New Interactive School Readiness Resource for Parents

As the parent of two elementary school children, I can still remember wanting to do whatever I could as a parent to prepare my children for school before they entered. In fact, I was looking for creative and fun ideas for activities and experiences for them as soon as I brought them home from the hospital. Okay, that is an overstatement because all I wanted for my newborn babies (and myself) was sleep.

Anyway, the more we can do to give our young children readiness skills for school, the better prepared they are to take advantage of the opportunities that school will provide. The website Zero-to-Three has recently released a fabulous interactive learning tool designed to help parents and caregivers encourage their young children’s early learning.

This Tool Includes:

  • Core information about how children develop school readiness skills and how parents and care givers can nuture and support these skills in young children.
  • Video clips that show children learning these skills through everyday interactions with their parents.
  • Parent-child activities which provide fun ideas for helping children develop school readiness skills.
  • Frequently asked questions that offer answers to common questions about learning.

If you have a newborn through preschooler check out School Readiness Interactive brought to you by  ZERO TO THREE.

Thinking About Thinking: Supporting your baby’s thinking skills

  • Children need many skills to grow up to be successful adults. Some of the most important skills that will serve all children well throughout life are thinking skills or the ability to use brain power to solve a problem in one’s environment. There are a lot of things that we can do at to encourage and develop these skills in our children, and we can start VERY early. Some ideas are offered in the Zero to Three Parenting Tips Library. The tip sheet is titled, Thinking Skills: What You Can Do to Encourage Your Baby’s Thinking Skills from 0-12 months offers ideas such as those listed below. For more detailed information about each suggestion check out the link to the full Tip Sheet brought to you by
  • Offer objects to explore.
  • Respond to her efforts to communicate. 
  • Delight in your child’s discoveries. 
  • Provide the help your child needs to solve problems
  • Play disappearing and reappearing games.
  • Encourage your child to explore objects and toys in different ways.
  • Provide support for reaching goals.
  • Model problem-solving.
  • Take “touching” walks.
  • Make the most of daily routines.
  • Give your child some everyday “toys”.


Teaching Children to Self-Regulate is Setting Them Up for Future Success

“I want it now!”

I can still hear the screams in my head as I think back to my daughter’s reaction to the fact that she can’t have the dolly on the shelf at the store. I know it is my job to help her work through this impulse successfully as she falls out on the department store floor kicking and screaming. But how? And what reaction should I realistically expect from her at the tender age of two? What I did not even consider was that my reaction in the moment — that “teachable moment”– would play a huge part in laying the foundation for her future success.

In a past post we discussed a current “hot topic” in child development– self control. The development of self-control, impulse control, or self-regulation in young children has been linked to success later in life. So this has many parents asking, “What do I need to be doing to help my child develop these skills?”

Before we begin to answer this question we must first begin to understand a few things that can have an impact on self-control such as:

*a child’s temperament

*the child’s development of executive functioning skill development

*children’s context (the situation the child is currently in)

*child’s mood

*child’s experience of a particular event (such as schedule change, life change, trauma)

*and most importantly, the relationship that the child has with the primary caregiver, the person that teaches the child how to manage and regulate their behavior as well as models how they manage their own.

As parents, we want to do what we can to ensure future success for our children. The good news is that there are a lot of simple things that we can do to set them up for success. And most of them are FREE! For more information about what parents can do to promote healthy development of self-regulation skills in young children check out the podcast Beyond “Use Your Words!”: How Babies Begin to Develop Self-Control in the First Three Years Featuring Brenda Jones-Harden, Ph.D. brought to you by


Now you see me, now you don’t. Peek-A-Boo, I see you.

