Parenting advice

The week's best parenting advice: September 6, 2022

Don't teach your kids to fear the world, how to coach a sport you've never played, and more

1

Don't teach your kids to fear the world

All parents want their children to stay safe. But "teaching [kids] that the world is dangerous is bad for their health, happiness, and success," writes Arthur C. Brooks in The Atlantic. Some research suggests that the perception of the world as a threatening place makes people more suspicious and less tolerant of others, and less inclined to take even moderate risks. People who hold such negative views of life are also less healthy, less satisfied, more depressed, and worse at their jobs than their more positive peers. Plus, teaching kids to fear their surroundings won't necessarily keep them safe. "A general state of fear can actually make a person less likely to take threats seriously (a self-defense mechanism to control our fear) and undermine precautionary behavior (by degrading the ability to address danger rationally)," writes Brooks.

2

How to coach a sport you've never played

So the local rec league is short on volunteers and you've been roped into coaching a sport you've never played. Fear not, writes Meghan Moravcik Walbert in Lifehacker. It's likely that one of the kids you are coaching has a parent who played the game, but just can't commit to coaching it. Seek them out and see if they'll share some knowledge and show up to practice when possible. Search YouTube for videos from coaches or players that break down useful drills. Reach out to coaches of other teams in your area and see if they'd be willing to combine practices occasionally, or at least let you shadow them from time to time. And try watching the sport on TV or at a local university. "Listening to the commentators can help you learn the nuances of the game and get some big-picture ideas for game-time strategies," writes Moravcik Walbert.

3

We don't really know if homework is helpful or not

When it comes to the value of homework, opinions vary widely and data is lacking, writes Emily Oster in ParentData. Some argue that homework can "reinforce in-school learning," help kids build problem-solving skills (which is tricky to do in a classroom), and encourage kids to become more organized. Others insist that busywork drains time for play, family and sleep, or causes kids to resent school. Existing research on the subject tends to show that homework improves school performance. "The effect sizes are generally moderate, though, and they are much larger for older kids than younger ones," writes Oster. And these studies don't tell us how much homework is appropriate, or what it should look like. "A thoughtfully designed homework program probably could enhance learning for many or most kids. But whether there are downsides — and if they are avoidable — is less clear."

4

How to react when your kid gets hurt

In parenthood, nothing is certain except boo-boos and boohooing. Kids get hurt — a lot — and they usually cry about it. When this happens, it's best for parents to model calmness, which will not only help prevent their child from unnecessarily panicking, but also help them to calm down themselves. Even though kids tend to overreact to injuries, it's important not to denigrate or ignore their feelings; instead, validate their emotions and offer reassurance. Contextualizing their pain as part of how our body protects us from danger can help children cope with it. And once they've calmed down and are on the mend, encourage kids to participate in and observe the healing process, which will help drive home the reality that a scrape or bruise isn't the end of the world.

5

Why parents sing to babies

Singing isn't just a sweet way to pass the time with a new baby — it serves a purpose, writes Kathryn Hymes in The Atlantic. "Studies show that infants prefer a mother's singing to speech, displaying greater alertness, happiness, or calm depending on the type of song," writes Hymes. Infants are highly responsive to their father's singing as well, and lullabies in any language help babies relax. There's evidence that singing to their babies can improve parents' well-being and self-esteem, and even stave off postnatal depression. And music can help parent and child "sync up not just emotionally but physiologically — their heart rates, for example, rising and falling together," writes Hymes. "When parents sing, they create a shared context for their tiny listener and themselves."

Recommended

The week's best parenting advice: October 4, 2022
A child.
Parenting advice

The week's best parenting advice: October 4, 2022

The week's best parenting advice: September 27, 2022
Cursive.
Parenting advice

The week's best parenting advice: September 27, 2022

The week's best parenting advice: September 20, 2022
Children.
Parenting advice

The week's best parenting advice: September 20, 2022

The week's best parenting advice: September 13, 2022
A teenager.
Parenting advice

The week's best parenting advice: September 13, 2022

Most Popular

5 toons about Trump's spiraling legal woes
Political Cartoon.
Feature

5 toons about Trump's spiraling legal woes

National Archives says some Trump administration records are still missing
A view of the National Archives and Records Administration building in Washington, D.C.
More Trouble for Trump?

National Archives says some Trump administration records are still missing

Ukraine takes full control of Lyman while Russian media points fingers
Ukrainian flag in Donetsk
do svidaniya

Ukraine takes full control of Lyman while Russian media points fingers