How children use media has a lot to do with who they are. Although no two kids are exactly alike, children generally go through the same stages of development. Knowing these stages can help you encourage your child to use media in new and creative ways.
What you can do: Help your child find TV shows and Web sites that show her how to make things. Supply her with basic tools, like glue and scissors, and give her plenty of time to do projects.
What you can do: When your child starts a project on the computer, give her time to get it done to her satisfaction. This may mean showing her how to save an electronic project and return to it later.
What you can do: Help your child prepare for new situations. For example, use local Web sites and books to introduce your child to her new school or to the park where her baseball team will have its first practice.
What you can do: Introduce your child to Web sites that ask riddles and give clues. Let her solve problems and think creatively. Watch out for computer activities that just "drill" facts.
What you can do: If your child argues over a TV show or has a fight about who gets to use the computer, encourage her to try a different activity or to play outdoors.
What you can do: Help your child set up a calendar — maybe on the computer, or one that she makes with paper and photographs — that she can use to keep track of what she does when. Put the calendar somewhere easy to see.
What you can do: Help your child get started when she is trying something new, like playing a video game or trying a computer activity. Encourage your child, letting her know that she can do it.
What you can do: Watch out for frightening movies and TV shows — they still have the power to scare your child. If she sees something unusual or spooky, assure her that everyone is safe.
What you can do: Tell your child more about your family history, showing pictures, home movies and maybe researching your genealogy on the Web. Use TV programs and Web sites to introduce your child to people and places from cultures different from your own.
What you can do: Help your child explore earth sciences by introducing her to Web sites and TV shows about the planets and the galaxy.
What you can do: Help your child find computer activities — like Web sites about magic or video games that teach her new skills — to help her pursue these interests.
What you can do: When your child is using the computer, encourage her to read the words on the screen. Help her sound out words that are unfamiliar. Read long paragraphs together, letting her hear you make sense of words and sentences.
What you can do: When TV shows or movies have topics about death or religion, ask your child what she is seeing and feeling.