Articles from Health & Wellness



Your toddler is now preschool age — learn what behaviors to expect and how to nurture independence during the preschool years.

What defines a preschooler?

A child of 3 or 4 is considered a preschooler. So whether or not your child is attending a formal preschool program, he is no longer a toddlers. Preschoolers are different from toddlers in that they are developing the basic life skills, independence, and knowledge that they will need as they enter their school years.

What should my preschooler be able to do at this age?

Preschoolers are learning many new skills and stretching their cognitive abilities. Though these are the major skills to look out for, be aware that every child develops differently, and yours might accomplish one skill earlier than others. Don’t worry about small differentiations from the norm, but if you have concerns about the overall development, consult your pediatrician. “At 3, he should have the fine motor skills to dress himself and the gross motor skills to pedal a tricycle. Compared [with how he is at age] 2, a child is more interested in interactive play rather than parallel play. Kids at 3 should be asking deeper questions and be inquisitive about their environment. By age 4, a child should be able to dress and undress himself, cut basic figures out of paper and paste them on another piece of paper, draw little stick figures, name four or five colors, understand your jokes, and joke with you. At age 5, kids should be able to count, draw a person with the arms, legs, and body in the right places, exhibit imaginary and pretend play (sometimes with an imaginary friend), ride a two-wheel bicycle with training wheels, and articulate well enough to be understood.


How can I improve my preschooler’s behavior?

Every parent has been warned about the “terrible twos,” but many parents find that it’s actually the threes and fours that are more challenging. When it comes to temperament, “some kids can actually have a more difficult time during the threes than the twos,” as children this age want to assert their independence. They are more aware of their own needs and desires — and also aware when those needs and desires aren’t being met.

Is your preschooler’s behavior driving you crazy? Put a stop to tantrums and meltdowns by focusing and giving enough attention. “The most important thing is emotional connection, giving your child one-on-one attention,” Once an emotional connection is made, through spending special time alone with your child, “the most important thing to work on is training,” “If we take the time to teach them how to do things, from personal care to helping with dinner, they will feel more empowered and less likely to act out. The more time we spend on training, the less time we have to spend on correcting negative behavior.”

How can I help my preschooler become more independent?

The preschool age is a time for rapidly growing independence; your child learns to separate from you in preparation for attending school. During the preschool years, she will learn essential life skills, like dressing and feeding herself. Because children learn best when there are clear rules and expectations, establish regular routines. The morning routine can involve going to the potty, getting dressed, and eating breakfast — all skills that your child will eventually be able to do on her own. Give some specific tasks that will make her feel important and empowered, like feeding the dog or putting dirty pajamas in the hamper. Simple chores can help her feel as though she has a daily contribution to make.


How do I know if my child is ready for preschool?

Preschool can be excellent preparation for kindergarten and the school years beyond, but just because your child has reached the age requirement for a school program doesn’t mean she is ready. Kids develop at different paces and have different needs for social and intellectual stimulation. If you are considering preschool, think about your child’s listening, socializing, and communicating (or language) skills. Many preschools require that children be potty trained, so keep your child’s toileting needs in mind. “If a child has a lot of energy, and you feel she’s bored with you during the day, or if she’s not as tired during the day, she might be ready to go to preschool.” A child’s need for social stimulation is a factor, too. “If you have a very social, extroverted, outgoing child, it’s nice for [her] to be able to interact with other kids.

Middle school:

Understanding those on the verge of or in the trenches of middle school can be like finishing a complex puzzle only to realize there is a single missing piece — just when you think you have them all figured out, they pivot and leave you just as confused as you started. They sometimes feel like a walking contradiction: they want your love, but would prefer you did not show it in public; what makes them laugh one day, brings them to tears the next; going to school used to be the best part of their day, now they dread it. Whatever the contradiction is in your household, it is important to remember that the journey that these soon to be adults are traveling is a difficult yet AWESOME one. They are in a constant state of learning and discovery and as parents and guardians, we GET to be along for the ride!

Combine students’ physical and emotional changes with new school environments and increasing independence, and unique challenges for parents and children develop. Adolescence is a time of development, discovery and transition for kids. It is a key time for us to better understand how we increase motivation, build persistence, support the transition into a more independent experience, and prepare for future success.

As a middle parent our mantra should be patience and understanding. This is a time when they need support and guidance, but they also need the freedom to have experiences on their own terms. When it comes to education, middle school is an extremely important time.

When we find ways to personalize the learning experience for students we support their transition into more independence and help activate learning.

They need adults to teach them how the world works but also be conscious of how their brain is functioning. The teenage brain is prime for learning. Recent research has identified that the brain of adolescents is not yet fully developed—this actually doesn’t happen until the mid-20s. This means that, just as in early childhood, adolescents are in a critical stage where it is “easier” to learn and memorize. Teenagers also tend to be risk takers and are not as concerned with the future as adults are. This is largely due to the fact that a teenager’s frontal lobe is not yet fully connected. (The frontal lobe is associated with planning and motivation among other things!) This means that as much as we want them to be intentional in their social media use, in order to avoid any future repercussions. They may not be thinking of job interviews as they post pics and choose less than exemplar friends, so it will be our job to help them engage responsibly and use the channels to post the things that make them most proud. It is important that we support those conversations and help them make connections between their learning, their life and their future.

They should be held to high expectations, BUT allowed to make (harmless) mistakes. As a parent we want the best for our children. This is a good thing, but expecting perfection from your children will only lead to disappointment for you and your children. Outside of the school setting, learning by trial and error is not only acceptable, but it is encouraged. For some reason, that isn’t always the same in the classroom, where self-conscious students are often fearful of making mistakes. When students are able to make and learn from mistakes, they are able to discover concepts on their own and develop deeper understandings. The same is true outside of the classroom. Rules and guidelines are important since they set the stage for how to engage with the world, but we should never to enforce something that discourages our kids’ passions or limits their creativity. We should remember to have a positive reaction to mistakes — we should teach young people to reflect, reiterate and improve rather than just shut down. We should support a growth mindset that encourages them to be confident that they are in control of their intelligence.

They need support in thinking about the future, but also need to be encouraged to embrace the present.  With the ever changing landscape of technology, the learning opportunities for may look much different than what was available to us. It may be college, but it may be another alternative. What will be most important is that at least starting conversations with them about what their futures will look like. They don’t have to follow the same path, but thinking ahead creates an opportunity to set goals and build motivation. That being said, I don’t want talk about the future to take away the value of learning for the sake of learning. Learning should feel good. And hope to create a home environment that enables them to learn about the things that interest them. (Finding a school that supports that sort of personalization will be key as well.)

They need you to be involved, AND they need to take ownership over their learning. If you can’t let go a little during adolescence, then you might just be way more involved than you want to in adulthood. But more seriously, this doesn’t mean that you can just turn off your parenting switch. The students that had the most degree of success were those who had parents who were involved. Involvement doesn’t mean helicopter parenting, it just means that you know what is going on in children’s lives. At this age, they will be testing limits and gaining a better sense of what and how they can control certain aspects of their life. We should help them develop their own sense of responsibility and ownership. We should do our best to help them find passion in what they do and model positive goal setting and reflection practices. Sometimes we don’t put enough faith in our students or our children. Give them the opportunity to speak their mind and then truly listen to what they have to say!

Understanding Adolescence:      

Adolescence, the period between childhood and adulthood, is rightly viewed as a period of enormous change.

Recent research, however, has established that hormones are not the only culprit. There are also many other elements of the body’s biochemistry and physiology that combine to make adolescence something of a ‘perfect storm’.

Here we explain more about the changes to adolescents’ brains and bodies, to help parents to understand more about why their children may behave in certain ways.


Adolescence: Brain vs. Hormones

There are two main elements that affect maturity of both body and emotions.

Hormonal changes lead to and guide the body through puberty, resulting in sexual maturity.

These include the sex hormones, estrogen in girls and testosterone in boys. They were once thought to be the main cause of most of the behavioral changes in puberty, particularly increased aggression and mood swings. There are, certainly, massive changes in hormonal levels during puberty in at least three different hormonal systems.

However, there is no link between blood testosterone levels and levels of aggression in young men.

So what is causing these behavioral changes?

The brain develops and changes throughout childhood and adolescence.

It used to be thought that the brain was basically mature from a very early stage, but recent research has found that, in fact, parts of the brain continue to mature well past the age of 18.

It is generally agreed that the brain kick-starts the hormonal surges that lead to puberty. It is not, therefore, the hormones that lead to changes in the brain, but changes in the brain that lead to hormonal surges and, ultimately, to puberty.

In young people who do not undergo puberty because of hormonal problems, the brain continues to mature perfectly normally, and their reasoning, ability to assess risks, and other thinking abilities, develop in line with their peers.

It seems, therefore, that although the brain and hormonal systems come together to create the various changes seen during adolescence, the majority of the behavioral changes are due to the brain.

Brain Changes during Adolescence

There are two main features of the brain that change massively during the maturation process. Both, unfortunately, seem to coincide with adolescence:

Myelin is added to neurons, which has the effect of speeding up neural messages: everything gets through quicker.

The brain seems to take ‘time out’ to rewire the pre-frontal cortex, the area primarily responsible for things like planning, organization and risk assessment. The huge number of neural connections is ‘pruned’, probably to make it more efficient, but while this process is happening the brain actually functions rather less effectively.

