The art of gratitude

I love this time of year.  It can be busy and crazy… overwhelming even.  But there’s also something magical in the air.  A new year is about to begin.  Can you feel it beckon?  In amongst all the celebrations, it is a good time to pause and reflect:

Are you where you thought you’d be this time last year?

How has life surprised you?

What have you learnt?

It is a good time for letting things go.  Letting go doesn’t mean you have to like what’s happened.  It doesn’t mean you have to feel any particular way about your life.  It just means accepting that life is what it is and your feelings are your feelings. 

It is also a good time to remember all that you have to be grateful for: the people you love, the simple pleasures you enjoy, the beauty of nature…  Pause and really think about all of it.  We got to live another year, didn’t we?  Another year of ups and downs, of joys and sorrows… what a gift…

Apply it to your life:  What are you grateful for?

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True literacy: the wonder of a good story, well told

Literacy (reading and writing) is a relatively new skill for humans.  The expectation of universal literacy, the idea that all children can and should learn to read and to write, is very new.  But stories?  Stories are ancient.  In fact, stories have probably been around for as long as our species and perhaps even longer.  Good stories, well told, have power.  Stories help us to understand our past and to imagine our possible futures.  With stories, we, as a community, remember lessons learnt and pass wisdom down through the generations.  By hearing the stories of other people, we are able to share their perspective, to empathise and to understand.   Through story, our world gets a little bigger and our understanding of the world and our place in it grows.   

In this time of universal literacy, parents want to know how they can ensure that their children learn to read and write.  It is easy in the quest to ensure our children are literate to become obsessed with the mechanics of reading and writing – the literal recognition of shapes on a page.  In fact, the best contribution that a parent can make to their children’s literacy is to return to that much older skill: a good story, well told.  True literacy is not the mere recognition of shapes as sounds.  True literacy is the ability to read and comprehend.  It is the ability, not just to write letters on a page, but to play joyfully with language.  A child is truly literate when they are skilled not just in the mechanics of reading and writing (which our schools, by and large, teach very well) but also in the more ancient skills of social understanding, perspective taking and oral language.  True literacy requires the joy, the wonder and the understanding that is the domain of the story-teller.  These are the gifts that parents (rather than teachers) are ideally placed to give to their children. 

How? 

  • Read to your child. Read to your child long past the age when your child can read independently. 
  • Read good books.  Good stories often have: a beginning, middle and an end (a resolution), well-developed characters who change throughout the story, emotion, conflict and hidden meanings and morals that are apparent but not boldly stated.  A good story, well told, also plays with language in a beautiful and satisfying way, yet doesn’t let the joy of words overshadow the lucid communication of the story itself.  Even children’s literature, even picture books, can have all of these elements. 
  • Read yourself. If you do enjoy reading then make time for it in your life.  It is not a frivolous leisure activity, it is good for you.  If you’ve never been captured by reading, find the right book and let yourself be captured now. 
  • Tell stories about your own lives as a family. At the end of the day, talk with your child about what you did that day.  Retell the fun and eventful days that you had as a family (‘Hey, remember when…?’).  Turn family memories into stories with a beginning, a middle and an end. 
  • Make up your own stories with your child. If you aren’t sure how to start, start with once upon a time and a character with your own child’s name.  Set the story in a time or a place that’s of interest to your child, or bring in an animal or a person who your child loves.  If you get stuck, prompt your child to decide what happens next. 
  • Stories aren’t just in books. Some television shows are stories, too.  Most movies are stories.  Look for all the elements of good story-telling in television and movies.  Use these media, too, to fuel your child’s understanding of the world and other people and a love of good stories.   
  • Talk about the stories that you share. Prompt your child to take the perspective of characters in the story by asking questions like:  why did that character do that? Get your child to think through the story by asking questions like:  what happened in the beginning?  And, what happened next?  Explore the hidden meanings and morals with your child by asking questions like: why did the character change what they were doing?  Why did that work better?

Apply it to your life: Do you love stories?  How do you share story-telling with your child?  Share the joy of a good story, well told, in a new way with your child this week. 

References

Vezzali, Stathi, Giovannini, Copozza & Trifiletti (2014) The greatest magic of Harry Potter: reducing prejudice.  Journal of Applied Social Psychology.  Early Online Before Print. 

