Best Educational Apps for Kids

Best Educational Apps for Kids

Do you find it difficult to stop your child from being addicted to iPads and other latest touch screen gadgets?  You aren’t alone.

Many parents complain about their kid’s constant use of gadgets and also opine that, the kids of the present generation are becoming less and less interactive. It is time we accept that many kids no longer want to spend time just reading books. Teaching models have undergone a paradigm shift. Educators and parents are constantly in search of new tools and techniques to teach complex subjects of the curriculum in a fun and interactive way.

Today, children are more interested in understanding concepts and the how things work rather than just going through the motions and getting good grades. But don’t worry, teaching difficult theories and concepts are now just an app away!

Apps for kids 5 & Under

Laugh & Learn Shapes & Colors Music Show For Baby

Best Educational Apps for Kids

Babies are encouraged to learn about shapes and colors through interactions with engaging animations, sounds and sing along songs! Tap or tilt the screen to set a learning world in motion!

Peek-a-Zoo

Best Educational Apps for Kids

This app asks children to identify different animals who dance, eat, wag their tails, wear sunglasses, sleep and more. Your little one will learn about animals, emotions, actions and sounds.

The Monster At The End:

Best Educational Apps for Kids

 Sesame Street puts a modern spin on a classic tale! On this interactive storybook app, children can join Grover as he embarks on an educational journey with words and animations!

Apps for kids between Ages 6-8

Geography Drive Around USA: Pack your bags and hit the road with this awesome geography app! Your travel bug will tackle traveling trivia challenge loaded with family fun! From state capitals to US landmarks and key historic events, Geography Drive USA packs 800 important facts into one amazing adventure with surprises around every bend.

Reading Raven HD: This reading app is perfect for taking one step at a time. It introduces pre-reading skills and works it’s way up! It’s even customizable to adjust to certain age groups!

 

 

Forces Motion HD: How is velocity different from speed? What is the difference between a lever and a fulcrum? Forces Motion HD has the answers! Not every child learns the same way and this app does a great job of tending to that. The app provides different methods when learning about the concepts of physics such as play and learn, quiz and learn, touch and learn, watch and learn and others.

Apps for kids 8 & Up

Brain Age: Train Your Brain in Minutes a Day:

This app includes everything from math to metaphors. Brain Age also  allows you to store data to track your learning progress. This software appeals to kids and adults so parents can get in on the fun too!

 

 

Storybird:

Best Educational Apps for Kids

Let your imagination run wild with Storybird. This app allows anyone to make beautifully crafted, visual stories! Want a hardcopy of your creation? No problem! Finished stories can be printed as a PDF, a softcover book, a hardcover, or a premium format book.

Britannica Kids:

Best Educational Apps for KidsSolar System: Blast off into space with this awesome intergalactic and interactive app! Kids will learn about the moon, sun, comets and planets along with the famous astronauts who traveled through space.

Best Time to Go to Bed

Best Time to Go to Bed

No matter how wonderful the experience might be being a parent is tough work. There are so many things we have to watch out for, and one of them is making sure our little ones get enough quality sleep.

Vitamin ZZZ is so vital because children go through a significant part of their development when they are asleep. It is as significant as exercise and the right nutrition because at night when the body is in a state of repose, neurotransmitters in the brain act as chemicals, enabling the neurons to communicate. Furthermore, sleep puts the body to rest, relaxing the muscles and allowing for physical growth. If you want something more tangible as proof, then watch a child that has not attained the right amount of shut-eye – their alertness levels are down, and they are cranky with a low attention span.

So, what are the right amount of sleep and the best time to put your little cherub to bed? As with most things, this varies from child to child, depending on their personality and age. The following is a ballpark indication of this:

• Newborn babies (up to three months): 14 to 17 hours
• Newborn babies (up to three months): 14 to 17 hours
• Infants (4 to 12 months): 12 to 15 hours
• Toddlers (1 to 2 years old): 11 to 14 hours
• Preschoolers (3 to 5 years old): 10 to 13 hours
• School kids (6 to 13 years old): 9 to 11 hours
• Tweens and teens (14 to 17 years old): 8 to 10 hours

Now that we have a better idea of the quantity, we must delve into the nitty-gritty part. This is where your offspring’s personality comes to play. At this juncture, count the hours backward from the time when your child wakes up or needs to wake up to identify the right time for bed.

