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Wednesday Links: PLAY

Some links about the importance of play for a child’s well-being and development:

Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm:  this author cautions parents about academic pressure in preschool and kindergarten.

The effects of play on the learning brain: If you agree with the above author that children should not be pushed into academics too early, you will appreciate this article about the benefits of play on the learning brain. “Playful behavior appears to have positive effects on the brain and on a child’s ability to learn. In fact, play may function as an important, if not crucial, mode for learning.”

Will You Play with Me: a clear explanation of benefits of parents playing with their children, and in particular allowing their child to initiate play encounters.

“Mommy, You Are the Princess”: A new study published in the Journal of Infant and Child Development looked at the complexity of play in preschoolers when children play with their parents.  The most complex play occurs when the child initiates the play.

Children May Be Playing, but Their Brains Are Working:  types of play and what they do for kids’ cognitive development.

Wednesday Links: Strength-Based Parenting

Here’s a good one.  Intentional Catholic parents may be interested in this recent study (published in Psychology) about the benefits of “strength-based parenting”:

“Children are more likely to use their strengths to effectively cope with minor stress in their life if they have parents who adopt a strength-based approach to parenting.  Strength-based parenting is an approach where parents deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, processes and qualities in their children. . . This style of parenting adds a ‘positive filter’ to the way a child reacts to stress. It also limits the likelihood of children using avoidance or aggressive coping responses.” 

What is meant by a positive filter? I believe it’s a parent’s loving verbal intervention when a child is in the early stages of distress or confronted with a demand on their time, abilities, or emotions — a demand that stretches them in some way.  If the child is upset or worried, we can coach our child in responding in a healthy way to their concern, in a manner that draws on their strengths.

This approach contrasts with a parent’s inclination to “fix” their child as if he’s broken or defective, and sending that message to our child even if we don’t intend to do so.

If you’re interested in identifying your child’s strengths more clearly, perhaps you’d enjoy this book by Jenifer Fox: Your Child’s Strengths.  I don’t usually recommend books that I have not read myself, but this seems to be a useful and engaging book about how to think about our children’s strengths.

TENDER TIDINGS Summer 2015 Now Available!

The summer issue of our free parenting magazine is now available!

Click on flipbook to explore:

In this issue:

  • Natural Family Planning:  In Real Life
  • Navigating family road trips
  • Gentle discipline: the real root of misbehavior
  • Create a sacramental memory book
  • picnic recipes
  • AND MORE!

WEDNESDAY LINKS

LOVE

Breastfeeding reduces risk of childhood leukemia.  A study from the JAMA Pediatrics concluded that breastfeeding for 6 months or longer reduces a child’s risk of leukemia by nearly 20 percent.  “The authors suggest several biological mechanisms of breast milk may explain their results, including that breast milk contains many immunologically active components and anti-inflammatory defense mechanisms that influence the development of an infant’s immune system.”

Raising Competent Children with Grit by Laura Markham.  12 tips for giving kids confidence and perseverance in the face of obstacles.

GENTLE DISCIPLINE

Free on-line parenting class.  The Center for Parenting Education is offering a free class on “The Right Attitude for Discipline that Works”.  June 16 8:30-9:30 p.m. EST.  “Yes!  It is possible to maintain a strong relationship with your children and build their self-esteem even as you discipline them.  Learn specific techniques and attitudes that will allow you to remain calm, clear and confident.”

WEDNESDAY LINKS: Kids & Chores!

In this edition of Wednesday links, here are some links that offer tips on getting kids to do their chores and that explain why doing chores is very good for our kids.

MY TOP PICK:  Here is a very clear 3-Part Series on chores from The Center for Parenting Education

Kids Who Do Chores Flourish by Temma Ehrenfeld.   “Studies indicate that kids who do chores also do better socially and in school through their teen years—and become happier adults.” Some interesting and important points & tips, including calling your child a helper rather than asking her to help.

