Parenting

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Parenting, Research Parents Should Know About!

I had spoken with Ana Flores of Spanglishbaby.com about the importance of raising multilingual children. Her passion and her expertise was quite evident.  It was also nice to see a similar philosophy between the two of us.  While my goal has been to educate children through media, my philosophy is grounded in the belief that you must inspire kids and immerse them into the world of education, at their level, and not force the material. The desire to learn is far more important than anything else.

  In similar fashion, Ana believes that a parent who shares their native language in the home and surrounds them with the language, is supplying them with immense benefits..much more than previously thought, I found out.  We also dispelled a few myths and talked about it’s positive effects on literacy skills! Check out our interview (and our instant bond) on PBS’s The Parent Show!

 

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Blue's Clues, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Parenting, Super Why!

Happy ThanksgivingA cornucopia of thanks to all of you that give Daniel Tiger, Super Why, Blue and the rest of our imaginary characters an open door policy into your home.

There isn’t a day that we take your trust for granted and we’re proud to meet the challenges of bettering the lives of children across the globe.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all!

xo

Angela

co-viewing

We love hearing from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood fans and many parents have been reporting that the strategies featured in each episode are not just helpful for their preschoolers, but also useful tools in their adult lives! References to the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood series draw parents to the Daniel Tiger series as much as their toddlers. Whether parents remember the original “Daniel Striped Tiger” puppet that Fred held in his show, or have a special place in their hearts for the original red trolley (Ding! Ding!), there are little nods to Fred’s series throughout Daniel’s animated Neighborhood of Make-Believe. This affinity by parents is likely to lead to greater occurrences of co-viewing.

It is our hope that these co-viewing habits spark conversations about Daniel’s struggles and triumphs around the dinner table, before bed or anywhere it’s helpful.Apple Family Sharing logo

 

According to Demers et al. (2012), “infant television viewing is greatly impacted by co-viewing, in that infants’ gaze and attention directly follows that of their parents.” Children put greater emphasis on content that their parents pay attention to. One positive consequence of this is that young children, mimicking the viewing behavior of their caregivers, will start to pick up on salient cues – a skill that is useful both with television viewing (higher comprehension of the episodes), and with other aspects of everyday life (picking out salient cues in our everyday environments, while ignoring distractions).

Not only is immediate viewing behavior (eyes on screen) affected by parental influence but, more importantly, off-screen time is also affected. Parents who co-view programs can then incorporate the lessons and themes from the episodes into their child’s daily routines. When this “take away” message is incorporated and applied to the child’s real world surroundings, that’s when the benefits of quality content really shine!

So pull up a seat, you might be surprised what quality content (in appropriate amounts) can do for everyone!

Co-Viewing

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Kids, Parenting, Stuff We Love

Costume Winner 1DTWinner2aOur annual Halloween Photo Contest has finally found it’s winner!

With well over a hundred submitted entries (and some clever Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood disguises), the submissions were creative, heart felt, adorable and didn’t make it easy on our judges!

This year, it was a toss up..so we decided on 2 sets of winners. Congratulations to Cameron, whose Illinois family jumped into the fun also!

Congratulations, as well, to the cutest set of buccaneers, Levi & Henry, from Washington State. Your signed books (and a few extra treats) are on their way. pirateWinner1

My sincere thanks to everyone for your most memorable Halloween pictures. Life is about having fun along the ride and the memories you’re all creating is to be commended!!

Here’s to a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving!

xo

-Angela

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Kids, Parenting

Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood - Angela Santomero

As you’re probably aware by now, our little Daniel Tiger from PBS Kids’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will be welcoming a new baby into his neighborhood tomorrow, Thursday August 14th. We are VERY excited about this BIG news!

We will celebrate the new baby with a Twitter Party at 9-10 pm ET (Be sure to use #DanielTigerPBS).

DTN Twitter Party Santomero

We will also be discussing important steps that new families might wish to consider when welcoming a new child into their home, especially in regard to siblings. We hope that the discussion will aid those families in similar situations & continue beyond!!

