I Wish You Gifts of Time

I have always been an overly excited gift giver, taking my time to choose just the right gift. I remember when I was a young child, I’d ask my grandmother (affectionately named Mim by her six grandchildren) what she wanted for Christmas. She always gave me the same answer: “Honey, all I want is your time.” Of everything in the...

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The Toothpaste Theory of Child Development

Have you ever studied the label on a tube of toothpaste? A good number of years ago, out of sheer boredom, I picked up the tube while supervising my daughters as they brushed their teeth for the proverbial and interminable “two minutes.” The label reads: “Active ingredient: sodium fluoride.” Its function: cavity prevention. And just below that was a list of...

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Parents Boost Their Preschoolers’ Literacy Skills With Texted Tips

What’s the most cost-effective way to prepare toddlers for school? Turns out it might involve texting parents. A new study by Stanford researchers confirms what early studies were showing: Texting parents early childhood learning tips and reminders boosts preschoolers’ literacy skills. And it costs approximately $1 per family. Research has repeatedly found that kindergartners from low-income families are already behind their...

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Protecting Children From Extreme Screen Violence

Last week, my wife and I were enjoying coffee in our local diner when we spotted a group of four children huddled around their father’s iPhone. A boy, about 8 years old, looked up, intently studying one of the big TV screens over his table, just as one of the commentators rehashed the details of the latest beheading. You could clearly...

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What Really Counts in the “Word Gap Count”?

Fred Rogers understood that early language development is important for a child’s ability to relate to the world and the people in it. Fred believed words help children better understand and manage their “inner drama.”  “What is mentionable is more manageable,” he would often say. Fred also understood that conversation between child and adult is critical for children’s intellectual and emotional...

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Children’s Librarians as Digital Media Mentors

There are approximately 16,000 public library branches and bookmobiles in the United States, most of them with staff trained specifically to serve young children and their families. One of the mainstays of library services to children is storytime, where library professionals plan and implement early learning experiences designed to expose families with young children to high quality content (reader’s advisory) and...

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