Characteristics of Quality Programs: Dr. Heckman found the following characteristics of the ABC/Care program in North Carolina made a difference in child and family outcomes:
Develop cognitive AND character skills early. Invest in the “whole child.” Effective early childhood education packages cognitive skills with character skills such as attentiveness, impulse control, persistence, and teamwork. Together, cognition and… MORE >>
With much of the national focus on improving the economy, strengthening the middle class, and reducing the deficit, some people concerned about government spending might look at programs like Head Start and wonder what the long-term benefits are from these programs. How do we know low-income children benefit from these programs and how long do the… MORE >>
The school year is over and children are excited about the summer. While summer vacation should be a fun break for children, it is important that they continue to have opportunities to learn. Multiple studies show that students who don’t read, or don’t read enough, during summer break experience a decline in their reading abilities. One… MORE >>
Children look forward to their summer break. There is no school, no studying, and plenty of time to do what they want. For many children, that means plenty of time for watching television or playing computer games.
Using screens has become a way of life, and children are surrounded by them daily. There are smart phones, tablets,… MORE >>
Summer time means more time outdoors, vacations, and summer camps for children, all of which translates to more sunlight exposure. Sunlight exposure is especially strong during summer time and will require extra safety precautions to avoid major skin damage from sunburns or skin cancer. This doesn’t mean you should avoid sunlight completely as it is our… MORE >>
Another school year is over and summer is finally here. Everyone is looking forward to poolside fun, cooling off in the water, and sunny adventures at the beach. This also means young children will have a higher risk of having drowning accidents. Drowning among infants and young children is more common than many parents believe. Children… MORE >>
Spending time outdoors rejuvenates us. It helps our physical health because we are usually active when we are outdoors, and it supports our emotional health by providing beautiful open spaces where we can just breathe and slow down. When we spend time outdoors with our families we strengthen our relationships with each other through talk and… MORE >>
If you are living paycheck to paycheck, strapped with large amounts of debt, or cannot manage to put anything aside for retirement, you may want to consider seeking advice from a credit counselor. Credit counselors can offer a range of services to help their clients achieve greater financial security. Reputable credit counseling organizations can advise you… MORE >>
Early Childhood Mental Health refers to the social, emotional, and behavioral well-being of children. Children with positive mental health feel better about themselves, can manage their feelings, problem solve, are prepared to learn, and can have satisfying relationships with others.
Parents and educators can support the mental health of young children by forming positive relationships with them,… MORE >>
The California drought is finally over thanks to the abundant amount of rainfall this past winter. Spring time is finally here and flowers are blooming everywhere. In fact, this is one of the biggest blooming seasons California has ever seen. The flowers, although beautiful, can be a living nightmare for those that suffer from seasonal allergy… MORE >>
In recent years the issues surrounding child vaccination laws have been hotly debated in California and around the nation, with many states considering new legislation in response to this debate. At the heart of the matter is an issue of balancing private freedoms and public safety. With more and more California’s parents choosing alternative vaccination schedules… MORE >>
You and Anger
Everyone experiences feelings of anger from time to time. In fact, anger can happen quickly, often taking us by surprise. It could be the person who cut you off on the freeway, missing your bus, being late for work, or your child throwing a tantrum in the middle of a store. If anger is… MORE >>
Celebrate jazz music in April! The Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History developed Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) to celebrate the music and history of jazz. Jazz music is important to American history because it began in New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 1800s. That means that America is the birthplace of jazz.
Jazz began with Blues… MORE >>
What is Abusive Head Trauma?
Abusive head trauma (AHT), which includes shaken baby syndrome, is a severe form of child abuse that results in an injury to the brain of an infant or child, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Completely preventable, it is caused by violent shaking or hard impact to the child’s head,… MORE >>
If your child has ever been bullied – name calling, intimidation, or physical harm— you understand the emotional damage it can cause. So how do you, as a parent, help to prevent bullying? And how can you prevent your own child from becoming a bully?
What is bullying?
A bully is a person who uses power to intentionally… MORE >>
One of the most important things you will do for your child is to make your home a safe place to grow and learn. Young children will always need supervision, but if you take the time to make the environment as safe as you can it will help prevent injuries.
Start by looking at each room of… MORE >>
Water is an essential necessity for human life. Water has an impact on so many things around us from marine life to every living being on Earth! Although we may wish that there was an unlimited supply of water, that’s just not the case. Water is a limited resource and it is crucial to learn how… MORE >>
The Quality Rating and Improvement System, QRIS, is a nationwide effort to improve the quality of child care centers and preschools and empower parents with the knowledge to choose the best care for their children. The system has been in place in California since 2014, largely through the support of First 5 California and local county… MORE >>
The simple act of handwashing can help keep you and your family healthy. Handwashing has been proven to reduce the spread of germs and prevent illness. In most situations, washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to remove germs. Be a role model and teach your child healthy handwashing habits.
It is easy… MORE >>
“You're never too old, too wacky, too wild,
To pick up a book and read with a child.”
