Building Healthy Minds - On this webpage, you can download one-page pdf files about each of the six stages (or six experiences) of development. Dr. Greenspan, a renowned expert on childhood development and the importance of emotions and relationships between child and parent, shows how to recognize communicative gestures and cues from even the very youngest infants; and he urges parents to enjoy interactions and be playful.This information is drawn from the book Building Healthy Minds: The Six Experiences that Create Intelligence and Emotional Growth in Babies and Young Childrenby Stanley Greenspan, M.D. with Nancy Breslau Lewis (Perseus, 2000). The book offers fascinating information as well as advice and examples of simple activities you can do with your child. It’s great fun to read about how much communication goes on (whether or not we’re actually aware of it), and about how important emotional development is to intellectual development.
See much more for parents and professionals on the website of DIR/Floortime and the Interdisciplinary Council for Learning and Developmental Disorders.
Also, find them on Facebook.
"Playlistening" is one of the most powerful ways parents can understand their children and strengthen emotional bonds, explains Hand-in-Hand founder Patty Wipfler. Visit their website for many great articles, some available in Spanish.
National Institute for Play - play is essential to human development. Take plenty of time to play with your kids, and visit this website for inspiration and information. The National Institute for Play is a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Stuart Brown, who wrote, with Christopher Vaughan, the book, Play: How it Shapes the Brian, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul.
To help new parents, Family Nurse Practitioner Jan Tedder, BSN, IBCLC developed H.U.G. Your Baby (Health, Understanding and Guidance). Ms. Tedder explains how to recognize which "zone" your baby is in -- Resting, Ready, or Rebooting -- and when the baby is sending an "SOS" (Signs of Over-Stimulation). Read the Parent Skills page, and don't miss the link to an illuminating video (in the bottom right corner). A DVD for parents is available for purchase.
The Mother-Baby Behavioral Sleep Laboratory at the University of Notre Dame offers this information site on mother-infant co-sleeping, featuring the research of Dr. James J. McKenna. There's information for parents and for health care professionals, as well as background on the scientific controversy over cosleeping and misconceptions spread by the media.
How much time do children need with their parents? Yes, "it depends" to some extent, but a few professionals have spoken out about what their experience and research has taught them. Here are some:
Nationally renowned doctors, pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton and child psychiatrist Stanley I. Greenspan spoke out about their grave concern regarding our nation’s care of children in their book, The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn, and Flourish.
Drawing on their decades of experience in clinical practice, teaching, and research, the doctors addressed the question asked by President Bill Clinton in 1992 at a White House Conference on Infant and Child Development: What types of early experiences are vital for intellectual and emotional growth—and how much of each is necessary?
The doctors say (pgs 9-10):
“In the first three years, every child needs one or two primary caregivers who remain in a steady, intimate relationship with that child.”
“We can’t experience the consistency and intimacy of ongoing love unless we’ve had that experience with someone in our lives. […] This basic feature of caring relationships between a baby and a caregiver who really knows her over the long haul is responsible for a surprisingly large number of vital mental capacities.”
“....we believe that in the first two years of life full-time daycare is a difficult context in which to provide the ongoing, nurturing care by one or a few caregivers that the child requires.”
Read Family and Home Network's full review of The Irreducible Needs of Children: What Every Child Must Have to Grow, Learn and Flourish.
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Dr. Elliott Barker, founder of the Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, says:
“Given the evidence that permanent emotional damage -- deficient capacities for trust, empathy and affection -- can be inflicted relatively easily during the very early years of life, CSPCC’s concern is with ignorance of, or indifference to, the emotional needs of very young children. CSPCC believes that most parents are willing and able to provide their infants and toddlers with the care they have been biologically programmed to need -- when they receive the necessary support. CSPCC is working toward higher status for parenting, greater support for parents with young children, increased emphasis on trust, empathy and affection in the adult world, and vastly improved preparation for parenthood.”
Zero to Three - For decades, Zero to Three has been studying young children and offering information and training to professionals as well as to parents. The website offers a wealth of free information on child development, including its series of 12 new podcasts: Little Kids, Big Questions. These podcasts offer parents explanations of the latest knowledge about early childhood development and examples of parenting practices that can promote strong parent-child relationships and healthy development.