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Archive for the ‘Infants and toddlers’ Category

“Though parents are often concerned about the effects of too much screen time on young children, it may be the adults who need to set aside their devices.

“Recent research by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a psychology professor at Temple University and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, reveals the detrimental effects of parent screen time on their children’s language development.”

“Language doesn’t just unfold, Hirsh-Pasek explained. The way it really happens is being in an environment of adults involved in conversation. The more exposure, the more language your child will learn. When conversation is a back-and-forth of sounds and expressions, early learning is optimized, even with video chats on services like FaceTime, for instance.

“Not only do text and email alerts that parents turn to look at interrupt early language acquisition, they distract parents from baby’s cues.

“ ‘Look at what baby is looking at. Comment on it,’ said Hirsh-Pasek. ‘The thing we don’t do these days is have quiet attentiveness without the beeps and the sounds. They need to not see us constantly turn away. They need our full attention.’ ”

“Parent distraction can hinder babies’ language skills,” by Kim Doleatto, South Coast Today, April 19, 2018. “Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of columns about early childhood literacy and boosting reading skills.”

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Leaders in Ontario, Canada’s second-largest province, are talking a giant step forward: calling for a $2.2 billion plan to create full-day, fully licensed child care for “preschool children from the age of two-and-a-half until they are eligible to start kindergarten, beginning in 2020.”

Families would save some $17,000 per child.

“We listened to parents, educators and child care providers across the province, and they’ve told us this move is the right one to make,” Kathleen Wynne, the premier of Ontario said. “This investment will make life more affordable for families and allow more parents to make the choice to go back to work, knowing their child is safe and cared for.”

Currently in Ontario, “kids are eligible for junior kindergarten in the calendar year they turn four, and senior kindergarten the year they turn five,” the news magazine Maclean’s reports, adding: (more…)

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Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. 

 

“We have to change the conversation so that those who are suffering feel freer to talk about their circumstances and receive treatment,” Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said to a roomful of early educators and staff members from home visiting and early intervention programs who were all there to participate in a groundbreaking training session on the opioid crisis.

This was the first of six training programs that will be held across the state in an effort to reach 600 professionals who work with young children. It’s also a sad but necessary recognition that the opioid crisis takes a toll on infants, some of whom are born addicted to opioids, as well as on toddlers and young children whose parents struggle with addiction.

Massachusetts has been hit hard by this crisis. According to the state’s Opioid epidemic website: (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

What if child care were perfect?

It would be fun for kids, high-quality, easy for parents to afford, and readily available.

Child care providers would be highly-skilled and well paid.

And the country would feel the difference as more and more young children thrived.

Perfect is, of course, hard to come by, but Child Care Aware of America is pushing for vast improvements with a new policy agenda, “Igniting Possibilities, Promoting Innovation” — a blueprint that can be used by federal, state, and local leaders. (more…)

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Eva’s parents are “in quite a bind: having to choose between leaving baby Eva in the care of others at this young age or losing job security during this crucial family transition. They also worry about even finding child care that they can afford. Eva’s parents are not alone. Many parents in our nation are feeling these pressures.”

“Getting it Right for our Babies,” The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, the University of California, Berkeley, June 6, 2017

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How can parents change their children’s lives?

One answer is to go back to basics – specifically, the Boston Basics – “five fun, simple, and powerful ways that every family can give every child a great start in life.”

The five Boston Basics are:

• maximize love, manage stress

• talk, sing, and point

• count, group, and compare

• explore through movement and play, and

• read and discuss stories

These basics are backed by evidence and “encompass much of what experts find is important for children from birth to age three,” the Boston Basics website says. (more…)

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Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) in yellow. Photo: Strolling Thunder, Zero to Three

What makes members of Congress look good?

Babies!

Last week, the national nonprofit Zero to Three proved this point when it held a first-time-ever event called Strolling Thunder, a gathering of babies and parents from many states who came to Washington, D.C., to meet their Congressional representatives — and to put babies in the spotlight. (more…)

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