How to Get Kids on Board with Chores from Parenting without Punishment.  “Children who refuse to do their chores or who drag their feet or do their chores incompletely are sending us a message in the only way they know how. Our job as parents is to decipher that message and help our children feel empowered, encouraged and motivated to contribute to the care of the family and family home. There are a number of ways to change the way we elicit our children’s help around the house.”

Chores and Children: Getting Kids to Help with Housework by Eileen Kennedy-Moore.  Clearly outlines how doing chores benefits our kids.  Several good tips on getting kids to help with chores in a positive way.  She makes the important point that scaring or threatening kids into helping is counter-productive:  “It’s easy to slide into thinking that when our children don’t pick up, it means they don’t love us or they don’t respect us.  We may feel angry, resentful, or dejected.  We may wonder how we ended up in the role of household drudge to our royal children! . . . Harsh scolding from a frustrated parent certainly won’t get children to embrace their role as valuable contributors to a smoothly running household. No healthy child is going to accept the message, ‘I’m suffering, so you should, too!’ “

Wednesday Links

Love

7 Research-Based Ways to Increase Your Joy by Dr. Greg Popcak.   “People have a lot of ideas about what it takes to be happy, but these research-based ideas reveal the truth about how we were made to live.  As our Christian tradition teaches, happiness doesn’t come merely from the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of conflict.  It comes from pursuing a meaningful, intimate, and virtuous life that identified by a generous spirit, and open mind, and a grateful heart.”  Dr. Greg is so right!

I think in our culture people think happiness = doing whatever you want.  I have not found this to be true.  I have experienced the deepest most abiding joy in my life in my mothering, which comes with many duties, sleepless nights, doubts, and fears.  Joy, to me, comes from knowing I’m right where I need to be this particular day.  Even during struggles, illness, and other stresses that life will bring our way, if I am firm in my resolve to follow Christ and to ascent to his call on my life in whatever circumstance I am in, I will have an inexplicable joy and peace.

Gentle Discipline

Do Your Kids Have Selective Hearing?  From Parenting Beyond Punishment: “Do you ever feel like your questions and requests are ignored? You ask your kids if they have homework or to put their shoes away and you get no response. But you’re certain they can hear you because as soon as you even whisper ‘ice cream’ everyone looks up and says, ‘yes’!  YOU ARE NOT ALONE!”

Pope Francis:  “Where there is no mercy, there is no justice.”  In his Monday homily, the Pope noted the hypocrisy of those (even within the Church) “who judge and condemn others . . .  With such rigidity one cannot breathe”.  The Pope remarked that when we are sorry for our sins, there are those who want to condemn us rather than allow us to have hope.  Never punish penitent sinners for the very sins you conceal within yourselves, he says.  This applies to the parent-child relationship just as it applies to every human relationship.  When our children make a mistake because they lack patience, kindness, or maturity, let’s remember that we too at times lack these same virtues.

I would add to the Pope’s comment that where there is not justice, there is no mercy.  Justice without mercy leads to tyranny, but mercy without justice leads to chaos.  For children, this chaos is emotional and developmental.  Mercy doesn’t require that we overlook our child’s errors, but that we understand situations from our child’s perspective, that we guide them in finding ways to handle similar situations better in the future.

Radiant Faith

An Angel and a Maiden by Sarah Reinhard.  On the Feast of the Annunciation, a mother recognizes that she often says yes too quickly without discerning whether it’s God’s voice she hears calling or her own voice.  I can relate!  “It is no accident that I tend to approach saying Yes in one of two over-the-top ways: I say Yes without thinking and discerning, thus putting myself in a position to back out later or I don’t say Yes because I’m quite sure I can’t do it.”

A Strong Marriage

Premarital Sex Decreases Marital Satisfaction.  Dr. Greg comments on a recent study that found that “couples who partook in hooking up, premarital cohabitation, or even engaging in multiple sexual encounters with different people over the course of their lives would have a less likely chance of remaining in a happy marriage – if they even got married at all.”

Wednesday Links

Some new links and resources for your intentional Catholic parenting journey!