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Why I support No Gender December

No Gender December, an Australian campaign to end the gender-marketing of toys to children was launched this week and it has already received a lot of media attention (for example here, here, here, and here).  I am a passionate supporter of No Gender December and Play Unlimited.  Why? Because I believe that children have the right to explore their world freely and widely, to have rich and complex dreams, to inherit a world of open doors.  Why would anyone want to put limits on their child’s future potential? Play is the powerhouse of development.  It is not a trivial leisure activity.  The cognitive, emotional, social and physical development of children is fuelled by play.  All children benefit from being offered a wide variety of play experiences.  Girls benefit from playing with building blocks, dinosaurs, trains and chemistry sets.  It fuels their interest in the world and builds the foundations to maths and science.  Boys benefit from playing with dolls, tea sets, and doll houses.  It fuels their interest in people, social situations and relationships and contributes to their social and emotional development.  Sure, buy your daughter a doll (my daughter has several), and buy a doll for your son too.  Yes, give your son a train set, and give one to your daughter as well.

I find it hard to understand why No Gender December has sparked controversy.  The gendered marketing of children’s toys so extreme that it is entirely out of sych with contemporary gender roles.  I tired of seeing science toys in the boys section, when I myself am a female scientist (and no one thinks that’s strange).  I’m sick of seeing dolls in the girls section, when my husband lovingly parents our child everyday (as Australian men do across the country).  We should, at the very least, pass onto our children the same flexibility and freedom that we live. 

Children have the right to develop into well-rounded and complete human beings.  But also, I want to live in a society of complete and well-rounded human beings.  I want my children to live in that society.

If you do too, sign the petition

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Love…it’s easy

A major problem with the human mind is how quickly we think of the big, the grandiose, the larger than life, and then get stuck there.  So, in wanting to show our partner how much we love them, we think of going on a date to a fancy restaurant or buying an expensive present, not just asking, “so how was your day?” and actually listening to the reply. In wanting to be a better parent, we think about elaborate trips to the zoo or acquiring ridiculous cooking or craft skills, not just playing without distractions for a while.  In desiring to connect more with a friend we obsess over organising a night out together just like the good old days, rather than just connecting briefly by phone or text more often.  It is almost as if we want to make living and loving so much harder than it is.  Because, actually, loving another person and showing your love is pretty easy.  In spite of how quickly and easily grand gestures of love come to mind, really, love is all about the little things.

Remember when you were a child.  Remember a moment when you knew that an adult in your life cared about you.  Your memory may be of a parent, a grandparent, an aunt or uncle, or some other adult.  Remember that moment you knew you were loved, when you felt it through and through.  Pause and bring the memory to mind.  What was the moment?  I’m betting it wasn’t an elaborate trip to the zoo.  Was it, in fact, really simple?  Was it actually an ordinary, mundane, everyday moment?  Cooking together?  A shared book?  Cuddles on the couch? Being listened to? Being accepted exactly as you are?  That is what your child wants from you.  In fact, that is what your partner and your friends want from you too.  Loving moments are so simple and that makes them so easy to give.  We just need to make sure we aren’t distracted by our own grandiose plans.

Apply it to your life: Choose a simple, easy way of expressing your love for someone in your life and do it.  What happens?

Acknowledgements: This post was inspired by a thought experiment given by Kelly Wilson during his Acceptance and Commitment Therapy professional training in Brisbane (August, 2014).  You can view Kelly Wilson’s website here

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Ten things I wish more people understood about reinforcement

Reinforcement, the strengthening of behaviour through the consequences of that behaviour (reinforcers or reinforcing stimuli), is a key psychological concept, one that has been applied widely in homes, schools and workplaces.  Reinforcement has entered into our popular culture.  It is common to hear non-psychologists talk about the importance of reinforcing particular behaviours and the strategies that they use for doing so.   However, it is a concept that is often sadly misunderstood.

