What the Olympics Can Teach Your Kids: 5 Things to Know About Kids This Week

  • 1. What the Olympics can teach your kid. The Olympics are a very exciting time for many reasons, one of those being your kid! As you sit down to watch the Olympics your kids, here are eight lessons that you can teach them as you watch the athletes go for gold.
  • 2. Study finds like between video games and test scores. An Australian study with high school students found a link between playing video games daily and high test scores in science, math and reading. Although the study does not prove that video games were the direct cause of higher performance, Albert Posso, the study’s publisher, explains that “when you play online games you’re solving puzzles to move to the next level and that involves using some of the general knowledge and skills in maths, reading and science that you’ve been taught during the day.” (Positive link between video games and academic performance, study suggests.)
  • 3. Parent-teacher relationship tips. As you prepare to send your kids back to school, you may be thinking about all the questions and concerns you have for their teachers at back-to-school nights. Finding the balance between advocating for our kids and being overbearing can be hard. The author provides some advice to find that balance: Learn about teachers’ communication styles, keep in mind that the they are open to listening, and always remember to be aware of how you are coming off. (Back to school: How to advocate for your child without being “that” parent.)
  • 4. Tween motivational speaker shares words of wisdom. Ten-year-old Nyeeam Hudson is touching lives with his positive words. His large social media following, advocate director position for the FP YouthOutcry Foundation/The H.U.B.B. Community Empowerment Center in Newark, and other accomplishments have earned him the “The Youngest Motivational Speaker” moniker. He has even traveled to Africa to spread his positive message. You can find him on Instagram as @kingnahh.
    (Need motivation? This 10-year-old kid has words of wisdom to share)

  • 5. Schools search for ways to standardize arts testing. Six different states are now doing large-scale arts testings in order to “compare the performance of schools and districts” in different states. What sets this project apart is that the assessment is all based on creativity. The hope is that this will show that arts are an important subject “that can and should be tested” because “research has shown that arts education can improve student achievement in reading and math, as well as increase critical-thinking skills and engage students in school.” (Grading Creativity: Can a standardized exam save arts education?)


Adventures in Mom Camp: 5 Things to Know About Kids This Week

  • 1. Adventures in Mom Camp. Samantha Shanley set out to do something different with the summer. Instead of stocking her kids’ summer days with child care and day camp, she announced a new plan to her kids: Mom Camp. In a Washington Post essay, she describes progressing from blank stares and “that makes no sense” to what would become a “revolutionary” experience for her family. (This summer, my kids are going to mom camp. It’s what we all need.)
  • 3. Kids set coding record. Some 9,782 kids got together for Moonhack, the Australian coding event set up to memorialize the Apollo 11 landing (in which Australian technology played a large role in allowing people to watch the landing on TV). Moonhack was put on by Code Club Australia, an organization founded in 2014 that aims to introduces young kids to coding.
    (Australia creates new world record for most kids coding at one time.)

  • 5. Kids launch project to feed homeless people in their community. Derrell and Kyllon Martin, brothers in New Orleans, Louisiana, created “The Helping Lunchbox” to help feed the homeless people in their community. Spurred to action when they noticed so many people living under the bridge, they’ve since served more than 200 people, according to Good News Network. (Kindhearted Brothers Hand Out Brown Paper Bags Lunches To 200 Homeless)

Pokémon GO for Families: 5 Things to Know About Kids This Week

  • 2. Video games could help your kid be a better driver someday.  A University of Hong Kong study found that playing “action video games for as little as five hours can be a cost-effective tool to help people improve essential visuomotor-control skills used for driving.” Using a driving simulator, researchers asked participants to keep the car as steady as possible between lines and despite other obstacles. They found that the participants improved after 10 hours of “training” on Mario Kart, a game they identified as “a fast-paced action video game,” but did not improve after playing RollerCoaster Tycoon, “a non-action strategy game.” (Playing action video games boosts visual motor skill underlying driving)
  • 3. Thumb-sucking, nail-biting may boost kids’ immunity. A decades-long study with 1,037 kids in New Zealand found that having young kids “build up their immune system” to help them be healthier as they grow up may actually work. The researchers followed kids from age 3 to 38, some being nail-biters and thumb-suckers and others not, and regularly tested them for allergies like wool, dogs, horses and dust mites. The study found that kids who were known to be thumb-suckers and/or nail-biters actually were less likely to have allergies than kids who were not allowed to do so. (Letting Your Kids Bite Nails And Suck Thumbs Turns Them Into Allergy Resistant Adults)
  • 4. Your kids’ bedtime may have an impact on their weight. The Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development looked at the effects preschoolers’ bedtimes had on weight gain in the teenage years and found that those who were in bed by 8 p.m. were much less likely to be overweight. The likeliness increased as the kids’ bedtimes were pushed back toward 9 p.m. (An Early Bedtime for Kids May Fight Weight Gain)
  • 5. Early childhood: How the U.S. stacks up against other developed countries. An article in the Atlantic looks at the investment the U.S. makes in the early years of kids’ lives, arguing that “the fate of all children is largely determined by their first years on this planet.” Lillian Mongeau writes, “In 2012 the U.S. ranked 35th among developed economies in pre-primary or primary-school enrollment for 3- to 5-year-olds.” Mongeau examines why that is and what it means for the future. (Why Does America Invest So Little in Its Children?)

