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5 activities and games to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.   2019 had its ups and downs. But at home with your little one, you get a chance to set the tone and celebrate what was good about it. You don’t have to stay up until midnight to celebrate, but a countdown… Read more »

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What to look for in classrooms that serve preschool students. All parents want healthy and safe care for their children. But how can you know if a program offers a good environment for your preschooler? Just looking around your care provider’s learning spaces can give you great insight. You can tell if your child will… Read more »

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Play & learning Halloween activities for the spookiest time of the year. Halloween is here! And for many kids, trick-or-treating is a yearly tradition, along with dressing up and carving pumpkins. But sometimes the weather can keep us inside, even on October 31. Because of bad weather, unforeseen circumstances, living far away from others or… Read more »

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Indoor games and activities for preschool children and up. The research is in: fancy toys and tablets may keep kids entertained, but fun, hands-on learning drives learning best of all. And, here’s a fun fact: all it takes is time, energy and attention. We’ve got great ideas below that build your child’s learning foundations AND build your… Read more »

art books, creative activities for kids, what to say to kids, teach kids about art, art classes
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Discover 17 great reads about art, museums and creativity for little learners — recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew! We asked members of our Brighter Readers Book Crew to share their favorite children’s books about art. Their recommendations share different artists, mediums and colorful adventures. These selections also showcase the many ways kids can express their ideas and feelings. Check… Read more »

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10 Things to do when your little one is sick.  Sick days: every parent’s nightmare. You have to scramble to reset your day, and even worse, see your little one feeling bad. You don’t hear your little one giggling or making jokes. There’s no running around or squeals while playing games. Hiding somewhere under the blankies is your usually healthy kid.   Although you… Read more »

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Learn about the signs and symptoms, and how to prevent this common disease.   One morning, your usually happy-go-lucky baby is not feeling so well. You are used to seeing her climb over things and enjoy the freedom that walking and running has brought to her life. But today, she’s not feeling so carefree. She’s… Read more »

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New views on swaddling via the National Resource Center For Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education.   The state of Indiana has updated their child care provider licensing requirements around safe sleep. As on July 1, the new safe sleep guideline is that infants can no longer be swaddled in child care… Read more »

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Discover 17 refreshing summer reads about water, the beach and swimming recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew!   About 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered. And the oceans hold about 96.5% of all of that water. Water exists in rivers and lakes, in icecaps and glaciers. In the air as water vapor and in the ground as soil moisture. And… Read more »

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Children don’t have to be at the pool or beach to get too much sun. In the hottest months of the year, families love spending time outdoors at the pool or the lake, doing fun activities or playing sports. But it’s all fun and games until someone in the family gets a sunburn. Everyone can get… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — July 12, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the topics of… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — June 28, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the topics of… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — June 21, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the topics of… Read more »

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Water safety saves lives. Water play is a great way to cool off and spark learning and fun for your little fish. But it also comes with some serious safety risks. Most recently, The German Lifeguard Association — the world’s largest lifeguard organization — issued a warning to adults on phone distraction. In the U.S.,… Read more »

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Dining out with kids often involves more challenges than joys. But that doesn’t have to be the case. It’s happened to the best of us. You planned a non-drive-through visit to a restaurant with your family. You imagined little Elisa would enjoy the change of scenery. And you made sure to call the establishment to… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — June 14, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the topics of… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — June 7, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the topics of… Read more »

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Discover 20 great books about nature, traveling and being outside recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew! Now that the days are longer, you have extra time for exploring beauty and nature with your little learner. With so many critters out and about, your child can also learn about butterflies, bugs, birds and other creatures.… Read more »

Shannon Wright
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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — May 31, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the topics of… Read more »

family, love
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Nurturing your child’s ability to understand and share the feelings of others. From the moment you saw your baby’s first smile, you’ve continued to see their emotional world grow every day. Now you can identify more of their feelings: you can tell when they are frustrated and when they are scared. You join them in… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — May 24, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the topics of… Read more »

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Celebrate this year’s award winner with these five monster-themed activities!   It’s official: Hoosier kids love There’s a Monster in Your Book by Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Greg Abbott. And it’s no wonder children picked the monster favorite to win the 2019 Firefly Award. The book is filled with great learning opportunities, like learning new… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning and parenting from around the web — May 17, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the… Read more »

