You’ll find lots of practical suggestions for parents and other caregivers in the following posts. Information and reflections are offered on understanding, encouraging, and inspiring children, creating engaging learning environments, and connecting with children.

Science Can Be Scary: Facing Those Fears

The activities on this blog are built on the assumption that you are monitoring your child’s interests and are prepared to jump in with follow-up questions and ideas for extending exploration. Recent posts on spiders, stinging insects, and pirates assume that your child has shown interest in and is comfortable with talking about, observing, and maybe even touching these animals or considering these things. At the very least, we assume you are not going to launch into these informal [...]

2018-10-28T18:41:21+00:00October 28th, 2018|Guiding Parenting|

Where Do Children’s Ideas Come From?

The term “scientific concepts” seems to imply something incredibly sophisticated, technical, and above most of our pay grades. Believe it or not, but infants and young children possess both scientific and mathematical concepts (also called alternative frameworks, preconceptions, and intuitive or naïve theories). Not only do young children have clusters of ideas that they are using to navigate their everyday worlds, but they are actively creating new concepts all the time. These concepts are sets of facts and beliefs [...]

2018-10-06T13:39:25+00:00December 17th, 2015|Guiding Parenting|

Curious Teams

I love a good discussion. Questions posed, ideas flowing, abundant evidence of problem-solving, all qualities of a rich exchange and for me, there is nothing so life-affirming. Sure, I can sit and think on my own, be focused and satisfied, but there is nothing as fun or stimulating as a group think. With this in mind, if discussing frogs, space aliens, or hurricanes with your child, include another family member in the conversation. Include lots of others in the [...]

2018-10-06T13:55:15+00:00October 5th, 2015|Guiding Parenting|

Help on the Way

Help on the way Hold on, you are thinking, am I supposed to cover all of the steps included in the activities on this blog? Ask all of those questions? Hold my child’s attention for an extended period while doing experiments? The answer is no. The idea is to skim through each activity with the goal being that when the next opportunity arises for you to play with your child you will have some different ideas or strategies to [...]

2018-10-06T14:19:37+00:00July 15th, 2015|Guiding Parenting|

Parenting Worrywarts

I regularly read books, articles or blogs describing today’s parents as anxious. Parents are worried about doing the right things for their children, buying the best products, ensuring their kids are engaged in the right activities and worried about keeping them safe. Apparently, parents are overwhelmed by the stress of the demands of the job of parenting, exhausted and confused by all the decisions. Surprisingly, if you are reading what I am reading, no one is having any fun [...]

2018-10-07T14:15:21+00:00May 11th, 2015|Guiding Parenting|

Plenty of Pretend Play

Educational and developmental scholars all emphatically agree. Children learn best through play. They play to learn and learning is maximized when playing: • involves transforming objects and actions symbolically • includes dialogue, and • inventing and assuming a variety of roles. Make believe play scenarios enable children to explore and process new knowledge. Pretend, dramatic, sociodramatic, role-playing, or whatever you want to call it, are all referring to play that is fun and instructive! Yet, there has been a [...]

2018-10-06T14:53:00+00:00January 11th, 2015|Guiding Parenting|

Meta-Parenting Cognitions

Occasionally I beat myself up. “Why did I say that to her?” “What was I thinking when I made that face?” Thoughts that pop up out of nowhere and are hard to dismiss. Although I can dwell endlessly on wishing I had a do-over, I can also, as they say, try to make lemonade from evaluations of interactions that are clearly souring my thoughts. Instead of ruminating, I can assess what went wrong and consider alternative responses so that [...]

2018-10-06T15:07:47+00:00December 9th, 2014|Guiding Parenting|

Let’s Talk About the Meta’s….

If reading in the field of developmental psychology, and particularly work by those who study parent-child relationships, one will often encounter the prefix meta. Derived from Greek, meta means “after” or “beyond,” but in the usages I will be referring to, the latter definition of beyond seems most apt. Meta-emotion parenting philosophy and meta-parenting cognitions are terms that refer to an individual parent’s tendency to anticipate, have an awareness of, and reflect on a response, either their own or [...]

2018-10-06T15:18:47+00:00October 21st, 2014|Guiding Parenting|

Musings on Teaching Math

I have read several recent commentaries on techniques for teaching math more effectively, including one entitled “Why Do Americans Stink At Math?” by Elizabeth Green which appeared in the New York Times. As the title would suggest, in general Americans are not math literate. Indeed, we kind of suck at it (you may be relieved to hear that you are not the only one!). Our children perform poorly when compared to their same-aged peers in other countries. So what are we doing to undermine [...]

2018-10-06T14:39:25+00:00September 29th, 2014|Guiding Parenting|