Waiting is hard. Especially when it’s something you want. Dr. Walter Mischel conducted the famous Marshmallow Test in the 1960s to understand how children develop the ability to delay gratification. The test shed light on strategies that kids can learn to use to help them delay gratification. How Can I Wait When There’s a Treat on My Plate? by Dan Graham, PhD explores the challenge of waiting for something you want through the experience of twins, Dell and Pete. Here’s an excerpt from the Note to Parents and Caregivers that provides some strategies to help kids build their self-control. Strategies to Help Increase Self-control Turn your face Temptations can become less powerful if we stop looking at the thing we want. Take some space Putting some distance between ourselves and the tempting object can make self-control easier. Distancing ourselves from current emotions can also boost self-control. We can do this by vividly imagining our future emotions. If we concentrate on how a long-term reward will feel later, it can become emotionally powerful enough to help motivate waiting. Children, and adults, are much more successful in delaying gratification when we can distance ourselves from the emotion of the current situation and get closer to our positive future emotions. Imagine We can use imagination to change the way we feel about something tempting. To delay gratification in the story, Pete could have imagined the marshmallow was something else, like a white mouse or a distant cloud. He could have made the marshmallow less appealing if he imagined that bugs had crawled on it. Or he could imagine he was someone else, like a superhero, who was very good at waiting. Do something fun Distracting ourselves by doing something we enjoy can help shift our focus from the thing we desire to the fun we are having. Additional Strategies for Parents and Caregivers Model self-control Children often adopt the behaviors that they see caregivers use. You can be a self-control role model by demonstrating not only the strategies described in this book, but also a growth-focused approach to learning such skills. When demonstrating successful self-control, you can mention that you learned these self-control skills and that you are still working to improve them and to learn others. Promote autonomy Supporting children’s choices and their ability to act independently helps them understand that they have control over delaying gratification. You can do this by leading children part of the way to a solution, but leaving enough for them to do on their own to earn a feeling of accomplishment. For example, when working a puzzle with your child, you could rotate the piece to be properly oriented, but allow the child to put it in place. Children’s autonomy is also enhanced when they can dictate the pace at which an activity, like playing a game or going for a walk, takes place, and when they can actively take part in accomplishing a task. Encouraging your child to dress themselves, although it mayRead More
It’s Earth Day! Celebrate our planet with books that explore the environment. These stories explore social-emotional and developmental issues, but the natural world plays an important role. All the Feelings Under the Sun: How to Deal With Climate Change by Leslie Davenport , illustrated by Jessica Smith All the Feelings Under the Sun: How to Deal With Climate Change is a timely, thoughtful workbook that will help young readers work through their feelings of anxiety about climate change. Through informative text and activities, the book gives children age-appropriate information about the climate crisis and gives them the tools they need to manage their anxiety and work toward making change. Camilla, Cartographer by Julie Dillemuth, PhD, Illustrated by Laura Wood Camilla loves maps. Old ones, new ones, she loves them all! She often imagines what it must have been like to explore and discover a new path for the first time. One morning, Camilla wakes up to a huge snowstorm. Her neighbor Parsley can't find the path to the creek. But Camilla has her old map — which inspires her to make her own path and her own map! While focused on cartography and developing spatial awareness, Camilla Cartographer also explores what it’s like to see your environment in new and different natural conditions. A Bank Street College Best Book of the Year “Wood's delightful illustrations and Dillemuth's expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures' adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions. An adorable adventure in cartography.” —Kirkus Reviews Hear Camilla, Cartographer, read aloud. Read an excerpt from the Note to Parents and Caregivers in Camilla, Cartographer. Grow Grateful, Grow Happy, and Grow Kind by Sage Foster-Lasser and Jon Lasser, PhD, illustrated by Christopher Lyles While these three books explore positive psychology and the process of developing kindness, happiness, and gratitude, all are set in the natural world and draw parallels between gardening or being in nature and these positive feelings. Grow Happy My name is Kiko. I'm a gardener. I grow happy. Let me show you how. Kiko shows the reader how she grows happiness: by making good choices, taking care of her body and mind, paying attention to her feelings, problem solving, and spending time with family and friends. Grow Grateful Head off with Kiko on a school camping trip and learn how she figures out what being grateful is and what it feels like. Maybe you can grow grateful, too! Grow Kind Kiko grows and cultivates her garden, harvesting and sharing the fruits and veggies with her friends, neighbors, and family. This delightful tale serves as a metaphor of nurturing relationships and community, while sharing kindness with others. Grow Kind is a gentle narrative based on positive psychology and choice theory, essentially about cultivating kindness. “In their follow-up to Grow Happy and Grow Grateful, the father-daughterRead More
Breathing as a Means to Mindfulness
One way to practice being mindful is to focus on breathing, and understand the role it plays in helping us feel calm, relaxed, and focused. In the Magination Press Family bookstore, you’ll find an assortment of kid-friendly, APA-approved books that explore breathing exercises you can try with your child, such as Breathe by Inês Castel-Branco, which uses illustrated exercises to help children become aware of their breath and their bodies.
Twins Dell and Pete are so much alike. They like the same games, they run the same pace, and they both love ice cream. But at home, they have a rule: only one sweet treat a day. When it comes to having a treat now or waiting for something better later, Dell and Pete are very different. See how they face a series of humorous choices that test their ability to stay strong in the face of temptation. Hear author, Dan Graham, PhD, read How Can I Wait When There's a Treat on My Plate? aloud.Read More