Here are ten things I wish more people understood about reinforcement:

  • Reinforcement does not mean stickers, or ticks, or saying ‘good girl/boy’. In fact, stickers, ticks, or saying ‘good girl/boy’ may be reinforcing or not depending upon the child and the context.  And there’s so much more to reinforcement than gold stars!  So please, put the sticker book away.
  • Reinforcement is defined by its effect. A particular stimulus is a reinforcer, for a particular person in a particular context, if it strengthens the behaviour that precedes it.  That’s it.  It doesn’t have to look like a reward, or be pleasant, or even make a lot of sense to an outside observer.
  • Reinforcement is change. Sometimes it is the addition of a stimulus that is reinforcing, for example, praise.  This is called positive reinforcement.  Other times it is a removing of a stimulus that is reinforcing, for example, you take medicine and your headache goes away.  This is called negative reinforcement.  The difference between positive and negative reinforcement can be blurry, but reinforcement always involves some change and it is the change that’s reinforcing.
  • Some reinforcers are more natural than others. When wanting to reinforce many people reach straight for artificial (contrived) reinforcers like stickers.  In fact, much reinforcement is natural.  That is, the reinforcer is a naturally occurring aspect of the situation that the behaviour brings about.  For example, if you actually enjoy reading, then you’ll read more often.  The reinforcer, the pleasure of reading, naturally occurs when you read.
  • Reinforcement happens, whether you are trying to do it or not. As reinforcement doesn’t just mean artificial reinforcement, but also natural reinforcement, you are reinforcing particular behaviours in your child whether you are trying to do so or not.  In fact, if any behaviour in any organism is being strengthened over time due to the consequences of that behaviour, or because the behaviour is itself enjoyable in some way, then reinforcement is happening.  That’s what reinforcement means.
  • Natural reinforcement is crucial to lasting behaviour change. Some parenting experts have expressed grave concerns about reinforcement.  What they are actually concerned about is the wide-spread overuse of artificial reinforcement (‘rewards’), and rightly so.  In fact, behaviours that are maintained by natural reinforcement are more likely to persist and to be experienced as freely chosen.
  • Particular stimuli are reinforcing in particular contexts. Stimuli aren’t just reinforcing or not.  They are reinforcing in a particular context.  So a big plate piled high with your favourite meal is likely to be highly reinforcing when you are hungry.  But after you’ve just finished eating a big meal?  Probably not.
  • We can learn to find specific stimuli reinforcing (or not). Some stimuli are inherently reinforcing, for example food (as long as you are hungry). But many reinforcers are learnt.  For example, money functions as a reinforcer for most of us because we have learnt that we can use the money to purchase reinforcers (like food).  Anything that happens at the same time as reinforcement may become reinforcing itself, for example, children may find nonsensical phrases or nicknames reinforcing if their parents usually use these phrases when giving affection.
  • Just because you think you are reinforcing behaviour, doesn’t mean you are. Just as we can learn to find particular stimuli reinforcing, we can also learn to stop responding to particular stimuli as reinforcers.  For example, many school children do not respond to phrases like ‘good try’ as reinforcers.  They’ve learnt that when adults say ‘good try’ they actually mean ‘wrong’.  So how do you know when you are reinforcing behaviour?  When the behaviour is strengthened over time.
  • Get your relationship right and you will have natural reinforcement on your side. If you are responsive, loving and kind, if you are sincere, honest and respectful of both your child’s needs and your own, if you regularly consider your child’s perspective and try as best you can to take their needs and wishes into account… then you’ll have tonnes of natural reinforcement strengthening exactly the kinds of behaviours you want to strengthen in your child. That’s not to say you won’t experience particular challenges.  But, overall, your child is likely to be kind, generous, happy and confident.

Apply it to your life: Get natural reinforcement on your side by building a strong, loving and respectful relationship with your child.  If you are wanting to strengthen a particular behaviour in your child, then think about what the natural reinforcers for that behaviour might be. Hint: consider your child’s perspective, what does he or she want?  Remember reinforcement is defined by the effects so experiment and see if the behaviour is strengthened over time or not.  Keep experimenting until you discover what works!

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Want you or your child to change? Here’s the formula

In our culture we fetishize willpower.  We get hooked on the idea that individuals change themselves through the internal flexing of their own will, somehow pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.  We fall into the trap of thinking that we can force others to change through sheer will.  Complex and poignant interactions between people become reduced to mere battles, to contests of wills.  As parents, we may believe that we need to win, to best our children in these battles with our stronger will.  In fact, positive and lasting changes usually do not come from willpower.  In fact, there’s a kind of violence to this flexing of will, whether you are wielding it on yourself or on another.  Willpower is force.  Willpower is unkind.  There is a price to be paid for using force.  You’ll find that there’s a cost.  People don’t like being forced, not even by loved ones, not even by themselves.

