Resources for Families, Individuals and Professionals

Early Years 0-6

Early childhood development issues articles, with subjects from soothing fussy babies to discipline, play time, healthy eating and more.

Articles are organized by age in the categories below.
Early Years 0-6
Middle Years 6-12
Teen Years 13-19
All Ages

Building a strong foundation in literacy

    Ask the Experts by Angelina Spiteri

Q: My child appears to enjoy reading but seems stagnant in their development. What should I look out for to ensure my child or student is progressing in their fluency, and how can I help?

A: Reading and spelling is the end goal we all hope for, however, we may have to slow down a bit and make sure our children and students have built a strong foundation in their literacy. Continue to read books to your child that will promote a love a literature and help spark an interest in reading.

Q: What comprises a strong literacy foundation?

A: Strong phonological awareness skills are a pre-requisite to reading. Once these crucial pre-reading skills are strengthened, we know our children and students can hear and vocalize sounds to begin blending sounds into words in reading, and segmenting words into sounds in spelling.

Read more: Building a strong foundation in literacy

When Should My Child Begin Speaking Correctly?

Ask the Experts by Sara Martin, M.A. CCC – SLP

Q: I understand my 4-year-old daughter well but others don’t. She uses sounds incorrectly. She becomes easily frustrated. My friends keep telling me not to worry. I’m not so sure. Should I be concerned?

A: The short answer is yes, you should be concerned. By age 3, the majority of a child’s speech should be intelligible to strangers.

The immediate concern is determining why your daughter is not well understood by others. Her ‘incorrect use of sounds’ likely indicates she has a speech-sound disorder. An assessment would be appropriate to determine the nature of the impairment: phonological, articulation, apraxia or another type of disorder. By 4 years old, most sounds in the speech-sound system should be developed, or emerging — meaning they are present in some positions of words but necessarily all positions. Read more: When Should My Child Begin Speaking Correctly?

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their Effect on Health

Ask the Experts by Dr. Jennifer Kowalkowski

Q: I’ve recently heard about the link between something called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and negative health outcomes. Given some different events in our lives, my children have at least two ACEs already. Is this something I should be concerned about?

A: ACEs are stressful or traumatic events that include abuse, neglect, and other household dysfunction such as witnessing domestic violence, family members with substance use disorders, or parental separation/divorce. Read more: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their Effect on Health

Play Central Offers Indoor Play Option for Little Ones

Q: My family just moved to this area from out of state and I don’t know anyone yet. I have two toddlers and I would love to meet some other parents with children the same age. Do you have any options?

A: With two little ones keeping you busy it can be hard to get out to meet other people. Your neighbors may be good sources of information, ask about play groups or moms groups, etc. One great local choice many people don’t know about, however, is Play Central. Play Central is a drop-in open play group run by The Family Center, a local non-profit organization.

The program began October 4 and runs every Wednesday and Thursday through May 31 from 9am-11am – for $5.00 per visit for the whole family. Parents/caregivers meet in the gym at Barnes Early Childhood Center. Play Central follows the Grosse Pointe Public School District calendar so holidays and snow days will be observed.

Read more: Play Central Offers Indoor Play Option for Little Ones

Is it a Cold or the Flu?

Ask the Experts by Dr. Banu Kumar

Q: How can I tell the difference between a cold or the flu in my child? When should I be concerned?

A: As a parent, your first goal is always to get your child comfortable when they aren’t feeling well. Then you begin to question how serious is this? Has anyone else been sick lately? Is this the flu or just a cold?

It can be difficult to tell the difference, because flu and the common cold are both respiratory illnesses. They can have the same sore throat, runny nose, congestion and cough. Fortunately, there are some ways to identify which is occurring, but they don’t replace the importance of consulting with a doctor.

Read more: Is it a Cold or the Flu?

What Parents Can do to Help their Child be Ready for Kindergarten

Ask the Experts by Kristen DeVooght and Dorothy Heitjan

Q: How can we as parents help our preschooler make a successful transition into kindergarten? Might you have some tips to share?

A: It is vital in the preschool years to provide your child with the experiences that will build the foundation for later success in school.

In order to help your child build this foundation, parents should provide:

Hands on experiences:
Dig, cook, build, paint and sculpt with your child. Activities like these foster curiosity, eye-hand coordination, spatial relationships, and vocabulary development.

Read more: What Parents Can do to Help their Child be Ready for Kindergarten

Indoor Play Option for Little Ones

Ask the Experts by Kristen Young

Q: The weather is turning cooler and I’m a bit anxious about the upcoming long winter days and trying to keep my little ones entertained and socialized. I also would like to meet some other parents with children the same age as mine – are there any options around here?

A: You are not alone! Those infant and toddler years can feel a little isolating for parents during the cold months. But the energy level of the kids doesn’t wane – so finding activities and options is very beneficial for all. One great local choice many people don’t know about is Play Central.

Play Central is a drop-in open play group run by The Family Center, a local non-profit organization. The program begins October 4 and runs every Wednesday and Thursday through May 31 from 9am-11am – for $5.00 per visit for the whole family.

Read more: Indoor Play Option for Little Ones

Helping Children Improve Language Skills in Social Situations

Ask the Experts by Michelle Harr and Amy McIntyre

Q: My son does well when he is with his speech therapist, but doesn’t seem to be able to manage his communication disability in social situations. How can I help him?

A: This can be frustrating but hang in there! Children first need to master goals in an individual setting and then begin to transfer these skills into other environments. Often children need some assistance in transferring these skills into social situations, as well as a number of opportunities to practice these skills in their activities of daily living.

The Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and parent(s) can both work on helping children practice the skills learned during individual therapy in several ways:

Read more: Helping Children Improve Language Skills in Social Situations

Children’s Car Seat Safety Guideline

Ask the Experts by Det. Ryan Schroerlucke

Q: I recently installed a new booster seat for my toddler but I’m not sure if it is the right size for him, or maybe I moved him out of his other seat too early. How can I be sure?

A: Surprisingly, four out of five car seats are improperly installed, so you are right to question. There are simple guidelines to follow, when assigning your children to safety seats.

STAGE 1: Birth – Approx. 2 years

Children younger than 2 years old are best protected riding in a rear-facing seat. Most convertible seats accommodate rear-facing up to 35 pounds.

Read more: Children’s Car Seat Safety Guideline

Protect Your Child from Cold Weather Injury

Ask the Experts by Jeanne Lewandowski, MD

Q: What can I do to protect my child from cold weather risks or injury?

A: Parents need to understand the ways in which the body loses heat and limit the amount of time a child is out in the cold, wet or windy weather, especially as children may not be aware of cold temperatures.

Hypothermia, dehydration, eye injuries and frostbite are all potential risks for children in the cold. Exposure in certain areas of the body and too much time outside in the cold and wind can result in hypothermia; dehydration can occur when breathing dry cold air for prolonged periods; eyes can be injured by excessive cold, wind and bright, snowy environments; frostbite is especially worrisome for areas that become wet due to perspiration or wet clothing.

Read more: Protect Your Child from Cold Weather Injury