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Kids, Parenting, Research Parents Should Know About!

Difficult conversation with your child

Superheroes with the power to read, salt and pepper shakers that talk and toe tapping strategy songs are a large part of my day. They serve as a means to help preschoolers share, cooperate and enjoy their environment that they are a part of.

So, how do we talk to kids about the not so enjoyable..the troubling and scary events that occur in the real world?

Less is more.

The best course is to answer the questions in a clear, concise way. Don’t offer up extra information. And for the very little ones, it’s best to shield them from what’s happening all together (an easy way to do this is to avoid having the news on when they’re in the room).

As kids move into grade school, they are much more aware of the world outside of themselves. They also have great difficulty understanding the distance between that world and themselves. How they see the world will depend on how we, as parents, help to paint the picture.

When it comes to the tragedies that they’ll inevitably hear about, it’s best to focus on the facts and what you can do to help. One of the workers at my daughter’s school lost a large portion of his family in an earthquake. We talked about it as a family and focused on what we could do to help. My daughter wrote a letter telling him how sorry she was and we helped collect food and supplies for the people affected. The worst part of these situations for kids is their feeling of powerlessness, so enabling them to take control by being proactive about helping is important.

Sarah Solves It

 

Here are 3 more tips to help you talk to your kids about topics you may tend to avoid:

  1. Listen first, then talk. With the less is more philosophy, listening to our children in an empathetic, interested way is of utmost importance. Find out what they want to know, what questions they have, and take cues from the way they are talking. Do they want a hug? Reassurance?  Answers?
  2. Be truthful, calm and explain the situation. If children ask about a specific situation, such as natural disasters, a good answer is: “Yes, this was a terrible tragedy but it is very unlikely that it would happen here. We prepare ourselves for emergencies such as these. We have a lot of people whose job it is to keep us safe.” Even kids as old as twelve need to be reassured.
  3. Make them feel safe. Many specialist’s believe that it’s better to apologize and explain if an improbable, traumatic event does occur rather than have kids live with the fear that something “could” happen. PBS does an excellent job of explaining the science of tsunamis, earthquakes and the improbability of it happening to us on Savage Earth.

 

Please share some communication tips that have helped your little ones feel more secure after a difficult time, because we’re all in this together!   

 

 

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues, Kids, Parenting

be A man

Act like a man!

What does that even mean?

Especially today.

 

It means A LOT.

Especially since I have two daughters.

 

It definitely doesn’t mean what I thought it meant when I was making that mysterious transformation, into becoming a man. That’s certainly because most old fashioned attitudes teach our young men to stifle who they truly are and make life changing decisions for often absurd reasons and superficial rewards. That sounds like the opposite of manly to me.

 

I saw the poignant but powerful documentary from The Representation Project on goodmenproject.com. Hopefully it will aid young boys in their transformative years. To teach them what  “Act Like A Man” should mean.

And especially what it NEEDS to mean..for all of us

I like to call it the “quarter-life crisis”. Out of college & in the “real world” for a few years, and suddenly panicking about whether the job you have now – the one you worked so hard in high school and college to land – will lead to a fulfilling and gratifying life-long career.

Studying towards my Masters in Developmental Psych. at Teachers College, Columbia U., I was certain that my passion was to work with children in some capacity, but I found myself at a crossroads, with 2 outstanding career opportunities – a very fortunate “problem” to have! Children’s Media or Speech and Language Therapy? Although they seem like wildly different professions, they are actually quite intertwined.

Exposed to several Language Development & Speech Therapy courses in my program at Teachers College, I decided to explore the SLP profession in the actual field. I was privileged to meet with Speech & Language Therapist, Lauren Turk, M.S., CCC-SLP, who kindly allowed me to shadow a few of her therapy sessions in school settings.

