How To Get Children To Listen

The parents of four-year-old Brandon are struggling. He doesn’t follow the rules, is uncooperative and distractible. Their main complaint is that Brandon doesn’t listen.


During the day, Brandon’s mom, who is at home with him and his 9-month-old sister, is exhausted. She can’t seem to get Brandon to do anything that he doesn’t want to do. When she threatens to “call dad” or put Brandon in time-out, he laughs. Some days it is just easier to let Brandon do what he wants.

At the family dinner table, Brandon won’t sit at the table for more than minutes at a time. Bedtime is a disaster. He wants to do one more thing rather than go to bed. Dad just has to get tough with him to get Brandon to listen.

“Why can’t you just listen?” reflects the frustration and resonates the sense of failure for the parents and for the child. Continue reading

Can Children Afford the Price of Childcare?

photo-childcareMy daughter mentioned a CNN report that quoted childcare costs as the same as college tuition. It sounded alarming to her. As a young professional, she was beginning to calculate the costs of raising a family. Putting her child through college, as a 6-week-old, sounded daunting.

Childcare is also getting attention on the Presidential campaign trails, as candidates hope to appeal to the 70% of mothers in the workforce, 40% who are primary wage earners. Both candidates intend to make childcare more affordable. With childcare on each candidate’s agenda, do we know what we are getting for our money? And, is the cost comparison between childcare and college fair?

As reported, the national average costs for college and childcare are similar, each a little over 9K. And, childcare and college education do share a few other commonalities: Continue reading

PLAY: A four-letter word banned in early childhood?

Several decades ago, early childhood experts began calling play “the work of children.” The goal was to elevate the importance of play in the minds of adults. Experts were helping teachers, parents and policymakers understand that what is happening in everyday play experiences of children is essential to healthy development.

As childcare providers work to legitimize the daily care and education of young children beyond babysitting, and advocates promote the allocation of funds in early education, we have adopted the “work” and “not play” as an essential concept of early childhood.

Childcare provider at preschool center

As I work with elementary leadership teams who are adding pre-kindergarten programs to the public school settings, the schedules often reflect teacher-directed expectations of core competencies. If play on the scheduled, it is labeled, “Work Time” or “Active Learning Time.”

It rarely is called play.

While this may seem like the work of a wordsmith, there are many unintended consequences of changing from play to work. Continue reading