Is there another way?  Is there a way of building positive and lasting changes?  A way that is also kind and nurturing?  Fortunately, there is a universal formula for behaviour change.  You can apply this formula in changing your own behaviour, in changing your child’s behaviour and in changing the behaviour of other people in your life as well.   Once you understand it, it is simple, really simple.  Instead of forcing your will upon yourself or another, take the time to truly understand why the behaviour is happening, and then, with kindness and love, you need to rig the game.  That is, you need to deliberately build a context that supports the changes you’d like to see and let that context do the work for you.   How do you build such a context?

  1. Make it fun, joyful, meaningful and enriching. We behave in ways that bring joy and meaning to our lives so think about how you can make change as fun and enriching as possible.  If you want to begin an exercise program then start by finding a way of exercising that you actually enjoy.  Make exercising meaningful by reminding yourself what you are exercising for.
  2. Make it as easy as possible. Ensure that it is as easy as it possibly can be to change.  Consider what would make change easiest for yourself, or your child.  For example, if you’d like your child to have a bath with minimum fuss then carefully time bathtime for a time of day when it is likely to be as easy as it can be for your child.
  3. Remove obstacles. What gets in the way of change?  Identify obstacles and remove them.  Want to get your family eating healthier food?  Remove all unhealthy food from your fridge and pantry.
  4. Build skills. Identify any skills needed for change and ensure that you and your child have the opportunity to learn them.  So if you want to stop yelling at your child, think about what you want to be doing instead and practise that.  If you want your child to stop tantruming so often then consider what your child could do instead of tantruming, for example, sharing feelings verbally.   Teach this to your child.
  5. Build supports. Make sure your support network is working for behavioural change.  If you want to change how you are parenting then share this aspiration with your partner, a family member or a friend.  Work towards change together.  It is much easier to change when the task of changing is shared.
  6. Let go of perfection. You can change.  Your child can change.  Neither of you will ever be perfect.  One of the biggest traps to behaviour change is to think that because you can’t reach perfection you might as well do nothing at all.  In fact, every little change makes a difference.  So build a context that supports change and if you fail more often than you succeed that’s okay too.

Apply it to your life:  Do you have a goal for behavioural change, either in your behaviour or your child’s?  How can you apply the formula for change to this?  Remember, don’t flex your will.  Rig the game.

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The non-existent problem of deciphering a newborn’s cues

It is now well-accepted that cue-based care, responding to a baby’s cues for feeds, physical contact, play or sleep, is the best form of care for babies, particularly for newborns.  However, this has turned into lists of baby’s cues, instruction guides on how to decipher their bizarre and yet supposedly universal signals.  Many of these instruction guides seem to suggest that children come into the world speaking their own peculiar language of grunts, ear-pulling, eye-fluttering and specific cries for specific needs.  It is ridiculous and it makes life unnecessarily stressful for new parents, many of whom feel like they need to learn a new language to parent their child.

In fact, instruction guides on deciphering a baby’s cues are just as useless as the “How to Know if He Likes You” articles so common in young women’s magazines.  Sure, the fact that he talks to you frequently could mean he likes you in that way.  It could mean alot of things…  There’s only one way to know if he likes you and that’s to put time and energy into getting to know him and to let your feelings and his become clear with time.  In the same way, sure, ear-pulling could mean your baby is tired.  It could mean alot of things…  There’s only one way to become adept at reading and responding to your child’s unique cues and that’s to put time and energy into getting to know your baby.  You need to experiment and see what works. Your baby’s unique cues, patterns, feelings and personality will be revealed with time.

You might say that’s all very well in the long-term, but what’s a new parent to do?  How is a new parent, still groggy and overwhelmed from the birth, meant to decipher baby’s cues?Don’t new parents needs the lists and instruction guides as a starting point? The truth is there isn’t much deciphering to be done in the early months.  In fact, to give cue-based care to a newborn there’s really only one question you need to answer: could baby be hungry?  If you think your baby could be hungry then offer a feed.  If you don’t think your baby could be hungry then mix up your baby’s sensory experience in a way that would feel good for you at the time: hold baby, walk with baby, rock baby on a rocking chair with some music, dance with baby, go for a walk with baby, spend time in your backyard, or have an outing together.