At this point a small reminder: In the case of infants, their circadian schedule is not yet fully developed, so they do not have the same propensity to distinguish between day and night, hence their penchant to nap during the day when they are tired – this is normal and healthy. But from the toddler onward, regular bed hours are the norm.

The right bedtime in a sentence:

If you have a four-year-old that needs a good eleven hours of sleep and has to wake up so that he or she is at preschool by eight-thirty, the ideal bedtime would be between eight and nine o’clock the previous night. Easy, right?

Not so fast!

For some children, sleep may be hard to come by. The reason is that it can depend on the kid’s age and the corresponding challenges he or she faces at a certain point in their lives. Like for adults, children are confronted with similar stress factors that influence their ability to fall asleep at night.

Here are some sleep hygiene hacks to make bedtime fun and simple:

Pick the right mattress; it makes all of the difference. Some interesting articles published on https://www.sleepingguide.org give a guide on what to look for that way you can wheedle out the right mattress for your child.
Make bedtime a fun routine – Make sure your child knows in advance that it is time to go to bed in say half an hour’s time. If they associate it as a fun moment to connect with their parents, they will gladly go.
A bedtime CD. Many parents swear by this. Some fun and soothing music or a story slowly coaxes those young minds to rest. A bonus is that your child will learn something in the process.
Create the right sleeping environment. Make sure the room is not too bright. Most children love their stuffed animals for comfort. And ultimately, if the kid suffers from anxiety because of bad dreams or the like, use ‘magic’ – imaginary protective pajamas or maybe Ajax the dream tiger – you get my meaning. Symbolism can go a long way.

A final note to help you on your way: No matter what you read remember that a child is an individual that needs a personalized sleep regimen – what works for one person might not work for another.

Parenting in Public – Trying to leave

Parenting in Public – Trying to leave by Sara Zaidi, A child therapist

It’s always a struggle getting kids to leave when they are having fun. They aren’t bound by time constraints like adults and this can result in a battle.

  • Saying the right thing when you’re ready to leave

Before we arrive wherever it is that we are going, I remind the children what time we have to leave i.e. after lunch or before nap etc. Once that time comes, I walk over to them, ask them what they are doing and then say, “it looks like you’re having fun, play for a little bit longer and then start wrapping up when you’re ready, we just have a few more minutes left.” They are more likely to listen when I walk over to them and they know that I understand how involved they are, as opposed to yelling it across from a room when they will either choose to ignore me or yell back, saying that they don’t want to leave yet. Allowing them to “wrap up when they are ready” gives them some sense of control and they are less likely to protest when its time to leave. I also remind them of what we have planned next so they have something to look forward to.

  • Time warnings

Next, I give them three time warnings – at ten minutes, five minutes and two minutes. At one minute I begin packing our things, putting on my coat etc. At the five minute mark I ask them to begin finishing up whatever it is that they are doing. It’s essential to allow children to complete whatever task they are in the middle before asking them to leave. It’s difficult for them to disengage because they don’t have the same sense of time and responsibility that we do.

  • Incorporating clean up in their play

If the children are having a hard time putting things away or disengaging, I incorporate the departure in their play. For example, if one is playing with trucks or cars, I tell him to park them in the right spot for the night so they can also rest. Sometimes they don’t want another child touching their things, so I ask them to give it to the teacher to hold it for them or put it on a higher shelf until next time. (It’s easier to do this than to get in to an argument over why it’s okay for other children to play with it– that’s a discussion for another time).

  • Modeling behavior

I ask them to thank the hosts, give a hug and say goodbye. If they are reluctant I model behavior for them and we have the “how-to-be-polite” discussion on our way home! The travails of parenthood!

 

Sara Zaidi is a child therapist and the creator of Building Healthy Minds and Happy Families. With advanced degrees in psychology and mental health and over ten years of clinical experience, Sara helps parents navigate through the challenging early stages of their children’s lives by explaining the cognitive, emotional and social development of children from a neurological and behavioral perspective. Read her parenting blog at www.sara-zaidi.com/parenting-blog and visit www.sara-zaidi.com to learn more about her work.