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Discover five great books about the importance of honesty, recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew! You’ve heard of Pinocchio and of the boy who cried wolf, but there are even more characters learning lessons in truth — and with less tragic consequences! Sometimes kids stretch the truth a bit too much. And it’s normal… Read more »

grandma, mothers day, mother, news
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This week’s best reads about early learning and parenting from around the web — May 10, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the… Read more »

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  Brighter Futures Indiana loves collaborating with local organizations serving Hoosiers big and small! This post was written by Indiana Humanities, a statewide nonprofit which connects people, opens minds and enriches lives by creating and facilitating programs that encourage Hoosiers to think, read and talk. As a convener, leader and partner, Indiana Humanities promotes the public… Read more »

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Nurturing safe and independent children through (appropriately) risky outdoor play. From the moment little learners begin to walk, their exploring abilities grow in surprising ways. Which means their little hands and minds go everywhere. To keep them safe, we train ourselves to always keep an eye on what children do: Are their hands safe from… Read more »

mother, parenting, news, need to know
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This week’s best reads about early learning and parenting from around the web — May 2, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the… Read more »

news, research, family information
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This week’s best reads about early learning and parenting from around the web — April 26, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the… Read more »

children who lie, why do kids tell lies?
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A developmental guide to how and why kids tell lies — and what you can do about it.   Children’s lies can be glaring. Like when you caught your little electronics engineer red-handed with a broken TV remote, and she said she didn’t do it. Or a bit blurry with omission. Like when your child’s… Read more »

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Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updated their dietary guidelines for introducing babies to food allergens. Here’s what you need to know about babies and food allergies.   Peanuts! Eggs! Milk! Soon, avoiding these common food allergies could be a thing of the past for many families. Scientists used to think that waiting… Read more »

learning, family life, early childhood, parenting
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This week’s best reads about early learning and parenting from around the web — April 19, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting reads in the… Read more »

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Discover 14 great books about finding adventures in odd and wonderful places, recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew! Adventures happen anywhere children feel free to use their imagination. And books can open doors to many adventures in imagined and real worlds. Overcoming fears, going on a trip or learning a new skill are all… Read more »

baboes, news, latest info, parents should know
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This week’s best reads about early learning and parenting from around the web — April 12, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on with kids these days. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web… Read more »

family, vaccines info, advice
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Get the facts about vaccines in Indiana. Protecting your children from many illnesses is easy with the right information and resources. And getting your little one vaccinated is one big way to do it! Vaccinations can make a huge impact in the health of your family and others. In Indiana, income-qualifying families can get free… Read more »

Natalie Matthews-Ramo, kids, articles, research, early learning
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This week’s best reads about early learning and parenting from around the web — April 5, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on with kids these days. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web… Read more »

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In 2018 the Centers for Disease Control determined that approximately one in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Here are some ways you can support little learners with autism in Indiana.   1.  Be an advocate for people with autism. Share your experiences raising your child(ren) with your friends and family. When… Read more »

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The Indiana State Department of Health released a statement urging Hoosiers to protect themselves against ticks.   While families are packing picnic baskets, dipping their toes in the lake and spending more time outdoors, ticks are also having their moment. A recent field sample by the Indiana State Department of Health found adult and immature… Read more »

Dr. Alexandra Sacks, Motherhood Sessions
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This week’s best reads about early learning and parenting from around the web — March 29, 2019 edition.   With so many news sources and new research, it’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early childhood. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — March 22, 2019 edition.   It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early childhood. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting early childhood reads.… Read more »

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Have no fear, spring is here! There will be sun. There will be rain. Flowers will bloom, and we’ll play on the grass. Spring is here! To celebrate, we made a spring bingo (springo?) board with 24 easy-to-do family activities. Whether you want to enjoy the outdoors or rather keep away from rain and wind,… Read more »

Books for Girls inspiring female characters book list girls books with strong female
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Discover 14 great books with strong female characters recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew! In children’s books, strong female characters used to be hard to find. Too often, they were the rare heroines in a sea of characters waiting to be rescued. But today, it’s not rare to find alternative versions of old princess… Read more »

This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — March 15, 2019 edition.   It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early childhood. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting early childhood reads.… Read more »

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Highlights from Zero to Three’s State of Babies report.   Every year, Zero to Three releases their annual State of Babies report. The fact sheet gives us useful information about the lives of infants across the country, including information about health, family strength and positive early learning activities. This year, the report can be seen… Read more »

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“It is a happy talent to know how to play.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson   For little learners, play is part of their everyday world. It helps them learn  And as a grown-up in their lives, joining in their play is a big part of that process! Much like when your little one takes a… Read more »

via The New York Times
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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — March 8, 2019 edition.   It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early childhood. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting early childhood reads.… Read more »

