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…]

Parents can eliminate summer learning loss

kids_runningKids across the country are off school and enjoying summer vacation.  This typically means more time spent at the park, swimming pool or beach, as it should!  It often means more time in front of the TV too.  And that almost always results in less time engaged in educational pursuits like reading, math and problem solving. [Read more…]

Poor health among kids harms education

Nela & Boris at Lighthouse Point complex - Collingwood, Ontario (August 2nd, 2008)Social scientists have clearly documented the link between education and poor health: Essentially, people with lower levels of education are more likely to suffer from illness and injury, and ultimately an earlier death. (More on that next week.) [Read more…]

New evidence on bullying

teenagersThe problem of bullying has received increased public attention in the U.S. and across the world over the past decade.  In response to being bullied by their peers,  adolescents have often  taken drastic measures – including committing suicide. [Read more…]

Parental age and autism: What we know

autismIf you’re a regular reader, you likely saw our post earlier this month regarding the prevalence of mental health problems among youth in America.

Last week, another new study raised additional questions about the factors that lead to autism among youth.  The study, published in the journal Molecular Psychology, is the largest of its kind examining the relationship between parental age and autism. It includes more than 5.7 million children in five countries born between 1985 and 2004. [Read more…]

The upside to educational television

tvOur modern world is filled with screens: televisions, tablets, computers and mobile devices. As a result, children spend more time than ever before with these devices. We’ve written before about the downside of screen-time for small children and for the importance of moderation when it comes to technology. [Read more…]

Deciphering the evidence on mental health in youth

kid-and-stressWe often hear in media reports about the rise of autism and attention disorders in our society. A few years back, New York magazine ran a feature article titled, “Is Everyone on the Autism Spectrum?”  that described the “cultural epidemic” of identifying with an autism-spectrum disorder such Asberger’s, obsessive-compulsive disorder or attention deficit disorder. But are these maladies really growing at alarming rates? And are our youth at risk? [Read more…]

The evidence on children and napping

nap childFor most stay-at-home moms, naptime is a much-welcomed break during a hectic day.  Personally, having 2 hours to myself every afternoon allows me to catch up on messages, start preparing dinner, do some cleaning, and generally enjoy quiet that is elusive when my young children are awake. [Read more…]

New policy: Doctors should encourage early literacy

read to kidsEvidence established long ago that reading to young children – especially if you engage in a dialogue with them while you’re reading – helps them develop language skills and prepare for school.

Now the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a new policy encouraging doctors to talk with parents about reading aloud to children, and providing books to low-income families at pediatric well visits. [Read more…]

Recess before lunch to improve eating habits?

kids_runningWhen my son started kindergarten last year, I was astonished at how little of his lunch he actually ate. I would pack a nutritious meal displayed in a cute, compartmentalized tray, and often he only took a small bite of each item I packed. [Read more…]

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