Conversation and Reading Will Make Your Child Smarter

I recently read an article on the CBC News site titled Nothing short of remarkable’: Study finds parents’ chats with their toddlers pay off 10 years later by Amina Zafar. This is a great article –go read it. But, if you want the short version, here’s my condensed version:

The Point

  1. Read to your kids, even if they can’t talk yet.
  2. Speak WITH them, not TO them. This means conversationally where they reply, even if they aren’t making sense/words.

The Reason

  1. Science.
    More specifically, this study, “Language Experience in the Second Year of Life and Language Outcomes in Late Childhood” concluded that talking with your child helps them perform better – conversation with kids aged 18 to 24 months old produced marked cognative/academic performance improvements for the following 10 years.

What Next?

  1. Develop a daily routine.
    Create a time in your child’s day where YOU read to them, where YOU talk with them.
  2. Create 1-on-1 Time.
    If you have more than 1 child, create a time slot for each one of them to be with you where they have your complete and undivided attention. Maybe not on the same day, maybe both parents can each take 1 kid. Figure it out.
  3. Stick to it.
    Getting this started is great, but sticking to it for years is the challenge that will pay off.
    Remember that this is not for you; it’s for your child.

Side Effects

  1. Your child will come to crave this attention from you. You may not realize this, but kids calm right down when they know that they can have your undivided attention. They feel secure, at ease, comfortable.
  2. You’ll find that these conversations and reading sessions will be become enlightening. Your child will eventually start sharing their deeper thoughts with you.
  3. You’ll miss it when you stop, so don’t.

Say This Instead


The Point

When you talk to your kid, you’re thinking like an adult… Because you ARE one. Stop, listen, feel.

I printed this sheet out and kept it in plain view for me to reference. To remind myself to be more gentle.

Use These Phrases Instead

TOOL - 16 Phrases for ParentsListening & Accepting

  • Tell me how you’re feeling.
  • I want to understand how you’re feeling.
  • I love you, even when you feel angry.
  • It’s okay to feel mad.
  • How can I help?
  • I can see why you feel …
  • It looks like you’re having a hard time. Tell me about it.
  • I can imagine you feel …

Moving Forward

  • Can I give you a hug?
  • Let’s take a deep breath together.
  • I’m sorry for … .
  • Next time, I’ll … .
  • Can we start over?
  • Will you forgive me?
  • Will you sit next to me?
  • Let’s take a break and do something fun.
  • Let’s go for a walk together.

Download a Printable PDF.

A Childhood Wasted

Every time I look at what my kids are doing/have done in the Royal Canadian Air Cadet program I can’t help but look back at my youth and realize that I completely wasted it. Sometimes I just sit with that crappy feeling for days as I agonize over my lost personal development opportunities. Ultimately, what gets me out of that mental trap is the obvious realization that I would not actually choose to do my past differently because it would prevent me from having the family that I have now.Read More »

Are You Sure That’s Bullying?

“When we fail to distinguish between bullying and ordinary meanness, we trivialize the very serious cases of peer abuse,”

–Eileen Kennedy-Moore

Here’s a link to an interesting article from the Washington Post: Not all unkindness is bullying. Here’s why we need to teach kids to differentiate. by Braden Bell.

In this article the author discusses witnessing students in his classes develop differently as a result of their parents being too quick to label negative behaviours as bullying.

Here’s a summary of the ideas, but go check it out in full:

Read More »

Parents Must Step Back

“the ultimate goal of all parenting should be to help our children be autonomous and competent.”

–Jessica Lahey

Here’s a link to an interesting article from the Washington Post: To raise independent kids, treat middle school like a dress rehearsal for life by Braden Bell.

In this article the author discusses his 5th child attending middle school where he is a teacher, and very clearly describes the things he will be teaching his child – indirectly and sometimes directly.

Here’s a summary of the ideas, but go check it out in full:

Read More »

Time Management

One of the things we do as parents is race around from place to place trying to make sure that our kids get to all their activities on time. Part of that chaos is preceded by constant pushing of our kids to be ready.

This is unproductive because it is unsustainable.
If we manage their time, they will not learn how to do it themselves.

A Solution?

Read More »

Bruce Lee Teaches You How to Live Life

Bruce LeeBruce Lee (李小龍, 1940-11-27 to 1973-07-20 [32yrs]) is a Martial Arts icon known throughout the world as one of the best –if not THE best– martial artist to ever live. He changed the game not only for martial arts training in North America, but also for how Asians are represented in Hollywood, inspiring countless people all over the planet to become actors, fighters, and teachers. He was my idol when I was in high school and remains an influential figure to me today.

He was an absolute boss; he trained literally all the time, even while driving. More than a sensational fighter he was also a movie and TV star, a passionate husband and father, a deep philosophical thinker and devourer of books. He developed his own styles: Jun Fan Gung Fu and later Jeet Kune Do, which are filled with his thoughts on not conforming to the rigidity of a single style and the exploration of what is most effective for the individual in any given situation. Perhaps he is even the founder of the now ultra-popular MMA sport.

How does this all apply to Parenting? Well, his philosophies on living up to your potential are timeless, ageless, and we should be teaching them to our kids. Bruce Lee was not about kicking ass or building muscles. Bruce Lee was about reaching deep inside yourself and dragging a better you to the surface.

Below I show what Bruce saidRead More »

Longest-Running Study of Human Development in the World

Watch This

For the past 70 years, scientists in Britain have been studying thousands of children through their lives to find out why some end up happy and healthy while others struggle. It’s the longest-running study of human development in the world, and it’s produced some of the best-studied people on the planet while changing the way we live, learn and parent. Reviewing this remarkable research, science journalist Helen Pearson shares some important findings and simple truths about life and good parenting.

How to Parent – Intro for No0bs

Social Networking Tips from Peel Regional Police

Peel Regional Police’s Top Ten Social Networking Site Tips

A friend of mine shared this with me recently, so I read it and wanted to share it as well. You can download the PDF here, or read an exact copy below.Read More »