Can your little cutie be a little meanie in disguise? If your toddler pushes, hits, or hurts another kid, is he a bully and will he grow up to be one?
TODAY Moms has a fascinating article about whether pre-K kids should be labeled as bullies if they show aggression toward others. According to Dr. Heather Wittenberg, a child pyschologist and parenting expert for Parents who was quoted in the article, it’s typical for toddlers to be more aggressive, but they’re still too young to hurt someone deliberately, with premeditation. It’s not until age 6 when kids start to understand the concepts of power and right vs. wrong. Other experts disagree, saying toddlers understand the concept of bullying at age 4 — and it only gets worse from there.
Take our poll and share what you think in the Comments area — do toddlers understand what it means to bully?
As more parents worry about how their growing toddlers will survive the educational system once they enter school, they’re enrolling kids in after-school tutoring and learning centers such as Kumon. The New York Times recently wrote an in-depth profile on how Kumon is becoming parents’ defense against a changing educational landscape that focuses more on studying, memorizing, and taking standardized tests for reading, writing, and math.
Originally started in Japan during the 1950s for school-age kids, Kumon has expanded in the U.S. since 1974, where it grew in popularity among mostly Asian students. Now, kids of all ages and ethnicities enroll in Kumon to help them get a leg up on school work and studies. In recent years, a Junior Kumon program was created to enroll children ages 3 to 5, though toddlers as young as 2 are welcome. Junior Kumon lessons cost about $200-300 per month, and toddlers and preschoolers are tutored twice a week for one hour each.
Some parents see Kumon as a necessary means to building their children’s self-confidence and academic skills; a way to give them the means necessary to advance later in life. (In addition to starting them in sports classes or having them read chapter books.) Others, particularly child experts and educators, aren’t convinced programs like Kumon are enriching experiences that will help kids become innovative, vibrant, curious thinkers; instead, it only stresses memorization, repetition, and a linear way of thinking.
When I was around 7 or 8 years old, I remember weekend afternoons at my local Kumon, huddled around tables working on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and long division on numerous worksheets. I remember storing my worksheets and multiplication charts in plastic pouches Kumon provided us. At that time, Kumon only focused on math, not reading. Of course, as a kid, I didn’t enjoy working on endless math sheets. And ironically, despite all the math lessons, I grew up to work in a field that focuses just on reading and writing.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t intrinsic value in enrolling kids in Kumon, though 2 years old may be a bit too young. There are still other ways to teach kids how to achieve their truest potential, as the Tiger Mother debate has illustrated. But, then again, who knows where I would be now if I had enrolled at 2 years old?
Would you enroll your kid in enrichment programs like Kumon? Are toddlers ready for the pressure to succeed?
ABCNews.com recently wrote about a new trend in ”toddler” apps, educational apps targeted to kids between 4 months to 3 year old, to help them learn earlier and faster. One mom’s son started playing with an iPad at 9 months old, and now 5 months later, he recognizes letters and uses 75 apps. Plus, since more toddlers are learning how to handle an iPhone and iPad, even Toys “R” Us is selling iPads and a kindergarten class in Maine will be getting their own iPads when school starts again.
Ever see a child in a sitting in a stroller and think, “He’s way too old for that stroller”? (I sure did, last weekend.) In a funny coincidence, ABC News recently featured a story about kids too big to still be using a stroller. The story highlights a photo blog started two years ago that posts pictures of kids too big (because of their age) for strollers. Titled “Walk,” the blog can be found at TooBigForStroller.com.
Started as an inside joke, the blog’s rising popularity has lead the blogger, Laura Miller, to be berated by defensive parents who see Miller’s blog as a cruel critique on the difficulties of parenthood. While some parents still find it convenient to put kids in strollers, most experts agree kids should start transitioning out of strollers around age 3.
By 4 or 5 years old, kids should showcase their self-reliance and confidence by walking on their own. Dr. Ari Brown, a pediatrician and advisor for Parents, shared with ABC News: ”By this age, kids should be able to follow directions, listen to you and hold hands when you’re crossing the street,” she says. “In this day and age when our children are becoming more sedentary, you’re sending the wrong message by chauffeuring them around.”
However, strollers can still be beneficial when parents are in crowded, public places and need a way to keep tabs on their kids. While the American Academy of Pediatrics does not have specific guidelines for when kids should stop sitting in strollers, there are benefits to getting kids out of strollers sooner than later: kids will learn how to exercise, develop motor skills, and be more independent.
A new study published in the journal Developmental Science reveals that speech fillers such as “um” and “uh,” also known as language disfluencies, may actually help toddlers’ language development.
The research was conducted at the University of Rochester and studied three groups of children, ages 18 to 30 months, who each sat in front of a monitor that tracked the children’s gazes. Two images were shown on screen, one image of a familiar object and one image of a made-up object. While a recorded voice said short, fluid sentences about the familiar item first, most infants looked at both images equally.
