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Why Reading to Young Kids is so Important

If you have young children at home, are you reading to them on a regular basis?  If not, it’s time to start!

Last week the nation’s largest pediatricians’ group said parents should read aloud to their children every day starting in infancy, to help with their language development and their future academic success.

CBS News reports that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement in which they reminded parents that the first three years of life are a “critical time in child development.  The AAP points out that during those years, children are building language, literacy, and social and emotional skills that will last a lifetime.

The Academy urged pediatricians to spread the message to parents of young children and to provide books to needy families.

They told their members to encourage parents to read to their kids, starting at a very young age, as that “can enhance parent-child relationships and prepare young minds to learn language and early literacy skills.”

To help promote reading, the doctors’ group is teaming up with the Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail program, children’s book publisher Scholastics, and a group called Reach out and Read. That nonprofit group works with doctors and hospitals to distribute books and encourage early reading.

By the way, if you’re a dad, make sure you’re not leaving the reading to mom.  Research shows that boys who are read to by their fathers scored significantly higher in reading achievement.

Also, if a dad enjoys reading and reads for fun, it’s likely his kids will do the same, and score higher on achievement tests when they enter elementary school.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

 

Coping With Shyness

Dear Dr. Bill,

 

My son will be 4 at the end of December.  For as long as I can remember, he has been afraid of walking into a room of people.  He used to cry when we took him to the church nursery, but now he’s doing better at it as long as he can control the steps we go through before he “allows” me to leave.  He also has problems at his daycare center —if we get there too late and any group projects have started, he stands out in the hallway and won’t go in.  My son doesn’t mind playing with kids once he feels comfortable but it’s getting up to that point that I’m concerned about.  What do you suggest?

 

–Lauren

 

Dear Lauren,

 

Shyness can be a social handicap for kids and it can be frustrating for parents to deal with.  It’s important to understand that some kids are born with a genetic predisposition to be less outgoing than others.

 

Shy children can tend to be more anxious and less willing to tackle things that may be new or less familiar.  Unfortunately, parents can sometimes compound the problem by reinforcing the avoidant behavior either by giving into it, or by criticizing the child’s shyness and harming their self-esteem.

 

It’s possible that you’ve been reinforcing your son’s fear of groups and new situations by giving in to his demands.  You mentioned that you have to go through several “steps” before he will “allow” you to leave.

 

You’ll need to start placing limits on this behavior, even though your son may cry, protest, or even tantrum.  Your goal should be to simply take him into the nursery or daycare center, say goodbye, and leave.

 

Enlist the help of the nursery worker or daycare supervisor to make the transition easier.  Your son isn’t going to like this new plan, and chances are he will raise a huge fuss.  But don’t give in to your his protests.  If you do, you’ll be rewarding him for his acting out, and he’ll only amp up the volume next time.

 

Thanks for writing Lauren.

 

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Good News Story: Grace’s Plane Ride

After a business man interacted with Grace during their flight, her mother wrote him an open letter. Listen to find out why that interaction was so meaningful to Grace and her mom.

Teen Girls Are Cutting & Legalized Marijuana

Teen girls are cutting themselves in record numbers—and sometimes they are doing it with their friends!

A new study out of New Zealand found that nearly 22% of 13- to 16-year old girls surveyed admitted to cutting.

Dr. Shelly James at Massey University says although the number was shocking, that’s not really what caught her attention.

She says the common perception is that cutters are isolated, unpopular outcasts.  But in reality, the cutters were just as likely to be among the most popular kids in school.

Her study also found that many girls had actually self-harmed in front of other people—or actually that girls had engaged in cutting together.

Dr. James says “Approximately 23% of self-harming kids had harmed in front of other people, and nearly 12% had actually harmed in conjunction with another person, so they had harmed together….that was staggering to me.”

In other news, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest poll, 52% of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal. It marks the first time a majority of those polled have been pro-pot.

Also, fewer and fewer Americans believe that smoking marijuana is a moral issue.

Today, just 32% believe it’s morally wrong, compared with 50% just seven years ago.

So what does the bible say about using marijuana?  Well, although it doesn’t specifically address it, it does command us to show self-control (Titus 1:8) and to “have a clear mind in every situation” (2 Timothy 4:5).

If you’re a parent and would like to get some solid facts on marijuana and your kids, go to drugfree.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Good News Story: Football Team Rallies Around Waterboy

Watch this inspiring story of a 5th grade football team who rallies around their waterboy who was bullied.

Lisa’s Home School: Best Dog for a Busy Family

Looking to get a family dog this year. Listen to Lisa’s Home School to find out which is the best breed for busy families.

ADHD & Girls

New research shows that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is diagnosed in more than ten percent of children.

