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Saturday, July 26, 2014

How Family Game Night Makes Kids Into Better Students

The Atlantic – Jessica Lahey

“Matching up cards and planning the next chess move can help develop a child’s executive function—a set of skills that may be more important for success than IQ points.” (more)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New state rankings on how America’s children are faring

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“The KidsCount 2014 Data Book finds that in 2012, 23 percent of U.S. children were living below the official poverty line and many others live just above it…It is the 25th such annual report released by the foundation, which collects and analyzes a mountain of data about the well-being of America’s children…” (more)

32 classic books for parents and kids to read together

The Christian Science Monitor – Mary Beth McCauley

“You don’t need an English degree for you and your children to read books simultaneously. Starting at the middle school level, experts say, there are plenty of classic titles sophisticated enough to hold parents’ attention yet accessible enough for kids.” (more)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What You Should Really Do If You Want Your Kids to Read This Summer

The Huffington Post – Katie Hurley

“The truth is that you can’t force your kids to read. Or you can, if you want to raise kids who hate reading and avoid it at all costs. But you can inspire a love of reading. You can leave the parenting rat race behind and stop worrying about the black cloud, the summer slide, and the potential look on the teacher’s face this September and just read for fun.” (more)

Preparing kids for the real world

News Herald – Juliann Talkington

Juliann

We all want our kids to be happy, thriving, independent adults. The challenge is how to get them from the highly needy infant stage to the point where they can successfully handle life on their own. There is a lot to teach and the world is changing rapidly, so it is important to start the process when children are young.

 

Fortunately, there are a few simple things parents can do to make the process easier.

 

Teach the basics.
Diet is important for overall health and wellbeing. Everyone needs to know how to prepare healthy meals and to understand the role exercise plays in quality of life. In addition, young people need to understand the basics of household finance – specifically that income needs to be more than expenses. And everyone needs to have some way to get from place to place, so it is important for kids to learn how to drive.

 

Step back.
Children need to do things on their own so they can become independent and self reliant, characteristics needed for adulthood. When parents do things that kids can manage themselves, it can foster low self-esteem and lead to poor decisions.

 

Allow choice.
It is better for a child to make “wrong choices” early in life when the stakes are low rather than to wait until he/she is older and the stakes can be life altering. Offering simple options when a child is very young, prepares him/her for the more complicated decisions he/she will have to make when he/she is older.

 

Let go.
When your child makes a poor decision it is important for you to allow him/her to deal with the consequences. This way he/she understands that there are negative consequences from making poor choices. Remember, the lessons that stick with us are the ones where we have to deal with the fallout from bad choices.

 

Encourage problem solving.
There are few textbook solutions in life. Without practice, children become overwhelmed when they are presented with problems they have not encountered before. As a result, it is imperative for children to learn how to think through a problem, come up with possible solutions, and move forward with the best approach. Parents can help children through the process by asking questions, but should resist the urge to provide answers.

 

If parents take these simple steps and gradually prepare their kids for adulthood, the transition from home to the “real world” should be fairly seamless.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Back-to-school shopping sprees are a thing of the past

USA Today – Kaitlyn Krasselt

“Back-to-school shopping is no longer a frenzied one-day spending spree. Families are spending more, but they are doing so over a longer period of time as they search for the best deals.” (more)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Being bilingual: Parents see benefit in early language learning

Needham Wicked Local – Jonathan Dame

“…research produced in the last five to 10 years had shown bilingual upbringings to be beneficial for cognitive development. Bilingualism from a young age can boost executive function – skills like planning and self-control – and strengthen linguistic abilities such as understanding metaphors and synonyms…” (more)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Infants Begin Learning Speech Mechanics Long Before Their First Word; Speaking To Them Early Is Key To Language Development

Medical Daily – Anthony Rivas

“Babies are wonderful beings. Sure, they scream and cry uncontrollably, dribble everywhere, and you’re cleaning up after them constantly. But put all that to the side, and what you’re left with is a lovable little thing that always seems to be learning something new — it’s rather impressive, actually.” (more)

Parents: Stop Taking Out Loans For Your Child’s College Education

Forbes – Robert Farrington

“It’s almost time to write that first check for your child’s first year at college. Ouch. Looking at that first statement from your child’s university can be painful – even if they are attending a public college, you’re going to be paying several thousand dollars per year. It’s not cheap.” (more)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Will You Be Obese? Look at Your Sisters, Brothers

U.S. News – Staff Writer

“Obesity is known to run in families, but new research suggests this relationship may be the strongest among siblings.” (more)