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Safe sleep environments protect children from harm. Here’s what you need to know about what child care providers should be doing to keep your tiny dreamer safe and sound.   We’ve come a long way since safe sleep rules were first introduced in the 1990s to families and child care providers. Since then, infant deaths… Read more »

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An interview with pediatric dentist, Dr. Joan Kowolik. As parents, we all have questions about the little smiles in our households: When should we start brushing? How much candy is too much candy? If the teeth look good, do we have to go to the dentist? We went straight to the experts to find out… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web — March 1, 2019 Feel Good edition.   This week we have only good news for you. Did you know childhood poverty could be cut in half in ten years? Or that some green time with your little one can cut their risk of… Read more »

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Dinnertime is an opportunity for learning new words, practicing motor skills and experimenting with cause and effect. Looking for a yummy way to practice your little learner’s science skills? Try doing these activities next time you make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner!   Before cooking Remember: Always wash your hands before handling food! When preparing… Read more »

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All families are different, but there are some things all families can do to help kids get along. The story of how my sisters and I grew up to be friends is not the typical sibling story. Before I was even born, my older sister wanted my parents to give her a little sister. She… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web – February 22, 2019 edition.   Did you know Will Smith is releasing a children’s book based on the 90s hit series The Fresh Prince? Or that arts education can make a child more compassionate? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s… Read more »

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Music is important during early childhood and beyond. You may have heard about the research on music: playing an instrument is really good for the human brain. The many benefits of playing music include improving concentration, memory and learning. Just listening to music alone has great benefits too! It helps us reduce stress and improve… Read more »

Play outside pre-k kindergarten fun snow play
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The Art & Science of Taking Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Beyond Outside in Winter Wonderlands & Dreary Days Too Winter weather may require some extra precautions and some extra gear, but it’s no reason not to take our little ones outside for learning and play. My son is six now, but back in the day,… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web – February 15, 2019 edition.   Did you know experts are finding ways to prevent depression during pregnancy? Or that UCLA is developing a music therapy program to help preemies develop feeding skills? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on… Read more »

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Discover 11 great books about love for little learners — recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew! Did you know know science shows that giving hugs to your little one every day can make a big impact in the health and in their life? The words we say and the love we give make a… Read more »

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Five science-backed tips for saying “I love you.”   Something as simple as saying “I love you” or holding a child in a warm hug goes beyond passing feelings. In fact, expressing care can shape how a child’s brain develops and will later process stress and conflict as an adult. The words we say and… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web – February 8, 2019 edition.   Did you know that recent CDC report says kids are using too much toothpaste? Or that you can send germ-free Valentine’s Day cards to Riley Children’s Health this year? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s… Read more »

art, crafts, kids, activities
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Art activities for saying “I love you” and “thank you” with more than words. All little ones show love and affection in their own special ways. Babies will show you they are happy to see you through giggles and squeals. Older babies will run to you with a big smile and give you a warm… Read more »

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There’s more than counting one-two-three for children birth-to-five.   From the very first few months of your baby’s life, your little one is already laying the foundation for a lifetime of math learning. And with your help, your child will hit many celebration-worthy milestones. As your baby explores and learns how routines work, they are… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web – February 1, 2019 edition.   Did you know that babies are born with the ability to tell words apart? Or that a study from Purdue University found that toddlers have diets that fall short on vitamins they need? It’s hard to stay in… Read more »

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Discover 14 great books for dealing with grumpy days with your little one — recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew! Being little is not easy. It means hearing “no” a lot. It means that you are still learning how to use the words that mean what you want to say. And it also means… Read more »

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What you need to know about keeping your child safe during cold weather: from how to stay warm to tips for walking like a penguin. Discover more about how your child learns and stays safe in cold weather: Cold Weather Outside, Bold Learning Inside! Health Topics: When to Keep Kids Home Is it a cold… Read more »

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Great stories do more than build word skills. They build feelings skills too. Some feelings are universal: When you play peek-a-boo, your little learner laughs. And when they realize they can do things all on their own, you may see a big smile on their face. But there are moments when your child will feel… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web – January 25, 2019 edition.   Did you know that delaying a baby’s first bath may be related to successful breastfeeding? Or that children with arthritis are closer to finding better treatment? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in… Read more »

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Boost Your Child’s Learning By Changing Your Habits in Weird, Wonderful Ways   When I talk to expectant parents, I like to get past chatter about nursery themes or bottles vs. breast and get to the nitty-gritty: parenting is weird! And weird parenting is actually wonderful. In fact, research tells us that some strange habits… Read more »

