Parenting advice isn't hard to find. There are thousands of books on the subject, as well as a multitude of websites. Much has also been written on the science of child development. What's been lacking, however, are sources of reliable advice that bring together the scientific research and its real-world applications.
This course bridges the divide. In 24 engaging lectures, an expert in the cognitive development of early childhood presents what scientific research has revealed about the things parents can actively do to promote children’s long-term development right from birth. Professor Vishton delivers a wealth of practical tips to help children reach their full potential intellectually, emotionally, physically, and socially. And he supports it all with findings culled from the latest scientific literature.
You’ll touch on topics across all areas of childrearing, from sleep and nutrition to behavior and academics. And you’ll get answers to many of the most common parenting questions:
Should I sleep-train my baby by letting her “cry it out”?
Should I let my infant, toddler, or child watch TV-and if so, how much?
Should I allow my child to play video games?
Should I pressure my picky eater to finish her vegetables?
Should I spank my child when he misbehaves?
In addition to learning methods for laying an early foundation in subjects such as math and reading, you’ll gain information for boosting your children’s overall cognitive abilities-and even their IQ scores.
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Valuable Information, But Lots of Citations
This title is valuable, but not engaging. I didn't find myself "racing to listen to the next chapter," like I have other books and lecture series.
Prof. Vishton is a fine lecturer, both in narration and organization; his being a parent adds to his credential. The citations for each of his recommendations are numerous; ultimately these citations fill a lot of time. For the scientific-minded, these citations are necessary and interesting; for the parent looking for good quick advice, the lectures can be summarized into the bulleted list below.
I look forward to applying these takeaways to my two young daughters over the course of the next two decades.
- Do tummy time often with infants.
- Read to your children even as infants.
- Hold bedtime at the same time.
- Introduce new foods in small doses with no pressure, and certainly not while not sick.
- Read often. Let them hold the book. Focus on phonics early. Electronics are not needed, they distract.
- Play with blocks. Run around. Learn a musical instrument.
- Stereotype anticipation is VERY influential, e.g. "Girls are very good/bad at math."
- Intelligence is malleable, not fixed. Teach that. Praise work, not intelligence.
- Memory exercises are proven to work. The Memory Game, Simon, and "I went to China" are good examples.
- Homework: done in a consistent time and place, not right before bed, take breaks, don't give answers when struggling.
- Math: teach fractions, get a "hundred board," play board games.
- Second Language: helps people be creative and mentally flexible, even if initial language development in slowed in the short-term.
- Tv: small, supervised doses of quality, cirriculum-based programming. No violence. No background tv.
- Video games: the right game can be creatively and spatially stimulating. Monitor usage, make sure it doesn't cut into other positive activities.
- Esteem: defend against learned helplessness. Set an example by your own actions. Learning is effort based, not permanently intrinsic. A mastering hobby like drawing should be encouraged if present. - Depression lasting longer than 2-3 weeks should seek counseling. Activity is the most important tool.
- Reward effort, not results.
- How your child cooperates and resolves conflicts with others will largely model your own behavior. Set an example.
- Conflicts aren't bad. They're totally natural and result in improved outcomes if managed properly. Talk about conflicts. Teach taking the perspectives of other people.
- If not require, then let children help with "the chores"--cleaning, picking up toys, etc. To them, it's very engaging and allows them to develop focus.
- Montessori number chains are an excellent way to develop numerical reasoning--the antithesis of "arithmetical memorization."
- Physical education is important and correlates tightly with intellectual development.
- Adolescent brains are literally different than adult brains. Persist with open communication and questions even if there is no response for weeks or months. Give space for them to create their own identity.
- Resist the natural urge to believe vocal, passionate people who do not use scientific reasoning in their conclusions about child rearing (e.g. vaccines and autism).
- Don't rush childhood. Apply these lessons at the appropriate time. Unstructured time for children is rapidly decreasing (removal of recess, after school classes, etc.); do your part to make unstructured time for your children.
A helpful and enlightning overview of parenting