Together, these two result in some key behavioral changes that are seen during adolescence:

An increase in excitement-seeking.

This is basically down to an increased need for sensory input, because messages are travelling quicker. It may manifest itself as adrenaline-seeking, for example, through theme park visits or high risk sports. You may also see teenagers respond to louder music, or brighter lights: there is a reason why nightclubs target teens, and why clubbing becomes less attractive as you get older.

A decreased ability to plan, organize and assess risk accurately

The changes in the pre-frontal cortex result in a general inability to make good decisions, and particularly to assess risk. Unfortunately, since this coincides with the increased need for sensory input, it is also why teenage boys have a relatively higher mortality rate than they should.

A tendency to have more heightened emotional responses

Like the need to seek more sensory input, teenagers tend to feel things more extremely. They are more likely to become angry, sad, excited and happy: everything is more profound. This results in ‘mood swings’.

A focus on self, to the exclusion of others

Teenagers are not ‘being selfish’. They genuinely do struggle to recognize emotions in others, probably because of the rewiring of the pre-frontal cortex, which makes them extremely self-centered. They are unlikely to be able to assess the impact of their actions on others.

Adolescence and Sleep

One key issue which will be familiar to any parent of an adolescence is sleep, and particularly the need to sleep from 2am until noon. There seem to be several issues here.

The first is that teenagers have a physiological need for more sleep, probably because they are growing rapidly.

This generally manifests as increased sleepiness, and longer sleeping if the opportunity is offered.

At the same time, there is a change to the secretion of the hormone melatonin, which controls sleep.

This is released later in the evening during puberty, which means that teenagers are more likely to want to go to sleep slightly later. It does not mean that they have to do so, but they will tend to stay up later if possible.

This, of course, probably was not a problem a few hundred years ago. Adolescents would have been working, and would therefore have been physically tired. There was little to keep them awake after dark, so they would simply have slept.

Now, of course, there are multiple distractions. There is evidence that the light from computer and TV screens interferes with melatonin secretion anyway (there is more about this in our page on the importance of sleep), and the result is that teenagers are distracting themselves into staying up even later.

The third issue that coincides is one of habit, and is similar to jetlag.

Anyone who has travelled long distance will recognize that it is much easier to adapt to jetlag when travelling westwards: that is, if it involves a longer day, and later sleep times. Moving in the other direction is much harder.

The same thing applies to young people. Once they have slid gently into a later sleeping pattern, perhaps during a long summer holiday, with late nights and late mornings, it is much harder to get up earlier for school.

Our weekly pattern of work also means that just as their bodies start to re-adapt to ‘normal’ time again, the weekend intervenes, and they slip back into the later time zone.

Adolescence is a phase…

Adolescence is a difficult period for those experiencing it.

It can also be extremely difficult for those around them, particularly their parents.

It is important to remember that you, and your adolescent child, will get through it. Like everything else, this is a phase, a vital phase of development and it will pass. Stay calm and the storm will eventually be over.


  • Listen to their ideas without judgment.
  • Allow them to pull away without feeling guilty.
  • Don’t take most of their criticisms of you personally (even though that is hard sometimes).
  • Encourage positive peer relationships.
  • Allow a certain amount of safe experimentation with different value systems.
  • Allow them to differ with you about beliefs.
  • Treat physical growth as normal while expressing pride and excitement in their new maturity and development.
  • Understand their feelings of awkwardness and discomfort with their new bodies, and be sensitive to it.
  • Support their interest in age-appropriate opposite sex relationships, without pushing it on them and without instilling fear and distrust.
  • Support interests and encourage involvement.
  • Support them in solving their own problems.
  • Give opportunities for decision-making.
  • Guide them in setting and meeting goals: short, medium and longer-term.



The gain is not the having of children, it is the discovery of love and how to be loving.

  • Polly berrien berends


A recent study has found that positive parenting is related to certain characteristics of both the mother and the child; and when controlling for maternal factors, only child’s affection (e.g., infant sharing positive feelings and expressions with mother), and general cognitive abilities (e.g., basic problem solving, language abilities) are related to positive parenting.1

The study also found that girls received more positive parenting than boys; the researchers explained this difference in terms of gender differences in affection and cognitive ability, both favoring the girls.

A new study that looks at data on three generations of Oregon families shows that “positive parenting” – including factors such as warmth, monitoring children’s activities, involvement, and consistency of discipline – not only has positive impacts on adolescents, but on the way they parent their own children.

Dear Parents !

Being a parent is the most important job you will ever have! Parenting will affect not only your child, but also you as a person. Parenting comes with many rewards and challenges. You have the opportunity to influence the type of person your child becomes, receive many smiles and hugs and kisses, laugh often, play, and watch your child grow and develop. You also often will wonder if you said and did the right thing, or could have done things better. Parents love their children and want the best for them. However, children don’t come with directions and don’t always respond or behave the way you want them to. Sometimes, just when you think you have figured things out, your child moves into a new stage of development and what worked before doesn’t work anymore. The new stage brings you new joys and challenges.

Your parenting style can affect everything from how much your child weighs to how she feels about herself. It’s important to ensure your parenting style is supporting healthy growth and development because the way you interact with your child and how you discipline them will influence them for the rest of their life.

Researchers have identified four types of parenting styles:

  • Authoritarian
  • Authoritative
  • Permissive
  • Uninvolved

Each style takes a different approach to raising children, and can be identified by a number of different characteristics.

  1. Authoritarian Parenting

Do any of these statements sound like you?

  • You believe kids should be seen and not heard.
  • When it comes to rules, you believe it’s “my way or the highway.”
  • You don’t take your child’s feelings into consideration.

If any of those ring true, you might be an authoritarian parent. Authoritarian parents believe kids should follow the rules without exception.

Authoritarian parents are famous for saying, “Because I said so,” when a child questions the reasons behind a rule. They are not interested in negotiating and their focus is on obedience.

They also don’t allow kids to get involved in problem-solving challenges or obstacles. Instead, they make the rules and enforce the consequences with little regard for a child’s opinion.

Authoritarian parents may use punishments instead of discipline. So rather than teach a child how to make better choices, they’re invested in making kids feel sorry for their mistakes.

Children who grow up with strict authoritarian parents tend to follow rules much of the time. But, their obedience comes at a price.

Children of authoritarian parents are at a higher risk of development of self-esteem problems because their opinions aren’t valued.

They may also become hostile or aggressive. Rather than think about how to do things better in the future, they often focus on the anger they feel toward their parents. Since authoritarian parents are often strict, their children may grow to become good liars in an effort to avoid punishment.

  1. Authoritative Parenting

Do any of these statements sound like you?

  • You put a lot of effort into creating and maintaining a positive relationship with your child.
  • You explain the reasons behind your rules.
  • You enforce rules and give consequences, but take your child’s feelings into consideration.

If those statements sound familiar, you may be an authoritative parent. Authoritative parents have rules and they use consequences, but they also take their children’s opinions into account. They validate their children’s feelings, while also making it clear that the adults are ultimately in charge.

Authoritative parents invest time and energy into preventing behavior problems before they start. They also use positive discipline strategies to reinforce good behavior, like praise and reward systems.

Researchers have found kids who have authoritative parents are most likely to become responsible adults who feel comfortable expressing their opinions.

Children raised with authoritative discipline tend to be happy and successful. They’re also more likely to be good at making decisions and evaluating safety risks on their own.

  1. 3. Permissive Parenting

Do any of these statements sound like you?

  • You set rules but rarely enforce them.
  • You don’t give out consequences very often.
  • You think your child will learn best with little interference from you.

If those statements sound familiar, you might be a permissive parent. Permissive parents are lenient. They often only step in when there’s a serious problem.

They’re quite forgiving and they adopt an attitude of “kids will be kids.” When they do use consequences, they may not make those consequences stick. They might give privileges back if a child begs or they may allow a child to get out of time-out early if he promises to be good.

Permissive parents usually take on more of a friend role than a parent role. They often encourage their children to talk with them about their problems, but they usually don’t put much effort into discouraging poor choices or bad behavior.

Kids who grow up with permissive parents are more likely to struggle academically. They may exhibit more behavioral problems as they don’t appreciate authority and rules. They often have low self-esteem and may report a lot of sadness.

They’re also at a higher risk for health problems, like obesity, because permissive parents struggle to limit junk food intake. They are even more likely to have dental cavities because permissive parents often don’t enforce good habits, like ensuring a child brushes his teeth.

  1. Uninvolved Parenting

Do any of these statements sound familiar?

  • You don’t ask your child about school or homework.
  • You rarely know where your child is or who she is with.
  • You don’t spend much time with your child.

If those statements sound familiar, you might be an uninvolved parent. Uninvolved parents tend to have little knowledge of what their children are doing.

There tend to be few rules. Children may not receive much guidance, nurturing, and parental attention.

Uninvolved parents expect children to raise themselves. They don’t devote much time or energy into meeting children’s basic needs.

Uninvolved parents may be neglectful but it’s not always intentional. A parent with mental health issues or substance abuse problems, for example, may not be able to care for a child’s physical or emotional needs on a consistent basis.

At other times, uninvolved parents lack knowledge about child development. And sometimes, they’re simply overwhelmed with other problems, like work, paying bills, and managing a household.