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Behavior challenges: where they come from and how to promote positive behaviors.   To prepare for the Tricky Behaviors Facebook live Q&A, we asked the staff from the Brighter Futures Indiana team about the most common behavioral challenges for toddler and preschool-age children. Some parts of this conversation were summarized for brevity.   BFIN: What… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web – January 18, 2019 edition.   Did you know there’s a chicken nugget recall? Or that scientists may have found a way to prevent food allergies? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early learning. But… Read more »

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Teaching little ones about self-care and introducing them to chores. Have you seen your toddler brush their doll’s teeth? Or have they taken “teddy bear to the doctor” for shots? That’s because they are exploring and understanding what it means to be healthy and safe. And as a parent, there are many ways you can… Read more »

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What new research says about children and screen time and how to apply it at home.   Do a Google search for kids and screen time, and you will find headlines that say everything from “screens are toxic for kids” to “kids can watch Winnie the Pooh all day if they want to.” Most recently,… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web – January 12, 2019 edition.   Did you know parents can now track pregnancies from home? Or that Conner Prairie will debut their own early childhood program? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early learning.… Read more »

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The Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan is an easy way to invest in your child’s education tax-free. The 529 plan offers these great features:   Easy setup. It only takes a $10 deposit to get started. And anyone—friends, grandparents or relatives—can contribute.   Tax benefits. Withdrawals for education—tuition, books and other college expenses—are tax-free.… Read more »

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Three ways to set goals as a family — and how to have fun while doing it.   “New year, new me!” say some people after another year rolls in. And as days move behind us, we see our goal posts moved elsewhere. Sometimes we end up where we started or even slightly behind. The… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web – January 4, 2019 edition.   Did you know there was no such think as childhood in the middle ages? Or that January is National #RadonActionMonth? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early learning. But… Read more »

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This is the 5th year Hoosier children will vote for their favorite book at local libraries.   We are celebrating another year of great reads with exciting news for book lovers from the Indiana Center for the Book. Director Suzanne Walker announced the nominees for the 2019 Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award! The award gives little ones… Read more »

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This week’s best reads about early learning from around the web – December 22, 2018 edition.   Are shampoos tied to early puberty rates? How much does it cost to raise a child in 2018? Did you know scientists are giving caffeine to premature babies? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going… Read more »

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Easy winter weather activities for family time learning.   From freezing rain to super-chilly days, many kids don’t spend as much time outdoors during Indiana winters. But there’s still plenty of ways to use the plunging temperatures outdoors to build children’s skills and understanding — all while enjoying the coziness of being indoors. Want to… Read more »

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Podcasts for families on the go and kids who want to be in the know. Car trips to grandpas. Airplane flights. And long, cozy days. Travel and time off together can mean a lot of family time, sometimes in enclosed spaces. While we don’t always succeed, my husband and I spend a lot of time… Read more »

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This week’s best articles about early learning from around the web – December 15, 2018 edition.   Did you know there are new findings about your baby’s gut flora? Or that your brain echoes your baby’s when you play together? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of… Read more »

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Discover 13 great books about food recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew! What do you eat when you feel hungry? And what other feelings do you have when you feel hunger? Talking about food gives us a chance to talk about many other topics. Whether you want to talk about feelings, practice your numbers,… Read more »

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EARLY CHILDHOOD PROFESSIONALS SHARE THEIR BEST BETS FOR CHILD CARE STAFF PRESENTS Santa visits, craft projects, gift shopping and holiday gatherings can jam-pack a calendar. And families with young children face one other major holiday hurtle each year: sharing gratitude with the early ed pros who nurture our sons and daughters. To make that task… Read more »

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This week’s best articles about early learning from around the web – December 8, 2018 edition.   This December edition of The Week in Early Learning has everything from Christmas safety to studies about mental health. It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early learning. But we’ve… Read more »

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Health and safety for kids in shared spaces Should your child stay home from child care or school? Many parents ask themselves this question during the cold and flu season. Opinions vary too. Parents may disagree with their child care or school’s temporary exclusion policy. That’s especially true because keeping children home means that parents… Read more »

baby is sick, treat toddler, cold, flu, what to do
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Diagnose. Prevent. Care. Flu season begins in the fall and lasts through February. Lots of kids miss school, and parents have to care for their little ones every step of the way. But how do you know how serious it is? And how can you tell the difference between a cold and the flu? They… Read more »

