Check out this helpful resource on Screen Sense – Research-Based Guidelines for Screen Use for Children Under Three Years Old.

They make some familiar recommendations, such as

  • Avoid having the TV on in the background. Turn the TV off when no one is watching.
  • Avoid using screens as part of the bedtime routine
  • Be mindful of and limit your own screen media use when children are present.

However, they also say:

“Although children learn best through hands-on exploration… they can learn from [screens]. What is most important is that 1) content is age appropriate, 2) viewing time is limited, and 3) parents are involved, and help children make the connection between what they see on the screen and the real world.”

And, they offer great tips on how to choose content and how to extend your child’s learning. Some examples:

“Help your child make the connection between what she sees on a screen and the real world.Play games with her afterward using objects similar to what she has seen on the device, such as blocks or a ball. Point out and label objects in real life that she has seen on TV or on touchscreens, such as animals and flowers.”

“Create ways to extend your child’s learning from media.If a program focuses on animals—such as an armadillo—when it’s over, make up a pretend story about armadillos that you and your child can act out. Apply the colors your child has learned from an app by labeling the colors of the family’s clothes as you sort laundry together.”


I will be talking about positive discipline in my class this week. Many people mistakenly believe that positive parenting means permissive parenting – always saying yes, and never saying no. I absolutely believe in setting clear limits with children.

Positive Parenting Blog has a great post on how positive parenting is not authoritarian but neither is it permissive. Check it out:

If you have a hard time saying no, check out: Saying No to Your Child and No Means No.


I like this page from Nature Play which touches on many of the topics I wrote about last week, including Schema of Play (which they call Movement Urges), “How Many in the Mix” which relates to the Stages of Play, and Play-Ally about the role of the adult in play-based learning. They also have a nice section on Types of Play, which include Exploratory, Repetitive, Physical, Role-Play, Imaginary Play, Creative Play, and Therapeutic Play.

On another page, they have a great discussion about Child-Led Play. Check it out!


University of Maine cooperative extension offers a nice pamphlet series called The Growing Years. There’s one per month, from 0 – 12 months, every other month from 12 – 24, and every 3 months for 3 and 4 year olds.

They talk about how baby is changing, what developmental milestones are coming up, temperament and gender issues, how you can help your child learn, and issues such as screen time, poisoning prevention and more. Find them all here.

Note, although there are prices given for how much it costs to buy a physical copy, you can download them for free! See the links where it says “Download it for free: PDF (for printing) / HTML (for browsing)


Are you dealing with tantrums and out-of-control behavior? The Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children has a nice brochure on positive solutions. Some of their tips are:

  • Keep expectations realistic.
  • Plan ahead.
  • State your expectations in advance.
  • Offer reasonable, limited choices.

Read the full brochure.



The Centers for Disease Control has launched a new service called Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers. The major topics covered are: communicating with your child, creating structure and rules, giving directions, using discipline and consequences, and using time out. It includes tips on each topic, advice from experts, and videos that show real-life scenarios of how tips can be put into practice. all are clear, simple, and easy to implement.

You may find you don’t agree with all their recommendations. If so, just take what works for you as a parent, and ignore the rest. Or you may find that you need to adapt their ideas for what works for you and for your child. Whether or not a discipline technique is effective depends on

1) whether the parent can use it confidently and consistently

2) whether it is a good match for the child’s temperament

For example, I did not find timeout effective with my older daughter. Trying to put her into time-out would escalate a minor discipline issue into a huge power struggle. A logical consequence like taking a toy away from her for a while worked much better. For my son, although I don’t put him in a chair by himself for timeout as shown on the CDC website, I do definitely remove him from situations when he is behaving inappropriately. Spending a few minutes in my arms, or sitting quietly away from the situation helps him calm himself down and return to good behavior.

Find the CDC site at