Children with uninvolved parents are likely to struggle with self – esteem issues. They tend to perform poorly in school. They also exhibit frequent behavior problems and rank low in happiness.

Sometimes parents don’t fit into just one category, so don’t despair if there are times or areas where you tend to be permissive and other times when you’re more authoritative.

The studies are clear, however, that authoritative parenting is the best parenting style. But even if you tend to identify with other parenting styles more, there are ways where you can change and learn, keep into practice the best parenting style.

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting is an alternative to the punitive, authoritarian approach we are more acquainted with. It is a change of mindset from punishing bad behaviors to actively and creatively modeling and teaching your children about positive behaviors .

Positive parenting involves a commitment to approaching your children with love, empathy, and kindness rather than creating powers struggles through the enforcement of a set of rules.

The evidence (formal and informal) which is rapidly growing supports the positive parenting approach and its effects on behavior, relationships, mental health and overall happiness.

Let us look into few of the positive parenting tips based on their age :

Following are some things you, as a parent, can do to help your baby during this time:

Infants (0-1 year of age)

  • Talk to your baby. She will find your voice calming.
  • Answer when your baby makes sounds by repeating the sounds and adding words. This will help him learn to use language.
  • Read to your baby. This will help her develop and understand language and sounds.
  • Sing to your baby and play music. This will help your baby develop a love for music and will help his brain development.
  • Praise your baby and give her lots of loving attention.
  • Spend time cuddling and holding your baby. This will help him feel cared for and secure.
  • Play with your baby when she’s alert and relaxed. Watch your baby closely for signs of being tired or fussy so that she can take a break from playing.
  • Distract your baby with toys and move him to safe areas when he starts moving and touching things that he shouldn’t touch.
  • Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Parenting can be hard work! It is easier to enjoy your new baby and be a positive, loving parent when you are feeling good yourself.

Toddlers (1-2 years of age)

  • Read to your toddler daily.
  • Ask her to find objects for you or name body parts and objects.
  • Play matching games with your toddler, like shape sorting and simple puzzles.
  • Encourage him to explore and try new things.
  • Help to develop your toddler’s language by talking with her and adding to words she starts. For example, if your toddler says “baba”, you can respond, “Yes, you are right―that is a bottle.”
  • Encourage your child’s growing independence by letting him help with dressing himself and feeding himself.
  • Respond to wanted behaviors more than you punish unwanted behaviors (use only very brief time outs). Always tell or show your child what she should do instead.
  • Encourage your toddler’s curiosity and ability to recognize common objects by taking field trips together to the park or going on a bus ride.

Toddlers (2-3 years of age)

  • Set up a special time to read books with your toddler.
  • Encourage your child to take part in pretend play.
  • Play parade or follow the leader with your toddler.
  • Help your child to explore things around her by taking her on a walk or wagon ride.
  • Encourage your child to tell you his name and age.
  • Teach your child simple songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider, or other cultural childhood rhymes.
  • Give your child attention and praise when she follows instructions and shows positive behavior and limit attention for defiant behavior like tantrums. Teach your child acceptable ways to show that she’s upset.

Preschoolers (3-5 years of age)

  • Continue to read to your child. Nurture her love for books by taking her to the library or bookstore.
  • Let your child help with simple chores.
  • Encourage your child to play with other children. This helps him to learn the value of sharing and friendship.
  • Be clear and consistent when disciplining your child. Explain and show the behavior that you expect from her. Whenever you tell her no, follow up with what he should be doing instead.
  • Help your child develop good language skills by speaking to him in complete sentences and using “grown up” words. Help him to use the correct words and phrases.
  • Help your child through the steps to solve problems when she is upset.
  • Give your child a limited number of simple choices (for example, deciding what to wear, when to play, and what to eat for snack)

Middle Childhood (6-8 years of age)

  • Show affection for your child. Recognize her accomplishments.
  • Help your child develop a sense of responsibility—ask him to help with household tasks, such as setting the table.
  • Talk with your child about school, friends, and things she looks forward to in the future.
  • Talk with your child about respecting others. Encourage him to help people in need.
  • Help your child set her own achievable goals—she’ll learn to take pride in herself and rely less on approval or reward from others.
  • Help your child learn patience by letting others go first or by finishing a task before going out to play. Encourage him to think about possible consequences before acting.
  • Make clear rules and stick to them, such as how long your child can watch TV or when she has to go to bed. Be clear about what behavior is okay and what is not okay.
  • Do fun things together as a family, such as playing games, reading, and going to events in your community.
  • Get involved with your child’s school. Meet the teachers and staff and get to understand their learning goals and how you and the school can work together to help your child do well.
  • Continue reading to your child. As your child learns to read, take turns reading to each other.
  • Use discipline to guide and protect your child, rather than punishment to make him feel bad about himself. Follow up any discussion about what notto do with a discussion of what to do instead.
  • Praise your child for good behavior. It’s best to focus praise more on what your child does (“you worked hard to figure this out”) than on traits she can’t change (“you are smart”).
  • Support your child in taking on new challenges. Encourage her to solve problems, such as a disagreement with another child, on her own.
  • Encourage your child to join school and community groups, such as a team sports, or to take advantage of volunteer opportunities.

Middle Childhood (9-11 years of age)

  • Spend time with your child. Talk with her about her friends, her accomplishments, and what challenges she will face.
  • Be involved with your child’s school. Go to school events; meet your child’s teachers.
  • Encourage your child to join school and community groups, such as a sports team, or to be a volunteer for a charity.
  • Help your child develop his own sense of right and wrong. Talk with him about risky things friends might pressure him to do, like smoking or dangerous physical dares.
  • Help your child develop a sense of responsibility—involve your child in household tasks like cleaning and cooking. Talk with your child about saving and spending money wisely.
  • Meet the families of your child’s friends.
  • Talk with your child about respecting others. Encourage her to help people in need. Talk with her about what to do when others are not kind or are disrespectful.
  • Help your child set his own goals. Encourage him to think about skills and abilities he would like to have and about how to develop them.
  • Make clear rules and stick to them. Talk with your child about what you expect from her (behavior) when no adults are present. If you provide reasons for rules, it will help her to know what to do in most situations.
  • Use discipline to guide and protect your child, instead of punishment to make him feel badly about himself.
  • When using praise, help your child think about her own accomplishments. Saying “you must be proud of yourself” rather than simply “I’m proud of you” can encourage your child to make good choices when nobody is around to praise her.
  • Talk with your child about the normal physical and emotional changes of puberty.
  • Encourage your child to read every day. Talk with him about his homework.
  • Be affectionate and honest with your child, and do things together as a family.

Young Teens (12-14 years of age)

  • Be honest and direct with your teen when talking about sensitive subjects such as drugs, drinking, smoking.
  • Meet and get to know your teen’s friends.
  • Show an interest in your teen’s school life.
  • Help your teen make healthy choices while encouraging him to make his own decisions.
  • Respect your teen’s opinions and take into account her thoughts and feelings. It is important that she knows you are listening to her.
  • When there is a conflict, be clear about goals and expectations (like getting good grades, keeping things clean, and showing respect), but allow your teen input on how to reach those goals (like when and how to study or clean)

Teenagers (15-17 years of age)

  • Talk with your teen about her concerns and pay attention to any changes in her behavior. Ask her if she has had suicidal thoughts, particularly if she seems sad or depressed. Asking about suicidal thoughts will not cause her to have these thoughts, but it will let her know that you care about how she feels. Seek professional help if necessary.
  • Show interest in your teen’s school and extracurricular interests and activities and encourage him to become involved in activities such as sports, music, theater, and art.
  • Encourage your teen to volunteer and become involved in civic activities in her community.
  • Compliment your teen and celebrate his efforts and accomplishments.
  • Show affection for your teen. Spend time together doing things you enjoy.
  • Respect your teen’s opinion. Listen to her without playing down her concerns.
  • Encourage your teen to develop solutions to problems or conflicts. Help your teenager learn to make good decisions. Create opportunities for him to use his own judgment, and be available for advice and support.
  • If your teen engages in interactive internet media such as games, chat rooms, and instant messaging, encourage her to make good decisions about what she posts and the amount of time she spends on these activities.
  • If your teen works, use the opportunity to talk about expectations, responsibilities, and other ways of behaving respectfully in a public setting.
  • Talk with your teen and help him plan ahead for difficult or uncomfortable situations. Discuss what he can do if he is in a group and someone is using drugs or under pressure to do some bad thing, or is offered a ride by someone who has been drinking.
  • Respect your teen’s need for privacy.
  • Encourage your teen to get enough sleep and exercise, and to eat healthy, balanced meals

In general positive parenting strategies can be summed up like the below :


Bored kids are likely to misbehave. Bored teenagers may find trouble. So create an environment that allows kids to explore safely and develop their skills.


If a child or teenager comes to you for help or a chat, they’re ready to learn. Give them positive attention, even if only for a minute or so. Encourage their ideas and opinions.


Set clear rules and boundaries and follow through with fair consequences. You can negotiate some of these with older kids and decide on the rules and consequences together. Praise little and big kids to encourage the behavior you like.


Nobody’s perfect – kids, teenagers or adults – so don’t expect your child to do more (or less) than they’re capable of. And remember, we all make mistakes sometimes.