 

GIFTS IDEAS that encourage language acquisition

GIFTS IDEAS that encourage language acquisition

This is the most beautiful time of the year! Christmas decorations everywhere make everyone happy and kids are excited about their gifts from Santa. We need to shop for many different people, including cousins, friends, and kids of friends. For kids, It is important to buy something which is age appropriate and also something that they can play with and learn from. Here are some great gift ideas to help you choose what to give this Christmas.

FOR CHILDREN 0-3 YEARS OLD

At this age children should have toys that encourage interaction with caregivers. This interaction exposes babies and toddlers to the rhythm and sound of language and encourages them to imitate the language models they hear. Here are a few suggestions.

  1.    Books

Books are great at any age, but for babies and toddlers they provide a language model and their repetition and rhyming pattern encourage little ones to attend to the words and eventually imitate what they hear. Focus on books that are heavy on the rhyming and repetition. Here are a few of my favorites: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle; Is Your Mama a LlAMA? By Deborah Guarino; Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown; Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow


2.       Montessori Phonetic Reading Blocks

These blocks are great for babies and toddlers. Parents can say the sounds of each letter and the word that the letters make. While the kids use the blocks for teething or just have fun moving them around. Encourage toddlers to say the words too!

 

3.    Mula Shape Sorter

Encourage your little boy or girl to try and say the names of the shapes as you put them in! They’ll want to play with this over and over again, so they’ll have loads of opportunities to label the shapes and colors.

 

4.       A to Z Uppercase Maganatab

A magnetic stylus pulls the beads up to create solid lines for letters. Say the letters as you draw with your child or watch them draw. Encourage them to say their letters as they have fun “drawing”.

5.       Farm Chunky Puzzle

I haven’t run into a toddler who doesn’t love this animal puzzle. We practice labeling animals and making their sounds. This even helps the shyest of young ones begin to use their voice.

 

6.    Fisher-Price Little People Happy Sounds Home

This toy is great because it actually makes realistic environmental sounds. Practice labeling household items without walking around your house. You’re going to be surprised when your toddler suddenly labels some furniture after you’ve been playing with this fun toy for a while.

 

7.       Mozart Magic Cube

Practice listening to and labeling classical instruments. Babies and parents will enjoy humming the tunes while learning about instruments. This will help any baby learn to attend to different sounds, which will eventually help them learn to differentiate speech sounds.

 

8.       Baby’s First Words in Spanish

This is great for infants and Toddlers. Put the CD on and practice singing to your baby in Spanish. Toddlers will enjoy saying all the new sounds and hearing the different intonation, and infants will benefit from the exposure to a second language. I have to admit that I am a bit biased towards this product because it was developed by my wonderful graduate school professor Erika Levy. Give it a try!

 

9.    Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Case

Introduce your baby to the language of technology by encouraging them to tap, swipe and push buttons on the phone while they play one of the iPhone/iPod games recommended in my blog post titled, No More iPad Guilt : 9 Speech Pathologist Recommended, Guilt Free Apps for Kids.

 

10.      Pearhead Ceramic Piggy Bank

With a piggy bank, parents can practice labeling coins and sticking them in the pig’s belly. I picked this piggy bank because many of the more child friendly ones (made of rubber, electronic etc.) had negative reviews about how hard it was to get the money out. When you’re practicing language you want to be able to repeat the activity many times, which will be hard if you can’t get the coins out easily.


FOR CHILDREN 4-7 YEARS OLD

Here are few gift suggestions for kids 4-9 that will enhance language and be fun in the process!

1.     Melissa and Doug Flip to Win Memory Game

Recommended age: 5+

Memory games are great because they’re repetitive. Kids see and say the same pictures, which helps them learn new vocabulary. This game in particular is great because you can customize it by printing cards with photos of family members, sight words or new vocabulary that you want your child to learn.