Notice what happens.  Did baby suckle hungrily, taking big gulping swallows of milk?  Did baby seem to enjoy the backyard, walk, dancing, or outing, did your baby liven up and relish the sights and sounds?  Did baby drop off to sleep on the feed or out on the walk?  With time, noticing how your baby responds, will give you a clear sense of your baby’s unique cues and patterns.

Apply it to your life:  Are you the parent of a new baby?  Put those instruction manuals aside and get to know your unique baby.  In the early months there’s really only one question: could baby be hungry?

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The benefits of babywearing

I’ve written a guest post on how babywearing  can be used to promote parent, family and infant mental health for Mental Health Week.  The post is on the Babes in Arms website here: The Benefits of Babywearing

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Pregnancy: our rules for when to confirm and when to share are breaking women’s hearts

When to confirm a pregnancy and when to share the news that you are pregnant are, of course, personal decisions.  What might be right for an individual woman varies according to her unique situation and personality.  But there are social norms, unspoken (or spoken) rules that many women follow, that many women feel they have to follow. The current social norm seems to be: to confirm as soon as possible (even before your period is late) and to share at twelve weeks (not before!).  This may suit some individual women, but as a social norm it is bad, really bad.  We confirm far too early and we share far too late and it is breaking women’s hearts.

Just a generation or two ago women needed to wait until their period was well and truly late to confirm a pregnancy via a blood test arranged by their doctor.  For the first time in human history women are confirming that conception has successfully taken place days before their period is even late (and without conferring with a doctor, midwife or wise woman).  Pregnancy tests, bought over the counter in pharmacies or even in supermarkets, goad women into doing this (“accurate 10 days post-conception!”  “test before your period is due!”).  The trouble is, what a positive result on a pregnancy test taken before your period is due is detecting “accurately” is that a conception has technically taken place (“chemical pregnancy”).  What a woman wants to know is not whether a conception has technically taken place, but whether or not she is “pregnant”.  That is, can she begin to expect her belly to swell and a baby to grow?  No pregnancy test can predict that accurately before your period is even due!  Unfortunately, many conceptions are not viable and may be lost without any further development.  With very early testing, comes very early pregnancy loss.  Very early pregnancy loss, loss days to a week after your period was due, is physically similar to normal menstruation.  That is, there is no passing of tissue, just blood and the pain and symptoms are similar to a normal menstrual period.  My generation of women are likely to experience chemical pregnancies, normal and healthy events along the reproductive journey that women in previous generations knew as late periods, as loss.   Many women today are being coaxed into having their hearts repeatedly broken while trying to conceive.

Although we are confirming pregnancies earlier, we continue to be told to shroud the first trimester in secrecy and silence, waiting until twelve weeks before sharing the news.  In fact, many articles and websites on pregnancy assume that the first trimester is necessarily marked by silence (what a strong message that must give some women!).  Many women are waiting until twelve weeks to share their pregnancy, not just with work colleagues and casual friends but with family and close friends.  Sharing sooner is discouraged because *cue scary music* you might have a miscarriage.  Yes, you might have a miscarriage.  Yes, that is scary.  But why is that a reason not to tell people?  The assumption must be that if you experience a tragic loss you are better off weathering it alone.  Um… no, very clearly no, in fact…  That’s about as unsound as psychological advice can get.  Social support is key to weathering all of life’s tragedies including miscarriage.  If you experience a miscarriage, you’ll be better off if those you love most, your family and your close friends, know.  If fact, depending on your exact circumstances, you may even be better off if your boss, work colleagues or casual friends know too.

This hiding of miscarriage by hiding the first trimester of pregnancy has another terrible social cost for women: miscarriage becomes an isolated and individual tragedy when, in fact, it is a shared loss.  The whole family loses when a miscarriage occurs and miscarriage is not rare, it is common.  Early pregnancy loss is an experience women share. Every second woman will experience a miscarriage by the end of her reproductive career.  This means that every woman who experiences a miscarriage already has in her social network an untapped resource: women who have experienced that same event and survived.  Our silence gets in the way of supporting each other.  Further, there is much about how the healthcare system deals with miscarriage that can and should be improved.  But this cannot happen until women organise and advocate for ourselves.  And that won’t happen if we don’t talk to each other.