Photo by isaac taylor from Pexels
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This week’s best articles about early learning from around the web – December 1, 2018 edition.   It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early learning. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting early childhood reads.… Read more »

dinovember, dinosaurs, reading,
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Discover 13 great books about dinosaurs recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew!   Did you know birds are modern, feathered dinosaurs? Or that writers and illustrators can make anything possible with some imagination and storytelling? Kids love the myths and the scientific truths about our long-extinct favorite animals — and this book list is… Read more »

news, childhood, articles, information
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This week’s best articles about early learning from around the web – November 24, 2018 edition.   It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going on in the world of early learning. But we’ve got you covered! Each week we will comb through the web and find the most interesting early childhood reads.… Read more »

autumn, fall, reading, kids, grateful, indiana
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  Books about gratitude recommended by the Brighter Readers Book Crew.   “Thank you” are not just the words we say to be polite whenever some one gives us something. They are words that can represent feelings of genuine gratitude. According to scientists at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the gratitude experience has… Read more »

news, early learning, what to read, learn
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This week’s best articles about early learning from around the web – November 16, 2018 edition.   Did you know scientists discovered most infants don’t sleep through the night? Or that lack of child care costs the state of Indiana billions of dollars each year? It’s hard to stay in the loop of what’s going… Read more »

pregnant, baby, belly, gestational diabetes, diabetes, new mom
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  Gestational diabetes is a temporary condition some women develop during pregnancy (gestation), where their blood sugar levels — also known as blood glucose —  become high. The first thing to know is that it’s not your fault if you get gestational diabetes. In fact, medical experts still don’t know why only some women get gestational… Read more »

emotional health
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How to nurture your child’s emotional growth during the early years. Your child’s social and emotional skills are just as important as their academic development. To learn more about how families can nurture the emotional growth of their little ones at home and in child care, we spoke to Dr. Elizabeth K. King.    A little… Read more »

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Celebrate the season with these fun family activities! Make the most of the fall with these ideas — and the kinds of warm family interactions that make this cozy time of year a special experience.   Baby Play is how your baby is learning right now. She’s exploring her senses, and it’s a great time… Read more »

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What’s the secret to getting your child ready for kindergarten, jobs and life? YOU and a little bit of family time. Hands-on family time builds your child’s skills. And building those skills gets them ready for success from elementary school to a meaningful career. Check out the tips below and sign up to get more… Read more »

chipped paint, lead, family safety, toxic
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Lead Poisoning Prevention Lead poisoning is 100% preventable. It’s no secret babies and toddlers love chewing and putting things in their mouth. As a result, young kids under six years old are at higher risk of exposure. If you live in or receive child care in an old house, it’s possible your child could be exposed… Read more »

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Reading ideas for little animal lovers.   Sharing the planet with animals gives children chances for adventure and for learning about the world! We can learn about love from the pets who live with us. We can learn about nature by exploring the different environments animals live in. And we can learn about science by… Read more »

fight illness, flu virus, cdc
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Tips for protecting young children against the flu.   Every year, thousands of children spend time in the hospital after becoming sick with the flu virus. One way to help prevent flu viruses from dampening your seasonal fun, is to get your family vaccinated. The CDC recommends that everyone aged six months and older get a… Read more »

sleepy baby, toddler, wake up
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12 Tips for Getting Sleepyheads Out of Bed   When your child was just a little baby, you probably didn’t get a lot of sleep — so you’ve really hit a milestone now that it’s difficult getting them out of bed. As the days get shorter and the nights get longer in the fall and… Read more »

International Day of the Girl - Great Books about Career and Work
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Eight Books to Celebrate Girls and Career Goals We love any chance we can get to explore careers with little learners. So, we’ve created a book list that features exciting work opportunities with bright and capable girl characters! And — for families with boys — don’t shy away from this list of books for your… Read more »

books, stories, reading, toddler, pre-k, writing
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Bookmaking celebrates storytelling, imagination and memory. Your little learner knows books are important. They likely see grown-ups read them for many reasons. Dad finds recipes for dinner. Mom laughs at funny stories before bed. An aunt looks back on important historical events about their city and country. There seems to be a book about everything!… Read more »