2.    Books

You all know how I feel about books, I love them. They are great at any age. Here are a few of my favorites for this age range:

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema; Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans; James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl; The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobeby C.S. Lewis

3.       Goldie Blox and the Spinning Machine

Recommended age: 6-9

A young female engineer created this toy. She felt that construction toys were geared mainly towards boys and decided to make this to “inspire the next generation of female engineers.” This gift can be a way to get kids to learn new and useful vocabulary (sketch, prototype etc.). I will warn you, Goldie Blox has mixed reviews, most complaints were that the child was bored with it after one use. Take a look at the website and see if this would be suitable for your kid. www.goldieblox.com

4.       Phineas and Ferb Quest for Cool Stuff

Recommended age: 4-7

Have a little video gamer in your family? Try this game for Nintendo Wii. Kids build their vocabulary and learn new concepts (Atlantis, hieroglyph etc.) while helping Phineas and Ferb collect items to fill their Museum of Cool stuff.

5.       Robot Turtle Game

Recommended age: 4-15

Robot Turtles teaches computer programming fundamentals to kids 4+ in a way that just seems like fun. In this game, kids are the robot masters, so they do a lot of the directing however they need help to write the program. It’s great for teaching interaction skills (i.e. asking appropriately for what you need).

6. Memorex MKS-SS2 SingStand 2 Home Karaoke System

Recommended age: 5+

 

Karaoke is great on so many levels. You can motivate kids who don’t like reading, to read and learn lyrics of their favorite songs so they can have their own concert. You can also help children who are learning to write and rhyme come up with their own songs to serenade the family! Honestly, kids will learn anything if it means they can repeat it into a microphone.

7.       Create your own 3 Bitty Books

Recommended age: 5-9

Creating a book inspires kids to read, motivates them to write, introduces story language (once upon a time, one day, etc), teaches sequencing and a host of other concepts. With this gift, a child can add personal books to their library.

8.       Lego Duplo Deluxe Box of Fun

 

Recommended age: 4+

I hate stepping on these things, but they’re really great for building language, imagination and play skills. They also come in many different themes I saw Lego beach house, Lego Minecraft characters etc.

9.    GIFTS IDEAS that encourage language acquisition   Oakwood Home

Recommended age: 3-8

Any kind of doll home is great for language expansion. I chose this one because it’s a fixer upper (it doesn’t come with furniture) and would require your child to use more language to request the furniture that they want. Look online and shop for doll furniture while labeling all of the different furniture you see. Kids can also imitate what they see in the house to practice language skills. Does your child have trouble listening at the dinner table? Have the characters eat dinner at the table and listen to their parents, later have the child do the same thing. It’s like practicing, without having all of the pressure on them. I think that play homes are great for boys and girls and this one is good because you can decorate the rooms with stickers of what your child likes, instead of it coming preloaded with hearts or car pictures.

10.  Fire HD 7 Table

Recommended age: 5+

Listen, we live in a technological world. Kids are going to have to know how to use a device, if they don’t already. If you’re buying your child their first personal gadget, load it up with some of the apps I mentioned in my blog No More iPad Guilt: 9 Speech Pathologist Recommended Guilt free Apps for Kids. There are tons of educational games out there for tablets and iPad. Don’t forget to load some fun stuff on there too. Learning is fun, but even kids need a mental break sometimes.

 

Briana Evans, CCC-SLP is a licensed, certified speech language pathologist and owner of Speech Quest Speech and Language Therapy. She specializes in articulation, reading skills and early language development. She graduated from Columbia University with a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology. In addition, she is working toward certification in PROMPT therapy, a kinesthetic articulation technique. She currently provides in-home or at-school services for children and teens. She believes in a lifestyle approach to speech therapy, which includes embedding support throughout the client’s daily life.

Speechquestjcny.com

Twitter: @speech_quest

Briana Evans

How to Talk to Your Teen About Anxiety

There’s a myth that talking about anxiety only makes it worse, as if making someone think about being anxious will make them anxious. This is false, as it assumes that anxiety is only triggered when teens are actively thinking about what makes them anxious. Anxiety disorders don’t work like that. For many, anxiety is more than just moments of stress and nervousness – anxiety is an overarching condition that affects people even when they aren’t actively thinking about it.