The secret first trimester also means that women bear the often crippling symptoms of morning sickness and bone-aching fatigue alone, bravely soldiering on through their working days and social events, trying to hide their rising nausea, absolute exhaustion and bathroom dashes.  It is cruel.  It is particularly cruel when you consider that the risk of miscarriage drops at eight weeks with a confirmed heartbeat, just as first trimester symptoms really ramp up.  So, even if you don’t want your wider social network to know if you experience a miscarriage, the isolated soldiering on from weeks eight to twelve is still for nothing.  Viability can be confirmed via a scan at eight weeks, allowing you to share your news with your wider social network and receive support and understanding for your first trimester symptoms.

Women need and deserve the support of those nearest and dearest to them from the very beginning of pregnancy.  Women need and deserve the support of those nearest and dearest to them when experiencing an early loss. We aren’t meant to do this alone.

Apply it to your life:  Trying to conceive?   Consider waiting until your period is a full week late (or even two) before confirming with a pregnancy test.  In deciding who to share the news with and when consider: who do you turn to when tragedy strikes?  Share your pregnancy with those people, your nearest and dearest early in the pregnancy.  There is no point in waiting: you will need their support if you experience a miscarriage.  Share with your wider social network as soon as works for you, given your circumstances and symptoms.  Don’t assume that not sharing will make a miscarriage easier.  Instead, think carefully about how widely you want to share the news and when – what’s in your best interests?  Remember, confirming viability at eight weeks is an option.

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How to prepare your child for academic success

The foundations for academic success are built in the preschool years and there is much that you can do, as the parent of a preschooler, to ensure that your child is well prepared to flourish at school.  In order to promote your child’s academic flourishing it is necessary to understand where family and formal education fit into the picture.  Formal education, including literacy and numeracy, can be thought of as multiple interlocking towers, built piece by piece, ever upwards.  Some parents are tempted to begin building these towers at home, before school, in order to give their children a head start.  In fact, I’d argue that your time is better spent building a stronger foundation.  The towers of formal education all rest upon a foundation of oral language, curiosity, intelligence, relational concepts (relational frames) and social-emotional understanding.  The stronger the foundation, the easier and quicker the towers will be built.  So, how can we, as parents, help our children to build this strong foundation?

  1. Play, play, play and more play.  Play is the engine driving intellectual development so make your children’s play a priority in your home.  Provide opportunities for active play in playgrounds, for pretend play, for play with construction toys like blocks, for play with arts and crafts activities, for play alone, for play with other children and for play with you.  Make sure you often let your child lead the play.
  2. Provide ample quality toys to facilitate play: blocks, dolls, lego, craft bits and pieces, train sets, tea sets, doll houses, pretend kitchens, trucks, toy animals, swings, slides…  Quality toys are not a luxury or mere entertainment for a preschooler.  Quality toys, for preschoolers, are what textbooks, computer access and pen and paper are for a High School student.  Fortunately, we live a time when toys are cheap but if finances are an issue for you than consider buying second-hand or using a toy library and accessing your local park.
  3. Read to your child regularly.  Make reading time special and allow yourself to delight in the pleasure of the written word.  There are many delightful children’s books so find some favourites that you can enjoy too.  If you can’t afford to purchase a selection of children’s books then access your local library.  Talk to your child about the books that you are reading.  Ask questions like: What do you think she will do next?  How does he feel? What happened in that story? Who was that story about?
  4. Talk to your child.  From birth onwards talk to your child often.  Don’t restrict your language to the necessary chatter.  Instead, verbalise your thoughts, count aloud, talk about colours, shapes, textures, animals, talk about your feelings and ask your child about their thoughts and feelings. Language exposure fuels language development.  Language development enables academic success.  Literacy, in particular, relies on oral language.
  5. Talk about relational concepts and words.  Relational concepts (also called relational frames) relate two or more concepts in a specific way, for example: opposite, same, under, bigger than, before, and faster.  Relational concepts underpin much of what we consider academic intelligence and many are key concepts in mathematics (e.g. bigger than).  Notice relational concepts in your everyday life and find opportunities to explore relational concepts during play with your child.  For example, during play with blocks you might ask, “Hey, which block is the biggest?”

Apply it to your life:  Do you live these five tips?  Is there a small step you could take in building a solid foundation for your child’s formal education?

References:

Hart & Risley (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experience of young American children.  Baltimore, Paul H Brookes Publishing Co.

Ginsburg, K.R. (2007).  The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent-child bonds.  Pediatrics, 119, pp182-191.

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