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Build essential social-emotional skills by helping your child develop tools to manage feelings. As your child’s mind and body grows, social-emotional skills and well-being do too! Children go through a lot of changes and learn a lot of things about feelings from birth through pre-K. You can nurture that growth every day. This article is… Read more »

building a home, healthy family, help for families
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Get help setting and meeting your parenting goals with home visiting programs!     No two families are alike. Each family has its own strengths. Every family is special in its own ways. But we can all use a little help when we become parents for the first time or when we’re raising children. Many… Read more »

raising little citizens social studies preschool pre-k
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Raising a socially connected child that understands the world around them. From the moment your little learner becomes a citizen of the world, she’s absorbing everything around her. What day and night look like, smells and sounds in her environment, and the voices of the people around her. “Social studies” is just a complicated way to say… Read more »

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Your child’s brain grows constantly during early childhood. Experienced parents may be familiar with the life-changing experience of stepping on a LEGO. Through tears and pain, many lessons emerge. The whole family gets to learn about keeping floors clear, wearing house shoes or scanning for stray toys when barefoot. But LEGOs are more than a… Read more »

baby nap, SIDS, safe sleep
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Tried-and-True Safe Sleep Practices for Babies Once you have a new baby at home, you hear lots of opinions about how babies should be sleeping. But doctors and researchers agree on tried-and-true things you can do to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other sleep-related causes for infant death — at home and whenever… Read more »

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Add these stress-busting strategies to your parenting toolbox!   Raising young children can be as rewarding as it can feel exhausting. When the basic challenge of raising little humans combines with the stress of other everyday tasks, it can be even tougher. We cannot predict when life will happen. And there is no pause button… Read more »

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Does talking about college and careers before kindergarten feel a little silly? It actually connects directing with Indiana’s Early Learning Foundations — which you can explore in our Play and Learning guides! Those are our state’s guidelines about what every child should know before starting kindergarten. Check out how your child’s growth in social studies… Read more »

biting, teeth, bite, bitten, biter
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What to do when toddlers bite — or when you child has been bit. Find answers to the most common questions about biting! If you’ve spent time on brighterfuturesindiana.org Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., or Fridays, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., you’ve seen a little window pop up to ask “Hello, how can… Read more »

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Although Brighter Futures Indiana is committed to year-long family fun, August is the official #FamilyFunMonth. To wind down from a month of fun, we gathered some of our favorite activity ideas from our website. The month is almost over, but the fun doesn’t have to end!   1. Mud Kitchens This great idea came to… Read more »

Join Us on Facebook to Explore Exciting CCDF Changes We’re hosting our first statewide Facebook Live session! Join us September 18 to find out how Indiana’s early childhood system is becoming more family-friendly. On October 1, 2018, Indiana will make a number of changes to the CCDF program. These updates are the result of new… Read more »

grandma, bilingual, mamani, reading, music
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Families Support Multilingual Learners in Many Ways Mario lives in Bloomington, Indiana, and will be three years old in October. He speaks mostly English when he’s at child care or with his family. But he says “buscala!” when he’s playing with his Buela’s (or grandmother’s) dog. Like many bilingual learners, Mario’s words are shaped by the… Read more »

cat party, go noodle, mental health, physical health
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An app – or website – that teaches healthy habits for bodies and minds. I believe in the power of a parenting tribe. And when multiple friends suggest the same resource to me, I tend to listen. So, after my super-mama friend Jamie and my  former colleague / super-star-working-mama Megan both shouted the praises of… Read more »

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Have you ever heard (or maybe said) “a child could make that!” about an abstract work of art? Well, today is the day for seeing if that’s true. Maybe it’s too soon to know if your child is the next Lee Krasner, but they can indeed create art. Kids can make images that are expressive,… Read more »

angry, discipline, acting out
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Seven Questions with Kahlil Mwaafrika   Some days are easier than others. And then there are days where there’s no predicting what emotion your little learner will be working through. Self-regulation is a skill that can be learned. And learning about one’s own feelings goes hand-in-hand with thoughtful behavior. To learn more about managing behaviors… Read more »

counting, adding, math, science, skills, kindergarten
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Math and science learning happens naturally. We just need to take a minute to see it! When we’re moving from one activity to the next, it’s very easy to get pulled into busy mode. You’re busy making snacks, changing diapers and coming up with answers for the million questions your little learner has. All while… Read more »

nonfiction, books, reading, early learning, toddlers, babies, pre-k
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Add Some True Stories & Fun Facts to Family Reading Time Reading together is a part of many families’ day. At bedtime, before naps, during wake-up… books help create calm, connected routines. Books also give us great chances to help little ones learn. A lot of the time, our choices may involve silly characters or… Read more »

