Positive Parenting

Positive Parenting: School success starts at home

Rory and his little brother Auggie are always wrist deep in their bucket of Legos, or they're together, noses buried in a book.

"I love that they can create different things over and over," said the boys mom, Kate Whoriskey. "We have cookbooks in this room and books in our bedroom and in the boys' bedroom...books everywhere."

Catherine Tamis-LeMonda and her colleagues at NYU followed 2,200 children of families from ethnically diverse, low-income backgrounds. Social scientists visited the homes at 14 months, two and three years, and at pre-kindergarten. They looked at reading and storytelling activities, learning materials in the home and the mothers' interactions. 

Researchers measured kids' skills at Pre-K and again in fifth grade. 

"Those children who had positive early learning environments in fifth grade did better than your average kid from a middle-income household would," said Catherine Tamis-LeMonda, Ph.D. Developmental Psychologist at NYU. 

The findings suggest a strong early learning environment can offset stressors of poverty.

LeMonda says parents do not need to spend a lot of money. Borrow books, games and toys from the library. Trade kids' books with friends or make them from an old magazine. 

"It's the actual interaction that matters," LeMonda said.

Time together is time well spent. 

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