 5 keys to create better listening in your home.

     

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    How to Raise an Emotionally Intelligent Child

    Dr. Laura Markham

    Managing anxiety in order to tackle a big project, managing anger in order to work through a marital conflict, managing fear in order to apply for a job -- the ability of a human being to manage his or her emotions in a healthy way will determine the quality of his life much more fundamentally than his IQ.

     

    In fact, psychologists have come to call this ability EQ, or Emotional Intelligence Quotient. The links below will help you to raise a child with a high EQ, who, you'll be happy to find, is also happier and a delight to parent.

     

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    Peaceful Parenting Examples Age 7-11

    Dr. Laura Markham

    There's no such thing as parenting perfectly. We're all doing the best we can with the resources we have in that moment. True, if we use a positive parenting approach when our children are toddlers, they're easier when they're older. But you can start peaceful parenting any time, and you'll see a difference in your child's behavior very quickly.

     

    So what does peaceful parenting look like with kids in the elementary school years? Regardless of the situation, here are the steps.

     

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    No More Timeouts, No More Tiger Moms: How to Discipline Your Kids By Disciplining Yourself

    Mayim Bialik

    A major component of Attachment Parenting is what’s known as Gentle Discipline. Here’s what people say about it: “Gentle Discipline only works for small families, at-home moms, mellow kids, inhumanly super-patient moms who must possess alien DNA.” You name it, I’ve heard it.

    I’ve also heard a lot of people from the “Tiger Mom” school of thought claim that Gentle Discipline encourages and allows children to do whatever they want; that they will “rule the house” and become spoiled and dictatorial tyrants who hold us hostage with their every whim. They hold that a firm hand (and even some physical consequences such as timeouts or spanking) makes for “good children.”

     

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    The New Preschool Is Crushing Kids

    Erika Christakis

    Step into an American preschool classroom today and you are likely to be bombarded with what we educators call a print-rich environment, every surface festooned with alphabet charts, bar graphs, word walls, instructional posters, classroom rules, calendars, schedules, and motivational platitudes—few of which a 4-year-old can “decode,” the contemporary word for what used to be known as reading.

     

    Because so few adults can remember the pertinent details of their own preschool or kindergarten years, it can be hard to appreciate just how much the early-education landscape has been transformed over the past two decades. The changes are not restricted to the confusing pastiche on classroom walls. Pedagogy and curricula have changed too, most recently in response to the Common Core State Standards Initiative’s kindergarten guidelines. Much greater portions of the day are now spent on what’s called “seat work” (a term that probably doesn’t need any exposition) and a form of tightly scripted teaching known as direct instruction, formerly used mainly in the older grades, in which a teacher carefully controls the content and pacing of what a child is supposed to learn.

     

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    Finnish Kids Don't Learn To Read In Kindergarten. They Turn Out Great Anyway.

    Joseph Erbentraut

    In America, kindergarteners are expected to have a firm grasp on literacy. This is not the case in Finland, where students focus on playtime early in their education and go on to excel in reading anyway.

    As Helsinki-based teacher and writer Tim Walker explores in a new story published this week by The Atlantic, Finnish schools -- where students begin “preschool” at age 6 -- prioritize play-based learning opportunities such as arts and crafts over desk work like handwriting and reading early in a student's education. In two examples Walker offers, educators set up a make-believe ice cream shop and encourage students to make play forts.

    “Play is a very efficient way of learning for children,” Arja-Sisko Holappa of the Finnish National Board of Education explained to Walker. “And we can use it in a way that children will learn with joy.”

     

Media Resources

Rabbi Kelemen - To Kindle a Soul: Bringing Out Your Child's Unique Potential

The Soul of Discipline: An Overview

Part 1

The Soul of Discipline: An Overview

Part 2

The Soul of Discipline: An Overview

Part 3