Child Development

Support Your Boy’s Healthy Development

What exactly do boys do? The answer is ANYTHING and EVERYTHING! From eating to dreaming, making mistakes to exploring, to hurting and loving, there is more to being a boy than meets the eye. What Boys Do by Jon Lasser, PhD, is a fun, affirming book that holds no restraints to traditional norms about what it means to be a boy. Here’s an adapted excerpt from Dr. Lasser’s Reader’s Note with strategies to support boys. In the case of boys, we often think in terms of stereotypes of masculinity. In many Western cultures, boys are expected to be tough, stoic, self-confident, independent, aggressive, assertive, ambitious, and insensitive. This gender role may be transmitted to boys at a very young age. Many psychologists and educators are concerned that gender role stereotypes can be harmful to boys and men...Boys and girls may function best when they can integrate qualities that are masculine and feminine. When restricted to the qualities associated with one gender, children may be limited in their potential. Adults can facilitate the healthy development of boys by supporting their personhood rather than the more narrowly defined boyhood.  Ways We Can Help Boys Read diverse books to boys. Look for books that feature male and female characters with diverse interests. Boys may enjoy stories that show girls as strong heroes, or stories in which boys have opportunities to be creative and loving. Engage in imaginative play with boys. Playing house or school involves interpersonal communication, role-play, and imagination. Through play, you communicate that boys can take on nurturing roles.  Support boys’ goals and interests. All too often we assume that a boy wants to play a sport or play with toy trucks. Many boys do have such interests, and it's good to support them. Even so, some boys have an interest in dance or theater. Provide boys with a variety of options and support them in pursuing that which aligns with their interests.  Help boys see that there are many ways to be a boy/man. Though gender role stereotypes are powerful, there are countless examples in our communities of boys and men who have both masculine and feminine qualities. When you observe them, point them out to boys. Practice unconditional positive regard for boys. We have an opportunity to express love and acceptance of boys regardless of their gender expression. Though some may criticize boys who deviate from gender stereotypes, we can promote healthy development by accepting boys for being who they are.  Boys can experience a range of feelings and behaviors. We can help boys by showing them that there are many ways to be a boy, and support boys for being who they are.

Read More
Support Your Boy’s Healthy Development 2021-11-18T15:42:50-05:00

When a Dragon Goes to School: Interview with the Author

Starting school is a big milestone. Knowing what to expect can help ease that transition. Caryl Hart’s new book, When a Dragon Goes to School, follows a dragon as it explores the routines and manners that children, will experience in preschool. Magination Press asked the author about creating this delightful new picture book, which is a companion to When a Dragon Comes Stay.  Magination Press: What inspired you to write When a Dragon Goes to School? Caryl Hart: The first book in the series, When a Dragon Comes to Stay, was so popular that my publisher, Nosy Crow, asked if I’d like to write a second book where the little dragon starts school. Of course I said yes straight away!   I remember only too well how difficult it was to settle my own children into school when they were small - we had lots of tears and leg-clinging, which was hugely upsetting at the time. Little did I know that, while I felt terrible for the rest of the day, my girls skipped off to have fun as soon as I was out of sight! Starting school is such a huge milestone for young children and creating fun, reassuring books is a great way to help prepare them. Our story includes common routines like hanging your coat and bag on a peg, entering the classroom, sitting in your special place, listening to the teacher and being kind to your new friends - all things that most children will experience during their first days at school. Children who are already familiar with the school environment can sometimes struggle to talk about their experiences and might not know how to tell their grownups when things don’t go quite right. Reading books like When a Dragon Goes to School can help open up this dialogue and give children the tools they need to process difficult, exciting, or new experiences, ultimately helping them feel happy and safe. MP: Why are manners in school so important? CH: Young children are often used to being the sole focus of attention at home, so learning to get along with others can be quite a challenge. Understanding school routines and learning to consider other people’s feelings help the school day run smoothly, which ultimately makes the experience a pleasant and rewarding one for everyone! Most children do actually want to behave in a way that will please the adults in their lives, and modeling appropriate behavior in picture books can help them work out what is expected of them. Demonstrating funny scenarios of what would never do is a funny and endearing way to discuss the behaviors they are aiming for.  MP: Can you recall a teacher that you had in school who helped you learn good etiquette? CH: I can’t remember anyone at school specifically teaching me about manners - my parents were pretty good at that!  I think learning good manners is just part and parcel of the fabric of school life.  We raise our

Read More
When a Dragon Goes to School: Interview with the Author 2021-07-16T15:54:13-04:00

Lobe Your Brain: Interview with the Author

Let’s focus on the brain! We talked to expert author Leanne Boucher Gill, who is is a professor of psychology at Nova Southeastern University, where she received the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award and was named the NSU STUEY Professor of the Year. She maintains an active research program studying how exercise affects the way we think. Her new book for younger readers is all about the human brain.  Magination Press: What inspired you to write Lobe Your Brain: What Matters About Your Grey Matter?  Leanne Boucher Gill: I love reading children’s books! I use funny voices and really get into it because I love the giggles that erupt from my kids when I read them. And their questions are always so interesting. Oftentimes we’ll end up talking about related topics from the books we read, like what happened to the dinosaurs, why hurricanes happen, or even why we have to share our toys with strangers. I wanted to write a kids’ book about my favorite part of the body—the brain—because I want kids to realize just how amazing it is. MP: Why is it important for kids to know about neurology and brain structure? LBG: I think it’s important to understand that the brain is responsible for everything we do, from walking to talking to feeling. It’s also important to understand how to take care of our brains by exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep. MP: Why did you decide to focus on the lobes of the brain? LBG: The brain can be divided in many different ways. As an introduction to the brain, the four lobes are easy to describe both in terms of where they are and some of the basic functions that they help us to do, like how visual information is processed in the occipital lobe. Understanding the different functions of different brain areas lets kids know that the brain isn’t just a mush of tissue between their ears, but rather that it is a beautiful structure that is laid out purposefully. MP: It can be really difficult to explain these complex neurological ideas to young children. Why did you decide to write a book for 6- to 8-year-olds? How did you make these concepts accessible and engaging for young children? LBG: I wanted to write a children’s book on the brain because I truly think it is fascinating. There weren’t many books written for this age group on the brain. There are so many other science-related books out there for children to get them curious about how the world works. I have been organizing public events through libraries and museums since my children were babies. I think many of the complex neurological topics you refer to are not all that difficult to explain if you can think the way a child does. I don’t believe in “dumbing it down”, but rather I try to relate neurological concepts to concepts children are familiar with, like trees.  I remember I was doing one program

Read More
Lobe Your Brain: Interview with the Author 2021-07-01T13:02:20-04:00