 

In reality, talking about anxiety is the first step to helping your adolescent overcome it. Here are some tips for how to go about this without being “naggy” or exerting too much pressure.

 

Let them know that anxiety is normal

 

The first thing you can do to set you and your teen on a positive path is to define what anxiety is and what it is not. Anxiety is a physical or behavioral response to thoughts, usually concerning the unknown. Anxiety is normal and all humans experience it. Anxiety can become a problem when you let it affect your day-to-day life, social interactions, and relationships with others.

 

What anxiety is not is an illness or disease. If your teen knows that their anxiety, while heightened and possibly problematic, is not outside the boundaries of normal thought, they will be more likely to open up to you about it.

 

“Educate yourself about anxiety and its adaptive role in helping humans survive,” says ParentLine.com.  “Explain the physical changes in the human body when danger is perceived (sweaty hands, blood to extremities, rapid heartbeat, shallow breathing etc.). By explaining these you are helping to normalize anxiety as well as assisting your child in identifying and understanding the way their own body reacts when anxious.”

 

Let them know that their anxiety is real

 

Whether you think there is any rational basis in your teen’s anxiety is pointless. It is real to them, no matter what you think. It’s incredibly important to make sure they know that you recognize their anxiety as real. If not, they will have a harder time opening up to you.

 

“Does hearing ‘Don’t worry. Relax!’ help you when you’re anxious about something? It probably doesn’t comfort your child much, either. It’s important to acknowledge that your child’s fears are real. Your empathy will increase the chances that your child will accept your guidance and be motivated to work on reducing anxiety,” notes AnxietyBC.com.

 

Encourage a dialog, but don’t nag them to ‘get over it’

 

This is where the delicate nature of parenting really comes into play. You need to encourage an open dialog with your child but you need to prevent yourself from overstepping and moving into the “pressuring” territory.

 

You should empathize with your child’s anxiety but you should not encourage it. For example, you should tell them you understand that they don’t want to go to school today for whatever reason, but you should not let them stay home from school.

 

Be specific about the anxiety

 

When discussing anxiety with your teen, it’s not enough to just accept that they are stressed out, nervous, or scared. You need to do what you can to make the anxiety as specific as possible and provide encouragement in the form of possible solutions.

 

Here’s an example: If your teen is worried about falling behind at school and expresses specific anxiety about not understanding coursework, then you can provide a specific solution like tutoring (don’t worry; you can usually negotiate on price) or talking to the teacher. If your child just says they are nervous about school, it’s hard to help.

 

The bottom line is that you must normalize, accept, but also eventually push back against your teen’s anxiety. In order to do any of this, however, you must build a comfortable situation where teens will be responsive to a dialog. Once you begin talking about the specifics of anxiety, you’ll be able to offer possible solutions.

Author

 

Noah writes for WellnessVoyager and enjoys offering his travel expertise to readers.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

Free Public Library in Jersey City

Free Public Library in Jersey City

Regional Branches

Regional Branch Hours

Monday: 9:00am – 8:00pm

Tuesday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Wednesday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Thursday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Free Public Library in Jersey City

 

 

Main Branch (* This branch & the Children’s Room are currently closed due to renovations)

472 Jersey Ave.

Jersey City, NJ 07302

(201) 547 – 4501

Free Public Library in Jersey City

 

 

 

Glenn D. Cunningham Branch 

275 Martin Luther King Dr.

Jersey City, NJ 07305

(201) 547 – 4555

Free Public Library in Jersey City

 

 

 

Five Corners Branch

678 Newark Ave.

Jersey City, NJ 07306

(201) 547 -4543

Free Public Library in Jersey City

 

 

 

Greenville Branch

1841 Kennedy Boulevard

Jersey City, NJ 07305

(201) 547 – 4553

Free Public Library in Jersey City

 

 

 

Heights Branch

14 Zabriskie St.

Jersey City, NJ 07307

(201) 547-455

Free Public Library in Jersey City

 

 

 

Miller Branch

489 Bergen Ave.

Jersey City, NJ 07304

(201) 547 – 4551

Free Public Library in Jersey City

 