BREASTFEEDING

Extended breastfeeding linked to higher adult i.q. and earning ability.  A 30 year study following 3500 newborns found that “longer duration of breastfeeding is linked with increased intelligence in adulthood, longer schooling, and higher adult earnings, a study following a group of almost 3,500 newborns for 30 years.”

SLEEP ISSUES:

Bedtime problems in children: solutions for science-minded parents.  Gwen Dewar, PhD, updated this page with new resources for parents looking for answers to their child’s sleep issues.  Tons of tips.  Understand your child’s sleep problems, separation anxiety and nighttime fears, the wrong or irregular bedtimes, allergies, poor-timed naps, plus more.

Darcy Narvaez at Psychology Today offers parents this informative series on toddler sleep:

Why Your Toddler Isn’t Sleeping

The Signs of Tiredness in Your Toddler

Helping Your Toddler Prepare for Sleep

DISCIPLINE

Parental warmth does not remove anxiety following corporal punishment.   From Duke University, research reveals that “a loving mom can’t overcome the anxiety and aggression caused by corporal punishment, and her otherwise warm demeanor may make it worse . . . It’s far more effective and less risky to use nonphysical discipline . . . Discipline means ‘to teach,’ not ‘punishment.’ “

TENDER TIDINGS Spring 2015 AVAILABLE

Free parenting resource for gentle, intentional, and attachment-minded parents:

In This Issue:

  • Spring cleaning:  heart and home.  How is decluttering a Christian activity?  Abby Sasscer, author of Simplifying Your Domestic Church, answers that question.
  • Nature journaling for the whole family
  • Saint Patrick’s Day Celebration
  • Cleaning up your family’s favorite JUNK FOOD
  • MORE!

Wednesday Links

ICP BASICS

Sleep Deprivation and Teenagers by Dr. Frances Jensen.   Okay, now I finally understand why my teenager hangs around in the family room when he’s supposed to be going to bed but acts like he has a hangover in the morning. “One reason is that melatonin, a hormone critical to inducing sleep, is released two hours later at night in a teenager’s brain than it is in an adult’s. It also stays in the teenager’s system longer, which is why it’s so hard to wake your high schooler up in the morning. Adults, on the other hand, have almost no melatonin in their system when they wake up and therefore don’t have the same groggy feeling.”

Babies Learn Best Right Before Sleep by Gwen Dewar, PhD.  Just like grown-ups, a new study suggests that babies learn and recall things better when they sleep right afterward.  Just think of all the good we are doing with bedtime stories!

Catholics and Family Size:  Dr. Greg wrote this thoughtful response to reports that Pope Francis said Catholics are not required to breed like rabbits.  Dr. Greg offers advice for discerning family size.

BALANCE

Downsides of Early Day Care by Matthew Fallon and Darcia Narvaez.  Distinguishes between “alloparents” and day care workers.  Alloparents are trusted adults in the mother’s circle who help out with the baby, but the mother remains nearby in case the baby is distressed  “This sort of environment allows an infant to become more comfortable away from mom while also developing a secure attachment because mom is always there when she is needed to calm the infant.”  The modern day care setting is far different from allocaring, because the mother is not accessible, the number of infants outnumbers adults, there is far less physical contact, and the children are not attached to the daycare workers.

GENTLE DISCIPLINE

Curiosity Questions:  Jane Nelsen over at Positive Discipline suggests exploring the consequences of a child’s behavior with her instead of immediately imposing consequences.  Nelsen believes this approach may lead to better problem solving skills in kids.

Limited Choices:  Another good tip from Jane Nelsen at Positive Discipline.  Instead of ordering your child around, offer her limited choices.

Tender Tidings Winter 2014 AVAILABLE

Tender Tidings Magazine, our FREE parenting publication, is now available for your enjoyment! Just click on the flipbook to explore.

PDF is also available from flipbook.

  • THE SLEEP ISSUE:  tips for getting more sleep, the science of safe co-sleeping, sleep stories from intentional, Catholic parents
  • Dr. Greg answers tough questions from real parents, including one about preschool tantrums
  • What can the Holy Family teach us about parenting?
  • Make a king cake for Epiphany