Now, you’ve heard the stories of hyperactive boys getting into trouble, but the most recent statistics suggest ADHD is an equal opportunity problem. Nearly as many girls suffer from the condition, but many aren’t diagnosed.

Researchers believe boys are diagnosed more because of their higher profile physical symptoms. Girls tend to struggle with forgetfulness, being easily distracted, losing or misplacing things, or display aggression passively.

If you are the parent of a young girl and have any concerns, talk to her doctor. If your daughter has undiagnosed ADHD, your attention to the matter will put her on a path to a healthier, happier life.

You can read additional blogs by Dr. Larimore on this topic here. Just scroll down the home page to find and click on the article in which you’re interested. In addition, you can see Dr. Walt’s twice-daily devotional, Morning Glory, Evening Grace, here. Last, but not least, limited numbers of autographed copies of Dr. Walt’s books are available here.

Listen to today’s audio here.

How To Cope With an Embarrassing Incident

Dear Dr. Bill,

Our 9-year-old, who had always been very independent, became sick while eating out at a restaurant three months ago. Since that time, she has been extremely resistant to things that never bothered her before. She doesn’t want to eat out, she asks for notes to get out of gym class, and she doesn’t want to venture from home.  What do you suggest?

–Terry

Dear Terry,

From your description, it sounds like the “restaurant incident” was quite traumatic for your daughter.  If she already leans toward self-consciousness, she now may be fearful of suffering another embarrassing moment in public.  It’s likely she’s trying avoid any situation where she could possibly be scrutinized or subject to embarrassment.

Right now needs an extra measure of your patience, love and encouragement.  Spend some time processing what actually happened in the restaurant.  Encourage your daughter to talk about the emotions she felt.  Was she scared, embarrassed, or feel out-of-control?

Be careful not to “correct” or minimize her emotions by telling her “you shouldn’t feel that way.”  Instead, empathize with her feelings of fear or embarrassment.  This may help her to better understand and emotionally process the experience.

Also, don’t reinforce her avoidant behavior by giving in to her requests to stay away from all social situations.  If you continually allow her to “escape” you will only compound the problem.

Be caring but firm, and insist that she return to her previous schedule and the activities that you know she enjoys.  If she needs a little “hand holding” at first, that’s okay, but eventually insist that she demonstrate the independence she displayed before she became ill in the restaurant.

If the behavior persists, consult with a child psychologist or family therapist.

Thanks for writing, Terry.  I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Winning Mealtime Battles

Dear Dr. Bill,

Do you have any suggestions for encouraging a 5 year old boy to eat without it becoming a huge issue?

–Kim 

Dear Kim,

Judging from your question, it sounds like mealtime for your 5 year old has already become an issue.

Many parents give in to their child’s finicky eating patterns when they are toddlers.  They let their child dictate what they will eat, how much they will eat, and when they will eat it.  Now that your son is 5, he’s had his way for several years and he’s pretty much running the show.

It’s time for you to regain your role as parent, and show your little guy who’s boss.  Your job is to provide him with a variety of healthy foods at predictable meal times, and his job is to eat them.

If he decides he doesn’t like what the rest of the family is eating and insists on something different, don’t give in to him.  Simply inform him that this is what the family is eating for dinner tonight, and there are no other options.

If your son decides he wants to go on a hunger strike, let him.  Wrap up his dinner, put it in the fridge, and let him know that when he gets hungry you’ll heat it up for him.  Then you need to stick to your guns, no matter how much he whines and complains.

Whatever you do, DON’T allow him to snack on anything else.  Your son won’t starve, trust me.  The amazing thing about the stomach…eventually it contracts and sends strong signals to the brain that can’t be ignored. At that point, even cold mashed potatoes look good.

Thanks for writing, Kim.  I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Kids & Dieting

You’ve heard a lot about childhood obesity, but what do you do if one of your kids is overweight? The actions you take can have a lifelong impact—for better or worse.

Research shows the way we communicate to our kids makes all the difference. Talking to children about dieting, telling them they’re too fat, or nagging them to lose weight actually increases the risk of eating disorders, unhealthy dieting, or binge eating. Plus it devastates their emotional health.

So what should you do? Talk to your kids often about the importance of healthy nutrition, exercise and sleep. Help them make good choices—without adding weight or size to the conversation.

But, more than your words, your kids need you to take the lead. Your actions always speak louder than your words, and will feed them a good example.

Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. I’m Dr. Walt Larimore for Shine dot FM.

You can read additional blogs by Dr. Larimore on this topic here. Just scroll down the home page to find and click on the article in which you’re interested. In addition, you can see Dr. Walt’s twice-daily devotional, Morning Glory, Evening Grace, here. Last, but not least, limited numbers of autographed copies of Dr. Walt’s books are available here.

Listen to today’s audio here.