Child Development and Early Learning Topics
Development and Play
- Handout on Developmental Milestones. This is an overview handout, which includes links to great age-based resources for learning more about typical development, developmental screening, and ways to help children learn.
- Brain Development. A basic 2 page handout, and the 4 page version. (If you have a highly educated student population who want all the science, they’ll love the 4-pager.) Brain map is an 11×17 poster showing the different parts of the brain, defining the sensitive periods for their development, and how parents can help. Note, I do not have rights to the brain illustration here, so I would encourage you to use my idea (you’re even welcome to use my text) to make your own poster, with your own illustration.
- Handout on Play Based Learning. What it is, what children learn through play, and the parent/teacher’s role in enhancing the learning that happens during play.
- Posters of Open Ended Questions parents can ask to extend children’s learning.
- Schemas of Play: These are postcard size “interpretive signs” which can be placed around the classroom for parents to read and learn from as their children play. They talk about types of play such as: Transporting, Transforming & Connecting. Here is an 11×17 Schema poster with the name and icon for each schema.
- When I play, I am learning. Postcard size signs to place around the room, near activities, that explain what a child learns through playing with blocks, water, etc.
- Hands On is Brains On: Includes an overview of brain development; how kids need a balance of direct teaching, facilitated play, free play and rest to learn; play-based learning and how parents / teachers support it. Here is the PowerPoint I use when I present this topic.
- Making Music – the Benefits for Early Learning is a handout about all the developmental benefits of making music – whether that’s shaking bells at toddler circle time, or singing songs at preschool group time, or childhood music lessons.
Language & Literacy:
- Language Development– 2 page overview handout, with lots of tips for what parents can do to enhance language development.
- Early literacy – building pre-reading skills with your toddler – what parents can do to lay the foundations for future reading. Literacy age 2 – 6 – similar handout aimed at a broader age range.
- Raising Bilingual Children – this handout is appropriate both for English speaking families who want to add in an additional language, and for families for whom English is a second language.
Temperament, Learning Styles, and Gender – Your Unique Child
- Temperament quiz – can be used in class activity or as a take-home handout
- Temperament handout – 4 pages with sources for more information. Or 2 page version.
- Temperament posters. 8.5 x 11 posters to be posted around the room where parents observe children at play. The posters describe 6 different temperaments, and ask parents to consider what temperaments each child is displaying.
- Toys and games for multiple intelligences – this is a handout to encourage parents to choose toys and activities that build a variety of skills in kids – it’s not about having LOTS of toys, it’s about having lots of variety in a small amount of toys.
- Handout on Gender differences
- Comprehensive Handout on Emotions (7 pages).
- Sections of the handout broken out: Separation Anxiety, Tantrums, Emotion Coaching.
- Tantrums and the Downstairs Brain. Tantrums handout with additional info on Daniel Siegel’s concept of the downstairs brain and how children regress developmentally when they are upset.
- Emotional Literacy. Teaching your Children the Words and Ideas.
- Parental Anger. All parents get angry in front of their children. If they handle their anger poorly, it’s frightening for children. But, if they handle their conflict well, children learn important lessons.
- Kid friendships. How to teach skills that help kids make and keep friends.
Parenting Your Child Day-by-Day
- The Discipline Toolbox: This new teaching tool combines my old flow chart with lots of ideas from the Incredible Years program and book. For a a free, printable handout that summarizes all this information, just click on Discipline Toolbox in color or Discipline Toolbox, Black & White
- The Discipline Process – includes a flow chart of steps in the discipline process from preventing problems to gentle interventions to logical consequences. (Or you could choose to use the Discipline Flow Chart on its own – in color, or black and white.)
- Discipline – Saying No and meaning it. And Say Yes – Telling your child what TO DO instead of what not to do. FYI, these two handouts work well together. However, do NOT use these if you’re using the Discipline Process handout, as there is overlapping content between them.
- Consequences and Time Out – the “power tools” of discipline.
- Self discipline – impulse control, delayed gratification, understanding difference between right and wrong – AND how we help our children learn these things!
- Discipline Tools You Can Try: discipline tools posters to hang in the classroom / lab setting for parents to read while playing / interacting with the children. And discipline tools postcards for parents to print and use at home as reminders.
Supporting Your Child’s Learning and Development
- Praise and Self Esteem – a handout on how to effectively encourage a child, and not offer praise so often that it loses meaning
- If At First You Don’t Succeed: Building Grit, a Growth-Based Mindset, and the Willingness to Fail and to Try Again
- Motivation – Handout on understanding your motivation and your child’s motivation to learn a new skill, praise, reward, punishment, and internal motivation.
Eating / Nutrition
- Nutrition Overview for Toddlers and Preschooler
- Making Family Meal Time Pleasant
- I have information about breastfeeding on my other site, http://www.gooddayswithbabies.wordpress.com
Potty Training / Toilet Learning:
- One page summary of Potty Training Stages.
- Basic Handout.
- Longer Handout – includes discussion of praise, punishment, and motivation.
- I also have a blog post on “What if my child won’t poop in the potty.”