It’s all about balance. You’ve got to look after your own needs too, so make sure you’re getting some support, time with friends, and maybe even a little time to yourself!

Parenting is a learned experience. People get their ideas on how to parent from how they were raised, books, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, television, workshops, doctors and other family professionals, friends, and family members. As a parent, your job is to shift through this information and find strategies and supports that will work best for you and your child. The goal is to become the best parent you can be. Enjoy parenthood!







The School environment provides opportunity for the students to learn under the guidance of the teachers. It is important that the students become independent learners, which help in applying learnt skills as well as prepare themselves for the examinations. Learning becomes meaningful only when the students use what is learnt effectively and contextually. Students need to have appropriate independent study skills for mastering school subjects.

Study skills refer to the methods or strategies a student adopts to learn the content of his course material effectively and independently and reproduce contextually. All of us have different study habits. Success of the student is largely dependent on the study habits one adopts.

Many potentially good students may be poor in these study skills, which tend to reflect poorly in their academic performance. Therefore every child should be trained to develop good study skills at any early stage of schooling i.e in primary classes and should be reinforced as he progresses through classes.

As the children grow they often need more guidance than they get in the classroom. In middle school, owing to more homework, it becomes more difficult and it requires analytical skills, which the child may not have developed yet. Parents should always cross check at all the learning stages of their children for these abilities and should encourage them to take responsibility for their own school work.

Good study skills involves

  • Listening to what is being taught,
  • Taking notes,
  • Storing in memory the subject matter,
  • Systematic organization of the learnt subject matter
  • Responding correctly when asked to answer questions in the subject-orally or in writing.

Do you Know?

Research says that children’s knowledge of learning strategies, and the language of learning, will develop as they experience choice, make decisions and talk about their activities with adults and other children. Therefore in the home environment adults should provide good models of strategic language and behaviour, and use appropriate language and actions in all situations.

The following factors are very important in developing good study skills

  • Motivation
  • Readiness to learn
  • Learning environment
  • Individual learning style
  • Material to be learnt

Motivation: If the child feels a need to learn, he will be motivated. One should provide right direction and suitable reward for the good performance of the child (however small it may be) to increase motivation.

Readiness: The child has the ability to comprehend the content to his/her class level is utmost important to develop study habits. A child in class IV having basic computation skills in class II will never be ready to learn the math content from his/her class. Then any amount math tuitions and extra hours of practice in class room will be ineffective. As the child’s readiness being at class II, teaching has to be at that level, which should be supportedwith effective study skills.

Learning environment: A learning environment should have minimum distractions with good light and ventilation along with good seating arrangement. Studying while TV is on, lying on the bed and with an open window view should be avoided to strengthen the good study habits.

Individual learning style : Every child will have specific way of learning from the very early ages of schooling. Some like to read aloud while some may like to write down while reading. For some studying late night would be more preferred then studying in the early morning. The natural style should not be reversed or stopped to plan for good strategy for studying.

Learning Material: The material varies based on the subject choice at that time of study. To begin with one should choose the study material /subject of interest followed by other subjects which need much workout to learn.

Whatever may the study material when, where, and for how long to study has to be first sketched out keeping   all the above mentioned factors.

Few techniques for developing effective study skills:


This technique involves five sequential steps :

 Self monitoring: In this the student is trained to generate his own questions for the given topic. Such as…..

  • Why am I reading this?
  • What is the main idea (Underline/write)?
  • What question can I ask for the main idea?
  • What will be the answer?
  • Is it relevant and meaningful?

Memory strategies:

Common memory strategies are

  • Rehearsing by repeating the content to one self
  • Classifying, grouping and clustering information for easy recall
  • Creating visual images of the content
  • Associating or developing acronyms or pairing with other information
  • Self questioning, responding and checking for accuracy of information
  • Concept mapping
  • Using mnemonics

Helping Your Child with Organization and Study Skills

Parents can help their children with the following organizing strategies to develop the study skills.

Working notebook /Class work Book :

The working notebook is the daily notebook your child takes to class. It holds all the papers and information needed each day. Carrying a note book, completing class works regularly is the primary task of the student which should be monitored by the parent at regular intervals.

Reference notebook

The reference notebook is a smaller three-ring binder or a section at the back of the working notebook. The reference notebook is an individualized collection of resources; it reflects your child’s specific needs. It should contain handouts and lists of information your child needs to reference quickly in class. Some items to include follow:

  • A personal spelling list of commonly used words that are particularly difficult for your child
  • A list of transition words and phrases that will improve the quality of your child’s writing assignments (e.g., words such as however, for example, finally, therefore, in conclusion, another, first, second, etc.)
  • Math facts
  • Charts or graphs given in class (such as a time line of events for social studies or a periodic table for science)
  • How-to lists (such as how to answer and essay question, how to organize your notebook) and templates (such as formats for science experiments)
  • Place items for the reference notebook in plastic sheet protectors with three-ring holes so they will last longer (these are available in most stationary or office supply stores).

Organizing homework, study space and time

To help your child organize homework, you can create a homework checklist with the following items for each subject:

  • _____I have the materials I need to do the assignment (book, notes, handouts).
  • _____I completed the assignment.
  • _____I checked the assignment to be sure it was correct.
  • _____There was no homework in this subject tonight.

Let your child select and identify a study space to complete his /her school works along with the things (dictionary, pencils, paper, ruler, and calculator) necessary to sit and study. Establishing a routine to complete home work also a crucial factor for your child to develop good study skills.

And also…..

  • Help your child develop a system to keep track of important papers.
  • Encourage your child to estimate how long each assignment will take.
  • Help your child break big projects into smaller ones.

Communicating with teachers

Establish communication with your child’s teachers as soon as possible – preferably before the first day of school – and maintain it throughout the year.

Reading and listening for main ideas

 Listen and read for meaning

 Distinguish relevant information from irrelevant information

 Organize details for easy sorting, prioritizing, and studying


In identifying main ideas, the most basic task is to identify the category that applies to a list of words. For example, fruit is the main idea for a list that includes apple, pear, peach, and banana. Finding the main idea for a list of words that are abstract (e.g., lonesome, discouraged, grim, brooding, and sorrowful: main idea is “sad feelings” or “negative emotions”) is more difficult than a list of concrete objects (such as the fruit).

Main ideas in paragraphs: The topic sentence

Once students can categorize, the next skill to develop is recognizing and formulating the main ideas of individual paragraphs. This is a basic skill in reading for meaning. Many paragraphs begin with a topic sentence that states the paragraph’s main idea. The rest of the paragraph usually conveys details that support the main idea.

Helpful hints for locating main ideas

  • To identify a main idea that is stated, your child should first answer the questions below.
    1. What is the one subject the author talks about throughout the paragraph? The answer to this question identifies the topic.
    2. What is the author saying about this topic? The answer to this question identifies the main idea.
    3. What details support the main idea? The answer to this question identifies the important details.

Do you Know?

Your ‘Media Multitasker’ A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation referred to today’s children as “media multi taskers,” who send instant messages, talk on the phone and listen to music at the same time while doing homework.

But despite what the child may tell us, this could well hinder learning, according to brain research by a UCLA psychology professor. Dr. Russell Poldrack found that multi taskers learn but they do it differently and cannot retrieve the information as effectively.

  • Next, your child should find and underline the topic sentence that states the main idea. If the main idea must be inferred because there is no topic sentence, your child should write out the main idea in his own words in the margin next to the paragraph.
  • When looking for the topic, your child should look for the words that are most often repeated. They help suggest the topic.
  • Your child should make sure all the details refer to the topic sentence (or his main idea in the margin if there is no stated topic sentence).
  • Your child can double-check the main idea by asking if what they have underlined or written is too general or specific.

While helping your child read and listen for main ideas, as well as take notes, is challenging and time-consuming, it can help make a difference in your child’s success in school. You won’t always have all the answers. It’s your committed, consistent effort that counts.

Test Taking Skills:

Ultimate academic achievement of the student is reflected in his test scores. Test taking skills, therefore, is a very important component of study skills. The various aspects of test taking skills include

  • Time management,
  • Style of presentation
  • content accuracy

Some tips for students:

  • Read the entire question paper.
  • Note the time allotted.
  • Note the weightage for each specific question.
  • Read the directions very carefully.
  • Look for the key words in the questions.
  • Read and re read the directions and questions completely.
  • Allot time to each question based on the marks to the question so that one will have enough time to answer all the questions.
  • Answer the well known questions first.
  • Remember to write the question number in the margin.
  • On completion, review carefully-check for question numbers, spelling or grammar errors, compliance with instructions and neatness.
  • If the question paper has objective part and essay, do the objective part forest as many a time it gives clue to easy questions.
  • Wherever possible. illustrations, graphical expressions and maps must be done neatly and labelled
  • At home practice answering a number of questions with in prescribed time to perform well on the day of examination.
  • Review the previous test papers with the help of subject teacher/parent. Analyze the errors and avoid these for next exam.

Do you Know?

Having sleepless nights prior to examinations is really not helpful in learning and retention. Research studies show that for good memory and efficiency adequate sleep is essential along with daily physical activities (Play time, Gym, Exercises, Yoga etc).

