Mind in the Making (MITM), is an unprecedented effort to share the science of children’s learning with the general public, families and professionals who work with them. Based on Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs (HarperCollins, 2010) by Ellen Galinsky, Chief Science Officer of The Bezos Family Foundation, its mission is to promote Executive Function Life Skills in adults and through them in children in order to keep the fire for learning burning brightly in all of us.

Mind in the Making at BFF is culling through the behavioral issues that pediatricians hear most frequently from families during well-child visits. The questions have come from reviewing Bright Futures (the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Guideline for Health Supervision of Infants, Children and Adolescents) as well as from parent websites. In response to these questions, we are creating information that pediatricians can use on how they can help parents turn these behavioral issues into opportunities to promote life skills in their children.

Below are the reading lists grouped Age and by Life Skill with links to download the corresponding tip sheets for each title. Let us know what you think and share other recommended book titles on the Mind in the Making Facebook page.

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AgeTip SheetPrescription for LearningQuestion
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Spoiling babyMy infant cries and is “fussy.” Will I spoil her if I respond to every cry?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Enjoying tummy-timeI have tried giving my two-month-old baby “tummy time” by laying him on his tummy with some of his favorite toys, but he just doesn’t like it. He starts screaming after two minutes. How can I make it more enjoyable for him?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Toddler hittingHow can I stop my toddler from hitting?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Independent play How can I get my four year old to play on her own?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
School readinessI have decided not to send my three year old to preschool. What activities can I do at home to help prepare him for school later so that he’s not behind children who went to formal preschool programs?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Attention spanMy three year old does not stay focused long enough to finish one thing before he moves onto another. He takes out a puzzle, doesn’t finish it and then takes out another game. How can I help him stick with an activity?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Yelling preschoolerMy four year old yells at me when she doesn’t like what I tell her. How can I get her to stop this behavior?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Video gamesMy seven-year-old son LOVES his video games. I am not opposed to him playing them since I believe that knowing how to use electronics is important in today’s world. I want to make sure that when he does play with video games, he is also developing his mind. Any suggestions?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
HomeworkEveryday, my child and I seem to battle over his homework. How can I help him focus on his assignments instead of procrastinating and getting up to play?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
The importance of the artsMy daughter loves her ballet class, but now that she is getting older, I want to make sure she focuses on her schoolwork. How can I encourage her interest in dance without it distracting her from her school responsibilities?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Too competitiveMy daughter has become extremely competitive with her friends and classmates in sports, video games, board games and even tests at school. She wants to be the best at everything and right all of the time. She gets angry when she is not. How can I help her control her anger before she crosses the line while competing?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Helping your child focus on responsibilitiesWhen I ask my seven year old to pick up his shoes or start his homework, it is like he doesn’t even hear me. How can I get him to focus on what he needs to do instead of being completely focused on his toys and games?
AgeTip SheetPrescription for LearningQuestion
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Toddler TVShould we let our baby watch TV or DVDs/videos?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Toddler friendshipHow can I help my son who is a toddler make friends?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
"Grabby" toddlerMy toddler constantly grabs toys out of other children’s hands and says: “Mine!” How can I stop this behavior?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Afraid of strangersMy toddler is petrified of anyone new. He clings to me and sometimes screams, even when the person isn’t interacting with him. How can I help my son be less afraid?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Pre-school aggressionMy child can be sweet one minute and the next minute is threatening physical harm. He gets so angry and lashes out at friends and family members. How can I help him deal with his aggressive tendencies?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Pre-school socialization My three-year-old daughter is our only child. I try to provide her with opportunities to play with other children, but she sometimes seems to struggle with knowing how to play with others. How can I help her?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Messy eatingMy three year old eats really messily. It bothers other family members. How can I help her develop good table manners other than just reminding her?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Weapon playMy son turns all of his toys into weapons. He doesn’t really hurt anyone or anything, but his child care program doesn’t allow that kind of play, and I don’t want him to get into trouble. Should I stop him from playing this way?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Loud and embarrassing remarksSometimes, when we are in public, my daughter will blurt things out loudly like: “That man is old!” or “Why is that lady in a wheelchair?” It can be embarrassing. As she gets older, I want her to understand that words can be hurtful. How can I help her without making her feel bad?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Getting along with classmatesMy six-year-old son has some trouble getting along with his classmates. He complains that other kids are “mean” to him, and sometimes he hits them when he feels that he has been treated unfairly. His teacher does not think that he is being bullied, and she suggested that he might just need some time to mature. How can I help him deal with his friends more successfully?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Sibling rivalryMy children have trouble getting along. How can I help them?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Divorced parents with different rulesWhen my daughter goes to her dad’s house, he has different rules. When she comes home, she thinks she can do whatever she wants. I am tired of the battle, but I don’t want her to stop visiting her dad. How can I help her adjust between the different house rules?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
My child only wants to play his wayMy six-year-old son gets angry and refuses to play with his friends when they don’t want to do what he wants to. How can I help him understand that he is not always the boss?
