Nov 29, Parenting stress: 10 tips for coping

Parenting Stress: 10 evidence-based tips for making life better © 2016 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Parenting stress puts a strain on the whole family -- sapping patience, damaging relationships, eroding well-being. What can we do about it? Parents are often urged to get more social support, and of course that's an excellent idea. Knowing you've got back up, even if it's just somebody who can talk constructively with you about your troubles, can protect you from the effects of toxic stress. But most parents lacking social support are painfully aware of the fact. The problem is that quality social support is like a lot of other resources: We don't all have equal access. You might try enrolling in parenting classes. Studies indicate that parenting classes can reduce your feelings of anger, guilt, and stress -- particularly if your child has difficult behavior problems (Barlow et al 2014; Furlong et al 2012; Feinberg et al 2014). But the effects usually ..
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Nov 23, STEM books for kids (and other resources too)

Stem books for kids (and some games too): Parenting science recommendations © 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved If you care about the progress of STEM -- science, technology, mathematics, and engineering -- you already know the bad news. Around the world, rationality is under attack. Politicians deny the facts. Adults reject the scientific evidence. But the good news is it has never been easier to find excellent books and games for teaching children about STEM concepts. Here is are a few such resources, some of which I've mentioned in my articles for Parenting Science. I'll be adding more in the future. I include links to items that can be purchased through Amazon.com. Parenting Science is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program, which means it receives a portion of the proceeds whenever you make a purchase through one of these links. Astronomy and physics The night sky used be a good recruiting tool for careers in STEM. Nowadays, light pollution make..
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Nov 14, Tangrams for kids: Educational tips and a printable template

Tangrams for kids: Educational tips and a printable tangram template © 2009 - 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Tangrams for kids: A learning tool for building STEM skills Like building blocks, tangrams can teach kids about spatial relationships. They may help kids learn geometric terms, and develop stronger problem solving abilities. They might even help children perform better on tests of basic arithmetic. But what is a tangram? Invented in China approximately 200 years ago, a tangram is a two-dimensional re-arrangement puzzle created by cutting a square into seven pieces -- seven geometric shapes called "tans" (Slocum et al 2003). What are the seven shapes in a tangram? Each tangram puzzle contains the following: 2 large right triangles 1 medium-sized right triangle 2 small right triangles 1 small square 1 parallelogram Arranged correctly, these tangram shapes can be fitted together as a large square, rectangle, or triangle. They can also be arranged in a vari..
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Nov 8, What happens when adults lie to children?

What happens when adults lie to children? © 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Are children influenced by authority figures who tell self-serving lies? Does it set a bad example -- making kids more likely to tell lies of their own? There hasn't been much research on the question. But based on the limited evidence, the answer depends on a child's developmental level. Young children are capable of tracking the accuracy of your past statements. And by the age of four years, some kids show a preference for trusting individuals who have a proven history of telling the truth. But it's not clear that lying to young children will make them more deceitful. Perhaps that's because they lack the cognitive skills to fully grasp the concept of a lie. By contrast, school-aged kids react differently. When they discover we’ve lied to them, they become less truthful in their dealings with us. How do we know? Imagine this scenario. An adult meets a child, and says: “The..
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Nov 1, What is colic? An evidence-based guide to excessive infant crying

What is colic? An evidence-based guide to excesssive infant crying © 2009 - 2018 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved What is colic? The quick facts are these: "Infantile colic" is the term that doctors use for excessive crying and fussing that has no obvious cause. To make a diagnosis, many use the "rule of three," which identifies a baby as colicky if he or she is "otherwise healthy and well-fed," but has fits of "irritability, fussiness, or crying" that take up more than 3 hours of time each day for more than 3 days each week (Wessel 1954). Caring for such an infant can be very stressful and frustrating, but doctors urge parents to remember: It's going to get better. The problem usually emerges around 2 weeks postpartum, and improves by 4-6 months. Doctors also like to note that colic isn't usually associated with any serious, underlying medical problems.The facts are reassuring, but they don't make colic go away, and it's vitally important not to triviali..
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