Parenting strategies

{understanding child’s emotional, social & Academic needs}

Parents need to fill a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that

the rest of the world can’t poke enough holes to drain it dry

– Alvin Price

Understanding your child is one of the most important things that you should learn as a parent.


It is very helpful in becoming effective in guiding and nurturing your child as they grow and mature. You need to bear in mind that your child has a unique personality trait that remains consistent throughout life.

One of the ways you can understand your child is by observing them as they sleep, eat, or play. Look for the consistent traits.

  • Which activities do they like best ?
  • Is adjusting to changes easy for them or do they need time to become familiar with these things ?

These things are the normal characteristics of a child and your child may not be an exception.

As much as possible, have time to talk to your children as this is crucial to gaining information and understanding.

  • In the case of young children, they require less verbal language and more facial expression and body language in order to understand their thoughts and feelings. Asking them questions will allow them to share their feelings to you.For example, rather than asking them what they did in school, ask them what they built with their blocks today. Instead of asking if they played with their playmate, focus on the game they played.
  • Another way of understanding your child is by taking a look at their environment in order to learn about a certain behaviour that you have observed. Relatives, child care providers, friends, teachers, the community, the home setting, and other aspects of the environment can play a crucial role in the behaviour of your child.

For example, if your child is showing aggressiveness towards other children at school, you may want to find out all the possible sources of their aggressive behavior.

Self-Esteem is a major key to success in life. The development of a positive self-concept or healthy self-esteem is extremely important to the happiness and success of children and teenagers.

A positive parent-child relationship provides the framework and support for a child to develop a healthy respect and regard for self and for others. Children crave time with parents. It makes them feel special.

Parents are encouraged to find time to spend playing with their kids on a regular basis. This should include one to one with each child and group time with all of the adults and kids in the home. If you are a single parent or have an only child, occasionally invite family or friends over to play.


For one reason or another, some children do not develop social skills as easily as others. They may earnestly seek peer relationships and then, having endured rebuffs, if not downright cruelty, retreat to the safety of home, family, and their own company.  There is probably nothing so painful for a parent as the rejection of his child. Parents need to take the long view of social problems and to map out a plan to solve them quite as carefully and thoughtfully as they would consider academic or health problems. There are guidelines which, if followed, will help these children if the parent is willing to take time and initiative.

Pay Attention To Your Child’s Environment

  • Research has proven that a child’s behavior and attitudes are shaped largely by the environment that he is brought up in. To know the child better, you should pay attention to the environment he is in (3).
  • Research also proves that the environment can affect the child’s brain development, which in turn affects the development of his language and cognitive skills. The link specifically talks about home environment in comparison to any other.
  • Your child’s behavior is largely dependent on the kind of people that are around him/her and how they interact with him/her. Take time to gauge the kind of ambiance that has been created at home and his/her school. For example, if your child is being aggressive or is withdrawing from socialization, you may want to know what or who has influenced the child to behave in such a manner.


When we talk about emotional development, we are referring to children’s growing ability to

  • identify and understand their own feelings
  • accurately read and understand the feelings of others
  • manage the way they feel
  • shape the way they behave
  • develop empathy for others, and
  • build and keep good relationships with friends, family and others.

From the time they are born, children quickly develop their abilities to experience and express different emotions, as well as their capacity to cope with and manage a variety of feelings.


Managing feelings

Children’s ability to manage or shape the way they feel is a critical part of their development and often the source of much parental concern.

Children don’t start life with the ability to control how they are feeling. They are easily overwhelmed by strong feelings and cannot calm themselves down. Babies and young children need parents to help them to do this.

Young children frequently get frustrated because there is a large gap between the things they want to do and what they are actually able to do. This often results in a temper tantrum.

Feelings and behaviour are closely linked. When feelings are not well managed, children’s ability to think can be impaired. As a result, children act on their feelings often without thinking.

By the time they start school, children are more aware of their own feelings and the feelings of others. They are better able to link their thoughts and feelings and use words to describe their feelings. As such, they become better able to change and shape the way they feel. Children’s ability to change and adapt their feelings means they are more likely to tolerate their own frustration better, put off getting things they really want and are able to calm themselves down.


Relationships are important for children’s feelings

Children’s emotional development is greatly influenced by the quality of the relationship that is developed between themselves and their parents. The way parents interact with their child has a lot to do with the way the child will develop emotionally.

  • Children learn to manage their emotions by watching how other family member express and manage their emotions. Parents play a critical role in modelling how to respond to strong feelings.
  • Children need help and practice in managing their emotions.
  • Supporting your child’s emotional development
  • Keep the emotional climate of the home calm, warm and predictable.
  • Accept and acknowledge your child’s emotions.
  • Read stories to children and talk about the different feelings characters in the book may be feeling. Talking about emotions helps children to better understand their feelings.
  • Help your child to put feelings into words – “it seems like you are feeling disappointed at the moment”.
  • Encourage children to talk about situations that make them feel excited, happy, angry or worried.
  • Praise children for not losing control and staying calm.
  • Help children to separate feelings from behaviour – “I know you are feeling angry but it is not OK to hit.”
  • Help children to understand the difference between their own and other people’s feelings – “I know you are feeling frustrated right now but what you are doing is making your sister feel sad”.


Tips to Understand Your Child’s Psychology Better

Well-known child psychologist Jean Piaget says, “From the moral as from the intellectual point of view, the child is born neither good nor bad but master of his destiny.”

Parenting is more than just providing comforts for your children. It is being there for the child emotionally, and providing them a sense of security. Here are a few basic child psychology tips that will help you understand children better:

Observation Is Key

One of the simplest, yet most effective, ways to learn about child psychology is observation. Show interest in what your children are doing or saying. Observe their actions, expressions, and temperament when they eat, sleep, and play. Keep in mind that your child is unique and may have a personality that stands out, even as he grows. So avoid comparing your child with other children, as that not only adds stress to parenting, but also makes the child feel inferior.

Do ask yourself a few questions that can help you understand the kids’ psychology.

  • What does the child like to do the most?
  • How does he react when he has to do something he does not like, such as eating vegetables, sleeping early or doing homework?
  • How social is he? Is he willing to share or try new things?
  • How long is the child taking to familiarize himself with his surroundings? Is he able to adjust to the changes in the environment?

    While you answer these questions, remember not to judge the child. Just observe to be aware.

    [Read: Strong Willed Child Characteristics]


Spend ‘Quality’ Time with Your Children

Parents today are busy juggling work and home. Multi-tasking, as they call it, allows them to take care of many things at a time, one of the ‘things’ being the child. If you have been spending time with your kid in this fashion, it is time for a change. If you want to understand your children, you need to make time for them.

  • The time you spend with your kids at the dinner table or driving them to school and back is not enough. You may have to dedicate time to talk and play with them, and spend quality hours that allow you to understand their psychology.
  • Conversations with your kids let you know what’s happening in their life at school and home, what their favorite music or TV show is, and what gets them excited and what doesn’t.
  • Quality time needn’t always mean talking or doing something together. Sometimes you can just sit together and silently observe them to gather some insights about their personality.

    [Read: Important Life Lessons For Kids]



Children Need Your Undivided Attention

When you plan to spend time with your children, plan to do only that and nothing else. Your children deserve your undivided attention. If you try to talk to your kid while you are cooking, driving or doing something else, chances are you’ll miss on the most important insights your kid might give you about himself.

Plan at least one activity that allows you to spend time exclusively with your kid. When you pay undivided attention to your kid, he or she feels safe and validated and is likely to open up to you more.


Understand How A Child’s Brain Functions

Parents may often know their child’s physiology, but they don’t know how the child’s brain works. The brain is shaped by the experiences that the child has, and this in turn impacts how he responds to different situations.

  • Understanding how a child’s brain functions can help you learn about the kid’s behavior, his decision-making, and social, logical, and cognitive abilities. The wrong experiences can result in imprinting negative responses into your child’s mind, having an adverse effect on his overall development.
  • Knowing how his brain works will help you transform negative experiences or meltdowns into positive experiences or opportunities.

According to Daniel J. Siegel, author of The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind, you can help your children build a solid foundation for a healthy social and emotional life, and enable them to handle difficult situations with ease, by understanding the brain’s functions.

[Read: How to Boost Brain Development in Children]


Listen – Let Your Kids Tell You Their Stories

Talking is good, but listening is important when you have a conversation with your child. Initiate a conversation to get your child talking and then listen to what they are trying to say. Kids may not be able to express themselves clearly, which is why you should pay attention to the words that they use and their non-verbal cues as well.

Focus On:

  • Tone: the way they stress a word or phrase.
  • Expressions: which tell you how they feel. Try to gauge their emotions when they speak about something to understand if they like it, if they are afraid of it, or if they are stressed about it.
  • Body language: watch out for eye-contact, how they use their hands and the posture./li>

Not only should you listen, but also let your child know that they are being heard and taken seriously. Acknowledge what they say and respond to let them know that you understand what they say. If you don’t understand, ask questions for clarity. But be careful not to talk too much or ask too many questions, as that can shut your kid off completely.


Kids Express In Different Ways

Your children can express themselves in more than one way. Besides talking, kids express their feelings through activities.

