This Is What Happens When Kids Get Enough Exercise

no-attribution-cc0-public-domain-jump-1154509_1920-1The evidence is crystal clear: Physical activity is great for kids. Researchers around the world agree that youth who are active have better brain function, higher self-esteem, more motivation and better school performance.   [Read more…]

What Do Early-Learners Need Most? Play!

no-attribution-cc0-public-domain-jump-1154509_1920Kids across the nation are back to school — and that means also back to completing math worksheets, memorizing spelling words and writing book reports.  In fact, there is solid evidence that schools are requiring more formal academic work at younger ages. [Read more…]

Clear evidence: Spanking harms kids

CC0 public domain-no-attribution-hand-1006422_1920As a first-time parent, I was completely surprised one day when I was nearly overcome by the urge to spank my two-year-old. After a challenging hour or two at a crowded shopping mall, he purposely pulled a pile of t-shirts off a shelf at a clothing store in a tantrum.  Really, I should have known better than to take a tired toddler shopping for clothes. But that was cold comfort as I stood in the middle of a crowded store watching my son throw merchandise on the floor. [Read more…]

How to improve sex education

no-attribution-CC0 public domain -classroom-1346491_1920 (1)On the whole, public schools in the U.S. are doing a poor job of teaching sex education to American youth.

A report released last year by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that fewer than half of high schools and only a fifth of middle schools teach all 16 topics the CDC lists as essential components of sex education. Those topics include how to obtain and use condoms, the benefits of condom use, and the kinds of preventative care necessary to maintain sexual health. [Read more…]

Does social media harm kids?

Kids these days.attribution-PictureYouth-CC by 2.0-25621863596_50c9c5f108_h

It’s a phrase that has been uttered for decades by older generations as youth forge their way through the modern world. Today, the phrase often refers to youth’s use of social networking sites. There’s plenty of times I’ve heard older adults argue that relationships forged through platforms like Instagram and Google chat don’t qualify as “real” social connections. [Read more…]

What we know about kids and screen time

kids and screen timeNew findings about screen-time for babies and kids are something I keep a close eye on.  As parent of three young children, I want to do what’s best for them. And yet I’m often tempted to use the television – “just one show” – when I need to get something done. [Read more…]

Kids these days…: The evidence on teen behaviors

teenagersAt one time or another, we have all heard someone say, “Kids these days…” in the lofty tone that suggests children from generations past were better behaved, more responsible and less troubled than today’s youth.  Maybe you’ve even said something similar yourself; I know that I have. [Read more…]

Transition to kindergarten

school busMy middle child is four years old, and will be starting kindergarten in the fall.  While that may seem like a long time away, I know from experiencing this transition once before that it helps to start thinking about it early. [Read more…]

The birds and bees: Talking to your kids about safe sex

teenagers2There are conversations that many parents approach with apprehension. Ranking high on that list are talks about sex. But given our modern culture, conversations between parents and children about sex are increasingly important.

[Read more…]

Can we help children to avoid sexual abuse?

child-abuseI received a shocking e-mail from my public school superintendent a few weeks ago. A substitute teacher who has worked at my son’s elementary school was arrested for possessing child pornography.

After my initial surprise at the e-mail, I gave some serious thought to how I should broach the issue with my son, or whether to mention anything at all.  At seven years old, I’ve never talked to him about the possibility of sexual abuse. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even know what it is.  I wasn’t sure if a conversation would be helpful, or would make him feel anxious or uncomfortable. [Read more…]

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