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Picky eating can be challenging! And it can come in many forms. Some days little learners may turn their noses up at carrots. The next day, they cannot, will not eat anything green on their plates. Other days they remember that grilled cheese is “better” than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Either way, they… Read more »

family, conversation, what should I say?
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Conversation starters and questions to get your little one sharing!   “How was your day?” “Good.” Want a little more detail? For families of young children, the time between pick up and drop off is perfect for connection. And having the right questions results in amazing sharing. Read below from one of our in-house experts,… Read more »

summer fun kids
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Summer’s long days don’t need to be boring! The Indianapolis Art Center summer camp experts shared with us a family art activity you can do from your very own backyard or neighborhood park. With squirt painting, children use spray bottles or squirt soakers to create big, fun art. You just need some white sheets or paper… Read more »

children outdoors, indiana DNR, kids outside
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Getting out and about in nature this summer? Check out these ideas for fun adventures in Indiana’s great outdoors! Indiana is full of natural beauty! And, for young children, the outdoors are a great classroom. Thankfully, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources has great ideas for outside fun. Find some of our best bets below,… Read more »

yoga with kids
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Prenatal yoga can help expecting mothers reduce stress and have better sleep. So when Nicole Atkins found out she was pregnant with her first child, she decided to give it a try and purchased a video to do at home. What she was not expecting was that her partner, Robert Meko, would join her in… Read more »

reading, read, ECRR, books for kids, how to read
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What’s the best way to get your child ready to read before kindergarten? What does it mean for a child to be ready to read? Librarians all across the nation use Every Child Ready to Read® during storytime and parents can use it too! It can be a useful guide for finding activities to do at home… Read more »

Frankenstein, DIY, children, activity, summer program
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Monstrous Summer Activities for Your Child to Enjoy This year at Indiana Humanities we’re recognizing the 200th birthday of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley with a statewide read and celebration of the book. In the book, Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant scientist, pushes the limits of science to create a living being, but then he regrets his… Read more »

mud, child play, activities, early learning, rainy day
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In Indiana, wet and muddy days happen no matter the season. Winter? Slushy and wet. Spring? Sunshine and rain. But this summer, you can embrace a little extra mud. Mud is a great chance to explore science. It can also be the main ingredient for pretend cooking, stirring and baking after a rainy day. A… Read more »

iPhone, Apps, family
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Three Great Tools to Help You Thrive as a Parent For parents, today’s tech-focused world can offer both challenges and opportunities. Well, we have some good news – there is an app for that! Whether you want to track your child’s milestones, get ready for a new member of the family, look for help on making… Read more »

child care, healthy, happy baby, Indianapolis child care
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Having lots of choices for child care can be overwhelming. But just like the other choices you make for your family, choosing child care is about what fits your parenting style and needs best. To find out more about child care near you, visit childcarefinder.in.gov, start a chat conversation below or call Brighter Futures Indiana… Read more »

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Lay the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles (and teeth) for your baby, toddler or big kid! It has been said eyes are the window to the soul. But when it comes to health, smiles and giggles can also tell us a lot. When our little ones are feeling happy, we know they are… Read more »

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This year’s Firefly Award winner will light up summer evenings for little readers! We have exciting news for book lovers from the Indiana Center for the Book (ICB). ICB Director Suzanne Walker announced that author Mac Barnett and illustrator Brian Biggs are the 2018 Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award winners. They won for their book… Read more »

User guide Brighter Futures Indiana

Brighter Futures Indiana is a resource to support families like you. It’s packed with useful information, ideas and resources. Our goal is simple: We support Indiana families as they nurture their children. And we support that process at home and while in care. Brighter Futures Indiana is brought to you through a partnership with the… Read more »

long car rides tips tricks busy box kids
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Young children can be very impatient sometimes. Keeping them in a happy and content state on long car rides or trips can be tricky! Make sure you are as prepared as possible. The worst thing would be for you to get an hour into a three-hour car ride and realize you didn’t bring enough “stuff”… Read more »

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Want to upgrade your weekly shopping trip from family struggle time to — at least on a good day — an educational experience? We have four easy-to-use ways to keep your children (fingers crossed!) calm, curious and connected on your next trip to the grocery store.   Shopping list: Before you head to the store,… Read more »

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You can call it potty training, toilet learning or “big kid restroom time.” But no matter the words, helping little ones graduate from diapers to toilets can be an emotional minefield for families. There are a lot of factors to consider (and worry about) – from getting started to how to approach the whole process.… Read more »