  • If your children love to draw, write, or act, encourage them to do that more often. Get them to attend art or painting classes and help them express themselves better. You can also give them different themes for drawing, without restricting their imagination.
  • Likewise, you can ask your kid to maintain a journal in which they can write about what they did on a given day and how they felt about it. The more your child writes or draws, the better he/she gets at expressing himself/herself.
  • Take time to go through their art work to get an idea of what goes on in their minds. Don’t read too much into it, or you may end up displacing your emotions as theirs and misjudge their feelings.
  • Let them explain what they are writing or drawing and how they feel about it.


Ask The Right Questions

If you want your child to speak, it is important to ask the right kind of questions. Initiate conversations by asking open-ended questions, which would encourage the child to share details.

  • Instead of asking “Do you like this song?” which warrants either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, ask “What do you think about this song?” which will allow the kid to say more.
  • Instead of asking who they played with, ask them what games they played. Let them explain it to you in details, and don’t cut them off.
  • Also, never dodge the questions your child asks. If you do not have an answer to your child’s question, park it and come back to your child with a response later. Brushing away a kid’s question as silly can discourage them from asking any questions in future.


Educate Yourself About Child Development

Be proactive in understanding the different stages of child development to know how well your kid is faring. Take time to read books, online journals, and speak to a specialist who can give you some insight into child psychology and development. When you don’t know what to expect, anything and everything may seem alright or vice-versa. Don’t make wild guesses.

[Read: Social and Emotional Development In Kids]


Observe Other Kids

Sometimes, observing other kids who are of the same age as yours can also help you understand your child better. This can let you understand how your child behaves in a social setting and identify his strengths and weaknesses that determine his personality. This does not mean you compare your child with every kid his age and pass judgment on who is better.

Parents tend to ascertain their children’s performance abilities by comparing them to other children. However, this can have a negative impact on the child, in the long-term. While comparison is not always bad, it can be dangerous when you overdo it.


Empathize – Step Into Your Child’s Shoes

Sometimes you have to think like a kid, and even act like one to reach out to them. Empathy is an important quality that parents should develop if they want to understand their children better. You may be aware of what your children are going through when they tell you about it. But you may not even come close to understanding what they are experiencing if you cannot empathize. Below are some simple ways to empathize:

  • Listen to their feelings; try to gauge what they are going through.
  • Use their language to help them understand you better. Ask yourself this – if you were a child, would you understand adult-like talk, with complicated words and expressions?
  • When you don’t understand your child’s behavior, ask yourself – how would you have behaved or reacted if you were in your child’s place?


What’s Your Kid’s Emotional Quotient?

“What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence of the child and the feeble mentality of the average adult.” – Sigmund Freud

For a long time, kids were not considered as important as adults. Their feelings and emotions were taken for granted, for it was assumed that they’d forget all of it when they grow up.

Now, we know it is not true – what a child goes through in his childhood has a significant impact on the kind of person he grows up to be. As a parent, you should never underestimate your child’s emotions, or his capacity to manage them.

Emotional intelligence or emotional quotient (EQ) is a person’s ability to identify, express, and control their emotions. Children are born with a unique temperament. Some may be outspoken and proactive while others may be shy or slow-to-warm-up

As a parent, it is your responsibility to understand your children’s EQ and do what is needed to help them grow into healthy, emotionally intelligent adults.


Don’t Assume

Do not assume that you know what your child wants or how he/she feels at any given point of time. If your child is not complaining, you may assume that he/she is happy. You assume that you are a great parent because your child behaves well in public and does not throw tantrums.

When you assume, you are closing yourself to understanding your children accurately, thereby making poor choices for your kids. Asking them should help clear any air of doubt and you will know for sure what the matter is.


Academic Needs

The academic and learning needs of every individual differs based on various external and internal factors. In order to help the child in academics one needs to understand various areas of learning and how children differs.


Children Differ 

“No two children are the same”. How often have you said that?  Take any two children from your family / neighbourhood. They may be the same age but are they all alike? No! How do they differ from one another? Some are tall; others are small. Some are shy; others are forward. Some learn quickly; others are slow.

These are few differences that one can easily notice in children. But there are other differences that you may or may not have noticed. No two children are alike.

Same implies in the challenges they face:

This can be broadly classifies into two categories:

Deprivation Some children’s growth and development is impaired because their environment causes them harm or does not support their well-being. They may not have enough food or a good diet; they may live in poor housing and are prone to illnesses; they may be beaten; their parents may have separated; they are refugees or survivors of war. Sometimes they live on the streets. They may abuse drugs.


Impairments Some children are born with impairments such as eyes that do not see well; arms and legs that are deformed, a brain that is not developing in a typical way, or disorder in one or more basic psychological process. Some children can be left with impairments after childhood illnesses like measles and cerebral malaria or from accidents such as burns and bad falls. Often these children are called ‘disabled’ or ‘handicapped’

Many children encounter problems at some time in their lives. Some problems quickly pass but others require ongoing help. And this help is provide through special education, which includes – speech therapy, remedial therapy, behaviour therapy, occupational therapy, counselling



Learning disabilities in terms of education:

  • Learning disabilities can be characterized by a discrepancy between a student’s ability and his or her achievement in areas such as reading, writing, mathematics, or speaking. This option is up to the individual school, or agency doing the assessment.
  • Spoken language: Delays, disorders, or discrepancies in listening and speaking;
  • Written language: Difficulties with reading, writing, and spelling;
  • Arithmetic: Difficulty in performing arithmetic functions or in comprehending basic concepts;
  • Reasoning: Difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts

Learning disabilities is a generic term encompassing a wide range of learning difficulties. Certain terms are adopted to describe certain type of specific disabilities such as:

Dyslexia: “Dys” means difficulty with and “lexia” means words – thus “difficulty with words”. Originally the term “Dyslexia” referred to a specific learning deficit that hindered a person’s ability to read. More recently, however, it has been used as a general term referring to the broad category of language deficits that often includes the ability to hear and manipulate sounds in words as well as the ability to read and spell words accurately and fluently. When breakdowns occur in these foundational reading skills, dyslexic students often struggle to understand what they read as well as develop vocabulary at a slower rate.

Dysgraphia: “Dys” means difficulty with and “graphia” means writing – thus “difficulty with writing”. The term dysgraphia refers to more than simply having poor handwriting. This term refers to those who struggle with the motor skills necessary to write thoughts on paper, spelling, and the thinking skills needed for vocabulary retrieval, clarity of thought, grammar, and memory.

Dyscalculia: “Dys” means difficulty with and “calculia” means calculations and mathematics – thus “difficulty with calculations and mathematics”. This term refers to those who struggle with basic number sense and early number concepts as well as have difficulties with math calculations and math reasoning.

Dyspraxia: Dyspraxia, a form of developmental coordination disorder (DCD) is a common disorder affecting fine and/or gross motor coordination in children and adults. It may also affect speech.  An individual’s coordination difficulties may affect participation and functioning of everyday life skills in education, work and employment.

In order to help the student with learning disabilities or problems proper assessment has to done. Assessment includes electing information through various methods to confirm a condition as well as to find out the current level of functioning including strengths and limitation.

This can be done through proper observation and screening:

Observation can be divided into:

  • Classroom observation
  • Peer group observation
  • Playground observation
  • In some cases child’s behaviour at home should also be observed.


Detailed assessment is done on those children who have been screened and identified. The academic level are been examined to understand level of discrepancy. The child is also clinically diagnosed for the disability.

How Can Students With Learning Disabilities Be Helped?

There are two basic approaches to dealing with learning disabilities –

Accommodation: The first and most common is accommodation – helping students work around their deficit areas by using their strengths. In an academic setting, this usually takes the form of tutoring and classroom modifications, such as untimed tests and reduced workload. Accommodation allows students to succeed with outside help, but leaves them limited in what they can do on their own.

Direct intervention: The second approach is direct intervention – helping students strengthen their areas of deficit so they are no longer handicapped by them. Teaching students HOW to learn allows students the eventual freedom of succeeding on their own as independent learners. Direct intervention and the resulting competence and confidence allow students to gain the skills needed to become independent learners for a lifetime.

  • Remedial education can be designed for any students, with or without special needs
  • Each pupil is different in terms of learning ability, academic standards, classroom learning and academic performance and each has his own in learning. The aim is to provide learning support to pupils who lag far behind.

Developmental milestones in Cognitive, Speech & Language

Cognitive Milestones (0-18 years)

       0-1 years

  • 0-4 weeks– Looks at face transiently. By three to four weeks, smiles selectively to mother’s voice and human voice lead to quieting of cries. Cries if uncomfortable or in state of tension—undifferentiated initially, but gradually varies with cause (e.g. hungry, tired, pain).
  • 1-3 months- Increased babbles and coos. Most laugh out loud, squeal, and giggle. Smiles responsively to human face. Increased attention span.
  • 3-6 months– Spontaneously vocalizes vowels, consonants, a few syllables. Responds to tone and inflection of voice. Smiles at image in mirror.
  • 6-9 months– Says mama/dada randomly. Begins to imitate speech sounds. Many syllable sounds (ma, ba, da). Responds to own name, beginning responsiveness to “no, no.”
  • 9-12 months– Imitates speech sounds. Correctly uses mama/dada. Understands simple command (“give it to me”). Beginning sense of humour.

