Dec 14, Can Lego bricks and other construction toys boost your child’s STEM skills?

The Parenting Science News Feed The Parenting Science news feed alerts you to updates on the Parenting Science website and to new blog posts or articles written by Gwen Dewar about parenting and child development topics. If you’d like to subscribe to the Parenting Science news feed, RIGHT-click on the RSS button (the last black button listed under the heading "Follow Us" to the right of this text) and paste the URL into your RSS reader. Alternatively, if you have a social media account, you can follow this site by clicking on one of the Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest buttons. Don't see anything new? Click your browser's refresh button to check for recent updates. Dec 14, 2017Can Lego bricks and other construction toys boost your child's STEM skills?Where does mechanical aptitude come from? What makes some kids excel in STEM, architecture, or design?Studies suggest that early experiences with construction -- designing new creations, and following blueprints -- ..
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Dec 11, Please defend net neutrality. It allows websites like this one to exist!

The Parenting Science News Feed The Parenting Science news feed alerts you to updates on the Parenting Science website and to new blog posts or articles written by Gwen Dewar about parenting and child development topics. If you’d like to subscribe to the Parenting Science news feed, RIGHT-click on the RSS button (the last black button listed under the heading "Follow Us" to the right of this text) and paste the URL into your RSS reader. Alternatively, if you have a social media account, you can follow this site by clicking on one of the Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest buttons. Don't see anything new? Click your browser's refresh button to check for recent updates. Dec 11, 2017Please defend net neutrality. It allows websites like this one to exist!I don't usually write about topics like this. This isn't a tech blog. But in the United States, the FCC is planning to dismantle current rules for net neutrality. Such a plan could make Parenting Science unviable..
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Dec 7, Cooperative board games for kids

The Parenting Science News Feed The Parenting Science news feed alerts you to updates on the Parenting Science website and to new blog posts or articles written by Gwen Dewar about parenting and child development topics. If you’d like to subscribe to the Parenting Science news feed, RIGHT-click on the RSS button (the last black button listed under the heading "Follow Us" to the right of this text) and paste the URL into your RSS reader. Alternatively, if you have a social media account, you can follow this site by clicking on one of the Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest buttons. Don't see anything new? Click your browser's refresh button to check for recent updates. Dec 07, 2017 Cooperative board games for kids Preschoolers prefer cooperative board games, and older kids benefit too. Read how these fun games can help kids hone critical thinking skills and forge friendly relationships. Continue reading "Cooperative board games for kids" Nov 27, 2017 STEM books for kid..
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Parenting Tip: When possible, allow children to make choices.

Have you ever wondered how you can encourage your children to cooperate with you and become more responsible? If so, then today’s tip will be helpful to you: When possible, allow your children to make choices in matters that affect them. But many parents are skeptical about the wisdom of this. After all, they ask: Won’t it undermine my authority? Shouldn’t my children do what I tell them to do? Why should children have input into what happens in the household? Actually, by offering choices in areas that you are comfortable letting go of control, you will increase your authority in areas in which you want to have the final say. By not getting caught up in the small details of life, your children will know that when you do set a limit, you mean business. And children are more likely to go along with a rule, a chore, a plan when they have had a part in deciding it. They become more invested in its success and are more likely to act responsibly. As they see that they can influenc..
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Nov 27, STEM books for kids (and some games too): Recommendations from Parenting Science

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 22, The effects of praise: 7 evidence-based tips for praising kids the right way

The effects of praise: 7 evidence-based tips for praising kids the right way © 2008 - 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved The effects of praise aren't always good. What can we do to make sure praise helps, and doesn't hurt? In many traditional cultures, parents avoid showering their children praise. They worry that too much praise will inflate the ego. Make kids overconfident. Too full of themselves. This seems to be an ancient concern. Modern-day hunter-gatherers--people whose life-ways most closely resemble those of our ancestors--are famously intolerant of big egos. It used to be that way in the West, too. But today things are different. Westerners praise each other all the time, and lavish praise on their kids. They believe praise is going to make children better--more motivated, more confident, more inclined to tackle challenges. Does it really work that way? In some cases, yes. For instance, there are hints that preschoolers develop better social..
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Nov 16, How kids learn math and science: Stimulate learning by asking kids to explain

How kids learn math and science: Stimulate learning by asking kids to explain © 2009 - 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Want to help your kids learn math and science? Ask them to explain what they are learning in their own words. Experiments suggest that self-explanation can help children grasp concepts, learn procedures, and transfer knowledge to new situations. But it's important to provide kids with the right support. Here is an overview of the research, and tips for getting the most from self-explanation. The benefits of self-explanation You've might have noticed it yourself: We're more likely to really "get" a concept if we go to the trouble of explaining what we think. For instance, novice chess players appear to hone their skills faster when they make explaining an explicit part of their training process. In one experiment, people asked to watch and explain a computer’s moves became better players than did people who simply observed the computer’s..
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Nov 9, When bullies bully others

When bullies get bullied by others: Understanding bully-victims © 2008 - 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Bully-victims: A special type? Some kids occupy the middle of the bullying food chain. They get bullied by dominant individuals, but they also perpetrate bulling themselves. Rejected, victimized, and aggressive, these "bully-victims" tend to have more psychological problems than either "pure bullies" or "pure victims." We can't expect them to "grow out" of their problems, not if we don't intervene. Can we do something to help them change course? We'd better. Because we can't afford to ignore the problem. Here's a closer look at the evidence. How bully-victims differ from "pure" bullies Modern research recognizes two types of bullies. Both types may suffer from psychiatric disorders, and both are at increased risk for committing severe, violent offenses as they get older (Sourander et al 2007a; Sourander et al 2007b; Sourander et al 2011;..
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Nov 2, Paleontology and dinosaurs for kids: Tips for getting children hooked on science

Paleontology and dinosaurs for kids: Tips for getting children hooked on science © 2009 - 2017 Gwen Dewar, Ph.D., all rights reserved Dinosaurs for kids: A gateway for STEM learning Paleontology is a great opportunity to teach kids about biology, evolution, and scientific thinking. Most young children are fascinated by dinosaurs, and studies suggest that curiosity boosts learning. When kids are intrigued -- when they have questions -- their brains are especially primed to learn the answers. But being keen on dinosaurs isn't enough. It doesn't, by itself, doesn't lead kids to a deeper understanding or biology or science. As Kathy Johnson and her colleagues found, young dinosaur experts may know a lot about specific dinosaurs, but their knowledge is usually highly specific and disconnected from larger, biological concepts (Johnson et al 2004). A perfect opportunity is being missed! So we need to help children connect their natural interest in dinosaurs with big (and exci..
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Parenting Tip: Allow Children to Make Mistakes They can Learn from

Have you ever watched your child on the edge of making a mistake? It plays out in slow motion. Perhaps it is something small like trying to pick up too many things at once and having everything slip out of his hands. Or maybe, it is something larger, like spending all her birthday money on a trendy item that you know will fall apart the first time it is worn. If these scenarios are familiar to you, then this tip will be helpful: Allow your children to make mistakes that they can learn from. Because parents want their children to be successful, most try to protect their kids from missteps that can lead to disappointment, frustration, or failure. Parents may repeatedly take forgotten homework to school, replace a toy that has been ruined because it was not properly cared for, or try to convince a child to make a wiser choice. You may know from your greater experience the better action for your children to take. However, rescuing them from poor decisions deprives them of opportunities ..
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