Ranging in ages from 3-16 years, and with a variety of different speech & language disorders, her clients did have 1 important aspect in common: the comforting & motivating environment that Lauren carefully established. It was inspiring to see how a speech therapist can really make an impact on a child to live a better, more fulfilled life.

TherapyfindRThere has been a greater awareness about the importance of early identification of speech, language, swallowing & hearing disorders in young children, but people may not necessarily know who to approach, or how and when to get treatment. Luckily, Lauren Turk has devised a new website, TherapyfindR, which enables parents to search for qualified therapists by zip code. Search results display profiles of therapists with their personal description, credentials & specialty so the family can carefully select the therapist that is right for them. The site is a FREE service to help you find the right therapist for your child’s unique situation and needs.

 

Daniel TigerAs for me, I simply could not leave the children’s media world (Have you seen how cute that Daniel Tiger is??). My work as Associate Producer at Out of the Blue enables me to enrich children’s lives, & particularly their communication skills, in a slightly different way, but I feel that my (brief) exposure to the SLP career has shaped the way I view educational children’s television: While I feel I am able to reach and make an impact on many more kids at once, it is important to keep in mind that each and every child behind the screen has distinctive strengths & weaknesses and comes from a unique family & school environment.

 

Thanks again to Lauren Turk for opening my eyes to the significant field of SLP, and make sure to check out her new site at www.TherapyFindR.com!

 

Alexandra Cassel is Associate Producer at Out of the Blue Enterprises, LLC. She is completing her M.A. in Developmental Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Alexandra received her B.A. in Psychology and Media Studies from Colgate University.
by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues, Kids, Parenting

Esnow1Like everyone these days, not only does this Dad’s plate overfloweth but I haven’t caught a glimpse of the plate in weeks! So when my girls had a snow day yesterday, the old man in me grumbled something about pushing much of my to do list to yet another day.

 

Though my 10 year old couldn’t hold back from getting into her winter gear, she quickly learned that her older sister didn’t share that sentiment.

Needless to say, she was not happy with that..at all.

Esnow2

I’m not sure if my youngest thought the duo’s sleigh riding reign was officially over, but she was certain that she had reached “THE WORST day of her life”.

Esnow3

Far be it from me to allow her to believe such, so on went my ski pants and out the door we flew. Today, my to do list is just as long as it was last week, but I’ve got a ten year old that went to sleep with a big smile on her face.

Calvin & Hobbes illustration by Bill Watterson

 

by: Greg | Filed under Dad's Clues, Parenting

robot“I don’t need you anymore Dad.”

Seriously. That’s what my (newly) 10 year old told me yesterday afternoon! I was, according to her, “too busy” when she returned home from school.

Working from home has allowed me to be privy to the overall snapshot of my girls’ school day, the daily dish of drama or, at least, allow me to assist with their quiz/test preparation. But after today, that’s all in the past.

A mere memory of a time long ago.

Apparently vocab review no longer resides within my job description. Surely I get sidetracked and the five or thirty minutes I took to check on some files I had to ftp, was not sufficient grounds to take away some of my parental rights. Or perhaps she too, is on that dark and lonely independent course, journeyed by her older sister. A road that used to be less traveled, in which there’s no need for the big guy to get bogged down in the minutiae of their lives.

I should now assume that their “Don’t worry Dad. I did it. It’s in my bag” is all the interaction necessary when it comes to anything within the confines of academia. I’m okay with that..no, really.Bookbag

 

I walked into the kitchen. Though I presently can’t seem to remember what exactly I was looking for, I saw her there. Doing her work at the kitchen table. I then learned that it wasn’t that I was obsolete, BUT I was being replaced!

Normally that wouldn’t sit well with me, especially since she’s my youngest! But what I saw made me smile.

My daughter had typed her entire list of words and definitions into my iPhone. This, I understood as Siri read each word aloud. My daughter continued to go through the words one at a time, pausing Siri after each word to deliver her answer, only to unpause to check if her answer was correct.

siriI’m not out of the game yet. But when I am, my replacement’s gotta be at least version 9.o!