1-2 years

  • 12-15 months- Three to five word vocabulary. Uses gestures to communicate. Vocalizing replaces crying for attention. Understands “no.” Shakes head for no. Sense of me and mine. Fifty percent imitate household tasks.
  • 15-18 months- Vocabulary of about ten words. Uses words with gestures. Fifty percent begin to point to body parts. Vocalizes “no.” Points to pictures of common objects (e.g. dog). Knows when something is complete such as waving bye-bye. Knows where things are or belong. More claiming of mine. Beginning distinction of you and me, but does not perceive others as individuals like self. Resistant to change in routine. Autonomy expressed as defiance. Words are not important discipline techniques.
  • 18-24 months– Markedly increased vocabulary (mostly nouns). Consistently points to body parts. Combines two to three words. Names pictures of common objects. Follows simple directions. Matches colours frequently, but uses colour names randomly. Uses number words randomly. May indicate wet or soiled diapers. Asks for food or drink. Understands and asks for “another.” Mimics real life situations during play. Self-centred, but distinguishes between self and others. Conscious of family group.

2 Years and over

  • 2 Years – Learns to avoid simple hazards (stairs, stoves, etc.). By 30 months, vocabulary reaches 300 words. Identity in terms of names, gender, and place in family are well established Uses “I,” but often refers to self by first name. Phrases and three to four word sentences. By 36 months, vocabulary reaches 1,000 words, including more verbs and some adjectives. Understands big versus little. Interest in learning, often asking “What’s that?
  • 3 Years – Counts to three. Tells age by holding up fingers. Tells first and last name (foster children may not know last name). Most answer simple questions. Repeats three or four digits or nonsense syllables. Readiness to conform to spoken word. Understands turn-taking. Uses language to resist. Can bargain with peers. Understands long versus short. By end of third year, vocabulary is 1,500 words.
  • 4-5 Years- By end of fifth year, vocabulary is over 2,000 words including adverbs and prepositions. Understands opposites (day/night). Understands consecutive concepts (big, bigger, and biggest). Lots of why and how questions. Correctly counts five to ten objects. Correctly identifies colours. Dogmatic and dramatic. May argue about parental requests. Good imagination. Likes silly rhymes, sounds, names, etc. Beginning sense of time in terms of yesterday, tomorrow, sense of how long an hour is, etc. Increasingly elaborate answers to questions.
  • 6-11 Years– Concrete operational thinking replaces egocentric cognition. Thinking becomes more logical and rational. Develops ability to understand others’ perspectives.
  • 12-18 Years– In early adolescence, precursors to formal operational thinking appear, including limited ability to think hypothetically and to take multiple perspectives.

During middle and late adolescence, formal operational thinking becomes well developed and integrated in a significant percentage of adolescents.



Speech and Language Development (0-18 years)

By age one


  • Recognizes name
  • Says 2-3 words besides “mama” and “dada”
  • Imitates familiar words
  • Understands simple instructions
  • Recognizes words as symbols for objects: Car – points to garage, cat – meows

Activities to encourage your child’s language

  • Respond to your child’s coos, gurgles, and babbling
  • Talk to your child as you care for him or her throughout the day
  • Read colorful books to your child every day
  • Tell nursery rhymes and sing songs
  • Teach your child the names of everyday items and familiar people
  • Take your child with you to new places and situations
  • Play simple games with your child such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”

Between one and two


  • Understands “no”
  • Uses 10 to 20 words, including names
  • Combines two words such as “daddy bye-bye”
  • Waves good-bye and plays pat-a-cake
  • Makes the “sounds” of familiar animals
  • Gives a toy when asked
  • Uses words such as “more” to make wants known
  • Points to his or her toes, eyes, and nose
  • Brings object from another room when asked

Activities to encourage your child’s language

  • Reward and encourage early efforts at saying new words
  • Talk to your baby about everything you’re doing while you’re with him
  • Talk simply, clearly, and slowly to your child
  • Talk about new situations before you go, while you’re there, and again when you are home
  • Look at your child when he or she talks to you
  • Describe what your child is doing, feeling, hearing
  • Let your child listen to children’s records and tapes
  • Praise your child’s efforts to communicate

Between two and three


  • Identifies body parts
  • Carries on ‘conversation’ with self and dolls
  • Asks “what’s that?” And “where’s my?”
  • Uses 2-word negative phrases such as “no want”.
  • Forms some plurals by adding “s”; book, books
  • Has a 450 word vocabulary
  • Gives first name, holds up fingers to tell age
  • Combines nouns and verbs “mommy go”
  • Understands simple time concepts: “last night”, “tomorrow”
  • Refers to self as “me” rather than by name
  • Tries to get adult attention: “watch me”
  • Likes to hear same story repeated
  • May say “no” when means “yes”
  • Talks to other children as well as adults
  • Solves problems by talking instead of hitting or crying
  • Answers “where” questions
  • Names common pictures and things
  • Uses short sentences like “me want more” or “me want cookie”
  • Matches 3-4 colours, knows big and little

Activities to encourage your child’s language

  • Repeat new words over and over
  • Help your child listen and follow instructions by playing games: “pick up the ball,” “Touch Daddy’s s nose”
  • Take your child on trips and talk about what you see before, during and after the trip
  • Let your child tell you answers to simple questions
  • Read books every day, perhaps as part of the bedtime routine
  • Listen attentively as your child talks to you
  • Describe what you are doing, planning, thinking
  • Have the child deliver simple messages for you (Mommy needs you, Daddy )
  • Carry on conversations with the child, preferably when the two of you have some quiet time together
  • Ask questions to get your child to think and talk
  • Show the child you understand what he or she says by answering, smiling, and nodding your head
  • Expand what the; child says. If he or she says, “more juice,” you say, “Adam wants more juice.”

Between three and four


  • Can tell a story
  • Has a sentence length of 4-5 words
  • Has a vocabulary of nearly 1000 words
  • Names at least one colour
  • Understands “yesterday,” “summer”, “lunchtime”, “tonight”, “little-big”
  • Begins to obey requests like “put the block under the chair”
  • Knows his or her last name, name of street on which he/she lives and several nursery rhymes

Activities to encourage your child’s language

  • Talk about how objects are the same or different
  • Help your child to tell stories using books and pictures
  • Let your child play with other children
  • Read longer stories to your child
  • Pay attention to your child when he’s talking
  • Talk about places you’ve been or will be going

Between four and five


  • Has sentence length of 4-5 words
  • Uses past tense correctly
  • Has a vocabulary of nearly 1500 words
  • Points to colours red, blue, yellow and green
  • Identifies triangles, circles and squares
  • Understands “In the morning” , “next”, “noontime”
  • Can speak of imaginary conditions such as “I hope”
  • Asks many questions, asks “who?” And “why?”

Activities to encourage your child’s language

  • Help your child sort objects and things (ex. things you eat, animals. . .)
  • Teach your child how to use the telephone
  • Let your child help you plan activities such as what you will make for Thanksgiving dinner
  • Continue talking with him about his interests
  • Read longer stories to him
  • Let her tell and make up stories for you
  • Show your pleasure when she comes to talk with you

Between five and six


  • Has a sentence length of 5-6 words
  • Has a vocabulary of around 2000 words
  • Defines objects by their use (you eat with a fork) and can tell what objects are made of
  • Knows spatial relations like “on top”, “behind”, “far” and “near”
  • Knows her address
  • Identifies a penny, nickel and dime
  • Knows common opposites like “big/little”
  • Understands “same” and “different”
  • Counts ten objects
  • Asks questions for information
  • Distinguished left and right hand in herself
  • Uses all types of sentences, for example “let’s go to the store after we eat”

Activities to encourage your child’s language

  • Praise your child when she talks about her feelings, thoughts, hopes and fears
  • Comment on what you did or how you think your child feels
  • Sing songs, rhymes with your child
  • Continue to read longer stories
  • Talk with him as you would an adult
  • Look at family photos and talk to him about your family history
  • Listen to her when she talks to you

All Kids Develop at Different Rates

While most of these milestones typically take place during a certain window of time, there is one important caveat. Parents and caregivers must remember that each child is unique. Not all kids are going to hit these milestones at the same time. Some children might hit certain milestones very early, such as learning how to walk or talk much earlier than their same-age peers. Other children might reach these developmental milestones much later. This does not necessarily mean that one child is gifted or that another is delayed. It simply represents the individual differences that exist in the developmental process.

These developmental abilities also tend to build on one another. More advanced skills such as walking usually occur after simpler abilities such as crawling and sitting up have already been achieved.

Just because one child began to walk by eleven months of age does not mean that another child is “behind” if he still is not walking at 12 months. A child generally begins to walk anytime between the ages of 9 and 15 months, so anytime between those ages is considered normal.

If a child is over 15 months and still cannot walk, the parents might consider consulting with a doctor or developmental specialist to determine if some type of developmental issue is present.

By understanding these developmental milestones, caregivers and health care professionals can keep a watchful eye on children’s growth. When potential problems are spotted, earlier interventions can help lead to more successful outcomes.

This month article focuses on Developmental milestones in Physical & Social areas


It is important to understand how children develop physically, socially, emotionally and intellectually to know that all areas of development are equally as important as each other, and that all impact on one another.

Physical development includes movement skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and eye hand co-ordination.

