I’M A DOCTOR. IF I DROP FOOD ON THE KITCHEN FLOOR, I STILL EAT IT.




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.

This Is What Screen Time Really Does to Kids' Brains

Screen time is an inescapable reality of modern childhood, with kids of every age spending hours upon hours in front of iPads, smartphones and televisions. That’s not always a bad thing: Educational apps and TV shows are great ways for children to sharpen their developing brains and hone their communication skills—not to mention the break these gadgets provide harried parents. But tread carefully: A number of troubling studies connect delayed cognitive development in kids with extended exposure to electronic media. The US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that American children spend a whopping seven hours a day in front of electronic media. Other statistics reveal that kids as young as two regularly play iPad games and have playroom toys that involve touch screens.

10 Tips On How To Raise A Free-Spirited Child

Raising a strong-willed child can be a challenge when he or she is young. They might seem overly difficult, stubborn and opinionated. But strong-willed children are also spirited, fun and courageous. They simply want to learn things for themselves instead of accepting what others tell them. They may have a habit of testing boundaries and limits, but it’s because they are strong, passionate and they live life to the fullest. So how can a parent raise a strong-willed child without discouraging the child’s high energy, persistence and spunk? Here are ten tips for parenting a strong-willed, free-spirited child:

15 Things Toddlers Think Before Falling Asleep

We have a video baby monitor because I’m a crazy nut job who has to know if my kids are really sleeping or if they’re just laying their quietly waiting me out to see if I’ll come in and check on them. They’re crafty children. After I lay them down, I check the monitor every 5-10 minutes or so just to see what they’re up to.

Sometimes they’re talking or laughing. Sometimes they’re screaming or playing nicely in their cribs.That’s not super interesting. It’s kind of cute, but I see them laugh and play and scream all day.

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.

How to Talk to Your Kids About Beach Safety

As early as possible, Leatherman says, elementary age kids “should learn what to do in the water, how to swim and how to float.” And as kids are getting comfortable in the water, parents can encourage them to think about safety at the beach. One place to start: what do kids themselves feel cautious about? Parents may be surprised to learn kids are feeling leery of sea creatures, or bothered by the sun, and take the opportunity to talk more about sharing the water with wildlife, or the importance of sunscreen—as well as getting across the absolute basics of beach safety: young kids shouldn’t go into deep water, and should always stay near their parents or a lifeguard.

10 Simple Tips To Boost Your Toddler’s Memory

The first few years of a child’s life are crucial for their cognitive development, also known as the formative years, whereby neural connections are being made and the brain is “wired”. The first 3 years of life have been identified by neuroscientists and developmental psychologists as important for domains such as early language and joint attention. The brain has many functions and interestingly, studies have shown that “attention control” and “working memory” are two faculties that largely develop after birth. The ability to choose the right information to focus on, and thereafter retain it, is important for learning.

6 WAYS WE (ACCIDENTALLY) TEACH OUR KIDS RAPE CULTURE

No parent (that I’ve ever met) would ever dream of teaching their child that rape is okay. But every day, in many different ways, well-meaning parents contribute to rape culture, and our kids suffer for it.
As moms and dads, we probably don’t talk directly about rape to kids, at least not until they’re older. But we’re still sending messages about sex and consent all the time. Because of that, we need to make sure we’re not teaching them some very dangerous lessons, even if just by accident.