Friday, October 31, 2014

Resource: KFUO Radio Library

I will be a guest on Faith and Family produced by Worldwide KFUO. The host, Andy Bates, and I will be discussing creative play and brain development on Monday, November 3, 2014, at 10:00am, central time.

I want to point you to KFUO’s On-demand programs. These are archived sessions you can listen to at your convenience. Topics include advice for fathers, special needs children, using movies to teach, children and mobile devices, recommendations for apps, and much more!

I especially enjoyed a discussion on language development and the importance of reading to your children. 

The provocative title of this session is “How to Nurture Children with Theological Language."

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Check out this free app from Raising Children Network. It us a great way to introduce more music to your child's routine.

Music is strongly connected to language and cognitive development. Music helps us to make and retrieve long term memories. Children who sing have better reading, math, and thinking skills.

This app can help you sing with your children if you feel a bit shy about belting out a favorite nursery rhyme. For older children, play the oldies station or the Christian music station and teach them to sing along with your favorites. No one has to be embarrassed in the car - or at least everyone is a captive audience.

Think how important it is to have faith songs tucked away in long term memory. They will reappear at just the right time.

Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. (James 5: 13b, ESV)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Share Your Faith: Imitators

You became imitators of us and of the Lord. I Thessalonians 1:6a

To imitate means to copy.  The baby in this video wants to imitate Dad. This is how babies learn. They watch their parents and brother and sisters, copy what they see, and with practice they get better.

We all learn this way. We imitate our parents, our grandparents, our teachers, and other people we admire.

In this Bible verse, Paul and his missionary friends are reminding members of a church that we should imitate the Lord.

The best way to know what the Lord would do is to read the Bible. When we read God’s word, listen to God’s word, pray God’s word, and sing God’s word, we learn how to imitate Jesus. This is how God teaches us and how God makes our faith grow.

When you have an assignment at school the teacher wants you to do the work on your own. But, when God gives you an assignment, He helps you get the work done! When you read the Bible the Holy Spirit is working in you to develop your faith.

Make plans for this week to spend time with the Bible. Talk about God’s Word with your parents. The Holy Spirit will work in you to help you to be an imitator of the Lord.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Parenting: Technology

As an early childhood teacher of many years and a student of cognitive psychology, this picture makes me more than a little nervous. It is not so much what the children are doing - technology is a part of our world and they are exploring and learning.

What bothers me is what they are NOT doing. They are not moving around, they are not breathing fresh air and integrating sensory information, they are not talking, they are not playing with each other. All of these activities are essential for healthy development and learning.

It is interesting to note that when Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, was asked how his children liked the iPad he responded: "They haven't used it. We limit how much technology our kids use at home."

I am not one of those who believe that technology ruins brain development. I believe that technology encourages a different kind of development. 

I am not one of those who believe that technology stifles creativity. I believe technology can inspire as much creativity as crayons and paint - you just need to find apps that give the equivalent of a blank piece of paper instead of a coloring book page with lines. 

However, I do know that God's plan for how children learn has not changed because we have developed technology for even the youngest among us to use. Children still need to talk, to run around, to create things with found objects, to imagine they are someone else. They need to sing, shout, and argue. They need to make mistakes and get into trouble. They need to problem solve and learn to get past failure.

They need to play.

Technology is great, but don't let it replace childhood