Aha! Blog

Teaching Your Kids to Write Handwritten Letters: It’s Like Sending a Hug in the Mail

I’ve always thought that receiving a handwritten letter is like getting a hug in the mail.

I’m one of probably a handful of people who are truly excited—who even know—that April is National Card- and Letter-Writing Month. I’m in an even...

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What Is the Value in Children Doing Puzzles?

Over the past 15 years I have studied the effects of media on children, and I continue to work to help create good content for children, both on and off screen. But as a mother of three children, I understand at a deeper level that digital screen...

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Does Talking to Adults Tongue-Tie Your Kids?

When my firstborn was just a baby, an artist friend introduced me to his children,  who were ages six and eight. I was surprised and delighted when each made eye contact, said hello audibly, and offered a handshake. They seemed so comfortable and...

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The Secret to Learning a New Language? Getting a Great Start in the Home Language

“I want Sofía to learn English, but I feel funny reading in English when I’m just beginning to learn the language myself. Is it OK if I read to my daughter in Spanish sometimes?” Mrs. Ramirez asked her daughter’s preschool teacher, Susan. She was...

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Parents Are Distracted

We have a new “baby” in our house—a puppy named Lily. Now, it’s been years since I had my three little ones at my feet, but when we brought her home, I thought, No sweat. I can handle a little bundle of joy in my life again, albeit a furry one....

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Optimism: The Silver Lining in a Chaotic World

When I rock a baby in my arms, the world just seems right.

Will somebody bring me a rocking chair and a baby to borrow so the world rights itself again? Lately, the world seems like a pretty crazy place.

In my (literal) neck of the...

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Doing Well in School Matters…So Does Good Character

When I was in elementary school—way back when—my parents would give me a dollar if I received an A in “Behavior” on our quarterly report cards. They didn’t pay for good academic grades—although it was clear that they expected my very best effort...

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The Riches of Reading to Babies

“The Reading Mother” is an old poem, and I’m not sure when I first heard it. But my favorite line comes to mind whenever I see a mom reading to her child: “Richer than I you will never be--I had a mother who read to me.” Certainly, by that...

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Confessions of a (Reformed) Helicopter Mom

Last weekend, my husband I were totally flummoxed by a robin who crashed into our dining room window over and over again.

We were desperate to help. We tried taping paper over the two window panes the bird favored, but the bird simply...

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If You Give a Kid a Library Card, Oh the Places They’ll Go

Before I could read or write, I knew how a library card worked—and I desperately wanted one of my own. The librarian said that I could have one–as soon as I learned to print my name. I got right to work on that, and I can remember receiving the...

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