Mariana Glusman: How everyday play and bedtime stories grow love, connections and brainpower

In 2016, Dr. Marianna Glusman co-authored a book with Dr. Marta Killner called I Love You Like Sunshine: How everyday play and bedtime stories grow love, connections and brainpower, a book for babies and parents. Dr. Glusman has been working as a pediatrician for 20 years, who also raised three beautiful children of her own. She has heard hundreds of parents joke about needing a parenting manual. "The usual worries about eating, peeing, pooping, rashes, sneezing and so on are easy for a pediatrician to handle, but many of the questions underlying those practical concerns are not as simple 'How will I be a parent? How can I prepare my baby for the challenges we all face? What if I miss up?'"

"They actually sent me home with this baby?!" Many parents of newborns wonder about that. This episode will help them gain new perspectives. In Glusman's own words, "Parents are very stressed out. The more you tell people that they should be doing, the more stressful it is. Whereas there are things that they are already doing, that [if we teach parents] how to do them with a little bit of joy, will be very powerful."

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Reading aloud to your children sounds like a mundane task, yet it is one of the most important things parents can do to help their children succeed. Dr. Glusman noticed in some of her patients were lagging behind in some areas, especially in their language and cognitive skills. She also noticed that not many of them had families who routinely read aloud with them.

I Love You Like Sunshine is a beautiful book and a wonderful resource. In less than 30 pages, it guides you through the process, with zero intimidation. I find the "Did you knows", "Things to Try" and "Things to Notice" helpful in allowing parents to choose their journey.

Our conversations took us beyond the book and into Dr. Glusman's origin stories. She speaks English and Spanish, has lived in three countries. Learn more about the book and ReachOutAndRead.org.

Show Notes

  • [06:30] Tell us a bit more about the book you just published ‘I love you like sunshine…’
  • [08:30] Why did you decide to start writing a book at this point in your career? Have you always been writing along the side?
  • [17:00] You were born in Argentina, raised in Mexico and then you moved to the US to study and work. How was that transition? Can you tell us more about that period?
  • [20:00] What’s your take about reading to your kids while you are still pregnant? Does that make sense?
  • [27:00] Fei’s analogy on how a pediatrician is a mother (or a father) to a thousand babies, and their role in pointing out evident things that we could never reason on our own.
  • [28:00] What are some of the stories you hear from your patients? Especially the children of past patients?
  • [30:00] How did you get involved with the organization ‘Reach out and Read’?
  • [35:00] How does a multi-lingual household impact the development of the children?
  • [42:00] How could people get involved with opportunities to read to other children as a volunteer? (e.g. hospitals, daycare, etc.)
  • [52:00] Your eldest daughter is pursuing a degree in early education, does that surprise you?
  • [55:00] What would you like to say to your kids if they listen to this episode in the future?

Favorite Quotes

  • [07:30] I wanted to help parents to be able to read to their children because it’s such an important thing to do for their brains
  • [12:30] I didn’t want to create a ‘you should book’, I wanted a ‘You can book’. This is what you can do, you are going to enjoy this, you are going to be good at this. I think that’s really an important message to empower parents: they can do it
  • [24:00] Instead of just talking to the parents, I’ll be like ‘oh you are so cute, look at your little toes, let’s count your toes, one, two, three, four, five… and saying look at how interested she is, look at how she’s looking at me. Did you notice that? This is what you should be doing at home because she is so intrigued! And the parents love it…
  • [26:00] I feel that I empower them to do something that maybe it wasn’t as comfortable initially, but I know it’s gonna be helpful for the baby
  • [27:00] That’s probably the best thing of being a primary care pediatrician: developing those long term relationships
  • [34:00] I think of the books that I give out to kids as my vaccines against illiteracy. Just like a vaccine that it’s gonna prevent an illness, this book is going to help open up worlds, and help open up opportunities.
  • [37:00] The most important thing is to expose kids to rich language environments. If you are speaking in plain English, without a great vocabulary, that’s not going to help your child be more prepared for kindergarten. The best thing is to speak in a really rich language of your own (i.e. Spanish, Chinese), and that’s going to allow the kid’s brain to develop and English will pop right in.
  • [45:00] In the end, parents are very stressed out. The more you tell people that they should be doing, the more stressful it is. Whereas there are things that they are already doing, that [if we teach parents] how to do them with a little bit of joy, will be very powerful.

Music Credits

Artist: Christopher Lawton Track: Let it Rain (Copyright Free) Website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPES

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