Tip of the Week

4 Ways to Promote Parent-Child Connection

January 10, 2024

Play is an important way that children and parents can build connection, cognitive-social-emotional skills, and problem solving skills - but it can be hard for parents to know how to engage in play. From our friend and colleague - Dr. Prachi Shah, a developmental-behavioral pediatric specialist at the University of Michigan - here are 4 ways to challenge your families to find 5-10 minutes a day for “sunshine time” with their children. Choose toys that promote cooperative play Follow the child’s lead Narrate what the child is doing Mirror joy and delight This is a time of shared warmth and joy that helps children and caregivers delight in each other, and works at any age.

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Using Sibling Conflict to Support Perspective Taking

January 3, 2024

By age 4 or 5, it’s easier for children to understand the thoughts and feelings of others, and how their actions may impact someone else. To help with sibling conflicts, suggest to parents that they: Think of their goal as guiding children to eventually resolve conflicts themselves by seeing the other person’s perspective, NOT by being the referee. Discuss how the other sibling is feeling (“What would your sister say?”) Ask children how they would feel in similar circumstances (“How would you feel if that was you?”) Help make repair (“What can we do to make this right and move on together?”)

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Sing It, Don’t Say It

December 27, 2023

A new study from the University of Cambridge and Trinity College Dublin shows that babies learn language best from rhythmic, not phonetic, information in the first few months of life. That’s why advising parents to use nursery rhymes, songs, and parentese with their baby can help promote language most effectively from day one.

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Eating Together

December 20, 2023

As the holidays approach us, try sharing the science around shared meals with families. Research shows that eating together as a family - and engaging in conversation and connection - at least 4 times per week can: Encourage healthier eating habits and reduce obesity Support improved academic performance Increase self-esteem for children

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Intrinsic Motivation

December 13, 2023

When children are intrinsically motivated, it means they are eager to do and perform based on their own pleasure in accomplishment, rather than the appeal of external rewards. Here are key tips to support intrinsic motivation: Explain to caregivers that rewards - like stickers - are best for behaviors that kids just need practice at, like toilet training or getting dressed independently. Caregivers want to try and avoid rewards around behaviors like kindness, telling the truth, or working hard - qualities that require intrinsic motivation. Ask patients if they feel proud of themselves for accomplishments, instead of expressing your own pride. For example, you may say, “Wow, are you feeling proud of how well you’ve been doing in school?” or, “How are you feeling about how well you’ve been taking your medicine?” Express confidence in your patient's ability to do hard things. You may say something like, “I know it feels hard, but you know how to do hard things.”

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The Importance of Toddlerproofing

December 6, 2023

With toddlers on the move in a whole new way, it’s time for families to address new dangers in their homes. Here are 3 tips to share with parents at your next visit:Creating a safe space in the home can help children to practice their independence and support development.Babyproofing can reduce the number of times caregivers have to yell “NO!” throughout the day.Curiosity and exploration are normal parts of toddler development. Toddlers are not trying to be “naughty,” but instead learning about how the world works through their experiences.

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