July 2015

M O N T H L Y  T I P
Exercise Your Child’s Executive Function!


Executive Function is a fancy term for the set of mental skills that help with planning, regulating and controlling how we behave. Research has shown that TV can actually affect young children’s executive function. For example, young children exposed to certain types of TV were found to have poor school readiness and performance, lower vocabulary scores, difficulties paying attention, and weakened social skills. So instead of turning on the TV this summer, try some of these activities to help exercise your child’s executive function: 
  • Play “Peek-a-Boo” – Simple hand games such as Peek-a-Boo about hiding and finding can help exercise your baby’s working memory.
  • Dance and Sing – Choose songs to sing and dance to such as the Ring Around the Rosy, and London Bridge is Falling Down. These types of songs can teach toddlers how to listen to the words, hold them in their working memory and then link the lyrics to their dance moves.  
  • Bring Stories to Life – Have your preschooler tell a story while you write it down. Your child can then illustrate pictures for a storybook and use the book to help her act it out as a play! This can help your child organize her thoughts and control her impulses in order to follow along with the premade plot.
  • Get Your Game On – Active games such as Simon Says and tetherball can be a great way for school age children to learn self-control, attention, and quick decision making 

When down time is needed and TV is requested, choose programming that is educational and commercial-free, such as shows from PBS Kids and available through platforms such as Netflix. Watch together and ask your child about the show and what she did or did not like – conversations are a great way to help build vocabulary, working memory, attention and even self-control with young children.  

For additional activities that can enhance your child’s executive function see this guide  from the Center on the Developing Child

P A R E N T  Q U E S T I O N S
My 10-year-old daughter watches female bondage videos online, what should I do?

While hyper-sexual behaviors in children can sometimes be a sign that a child has been abused, watching these videos doesn’t necessarily indicate that there’s a problem.  Many children watch videos out of curiosity. When they see something that’s new to them or that they find scary, confusing, or curious, they may watch it again and again in an attempt to make sense of it. Your daughter may be upset or intrigued by the images of bound women, trying to understand why they allow themselves to be tied up. Since you have such open, trusting communication, ask her, in a curious, nonjudgmental way, what draws her to the videos. This discussion can offer an opportunity to talk with your daughter about gender, sex, and power issues-who is tying up whom, who is controlling the situations, is everybody safe, and is everybody consenting? This, like many situations that can initially be seen as negative or harmful media exposure, can be a cloud with a silver lining. Read the full answer here.

T H E  M E D I A T R I C I A N  S P E A K S

Media Multitasking and the Brain

The Mediatrician (Dr. Michael Rich) discusses how engaging with multiple devices at once affects our brains and how we can help children use media in healthy, focused ways. Watch the full episode.

M E D I A  M O M E N T   

In a Galaxy Not Too Far Away…

Mary Shertenlieb, a former TV and film content screener, and mother of two, shares how she utilizes her industry knowledge of media and ratings to help inform how she parents.

Take a look at the full post and follow along every month at Ask The Mediatrician.

S P E C I A L  F E A T U R E S 

Summer F.U.N. Guide 2015

Looking for enjoyable activities for your kids and teens? Check out our Summer F.U.N. Guide for inspiration. Read more.