For twenty years children across the nation have celebrated Read Across America. It is typically celebrated on Dr. Seuss’s birthday, which is March 2nd. The National Education Association (NEA) created this annual event to increase children’s motivation to read… MORE >>
Kids and teens today often feel pressure from the media and social media to fit a certain image. Insecurities along with other factors such as family history, low self-esteem, and negative peer interactions based on weight, can cause a child or teen to develop an eating disorder.
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is observed to draw attention… MORE >>
Valentine’s Day is recognized as a day to do something special for someone you love. This can include sending a card, planning a nice dinner, or exchanging gifts. More recently, it has also become a day to celebrate friendship.
Many children will exchange cards at school, make special crafts, or bake special treats they can share. Set… MORE >>
As parents, you understand the importance of regular checkups with your child’s pediatrician. However, parents underestimate the importance for children to make regular visits to the dentist. A regular visit to the dentist is essential to keep your child’s teeth healthy and cavity free throughout childhood and into adulthood. With support from the American Dental Association,… MORE >>
February is American Heart Month, a time to spread awareness the importance of heart health. Today, cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and high blood pressure are number one killer among American women and men. Instead of giving out chocolate and candies on Valentine’s Day, isn’t it better to spread awareness on how to maintain a healthy… MORE >>
The Gift of Life
Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several.
1 out of 3 people will need blood in their lifetime.
Every two seconds, someone in the United States needs blood
more than 41,000 blood… MORE >>
Think about the many people you interact with daily. No matter where you live, you can probably think of individuals you work with, live near, or meet socially who have different opinions, speak another language, or have unique abilities.
Our world is home to many rich histories, cultures, and traditions. Learning to accept and appreciate our similarities… MORE >>
It’s the start of a new year, which, for many of us means New Year’s resolutions! Although most of us have the best intentions to stick to our resolutions, we often give up or get side-tracked along the way. For that reason, January is known as “National Staying Healthy Month” –a month dedicated to helping us… MORE >>
With 2017 right around the corner, many of us are thinking about making New Year’s resolutions. We often see the New Year as a fresh start. Making and keeping your new year’s resolutions can be a fun activity for you and your family to do together.
Here are some tips to keep your resolutions going strong from… MORE >>
Why is Family Time Important?
The numerous benefits of spending family time together may surprise you. Not only does family time create bonding, it also contributes to your child’s academic success, self-esteem, and reduced likelihood of violence. It is a simple, yet profound way to help a child develop into a healthy, thriving adult. Here are just… MORE >>
As the holidays rapidly approach, people will be shopping for gifts at malls or stores for friends and loved ones. Before you make those purchases, consider the many gifts that you and your children can make for others. Homemade gifts are treasured not just for the beauty of the gifts, but for the time and thought… MORE >>
For families, the holiday season means a long break from school. Many families take this time to travel to visit loved ones.
Preparing for a family trip is no easy feat. Here are some tips to make planning and taking your trip a little easier.
Before you go
By involving your child in the planning process, it will get… MORE >>
Winter is here and many of us are preparing for holiday festivities! While children are excitedly anticipating the gifts that they may receive, parents are out shopping, eager to make their children’s holiday dreams come true. December is Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month, sponsored by Prevent Blindness America, a non-profit eye health and safety group… MORE >>
We all look forward to the holidays. It is a time to visit with family and enjoy delicious food. When you think about the food that is traditionally served – turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, stuffing, rolls, salads, fruit, pumpkin pie, and cookies – it’s easy to see why holiday meals are… MORE >>
It’s Diabetes Awareness Month, and eating nutritious foods and staying active are two key ways to help prevent Type II Diabetes in children. In fact, before a child is even born, nutrition plays a critical role in a proper mental and physical development, learning capabilities, and sets a child up for a lifetime of well-being.
So what… MORE >>
November 16th is Fast Food Day. However, for many of us, we don’t need a special day to eat fast food. Parents and kids today are extremely busy. Between juggling work, school, after school activities, homework, and household chores, at the end of the day, going through the drive thru on the way home may feel… MORE >>
November 13th is World Kindness Day, hosted by the World Kindness Movement. It is a day to inspire individuals toward greater kindness and to create a kinder world.
With the holidays right around the corner, many of us think about kindness and the spirit of giving. However, we don’t always see examples of kindness in society today.… MORE >>
Fall offers a rich array of colors, textures, smells, and sights for both you and your child to explore. Engaging in fun and simple activities with your child provides the opportunity for you to strengthen your relationship, help your child learn, and simply enjoy spending time together. The following are fun and inexpensive ideas for how… MORE >>
It's fall and children everywhere are getting ready to transform into their favorite character for one magical night – Halloween. However, with all of the excitement of Halloween come some hidden dangers.
Here are tips both you and your child can follow to keep Halloween fun, but safe.
