elevating child care

The Secret to Raising Readers

Readers read because they want to, so the secret to encouraging our children is the same for reading as it is for play, creativity, sports, hobbies, or any other intrinsically rewarding activity. We must put away our agendas. Or, as Maria Montessori might suggest, “follow the child.” Here’s how… 1. Be an observer Following our infants and toddlers means offering plenty of opportunities to read together and...

9 Parenting Words To Live By

When you think of parenting, what words and images come to mind?  For me it’s ‘love’, then ‘hugs’, ‘pride’, ‘joy’ and one more word that unfortunately comes with the territory: ‘worry’. (I admit I’m one of the deluded who believes that if I worry about something hard enough it won’t happen, but heck, it works!) While I never need reminders to love, snuggle or worry about my kids, I make a...

Stop Entertaining Your Toddler (In 3 Steps)

“How can I get my 2.5 year old son to be more independent? He is my sidekick, my errand running buddy, and we thoroughly enjoy each other’s company.  That being said, he seems incapable of doing anything without me right by his side, and honestly, it can get a bit frustrating. Am I asking too much of him at his stage of development?” I keep getting on his level and telling him that Mama needs to get some...

Creativity is Not Correct

I overheard an exchange at Starbucks the other day between a mother and daughter. Most would probably consider it innocuous, but it struck me as an example of a commonly missed opportunity to connect with a child: “Do you know what ‘art’ starts with?” asked the mom. “A!” the girl triumphantly announced after a moment. “Right. And then what letter comes next in ‘a-r-r-r-t’”? The girl immediately...

A Summer To Forget

I have an unconventional view about kids and summer that I’ve been reluctant to share, because I imagine most will disagree. Some might consider my point of view irresponsible. But since both of my teenage daughters have recently offered their unsolicited corroboration, I’m taking the plunge.  My kids have great instincts, and if they have conviction in something it must be worth sharing.  My 15-year-old...

Are You Putting The Kibosh On Creativity?

Artists know that trusting their instincts is essential for creativity to flourish. Likewise, if we don’t offer this trust to our children, it’s far less likely they’ll learn to trust themselves enough to enjoy art or fulfill their creative potential. For young children, play and arts-and-crafts are the same thing. Both are inherently educational opportunities for self-directed exploration, freedom of...

The Problem With Cute Kids

“We often think that children are cutest when they are most intent and serious about what they are doing.  Patting a mud pie, for example.  They act as if it were important. How satisfying for us to feel we know better.” – John Holt In his book Escape From Childhood, educator John Holt relates a “most embarrassing moment” shared with him by a friend. The friend was walking in a department store behind...

No Need For TV, Baby

According to dismaying statistics published recently by Common Sense Media, raising infants and toddlers without using TV as a babysitter has become a countercultural choice — the path less taken. Why are we so stuck on doing something we know is, at best, a waste of time for our babies? In A Creative Alternative To Baby TV Time, I speculated that parents desperately need breaks from the 24/7 job of baby care,...

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