AgeTip SheetPrescription for LearningQuestion
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Toddler reading/literacy How can I help my toddler develop an interest in reading?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Understanding “no” How can I get my baby (12 months old) to understand “no?”
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Constant cryingMy 18 month old wants to bring his blanket with him everywhere we go. It feels like he can’t manage without it. Should I make him leave it at home or even get rid of it all together?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Always saying “No!”My two year old is always telling me “No!” How do I get her to say “Yes” sometimes?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Two year old Is not talkingMy child is two years old, and she is not talking nearly as much as some of the other two year olds in her class. She understands almost everything she hears, but she doesn’t use a lot of words. Should I be worried? How can I help her express herself?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Literacy I want my four year old to be ready to read when he starts kindergarten. How can I help him get ready for reading now?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Sitting for family mealsMy three-year-old has a hard time sitting at the table for meals with the family. She’d rather go off and play on her own. How can we keep her interested in staying at the table with the rest of the family?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
My child talks non stopMy five year old talks non stop. He talks so much that we have started to tune him out and sometimes even ask him to be quiet for a few minutes. How I can encourage him to communicate without talking all the time?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Family storiesI have heard that it’s very important to have dinner together as a family, so that we can have time for family conversations. Unfortunately, in my family, it is rare that we are all home for dinner at the same time. What are some other ideas for family conversations outside of dinnertime?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Making reading interestingMy six-year-old hates reading. How can I make it more interesting for him?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Self expressionMy son rarely shares how he feels about something. In fact, he rarely has an opinion about anything. How can I help him express himself and develop his ideas?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Refusing to talk after arguingWhen my ten-year-old daughter has an argument with me, she uses the silent treatment. She refuses to talk to me or even be in the same room with me until she decides she isn’t upset anymore. What can I do to help us communicate better with each other so this doesn’t keep happening?
AgeTip SheetPrescription for LearningQuestion
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Playing with household items instead of toysMy baby has no interest in regular toys and prefers to play with household objects. Should I be worried? What can I do to help make sure she is learning while she is playing?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Clean up timeHow can we help our toddler from turning our house into a disaster area and help with the clean up?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
When to teach letters, colors and numbers to babiesWhen should I start teaching my nine month old her letters, colors, and numbers?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Learning mathMy son just turned four years old, and he does not want to learn how to count past 5. I’ve tried flashcards, videos and books. How can I help my son learn math?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Pre-school games & cheating Our four-year-old son tends to cheat when he plays games. What should we do?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
A case of the "gimmes"My three year old has a bad case of the “Gimmes.” Whenever we go to a store, she asks for everything she sees. I try not to buy her something every time we go out, but when I don’t, she throws a tantrum in public, and it is so embarrassing. I don’t want my child to be spoiled. How can I help her understand that she can’t always have what she wants?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Imaginary friendsMy four year old has an imaginary friend. He insists that we set a place at the table, talk to and open doors for his friend, and even tuck this friend into bed! I know many kids have imaginary friends, but I am worried he is continuing this too far. What should I do?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
School Age math My daughter struggles with math at school. What can I do at home to help her?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Marching to a different drummer and school problemsMy son often gets answers wrong in school because he seems to be marching to a different drummer. He has a creative way of looking at things, especially things that are not yes or no questions. When I talk with him about what he is thinking, his answers are often deep, but this way of thinking is not helping him in school. How can I help him succeed in school without harming his creativity?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Helping your children find interests beyond video games and televisionAll my kids want to do is play video games and watch television. It is a daily battle. How can I help my kids get interested in other things?
AgeTip SheetPrescription for LearningQuestion
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Making a mess with toysMy 15 month old doesn’t really play with her toys. Instead, she dumps them all out of their containers and puts them into different ones, over and over. How can I get her interested in actually playing with her toys instead of making a mess?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Toilet trainingHow will I know when my child is ready to learn how to use the toilet?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Pre-school morning routineIt’s a constant struggle to get my daughter up and out of the house in the morning. She refuses to wash her face, brush her teeth, get dressed, or let me comb her hair. I’ve tried getting her to bed earlier, but it doesn’t make the mornings any better. How can I speed up my morning dawdler?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Preschool curiosity I notice that when my preschooler comes up against a challenging task, like completing a difficult puzzle, she tends to want to walk away and give up or to try to get me to finish her work for her. How can I help her to be curious, stay engaged and not give up so easily when she has difficulty figuring something out?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Junk food cravingsMy four-year-old daughter only wants to eat junk food, like potato chips and cookies. How can I help her understand the importance of healthy eating choices?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
TV commercialsIt seems like every time my child watches TV, she starts asking for the things she sees advertised during the commercials. How can I curb this behavior without getting rid of the TV altogether?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Cheating on a testMy daughter was caught cheating on a spelling test last week. I am completely disappointed, angry and embarrassed. How can I better deal with this situation so she learns not to do it again?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
School age friendsI worry that my child is too much of a “follower” with her friends. Sometimes it seems like she will do whatever they say and do or believe whatever they tell her. How can I encourage my daughter to be her own person?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
My child always wants the newest technologyEvery time a new version of my son’s cell phone comes out, he wants me to buy it for him. How can I get him to stop asking for the latest thing?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Encouraging good spending habitsMy son receives a weekly allowance for doing his chores, but he seems to spend it as soon as he gets it. How can I encourage him to develop good spending habits?
