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child trends logo with a yellow 40 year anniversaryWe all know that talking, reading, and singing are great ways to baby’s and caregivers to bond, but recent research suggests that eye contact can be just as important to a newborn’s development. Infants naturally begin to make eye contact at six to eight weeks and capitalizing on this behavior may help to promote social and emotional development.

In June 2018, Child Trends reported that “researchers conducted two different experiments to determine if eye gaze mattered when an adult sang to an infant. They used EEG [electroencephalogram] to measure brain activity and found when adults and babies looked directly at each other, their brain waves would sync up more than when the adult avoided eye contact. The babies also tried to…

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Make the Most of Playtime

Fred Rogers said, “For children, play is serious learning.” That’s why the folks at the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) at Vanderbilt University want us to Make the Most of Playtime. In an article of the same name, adapted from a Zero-to-Three resource, CSEFEL staff describe not only the importance of play but the hallmarks of play development over the first three years of life. They also provide specific ideas parents can try with children at various ages, like imitating sounds in a back-and-forth “conversation” with young babies and supporting an older toddler’s imagination “by providing dress-up clothes . . . and props such as plastic kitchen bowls and plates or toy musical instruments.” This is an excellent resource to share with families. Check it out and share your ideas in the comments below.…

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black ribbon logo“The early childhood years build the foundation for a lifetime of health and development” (DEC, 2012).

In a position statement from September 2012, the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) outlined six recommendations “for the promotion of health, safety, and well-being of all young children including those with or at‐risk for disabilities.”

These six recommendations included the following:

Prenatal care services and early universal screening;

  • Culturally-responsive, developmentally appropriate, individualized care in affordable, safe, nurturing, and inclusive environments;
  • Correctly administered, ethical, valid, reliable, culturally sensitive, formal and informal assessments;
  • High quality systems of pre‐service and in‐service professional…
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Screen time is a frequent concern among parents and professionals alike, specifically how much screen time is too much and how early is too early? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has weighed in on the discussion with specific guidelines. In order to make those guidelines more accessible to parents, Dr. Christine Ly, school psychologist with Garden Grove Unified School District, developed a series of pamphlets. “Screen Time and Your Preschooler: Social-Emotional Development” is the specific piece we are focusing on today. In it, Ly cites the recommendations of the AAP, defines social-emotional development, and outlines its relationship with screen time. The pamphlet also includes Positive Parenting tips, organized by age, and a variety of resources to check out. We learned about these brochures through…

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Tips on Helping Your Child Learn to Cooperate

mom carrying child“Cooperation is the ability to balance one’s own needs with someone else’s.” We round out the school year with an article from Zero-to-Three entitled Tips on Helping Your Child Learn to Cooperate. This resource gives concrete examples of “how cooperativeness grows across the first three years of life” and offers tips on a variety of situations, such as:

  • Taking turns,
  • Setting limits and explaining requests,
  • Taking time to problem-solve,
  • Suggesting developmentally-appropriate chores,
  • Praising cooperation, and
  • Giving choices.

It’s well worth the read. Check it out today and leave us a comment to let us know what you thought.

This resource is…

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father walking baby with blue and purple backgroundIn 2015, a “Research-to-Practice Brief” from the Network of Infant-Toddler Researchers, stated that “infants and toddlers are disproportionately exposed to trauma.” The brief, entitled Services for Families of Infants and Toddlers Experiencing Trauma, also noted that young children “show severe and long-lasting consequences of this exposure on their development.” Early childhood education, early intervention, and child welfare programs are all poised to assist in the identification of these infants and toddlers who have experienced trauma and to provide trauma-informed services.

While only a small number of interventions have been studied for effectiveness with the birth-to-three age group, existing data do suggest “promising benefits…

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childhood memory collage

As a part of Tutorial 7: Recognizing and Addressing Trauma in Infants, Young Children, and their Families, "Module 4," the Center for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation provides a short list of evidence-based therapeutic interventions for young children and their families affected by trauma. This resource includes “the treatment developer, intended age group, level of evidence, and a brief description of the focus and design of the intervention” and can be found here. Detailed fact sheets about each intervention, except for Preschool PTSD Treatment, may also be found…

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Supporting Children Who Are Experiencing Stress

mother hugging child

Although very young children do not fully understand when a stressful situation is happening, they can pick up on the anxiety and emotions of their caregivers and become distressed. Children exposed to stressors and trauma need extra support to feel safe and calm. Child Care Aware has published a white paper on how to support young children who are experiencing stress. While this resource was created for child care professionals, the strategies described can also be used by early intervention personnel and parents. Download, print, and share the handout below!

ChildStress_Whitepaper.pdf

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this resource…

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cat dog cow and monkeySocial and emotional development focuses on “the relationships we share with others”; “our ability to recognize and understand our own feelings and actions” as well as those of others; and our “ability to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas in socially appropriate ways.” Families are key in nurturing the social and emotional development of their young children through positive relationships that make children feel safe and secure. These earliest relationships affect “how children experience the world, express themselves, manage their emotions, and establish positive relationships with others.”

This week’s resource, from the U.S. Department of Education’s Early Learning: Talk, Read Sing! initiative, provides families with tips for creating “a predictable, nurturing environment,” supporting the development of social skills, and…

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green blue yellow red people forming a circleThe Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) released a Position Statement on Challenging Behavior and Young Children in July 2017.

The paper (posted above for easy reference) defines challenging behavior as “any repeated pattern of behavior . . . that interferes with or is at risk of interfering with the child’s optimal learning or engagement in pro-social interactions with peers and adults (Smith & Fox, 2003, p. 6).” It goes on to provide “a rationale for promoting social-emotional competence” as a…

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