- Toddler Safety Powerpoint presentation – a 42 slide presentation you can download and adapt to your needs. Covers child-proofing, prevention and treatment of common injuries, teaching safety skills to toddlers, and balancing safety with the child’s need to explore to learn about the world
- Toddler Injury Prevention – Most common injuries and how to prevent them
- Teach Safety to Toddlers. How to teach safety skills while letting your child explore
- Risk-Taking and Safety. For parents of kids age 2 – 8. How we let our kids enjoy and learn from risky play while still keeping them safe.
- Car Seat – 2 page overview. Appropriate for parents of kids 6 months and up
- Car Seat 1 page – Is Your Child Ready for the Next Stage – most parents move their kids up to the next level car seat when they reach the minimum age or size. Much safer to keep them in old level until they reach the maximum size for it!
- Rabbits in the Hole: A book for preschool earthquake drills.
- Stranger Danger vs. Tricky People: how to reduce your child’s risk of being lost, abducted, or experiencing sexual abuse. long version, short version.
Nature / Outdoors
- Nature / Outdoor Time: Handout covers nature deficit disorder, the benefits of time outdoors, and how to overcome the barriers to going outside.
- Let Your Kids Play in the Mud. a 20 minute video about the benefits of outdoor time: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMQ1e6ljuFs
- Handout on the Benefits of Walking Your Child to School
Screen Time. I made three versions of the handout – same content, just different levels of detail: 6 pages with data and citations, 4 pages includes discussion of benefits and risks and 2 page quick summary of dos and don’ts
Sleep and Daily Schedule:
- Sleep and your Toddler
- Routines: the Importance of Everyday Rituals or Getting through the Day with a Toddler: Routines. These two handouts have similar content, though different tones, so you’d want to pick just one.
Parenting – Long Term Perspective – Handouts
Recommended Parenting Books – Find my top 20 recommendations here.
Family and Your Child’s “Village”
- Connections with Extended Family
- Resolving Conflict With Family
- Talking about Cultural Identity and Diversity.
Parenting Vision & Mission: Here is a pencil and paper exercise for students – first give them 15 minutes to write as their children play about what they hope their child will be like in 15 years. Then go around and share and discuss. Then talk about vision statements and give examples (see handout). Then turn the paper over, and have them brainstorm vision statements. Then talk about mission statements and have students read each of the examples in the handout, then they brainstorm mission statements.
Parenting Style: What “Label” best describes your parenting style? [and here is a classroom exercise on that same topic: continuum exercise posters]. Four Parenting Styles describes Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved Parenting. I used these as a discussion in week one on “How other people define parenting styles”, then week two is “How do you define your own parenting style and decide what kind of parent YOU want to be.”
How Much is Enough, How Much is Too Much: about consumerism and “simplicity parenting”: making choices about what toys to buy, what activities to participate in, leaving free time in the schedule, and a brief mention of screen time.
Preschool and School
- Choosing a Preschool or Child Care
- Choosing Activities – this handout is very similar to choosing preschool, so you wouldn’t want to use both in a class – this one focuses more broadly on extra-curriculars rather than focusing on “school.”
- Benefits of Multi-Age Classes.
- How to Help Your Child Succeed in School: create an environment which supports learning, set high but reasonable expectations, and connect with your child’s school and teacher.
Other topics for Parents
Relationship Skills: These can be used for a discussion of the couple’s relationship, or most can also be adapted to talking about friendships, relationship between parent and child, and so on.
- Relationships. One page summary of relationship skills.
- Love Languages Quiz – a quiz students complete to determine what love language they “speak” and what love language they “hear”. Based on Gary Chapman’s ideas.
- Appreciation – a handout on ways to communicate appreciation to our partners and others. Some ideas from Jennifer Louden, some from Gay and Katie Hendricks.
- Communicating needs – uses ideas from the “non-violent communication”(aka compassionate communication) method from Marshall Rosenberg to address how to determine what we need and how to ask other people to help us meet that need.
- Finding Time Together and coming up with ideas for how to use it.
- Bids and Turns – based on John Gottman’s research about the ways partners respond to bids for connection – by turning away, turning against, or turning toward.
- Self Care for Parents
- Stress And Parenting
- Time For Self Care
- Self care and work. Notes for a one hour discussion on self-care and work-life balance. Pie exercise for examining work-life balance, and the Pie of Life image to go along with the discussion.
Activities for Toddlers and Children
- My “Fun with Toddlers” series – a collection of handouts with songs, books, crafts, and sensory activities that tie into seasonal themes and favorite toddler themes.
- Cheap Dates with Toddlers series – a collection of blog posts with simple suggestions of free or cheap activities to do with little ones. Some are focused on the Seattle area, but most are universal.
- A webpage of Favorite Songs for toddlers, with links to lyrics, and videos.
- Other fun toddler activities.
- My Inventors of Tomorrow blog: hands-on STEM learning for kids ages 3 – 6. Lots of easy, fun, cheap ways to teach science at home or in the classroom.
Resource for Seattle area professionals
I would love to encourage you to refer clients to the parent education programs at our community colleges! These programs serve families with kids birth to 5. For children, classes offer hands-on learning, discovery and play. For adults, they offer on-going education on all topics related to parenting and also offer connections to other parents.
To make it easy to refer, I’ve designed handouts for you! These are handouts for use by childbirth educators, doulas, doctors and midwives, preschool teachers, therapists, and anyone who works with parents of babies and young children. Your options: 2 page handout, the 3 page handout with details. The 1 pager for expectant / new parents.
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