For Parents or Caregivers
Always have a responsible adult accompany children… MORE >>
Children can experience grief, loss, and trauma through a variety of circumstances. These can include situations such as:
A close friend moving away
A divorce in the family
Changing schools and losing friends
Experiencing violence, or the threat of violence
Living through a natural disaster
Moving to a new home
The death of a family member, friend, or pet
Tragic or scary events they… MORE >>
On October 20th, 2016 at 10:20 a.m., millions of people around the world will participate in the “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” practice. As earthquakes can occur anytime and anywhere, it is crucial for everyone to know how to protect themselves and their loved ones during an earthquake.
What is the Great California Shakeout?
The Great California Shakeout… MORE >>
In this day and age, it’s possible that your five-year-old is more smartphone-savvy than you! Children today are introduced to technology and computers much earlier in life, which can be beneficial for enjoying educational games and apps, and having easier access to research for school projects.
However, there are many downsides that come along with the good.… MORE >>
Between work, soccer practice, making family dinners, and hectic mornings trying to get the kids in the car and off to school, packing lunches is no easy task. But don’t let the rush get in the way of keeping your child healthy and well-fed.
Unfortunately, many schools still offer unhealthy choices, and the quickest meals tend to… MORE >>
For kids, the start of the school year brings excitement and apprehension about new teachers, classes, and homework. But for parents, the start of the school year also brings the fear of getting sick. Let’s face it – when kids get together in child care or school, germs spread. Then they spread to your family, and… MORE >>
How do you teach a child to control their behaviors and emotions?
Whether your child won’t sit still, doesn’t understand that what he says hurts others’ feelings, or has a complete meltdown waiting for his turn on the slide, self-control is an important skill that most parents are anxious to teach their children.
What is Self-Regulation?
Self-regulation (or self-control)… MORE >>
More than just entertainment, music provides a plethora of benefits to your child’s development and well-being. You don’t have to be a musician to help your child appreciate music and reap its profound benefits.
Why Does Music Matter?
Music is much more than just something fun to listen to in the background, or a hobby to keep your… MORE >>
Are you concerned that your child may require special education services, but are unsure of how to get help? Learning that your child has special needs can be challenging, even frightening. You may feel alone and uncertain of where to turn for help. The good news is that your child is entitled to assistance and getting… MORE >>
On November 8, 2016, Americans will go to the polls to elect our next President. While the media coverage of the presidential election is substantial, there will be many other items on your ballot that you might not be as familiar with. While it is difficult to find the time to research all candidates and ballot… MORE >>
It is time. After months – or years – of spending all day with your child, the time has come for them to start child care or preschool, and for you to get back to work, school, or simply take a break. It is an exciting season of change for both of you…until it is time… MORE >>
What is “School Readiness”?
(See Part 1 – School Readiness: How to Prepare Your Child for Academic Learning)
When your child starts kindergarten, he will transition from spending most days at home with parents and siblings, to spending time with other children in unfamiliar circumstances. He’ll have to learn to relate to other children and get comfortable sharing… MORE >>
What is “School Readiness”?
Does your child’s education begin on the first day of Kindergarten?
No! In fact, most educators expect that children coming into school have already learned or mastered certain skills. So what are those skills and how do you help your child prepare for success?
Before starting kindergarten, your child should have some understanding of… MORE >>
Why Your Child Needs Exercise
Daily exercise is one of the key factors to a child’s well-being — physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is crucial for preventing illness, building strength, and decreasing risk of obesity and disease.
It can be easy to keep children entertained when you’re busy by letting them watch TV, play video games, and use… MORE >>
As a busy parent, you’re probably juggling ways to help your child learn, stay healthy, and keep busy. One of the best multi-tasking activities for children is playing in nature, because they can learn, exercise, and have fun all at the same time.
According to the Children & Nature Network (C&NN), “Children who play outdoors in nature… MORE >>
Does your child’s behavior frustrate you? Does it feel impossible to teach a child in your care how to behave appropriately?
Children do not think like adults do, so what you perceive as misbehaving may actually be appropriate for your child’s age and developmental stage. Understanding what is normal in each stage of development will help you… MORE >>
We’ve all been there before – your child throws a tantrum at the store when you won’t let her out of her stroller; she bites another child at school; she pulls out more toys after you’ve told her three times to put them away.
These frustrating behaviors may seem impossible to control, and you’ve accepted that your… MORE >>
As a parent or caregiver, you want your child, or a child in your care, to be intelligent, competent, and a strong communicator. So how do you help him or her to become these things?
As early as infancy, you can begin teaching and giving your child many important skills through reading. Reading aloud is proven to… MORE >>
Creativity benefits children by growing a sense of confidence, inspiring curiosity, helping to discover talents, expressing emotions, problem-solving, and providing a feeling of achievement. With all of today’s technology and vast array of life-like toys, the need for imaginative play is diminished.
As a parent or caregiver, you have the opportunity to develop creative skills in children… MORE >>
Whether it is finding a babysitter for a night out, or a full-day child care program for your toddler or preschooler, choosing child care can be a challenging process. This is your child, and trusting them to the care of someone else can make even the calmest parent anxious. There is no doubt about it, searching… MORE >>