 

 

 

Pavonia Branch

326 Eighth St.

Jersey City, NJ 07302

(201) 547 – 4808

Neighborhood Branches

 

Neighborhood Branch Hours

Monday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Tuesday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Wednesday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Thursday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Friday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm

 

Free Public Library in Jersey City

 

 

 

Lafayette Branch

307 Pacific Ave.

Jersey City, NJ 07304

(201) 547 – 5017

Free Public Library in Jersey City

 

 

 

Marion Branch

1017 West Side Ave.

Jersey City, NJ 07306

(201) 547 – 4552

West Bergen Branch

476 West Side Ave.

Jersey City, NJ 07304

(201) 547 – 4554

Programs can be found on the JCPL website calendar http://www.jclibrary.org/ under ‘Programs & Exhibits’

 

NANNY SHARE IN JOURNAL SQUARE?

Hello! Does anyone have a nanny they love and interest in sharing her services starting May 1, part-time to full-time? Our daughter is 17 months and on the waitlist for daycare, so we are looking for a solution in the interim (but if it works out well, could be more permanent). We live on JFK close to Saint Peter’s, and would be happy to drop off our girl at your place with her own food and diapers (could also provide her pack n’ play for napping), so your little one’s routine would be minimally affected. And hopefully he or she will make a new friend along the way, while you also get the benefit of saving a bit on childcare. We can give you references and answer any other questions, as well. Would also appreciate references for you and your nanny. If this sounds like something that might work for you, please shoot me an email: [email protected] Or if you have any recs for other childcare solutions, let me know. Thank you!

5 stars Birthing Center: Hoboken Medical Center Carepoint’s pampered pregnancy

Hoboken Medical Center Carepoint’s pampered pregnancy

Coming up with a birth plan isn’t easy. One of the primary considerations is where. In the metropolitan area, we are lucky to be surrounded by lots of options that transcend the home versus hospital debate. Here in Hudson County, we are fortunate to have dozens of options in terms of medical facilities. Just ask Siri.

And it’s not an easy choice, right? No one knows how long their labor will be, so they don’t want to drive too too far, but how far is that? Also, it’s a pretty momentous occasion, so it’s supposed to be special, so if there’s a prettier, or more luxurious option, it’d be nice to know that too. And also there’s the question of your ability to speak for yourself as opposed to being funneled through someone else’s plan, or worse, on their timeline. You want to be in charge as much as possible. But how on earth are we supposed to wade through that information?

Hoboken Medical Center Carepoint's pampered pregnancyRest assured. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably in Hudson County. And if you are, I have at least one terrific option that won’t disappoint: The Hoboken University Medical Hospital (which is Care Point, and was once St. Mary’s.)

Long story short: It’s beautiful. In the past three years, they’ve spent bundles of energy updating and beautifying the maternity ward. Their goal? To create an environment that is more hotel than hospital. Because you’re not sick, you’re in labor.
Hoboken Medical Center Carepoint's pampered pregnancypic.:Hoboken Medical Center

And it shows. The room does look like a hotel. There’s a concierge type finish overall. The bed is made up with regular (plush) blankets. Every piece of furniture is configurable. For example, the couch pulls out length-wise to fit more guests, and it also squares itself into a bed. There’s a bassinet in the room, and a spa-like robe waiting for you on the armchair. They changed the gown: it opens in the front so you don’t have to disrobe to nurse. There’s a celebratory dinner, complete with flickering (albeit flameless) candle. And they leave a pack of aden+anais swaddle blankets as a gift for your little one which are so cute.

Hoboken Medical Center Carepoint's pampered pregnancyIt’s a comprehensive package with a city-view. Yes, please.

The upgrades go beyond the decor, although I have to admit the aesthetic was enough to sell me.

If you’ve had a child (or you’ve spent any time in hospitals), you know that it’s all about the nurses. If the nurses are with you, you’ll be fine. No matter what. There’s no substitute for an amazing nurse.