When the recorded voice then said, “Look at the, uh…,” most 2 1/2-year-old toddlers recognized the word stumble and looked at the made-up object, expecting to learn something new. Kids 2 and under rarely picked up on the word stumble.
Researchers aren’t certain how kids understand these disfluencies–whether they realize “um” and “uh” signify a pause in speech to recall the next word or a pause in speech to introduce new words.
Celeste Kidd, the lead researcher quoted on ScienceDaily.com, noted “We’re not advocating that parents add disfluencies to their speech, but I think it’s nice for them to know that using these verbal pauses is OK — the “uh’s” and “um’s” are informative.”
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego lead the study and created the checklist for pediatricians in the San Diego area to use during babies’ 1-year well-visit checkups. 137 pediatricians participated in the study and used the checklist to screen 10,479 babies. 184 infants who failed the screening were then further evaluated every 6 months until age 3. The checklist was able to diagnose 75% of the infants with specific problems — 32 infants with autism, 52 with language delays, and 9 with development delays.
Until now, the American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged autism screening for toddlers 18 to 24 months, though most kids aren’t diagnosed until they’re older. According to ABCNews.com, Geraldine Dawson of Autism Speaks (which co-funded the research) said, “This study is very encouraging in showing that a quick questionnaire given to parents during a well-baby visit has potential for identifying infants at risk for autism, as well as other developmental delays, at 12 months of age.”
MyFox Orlando reported hat Beard saw the child dangling from the balcony and ran to a location underneath the child before she fell. The toddler struck the third floor balcony before being caught by Beard. The child still slipped through Beard’s arms and landed on the ground, but didn’t suffer any injuries. The local hospital determined the child to be in good health and the sheriff’s captain deemed Jah-Nea’s rescue to be miraculous.
When taking a trip with your child, Parents suggests calling the hotel beforehand to ask questions and determine if it’s kid-friendly location. Ask about renting a crib or stroller, the hotel’s crib safety requirements, and any available child-friendly activities, pools, and playgrounds. Most hotels also offer free childproofing kits or will childproof the room for you upon request. Just make sure to ask. Once you’re at the hotel, look for any possible dangers such as open balconies, stairs, and railings, uncovered outlets, sharp furniture, fragile objects, loose curtain or electrical cords, and unlocked cabinets. Above all, keep your child safe no matter where you stay.
Under Pressure, Firm Shutters Line That Made Tainted Wipes A Wisconsin medical supplier that made millions of recalled alcohol prep products now blamed for serious infections and at least one death is shutting down the line that produces the wipes — at least for now. But the parents of two children harmed by infections blamed on contaminated Triad products said the move is too little, too late, and raises more questions about why government regulators haven’t taken stronger action against the firm. [MSNBC]
Coffee May Reduce Stroke Risk Women in the study who drank more than a cup of coffee a day had a 22% to 25% lower risk of stroke than those who drank less, according to findings reported Thursday in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the USA, behind heart disease and cancer. The findings add to the growing body of research showing coffee appears to have hidden health perks. A study done by Larsson in 2008 on men who drank coffee or tea had similar results. One of the most popular drinks in the world, coffee contains large amounts of antioxidants that improve health. Other research has suggested coffee can help prevent cognitive decline and can boost vision and heart health. It is also associated with a reduced risk of liver cancer. [USA Today]
Dog Kisses: Is It Safe to Smooch with a Pet? According to an article in WebMd, not even doctors and veterinarians agree about kissing a dog on the lips or vice versa. Thinking that dog’s tongue is clean is off base, says veterinarian William Craig, but don’t stop there. “Dog spit isn’t chemically cleansing. It turns out that it’s the dog’s rough tongue that helps to physically remove contaminants from an open wound” and likely the reason why many wounds do not get infected,” he told Pawnation. Craig adds “people tend to brush their teeth regularly and rinse with mouthwash. Dogs tend to lick themselves and eat things off the ground.” “Humans and dogs have different bacteria in their mouths,” explains Nelle Wyatt, a veterinary technician at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center. “Not all of the bacteria are capable of causing disease in the other species.” [USA Today]
Boy Toddlers Need Extra Help Dealing With Negative Emotions, Experts Urge The way you react to your two-year-old’s temper tantrums or clinginess may lead to anxiety, withdrawal and behavior problems down the road, and the effect is more pronounced if the child is a boy who often displays such negative emotions as anger and social fearfulness, reports a new University of Illinois study. [Science Daily]
Teacher Who Twice Threw a Chair at 7th-Grader Tries to Clear Her Name A longtime teacher at a Joliet junior high who last year “snapped” and twice threw a chair at a seventh-grade boy, striking him once in the head, is trying to clear her record so she can teach again. After Filak tried to get the boy to do his work, he instead told her to “leave me alone, fool,” witnesses said, according to a judge’s ruling that found the chair-throwing incident was child abuse. [Chicago Tribune]