Children’s physical development can be supported by:

  • Providing space and some equipment for the development of movement skills and gross motor skills and adequate supervision
  • Providing material and equipment for the improvement of fine motor skills
  • Providing cooking, sewing, woodwork and other activities to enhance hand-eye coordination.

Physical Skills

  • 0-4 weeks Lifts head when on abdomen. Head momentarily to midline when on back. Equal extremity movements. Sucking reflex. Grasp reflex (no reaching, and hand usually closed). Increasing body tone and stabilization of basic body functions, growing capacity to stay awake.
  • 1-3 months: Head to 45 degrees when on abdomen, erect when sitting. Bears fraction of weight when held in standing position. Uses vocalizations. By two three months, grasps rattle briefly. Puts hands together. By three to four months, may reach for objects, suck hand or fingers. Head is more frequently to midline, and comes to 90 degrees when on abdomen. Rolls side to back.
  • 3-6 months: Rolls from abdomen to back, then from back to abdomen. Bears increasing weight when held upright. No head lag when pulled to sitting. Head, eyes, and hands work well together to reach for toys or human face. Inspects objects with hands, eyes, and mouth. Takes solid food well.
  • 6-9 months: Sits without support. Increasingly mobile. Stands while holding on. Pushes self to sitting. Grasps objects, transfers objects. Feeds self finger foods, puts feet to mouth, may hold own bottle. Approaching nine months, pulls self to standing.
  • 9-12 months: Crawls with left-right alternation. Walks with support, stands momentarily, and takes a few uneasy steps. Most have neat pincer grasp. Bangs together objects held in each hand. Plays pat-a-cake. Fifty percent drink from cup by themselves.
  • 12-15 months: Stands well alone, walks well, stoops, and recovers. Neat pincer grasp. Can put a ball in a box and a raisin in a bottle. Can build a tower of two cubes. Spontaneous scribbling with palmer grasp of crayon. Fifty percent use spoon with minimal spilling. Most drink from cup unassisted.
  • 15-18 months: Runs stiffly. Walks backwards. Attempts to kick. Climbs on furniture. Crude page turning. Most use spoon well. Fifty percent can help in little household tasks. Most can take off pieces of clothing.
  • 18-24 months: While holding on, walks up stairs, then walks down stairs. Turns single pages. Builds tower of four to six cubes. Most copy vertical line. Strings beads or places rings on spindles. Helps dress and undress self. Can wash and dry hands. Most can do simple household tasks.
  • 2 Years: Jumps in place with both feet. Most throw ball overhead. Can put on clothing-most can dress self with supervision. Can use zippers, buckles, and buttons. Most are toilet trained. Good steering on push toys. Can carry a breakable object. Can pour from one container to another. By 30 months, alternates feet on stair climbing, pedals tricycle, briefly stands on one foot; builds eight-cube tower, proper pencil grasp, imitates horizontal line.
  • 3 Years: Most stand on one foot for five seconds. Most hop on one foot. Most broad jump. Toilets self during daytime. By 38 months, draws picture and names it. Draws two-part person.
  • 4-5 Years: Most hop on one foot, skip alternating feet, balance on one foot for ten seconds, catch bounced ball, do forward heel-toe walk. Draws three part person. Copies triangles, linear figures (may have continued difficulty with diagonals, and may have rare reversals). Most dress independently other than back buttons and shoe tying. Washes face and brushes teeth. Laces shoes.
  • 6-11 Years: Practices, refines, and masters complex gross and fine motor and perceptual skills
  • 12-18 Years: Physiological changes at puberty promote rapid growth, maturity of sexual organs, and development of secondary sex characteristics.


What is social competence?

Social competence refers to a person’s ability to get along with others and adapt to new situations. Children learn social skills very early in life that determine their social competence. For example, babies make eye contact, imitate facial expressions, and respond to voices. As children age, they interact more with other children and adults, which helps them to learn additional social skills.

Social development includes forming relationships, learning social skills, caring for others, self -reliance, making decisions, and developing self- confidence and dealing with emotions.

Children’s social development can be supported by:

  • Giving praise for achievement
  • Giving children guidance but respecting their choices
  • Giving them the chance to meet and spend time with other children and adults
  • Providing activities that involve sharing and taking turns
  • Giving support and encouragement and the right amount of supervision
  • Providing opportunities to share in decisions
  • Listening to children and taking them seriously
  • Providing opportunities where children take responsibility

Newborn to 3 months:

  • Makes eye contact when alert
  • Quiets when picked up
  • Regards faces and reacts to stimulation
  • Responds to adults especially mothers face and voice
  • Smiles, concentrates on adults face during feeding
  • Very dependent on adults for reassurance and comfort, quietens when held and cuddled
  • Begins to understand that hands and feet are extensions of self
  • Stop crying when parents approach
  • Responds with total body to face he recognizes

Between 6 and 9 months:

  • Enjoys company of others and games like peek-a-boo
  • Shows affection to known caregiver, but shy with strangers
  • Shows fear of strangers and excitement to familiar people
  • Laughs when head covered with towel
  • Laughs out loud
  • Holds out arms when wants to be picked up
  • Recognizes mother and self in mirror
  • Perceives mother as a separate person; father as a separate person probably

Between one year and two years:

  • Distinguishes from self and others
  • Fears strange people and places
  • Waves bye-bye, plays patty cake and peek-a-boo
  • Likes to please adults and to perform for an audience
  • May become anxious or distressed if separated from known adults
  • May use comfort object
  • Mostly cooperative and can be distracted from unwanted behaviour
  • Plays alongside other children
  • Feeds self with hands
  • Enjoys being the center of attention
  • Prefers certain people to others
  • Begins to adjust to babysitter
  • Likes to look at pictures

Between two and three years:

  • Dawdles
  • Is negative
  • Wants to make friends, but unsure how
  • Likes to imitate parents
  • Separates easily from parents
  • Notices sex difference
  • Independent in toileting except for wiping
  • More friendly
  • Begins to understand taking turns and sharing
  • Begins to learn meaning of simple rules
  • Developing sense of own identity, wanting to do things for self
  • Demanding of adult attention, jealous of attention given to others, reluctant to share playthings or adult’s attention
  • Acts impulsively, requiring needs to be met instantly, prone to bursts of emotion tantrums
  • Enjoys playing with adult or older child who will give attention, beginning to play with others of own age for short periods

Three to four years:

  • Becoming more independent and self-motivated
  • Feels more secure and able to cope with unfamiliar surroundings and adults for periods of time
  • Becoming more cooperative with adults and likes to help
  • Sociable and friendly with others, plays with children and more able to share
  • Beginning to consider the needs of others and to show concern for others

Four to seven years:

  • Makes friends but may need help in resolving disputes
  • Developing understanding of rules, but still finds turn-taking difficult
  • Enjoys helping others and taking responsibility
  • Learns lots about the world and how it works, and about people and relationships
  • Makes friends (often short-term) and plays group games
  • Needs structure and a routine to feel safe
  • When behaviour is ‘over the top’, they need limits to be set

Seven to Twelve years:

  • Becoming less dependent on close adults for support – able to cope with wider environment
  • Enjoys being in groups of other children of similar age, strongly influenced by peer group
  • Becoming more aware of own gender
  • Developing understanding that certain kinds of behaviour are not acceptable and why and a strong sense of fairness and justice
  • Want to fit in with peer group rules
  • Start to form closer friendships at about eight years old
  • Like to play with same-sex friends
  • Need adult help to sort out arguments and disagreements in play
  • Can be arrogant and bossy or shy and uncertain

Adolescence is said to be the period between childhood and adulthood. It actually starts from the age of 11 and lasts up until the age of 19 or 20 years. Adolescence is actually a transition period because it is at this stage that teenagers gradually detach themselves from their parents. They feel matured and want to venture out there on their own but unfortunately they still lack clearly defined roles in society. This is when the feelings of insecurity, anger and frustration begin. A lot of youngsters react differently to the changes that come with adolescence, but quite often adolescence is a very turbulent period and parents and practitioners alike should try to help make this transition period a memorable one for the adolescents.


Thirteen to Eighteen years

  • The teenager may become self-conscious as changes in their body shape take place, odour occurs and possibly acne develops as a result of oilier skin. So, more than anything, they need reassurance.
  • The adolescent is preparing for independence and beginning the move away from parents and close careers towards their peers.
  • They become less concerned about adult approval and turn instead to their friends. Many teens develop very close friendships within their own gender. Most also develop an intense interest in the opposite sex.
  • They see security in group-acceptance and follow peer group dress and behaviour codes.
  • Having the same ‘labels’, collecting the same items and playing the same computer game etc. are very important

Why it is important to track developmental changes

  • Any developmental delays must be addressed quickly so that interventions can be introduced as soon as possible. It is important to keep a close check on a child’s developmental changes for the following reasons:
  • Generally, children need to learn developmental skills in a consecutive order. A delay in one skill will have a knock-on effect on other skills. For example, a child needs language skills before she will be able to write.
  • Sometimes if a child has a delay in one area (i.e. speech) it can affect other developmental areas (i.e. social and emotional). Early identification and intervention of problems in one area will therefore helps to ensure that a child makes progress across all areas of development.
  • Early intervention helps the child to develop good self-esteem. Without early intervention, a child may possess a poor self-image which may make them reluctant to participate in school activities. For example, a child who has poor language skills may feel embarrassed to speak in front of their peers and teacher.