At CarePoint, the nursing philosophy is twofold:
1. When a woman is giving birth, it’s her Christmas. They recognize that, they’re mindful of it, and they’re emotionally generous in that spirit.
2. Women ought to be empowered to make, change, disregard, or adhere to their birth plans whenever they want. (Unless there’s a concern about the health and safety of the mother or baby.) This means that if you want an epidural, you got it. If you don’t, that’s cool too. And if somewhere along the way, you change your mind, no problem.

There’s a lactation consultant, the option for the gentle c-section, a Level 2 NICU and perhaps most beneficial to postpartum moms – the New Mom Support group on Wednesday mornings.

Hoboken Medical Center Carepoint's pampered pregnancyWhere and how you’re going to give birth is a conversation that begins in pregnancy, and with any luck, all goes according to your well-thought-out plan. Many unsolicited advice givers tell pregnant women to have a couple of plans “just in case.” So in this case, CarePoint in Hoboken is charming, modern, close to home, and staffed by smart and compassionate women (and men) who want you to leave happy and healthy. Check, check, check.

Mel Kozakiewicz blogs at www.urdoingitright.com.

How to Say, What to Say: Talking Race

Mel Kozakiewicz talks to child and family therapist Divya Dodhia about raising children in an age of racial and ethnic intolerance.

Back in September when bombs exploded in trash cans around New York and New Jersey, I called (who else?) my sister. At the time, her city (Charlotte, NC) was reeling from the death of Keith Scott, a black man fatally shot by the Charlotte Police Department. In both of our cities, racial and ethnic differences and presumptions seemed to be on everyone’s mind.

Like moms across the country, my sister and I contemplated what (if anything) to say to our little ones about race, diversity, and the United States of America. We desperately wanted, like generations of mothers who came before us, to raise children who could be kinder and carry less prejudice than the generation before. But how?

I didn’t want to scare or create anxiety in my children by bringing up issues that they couldn’t possibly understand. But at the same time, I didn’t want them to overhear confusing discussions by perfect strangers on the Light Rail. So maybe I should just answer whatever questions they might bring up instead of saying anything preemptively? Would that work? And then I could try to answer them in a way that makes sense to them. You know, like be honest but not traumatizing.

None of this was in the manual.

So I sat down with child and family therapist, Divya Dodhia for some guidance. Long conversation short, there are no easy answers. (You’re welcome.) Most of her advice was preemptive, but not in an event-specific way. Her advice centers around the ways we talk to our kids in general – how we interact with them. Here’s some of the greatest hits:

  • These are the conversations we need to be having. It’s our job to be able to stand up to injustice, in whatever form that takes – whether it’s racism or mental health or whatever the case is.
  • Talk at their level. Use examples from their own lives. When a person is discriminated against, that means the person is being left out. They’re so young, they won’t understand racism, or xenophobia. But they do understand feeling left out. Or bullying. Start there.
  • Begin with very small with very basic concepts of humanity. Start with simple things such as empathy and making good choices. Get them to think about how the other person feels.
  • Use these conversations to encourage and explain empathy. Empathy is so important. Let’s say for example your child hears someone saying this or that about the police. It’s confusing for that child because we’re supposed to trust the police, but you and I know that these situations are complicated. In that case, bring it back to the individuals. Tell them that not everyone will have the same experiences and that a lot of what people say is based on their own personal experiences.
  • Talk about feelings and the choices that go with them. What can you do with the experiences that you have? Let them bring up the examples. You might ask, “Can you think of a time when you felt ____? Then what happened?”
  • Help your child understand that just because one person thinks one way, not all the people think this same way.
  • Teach simple skills such as sharing and using kind words and even using your manners such as hi, hello, and goodbye. It’s a foundation of you being a human being. You can take it to the next level and talk about what it means to be nice.
  • Instill that good choices lead to good consequences. Even at a young age, they have a right make your own choices, but they also have to deal with the consequences, and those consequences might impact other people. You can do this outside of these larger conversations, and you should. Use examples like ‘If you don’t wake up and brush your teeth, how do you think the rest of the day is going to go for you?”
  • Replace “Don’t do that” or “Don’t say that,” with try “How do you think this person is going to feel if you do that?”
  • Remember that behavior is a method of communication. Children have a difficult time articulating feelings, especially when they have negative feelings like guilt, fear, or embarrassment. Learning how to deal with those are the foundations. Anger is normal, but how you display it matters.
  • Finally, give them the language. For example, you might say, “People from different parts of the world will have different foods, different cultures, and look different – that’s called diversity.”