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Family style dining helps little learners grow and thrive Sitting down for a meal — together as a family — can feel like a luxury when we are balancing the needs and schedules of every family member. But family meals don’t have to be fancy. And they don’t have to look like a television show… Read more »

bedtime reading book
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Beyond helping children gain basic literacy skills, reading can be a huge piece of building warm and loving family bonds. From babies to preschoolers, reading builds family connections and sets routines. And one of the most useful book traditions with children is bedtime reading. Taking time every single night to read a book helps your… Read more »

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    Babies begin their lives without much coordination and with little muscle management skills. But it doesn’t take long until they get moving — and you have to chase them. One of their big leaps from a sedentary lifestyle to little movers is crawling. Most babies begin working on crawling between six and ten… Read more »

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I’m one of the few staff at Child Care Answers [Central Indiana’s child care resource and referral agency] who doesn’t have early childhood education experience. So why am I writing this piece about relationships with early childhood staff and teachers? What I do have is this – experience in being a parent who is inexperienced. I… Read more »

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Welcome to October!  As the weather changes, be sure to take extra steps to help prevent illnesses like the flu.  Wash your hands and the hands of your children often and make sure to scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds. Be sure hands are washed after blowing noses and sneezing. You may want to… Read more »

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Teaching children the art of giving develops kindness, compassion, and caring for others.   When Kennisyn was a four years old, she overheard a conversation between her parents about giving to the United Way of Central Indiana. Kennisyn chimed in and told her parents that she would also like to donate.   Each day for… Read more »

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Working in the early childhood field, the most common comment I get from parents is how expensive it is to send their child to preschool. I definitely agree that it can be, but there are a few options that may help. Several of these funding sources for preschool are geared toward low income families: Head… Read more »

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The time has come; your child has turned five and soon will be heading off to begin a new journey into kindergarten. This life event can be exciting and scary for both you as the parent and your child. As a Pre-K Program Manager, a common question parents ask me is “What does my child need… Read more »

As a mom of a thirteen year old, I understand the struggle that can ensue after a long summer of staying up late, sleeping in late, and having little to no structure to the day. Like the rest of the parents out there, I recognize the potential stress that comes along with trying to get… Read more »

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What to look for in a program that serves babies All parents want healthy and safe care for their children. But how can you know if a program offers a good environment for your baby? Just looking around your care provider’s infant spaces can give you great insight into whether your child will be safe… Read more »

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Going back to work or school can be challenging for nursing mothers. Mothers are not sure how many ounces of milk to send in each day, getting baby to take a bottle can be difficult, and finding a provider that understands breastfeeding can be a challenge. Here are some tips to make it go more… Read more »

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Recently, pre-K has been a hot topic in the State of Indiana. Studies have shown that pre-K can have long term benefits for your child’s development1. It helps prepare them for kindergarten, and it helps their social-emotional growth. It can be overwhelming to find the right pre-K program for your child. Where to start? Look for one… Read more »

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In the blink of an eye, the school year is over and another summer is before you. The majority of us out there are working parents, and we often have a hard balance to achieve in the summer: keeping kids safe, enriching their learning, and seeing that they have an enjoyable time. If you’re like many… Read more »

crawling, baby-proof, safety
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BABY’S SIDE OF THE STORY “Ooh! Look at that pretty stuff over there! I should check it out!” thinks Baby, making his way across the living room floor. Mom is busy making dinner in the next room. ‘Silence is golden’ some say. In this case, silence can be dangerous! Little eyes spot things adults wouldn’t… Read more »

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As a parent in today’s hurry-up society, I recognize how easy it can be to succumb to unhealthy habits that are responsible for creating an overweight child.  For the sake of convenience and budget, we all have all been guilty of these habits. My vice? Swinging by the closest fast food joint when the evening hours… Read more »

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We have all seen advertisements of babies and young children reading words off flash cards with proud parents beaming in the background.  While there are varying opinions on the effectiveness of these programs, the truth is that very young children are beginning to gain the skills necessary to be readers. Adults in children’s lives can… Read more »

Childhood has moved indoors.  The average American child spends only 30 minutes in unstructured outdoor playtime[i] as opposed to nearly seven hours of screen time.[ii]  As child care providers, we know that parents often enroll children in organized sports early and spend time outside watching children play.  Guess what? All those summer soccer and baseball games do… Read more »

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I know your schedule is jam-packed with work, child care drop-offs, sports, lessons, and play dates. But what about meals as a family? It’s easy to rush through them, but meal times are an important part of child development. Meal times are more than just feeding your child; they are a chance to learn socialization, healthy… Read more »