The games we play with our babies are fun for baby and adult alike. They promote bonding and feelings of contentment and belonging. But many of the “baby games” we play serve educational purposes as well. Peek-a-boo, for example begins to give babies experience with object permanence, or the knowledge that an object is still there even when it is covered up or hidden behind something. This understanding develops over time with repeated exposure to experiences that reinforce this concept. Many of the games we remember from our own childhood are equally as educational and oftentimes they are also simple and fun. So why not have some fun while reinforcing basic concepts with your baby? Plus its fun to watch their faces as we “disappear and reappear” behind our hands. For more tips and ideas for playing learning games with your baby, check put the tip sheet titled Easy Learning Games to Play with Your Baby by Shari Steelsmith. This archived tip sheet is brought to you by

What games have you played with your baby lately?

To Leave or Not to Leave

The latest parenting debate is currently swirling around a mother who chose to leave her 10 week old with caregivers while she went on a 6-day vacation in Mexico. The mother, Rebecca Eckler, a journalist wrote an article about her vacation plans for and received heavy scrutiny and criticism from readers. The question readers are asking is “When is it appropriate for parents to leave a newborn?” Some readers are even questioning whether or not newborns should be left in the care of anyone other than the parents for any length of time.

This debate has led me to consider what the research shows. We know that newborns need bonding experiences with mommy and daddy. This requires plenty of attention and time together. But does that time together have to be constant? Will a 10-day break really make a long-term difference in the quality of attachment between the parents and baby?

In thinking about these issues consider the working mother that leaves her infant with responsible caregivers after her 6 week maternity leave. This daycare schedule is oftentimes daily and for eight hours or more at a time. More often than not, these mothers report that their babies have grown up to be bright, responsible, well-adjusted children.

Additionally, mothers that take care of themselves oftentimes report that they feel better about caring for their babies and families. So a 10-day break for mom and dad (at any point in parenting) can be good for the entire family.

The most important thing to remember when leaving a newborn is the quality and trustworthiness of the childcare provider that you have chosen. Family is best, but not always an option. So if you are leaving your newborn with a non-family member (for any length of time) do your homework first. Ask for referrals and references and visit the location where your child will be cared for whether it is a home or facility. If you do not feel comfortable immediately, dig deeper or find a new childcare provider.

Finally, as parents, lets try to support each other rather than judge other parents’ choices. Parenting is not an exact science. At times it can even be described as “trial and error”.  All we can do is what we feel is best for our children given our own personal set of circumstances. What works for one family may or may not work for another and there is nothing wrong with that.

So as the debate rages on, it is worth it to consider what works for you and your family. If you are interested in watching an interview with Rebecca Eckler and two “experts” in the field of parenting and women’s health check out this link to


Feeding Your Child: Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

“Feeding is one of a parent’s most important jobs. It is how we help our children grow healthy and strong. But mealtimes are about much more than food. Meal and snack times give you a chance to help your baby or toddler”:
• Learn healthy eating habits
• Feel important and loved
• Feel understood and respected
• Trust that others will care for her
• Feel good about her body

For great tips on how to help your child become a healthy eater check out the link to the handout Healthy From the Start: How feeding nurtures your young child’s body, heart, and mind, brought to you by Zero-to-Three, National Center for Infants and Toddlers.

Off to a Great Start

“Feeding is one of a parent’s most important jobs. It is how we help our children grow healthy and strong. But mealtimes are about much more than food” As noted in the brochure titled, Healthy From the Start: How feeding nurtures your young child’s body, heart and mind, feeding your child helps your baby:

  •  Learn healthy eating habits
  •  Feel important and loved
  •  Feel understood and respected
  •  Trust that others will care for her
  •  Feel good about her body

For more detailed information and tips on how to maximize the benefits of meal and snack times check out the link to the brochure above, brought to you by

Support Your Baby’s Learning Everyday

“Your baby is learning-about you, himself, and the world around him-from the moment he enters the world.”

There are may ways that parents and caregivers can support baby’s learning in simple, yet memorable ways during everyday activities. The handout, brought to you by Zero to Three, titled Everyday Ways to Support Your Baby’s and Toddler’s Early Learning gives some easy activities and things to keep in mind during everyday interactions with your baby that will support development in the following areas:

*language and communication

*thinking skills



Check out the link above to get detailed information on what you can do to support your baby’s early learning.