How To Say, What to Say: Talking to Kids about Race

Back in September, when bombs exploded in trash cans around New York and New Jersey, I called (who else?) my sister. At the time, her city (Charlotte, NC) was reeling from the death of Keith Scott, a black man fatally shot by the Charlotte Police Department. In both of our cities, racial and ethnic differences and presumptions seemed to be on everyone’s minds.

Like moms across the country, my sister and I contemplated what (if anything) to say to our little ones about race, diversity, and the United States of America. We desperately wanted, like generations of mothers who came before us, to raise children who could be kinder and carry less prejudice than the generation before. But how?

I didn’t want to scare or create anxiety in my children by bringing up issues that they couldn’t possibly understand. But at the same time, I didn’t want them to overhear confusing discussions by perfect strangers on the Light Rail. So maybe I should just answer whatever questions they might bring up instead of saying anything preemptively? Would that work? And then I could try to answer them in a way that makes sense to them. You know, like be honest but not traumatizing.

None of this was in the manual.

So I sat down with child and family therapist, Divya Dodhia for some guidance. Long conversation short, there are no easy answers. (You’re welcome.) Most of her advice was preemptive, but not in an event-specific way. Her advice centers around the ways we talk to our kids in general – how we interact with them. Here’s some of the greatest hits:

  • These are the conversations we need to be having. It’s our job to be able to stand up to injustice, in whatever form that takes – whether it’s racism or mental health or whatever the case is.
  • Talk at their level. Use examples from their own lives. When a person is discriminated against, that means the person is being left out. They’re so young, they won’t understand racism, or xenophobia. But they do understand feeling left out. Or bullying. Start there.
  • Begin with very small with very basic concepts of humanity. Start with simple things such as empathy and making good choices. Get them to think about how the other person feels.
  • Use these conversations to encourage and explain empathy. Empathy is so important. Let’s say for example your child hears someone saying this or that about the police. It’s confusing for that child. A conversation with your child is the key to truly understand what they are thinking. Situations that create conflict are not easily resolved all the time. Tell them that not everyone will have the same experiences and that a lot of what people say is based on their own personal experiences.
  • Talk about feelings and the choices that go with them. What can you do with the experiences that you have? Let them bring up the examples. You might ask, “Can you think of a time when you felt ____? Then what happened?”
  • Help your child understand that just because one person thinks one way, not all the people think this same way.
  • Teach simple skills such as sharing and using kind words and even using your manners such as hi, hello, and goodbye. It’s a foundation of you being a human being. You can take it to the next level and talk about what it means to be nice.
  • Instill that good choices lead to good consequences. Even at a young age, they have a right make your own choices, but they also have to deal with the consequences, and those consequences might impact other people. You can do this outside of these larger conversations, and you should. Use examples like ‘If you don’t wake up and brush your teeth, how do you think the rest of the day is going to go for you?”
  • Replace “Don’t do that” or “Don’t say that,” with “How do you think this person is going to feel if you do that?”
  • Remember that behavior is a method of communication. Children have a difficult time articulating feelings, especially when they have negative feelings like guilt, fear, or embarrassment. Learning how to deal with those are the foundations. Anger is normal, but how you display it matters.
  • Give them the language. For example, you might say, “People from different parts of the world will have different foods, different cultures, and look different – that’s called diversity.”
  • Be a positive role model yourself. Model behavior that shows kindness, respect, and acceptance of others.Talk to you children about how they can have a positive impact on their schools and community.
  • Give them the voice to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Ask them questions.
  • Limit their exposure of negative social media.
  • Strengthen their core beliefs of mutual respect, and kindness.
  • Provide experiences where they are exposed to diversity, and help them feel safe, optimistic and motivated that they can make a difference, and they are part of this world.

Divya Dodhia is a child and family therapist.
Mel Kozakiewicz is an editor, writer, and educator.