current issue button
about TXCC button
back issues button
manuscript guidelines button
resources button
Acquire PDF for full version of this article.
  (requires Adobe Acrobat Reader®)

Texas Parenting News

Celebrate your girl child


Despite advances in equal education opportunities for all children, some families, communities, and cultures still tend to favor education for boys over girls. But educating girls can have a bigger payoff.

According to the World Bank: “Better educated women tend to be healthier, participate more in the formal labor market, earn higher incomes, have fewer children, marry at a later age, and enable better health care and education for their children, should they choose to become mothers. All these factors combined can help lift households, communities, and nations out of poverty.”

The United Nations has called attention to this view by declaring Oct. 11 as International Day of the Girl Child. You can celebrate your girl child in many ways. Some ideas:
Read to your infant daughter every day.
Choose a female physician and dentist as a role model for your daughter.
Invite your preschool daughter and a few of her friends to take part in a service project, such as collecting canned goods for a food bank, picking up roadside litter, or cleaning up a park.
Visit a natural history museum, art exhibition, or public library for inspiration and enrichment.
Go to a girls’ volleyball or basketball game at the local middle or high school. If your daughter shows interest, buy a volleyball or basketball and demonstrate a skill appropriate to her age, such as throwing and catching.
Take your school-age daughter on a visit to city hall or the state capitol. Talk about what happens there. Visit the county courthouse to observe female judges and lawyers at work.
Explore memberships in organizations for school-age girls, such as Scouts, Camp Fire, and YWCA. Don’t overlook faith-based organizations and those unique to your community.
Read books from the public library on the biographies of successful women, such as the following:

Amelia Earhart, by Caroline Crosson Gilpin (2013).

America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle by David A. Adler (2000),

Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady & Equal Rights Advocate, by Grace Hansen (2016),

Marie Curie, by María Isabel Sánchez Vegara (2017),

Mary McLeod Bethune, by Susan Evento (2004),

When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anerson: The Voice of a Century, by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2002), and

Sonia Sotomayor, by Barbara Kramer (2016).

Sources include “Girls’ Education,”, and “International Day of the Girl Child October 11,”


Don’t leave children in a vehicle—even for a minute!


The temperature in a car or truck can zoom up rapidly—even with the windows open. A child’s body temperature can rise 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s. To prevent death:
Take children with you, even if you plan to be gone only a minute.
Don’t assume it can’t happen to your child. Sometimes a busy schedule can make you, or a caregiver, forget.
Lock the vehicle when not in use, and teach children not to play in cars or with keys.
If you see an unattended child in or around a car, call 9-1-1.


Play beach games


Take your family to the beach this summer—or play beach games at home. Make sure everyone stays hydrated with water. Protect against sunburn by applying sunscreen, wearing a brimmed hat, and wearing loosely woven shirts with long sleeves. Provide shade with a beach umbrella or a sheet tied between four beach chairs.

Children and adults will have fun with the games below:

Sun dial. Poke a straight stick 2-3 feet tall into sand or dirt in a sunny area. With your finger, trace a line along the stick’s shadow and place a pebble or sea shell at the end. Repeat every hour, noting how the shadow moves with the sun.

Beach ball toss. Two players hold one end of a beach towel opposite from each other. Place an inflated plastic beach ball in the center of the towel, and work together to toss the ball into the air and catch it on the towel.

Sharks and minnows. One player is the shark and tries to tag the others (minnows). When a minnow is tagged, it becomes the shark.

Tic-tac-toe. Draw a tic-tac-toe board in sand or dirt with a stick. Use pebbles or sea shells instead of X’s and O’s.

Beach golf. Dig a hole in sand or dirt, and roll a tennis ball or ping-pong ball toward the hole. Make it more challenging by digging the hole in a mound or on a slope.

Pass the water. Stand in a line and give the first player a plastic cup filled with water. The first player, standing with back to the second, raises the cup and pours the water overhead to the second person. Repeat until the water is gone.

End the morning or afternoon with a picnic or by grilling hot dogs.


Get ready for school in the fall


Even though your 3- or 4-year-old has attended a preschool program, the first day at a new school can be scary, especially if the schedule will be more structured. To help your child make a smooth transition, try these suggestions:

Read a book about starting to school, such as the following;
Albert Starts School, by Eleanor May (2015),
Chu’s First Day of School, by Neil Gaiman (2015),
Countdown to Kindergarten, by Alison McGhee, 2002,
David Goes to School, by David Shannon (1999),
First Day Jitters, by Julie Danneberg (2010),
First Day of School, by Anne F. Rockwell (2011),
If You Take a Mouse to School, by Laura Joffe Numeroff (2000), and
The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn (2007).


Play school with a few of your child’s friends
At first you play the teacher. Read a book, write alphabet letters on paper, or sing a song. Act out scenarios in which a child needs to ask the teacher for help, such as being excused to use the restroom, not understanding what the teacher said, and getting another child to stop annoying behavior. Switch roles to let a child play the teacher.


Begin gathering school clothes and supplies
Your child may already have adequate clothing, but you may need to check them for wear and tear. As part of dressing every day, practice fastening shoes, even those with Velcro®. Gradually add skills such as buttoning shirts and zipping pants. Help your child learn to put on a backpack correctly and quickly.

Contact the school in advance and ask for a list of supplies, such as pencil, paper, and crayons. Some schools and nonprofit groups offer free supplies, including backpacks, to families.

Play alphabet and number games
Singing the alphabet song and counting to 10 does not mean your child has a solid grasp of using letters and numbers. Practice with these games:
Say, “Let’s see how many different ways you can write your name.” Offer pencil and paper, crayons, chalk on a sidewalk, and a stick in the dirt. Shape the name in clay, play dough, yarn, or drinking straws.
Write the letters from A to Z, each on an index card. Start with capital letters and later add lower case. Mix up the cards. Ask, “Can you find the letters of your name?”
Write the numerals from 1 to 10, each on an index card. Invite your child to match each written number with the correct number of items, such as five paperclips or plastic bottle caps to the card marked 5.

As you finish each game, encourage children to help put things away. Cleanup is a standard part of school activities.


Be SMART with gun storage


Every year nearly 300 children 17 and younger unintentionally discharge a gun and kill or injure themselves or others. Those most at risk of dying from a self-inflicted, unintentional gunshot are children ages 2, 3, and 4.

In addition, more than 75 percent of unintentional shootings by children occur in the victim’s home or car. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics a gun kept in the home is far more likely to kill someone known to the family than to kill or injure an intruder.

Many unintentional shootings can be prevented with responsible gun storage, such as by locking a firearm and storing it unloaded and separately from ammunition.
Consider these five SMART safety steps:
Secure guns in homes and vehicles.
Model responsible behavior.
Ask about unsecured guns in the homes of your child’s friends.
Recognize the risk of teen suicide.
Tell others to be SMART.

Sources: and