AgeTip SheetPrescription for LearningQuestion
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
No more pacifierHow can I help my toddler stop using the pacifier?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Separation anxietyMy 8-month-old baby becomes very upset whenever I leave her with her grandparents. How can I help her calm down?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Toilet trainingHow will I know when my child is ready to learn how to use the toilet?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Starting child careMy child recently began child care and is having a hard time adjusting. She screams and cries when I leave, and it is heartbreaking! How can I help her become more comfortable?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Transitional objectMy 18 month old wants to bring his blanket with him everywhere we go. It feels like he can’t manage without it. Should I make him leave it at home or even get rid of it all together?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
PersistenceI have an almost two-year-old daughter who gets so frustrated when things are hard for her, like when a toy won’t turn on or if her cup is out of reach. I hate to listen to her cry, so I end up just giving in to her and doing things for her. How can I encourage her to stay motivated to do things on her own?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Making saying goodbye to friends less stressfulMy child always has a hard time leaving when his play dates are over. How can I make the end of play dates less stressful for everyone?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Preschool sleepMy three year old has recently become afraid of bedtime. What can I do to help him fall asleep?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Preventing meltdownsMy four year old is constantly crying and melting down when things don’t go the way she had hoped. How can I help her respond to these situations without both of us completely falling apart?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Frightened by new experiencesMy four year old recently started swimming lessons. He asked us to sign him up, but now when we go, he doesn’t want to get in the water, and this is typical of him. How can I encourage him to participate?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Death of a petMy son’s pet goldfish died recently. When he came home from school, he asked me where it was, and I told him his fish got sick and died. He was really upset and had a lot of questions about it that I didn’t know how to answer. How can I help him understand without overwhelming him or scaring him?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Praising childrenI have read that praising my child is important for her self-esteem, but then I have also read that too much praise can spoil my child. I’m confused. How should I praise my child?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Shy, anxious My six year old is an only child and has always been a little shy and anxious around new people and situations. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m helping or hurting when I try to protect her from situations that I’m pretty sure will be hard for her to manage on her own. How can I help my child deal with these difficult times?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Stress management I worry about my eight year old becoming too stressed. On top of the demands of his schoolwork, he is also involved in a lot of extracurricular activities. I don’t want him to feel “overscheduled.” How can I help him learn to deal effectively with whatever stress he experiences?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
School age friendsI worry that my child is too much of a “follower” with her friends. Sometimes it seems like she will do whatever they say and do or believe whatever they tell her. How can I encourage my daughter to be her own person?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Sleepover fearsMy daughter is afraid to go on sleepovers, even at a family member’s house. How can I help her build up her courage?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Encouraging exerciseI am worried my daughter isn’t getting enough exercise. Her mood and her behavior seem negative, and I think if she had more physical activity, it would help. What can I do to help her?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
What to do when studying is stressfulMy son gets so nervous and stressed when he has to prepare for a test. How can I help him study, but not feel stressed and anxious?
AgeTip SheetPrescription for LearningQuestion
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Changing baby Changing my toddler has become a wrestling match. What can I do to make it less of a struggle?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Trying new foodsHow can I get my toddler to try new foods?
Infant/ToddlerDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Getting ready to walkMy baby is eight months old, and I want to help him get ready to walk. What can I do?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Preschool qualityI am starting to look at child care and preschool programs for my almost three year old. I want her to attend a quality program, so that she is ready for school when she starts kindergarten. What should I be looking for in a good program?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Writing and drawingMy three and one half year old becomes easily frustrated when he writes or draws. How can I help him practice writing and enjoy it?
Pre-SchoolDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Stereotypical Gender PlayMy three-year-old daughter only wants to play with her dolls and dress-up clothes. Sometimes, I think she should play with and learn about other things. Should I limit her play options?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
ChoresMy daughter can’t seem to get her chores done without us nagging her. How can we avoid this daily battle?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Pets My son has been bugging us to get a family pet. I am resistant because I fear that the bulk of the responsibility in caring for the pet will fall on me. Any advice on choosing a pet that my son can reasonably contribute to its care?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Complaining on family tripsWhenever we go on family outings or trips, my daughter constantly complains that she is bored. It takes the fun out of it for everyone. How can I help her enjoy these experiences?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
Constantly asking questionsMy daughter is constantly asking questions and even questioning what I ask her to do. I feel like she is turning into a defiant child. Should I make her stop questioning everything?
School AgeDownload (English)
Download (Spanish)
How to encourage your child to develop interestsMy son seems not to have very many interests. I worry that he isn’t excited about many things. How can I help him find some interests?