Cartoons Get Kids Excited About Veggies: 5 Things to Know About Kids This Week

  • 1. Nonprofit works with schools get kids excited about veggies using cartoons. A nonprofit organization called Super Sprowtz has created a variety of vegetable characters in an effort to make vegetables more appealing to kids. Three school have begun participating in a study with the company by displaying large banners of the veggie characters in their cafeterias. Kids in these school grabbed nearly twice as many servings of vegetables as those in control schools. (Want Kids To Eat More Veggies? Market Them With Cartoons.)

  • 2. How to talk to your kid about tragedy in the news.  With tragic events in the news it can be hard as a parent to know the what to say — or what not to say — to your kid. Nicholas J. Westers, a clinical psychologist at Children’s Health, offered up some tips to on how to support your kid through times like this. Dr. Tina Cheng, professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine for Johns Hopkins, specifically encourages parents to discuss these events with their kids in order to ensure that they’re getting accurate information and feel supported. You can get more general tips about how to explain the news to your kids from Common Sense Media.
  • 3. An argument against “how-to” parenting. People often look at the word “parenting” as a verb — a job, something to succeed or fail at. In The Wall Street Journal, Alison Gopnik makes a case for getting away from thinking of parenting in the form of how-to’s and the end product, and instead thinking “of it as a kind of love. Love doesn’t have goals or benchmarks or blueprints, but it does have a purpose. Love’s purpose is not to shape our beloved’s destiny but to help them shape their own.” (A Manifesto Against Parenting)
  • 5. Apps for your summer road trip with kids. Is a road trip with kids part of your summer plan? The New York Times offers a list of 10 apps to install for the ride — chosen because they are “designed to promote active, engaged, meaningful and social learning.” (10 Children’s Apps for Summer Road Trips)

All Things July 4: 5 Things to Know About Kids This Week

  • 1. July 4: Celebrate & learn. U.S. kids know this weekend is a time for fireworks and celebration, but they might not know what all the fuss is really about. Looking for a cheat sheet on explaining the holiday to kids? Time for Kids and TODAY both have great resources for helping kids learn all about Independence Day in a fun way. Also check out 4th of July Games from Real Simple and Easy 4th of July Outfits from ABC News to really get into the spirit.
  • Soundbite_GETOUT_900x9002. How exercise helps your kid’s brain.  Researchers from the U.S., Europe and Canada offer advice on giving kids a brain boost: Get them moving! The group of 24 researchers reached this recommendation after reviewing studies of the benefits of exercise for kids 6 to 18 years old. Exercise has the ability to boost “brain function, cognition and scholastic performance,” they report. (Exercise Boosts Kids’ Brainpower, Experts Say.)
  • 3. Stressed out kids? Here are tips to help them manage it. Young kids can feel stress. They may not have a word for it, but they do know it doesn’t feel good. Psychotherapist and parenting educator Katie Hurley often speaks with parents whose main goal is to take away their kids’ stress. She says that shielding them from the natural things that they must learn to cope with isn’t the answer; instead it’s important to teach your kid tactics to use to stay calm in stressful situations. (You can’t protect your kids from stress. But here are ways to teach them to cope.)
  • 4. Disney Princesses may influence kids’ behavior — boy or girl. A recent study “found that for both boys and girls, higher princess involvement … over the course of a year was associated with higher levels of female gender-stereotypical behavior at the end of the study.” They saw these effects “potentially problematic” for young girls, encouraging behavior like avoiding risks and a focus on outwardly appearance, but positive for boys in the long term. (Disney Princesses Do Change Girls — and Boys, Too.)
  • 5. Can parents’ expectations for their kid be too high? It’s natural for parents to want to push their kids toward success. You want the best for your kids, so you help them along the way. But a study done by the National University of Singapore found that there’s a point where too much help may have a negative effect on kids. Researchers found that kids of intrusive parents often ended up being overly critical of themselves. They suggest creating a learning environment where kids know they can make mistakes and helping them learn from their mistakes instead of reprimanding kids for them. (Your perfectionist parenting style may be detrimental to your child.)