FOSTER THEIR IMAGINATION: WHY FEWER TOYS WILL BENEFIT YOUR KIDS




Why We Should Stop Blaming Disney Princesses For Gender Behavior And Body Image Issues On Young Girls

"It's time to stop princess shaming. There are thousands of gendered messages my little girl absorbs every day: the way I curse how my pants fit, the way shopkeepers talk to her, the way teachers assume that I am the dominant caregiver," Vardanis wrote. "There are so many battles to be fought, but princesses with sparkly tiaras may be the least of our worries."

Perhaps the best way to lessen the negative effects of the Disney princess culture to young girls is to expose them to all things in moderation, Time reports. Disney also made an effort in redesigning its Disney Princess collection by introducing braver, "more empowered" and "less boy-crazy" princesses such as Merida of "Brave" and Elsa of "Frozen."

Thumb sucking, nail biting may combat allergies

Does your child suck her thumb or bite her nails? A long-term study suggests these “bad” habits might actually have a plus side: lasting protection from common allergies. Researchers followed a group of more than 1,000 children in New Zealand from birth through age 32. They asked the parents to report their children’s thumb-sucking and nail-biting habits at ages 5, 7, 9 and 11. Then they tested the children for allergic reactions using a skin-prick test at age 13, and again in adulthood at age 32.

Children on board: 5 safety tips for parents travelling with kids in cars and cabs

According to a 2002 Traffic Police campaign which advocated the importance of belting up, a properly fitted child restraint system can reduce fatal injuries by up to 75 per cent and serious injuries by 67 per cent.
Here are some safety tips for parents:
1) It's illegal for anyone under the height of 1.35M, regardless of age to be unsecured
2) Make sure children are secured in a restraint appropriate for their age, height & weight
3) Have your children seated at the back & try to avoid placing child seats in front....

4 Mentally Damaging Things We Say To Kids All The Time

Kids have fragile brains. If 10 year-old Jimmy bashes his head against concrete, he’ll suffer greater injury than his 35 year-old dad would under the same conditions.

Most of us instinctively know that much. What we often ignore, though, is the fact that kids brains are not only physically more fragile but mentally as well. Psychologists liken a child’s brain to soft, impressionable play-doh. Harsh words that Jimmy’s dad could shrug off might stay with his son for years.

Teaching Young Children About Bias, Diversity, and Social Justice

We've somehow decided that little kids can't understand these complex topics, or we want to delay exposing them to injustices as long as possible (even though not all children have the luxury of being shielded from injustice).

However, young children have a keen awareness of and passion for fairness. They demand right over wrong, just over unjust. And they notice differences without apology or discomfort.

Racial identity and attitudes begin to develop in children at a young age. Two- and three-year-olds become aware of the differences between boys and girls, may begin noticing obvious physical disabilities, become curious about skin color and hair color/texture, and may also be aware of ethnic identity.

5 Elementary Strategies

1. Use children's literature: There's a wealth of children's books (check out here: http://www.adl.org/education-outreach/books-matter/#.VwQW3_krLcs) that can be read aloud and independently to approach the topic of bias, diversity, and social justice.

2. Use the news media: Find topics and news stories that bring forth these themes and discuss them in the classroom -- like the nine-year-old boy who was banned from bringing his My Little Pony backpack to school because it was the source of bullying.

3. Teach anti-bias lessons: Social and emotional skill development lessons are the foundation, and then teachers can move to lessons on identity, differences, bias, and how bias and bullying can be addressed individually and institutionally.

4. Give familiar examples.
Take advantage of children's interest in books, TV shows, toys, and video games, and use them as opportunities to explore diversity, bias, and social justice.

5. Explore solutions: Re-think the concept of "helping others" to include discussions about the inequities that contribute to the problem and consider actions that can address it. For example, while it's useful to provide food to homeless people, we want to deepen the conversation to convey a social justice perspective and a wider lens with children. Therefore, discuss the stigma and stereotypes of homeless people, learn about unfair housing policies, and reflect on solutions that will reverse the problem in a lasting way and encourage students to take action.

Navigating Your Identity as a Parent and an Educator

Tips for Parent-Educators: These are the top things I wish someone had said to me as I offered my first born to his first school.

1. Be a parent, first and foremost. That's what your kid needs most from you.
2. Proactively build a relationship with your child's teacher at the beginning of the year. Don't wait until there's a problem to sit down with them.
3. If a teacher doesn't ask about your child's strengths and interests, share those.
4. Also share anything you think the teacher should know about your kid that would help them be effective, such as that your kid is an introvert and won't often participate in whole-class discussions. (Again, hopefully they ask this question, but if not, share it.)
5. If your child complains about being bored, class being too hard, not being treated well by peers or adults, listen to your child. Don't hope it'll get better. Go to school and talk to people. Observe classes.
6. Don't be afraid of talking to the principal. Don't be afraid of making requests. You can do this kindly and thoughtfully, but your job, again, is to advocate for your kid.