Dining with Kids…and Screens

During a dinner date with my wife last week, we observed a startling interaction involving children, their parents, and screens. The restaurant was particularly busy, and a family of four had just been seated nearby. Mom, dad and daughter (a young teen) were immediately glued to their phones, while the youngest -- a boy of about 8 who was probably too...

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Anything Mentionable

Here at the Fred Rogers Center, we often discuss how to help families build stronger relationships, whether it’s through simple daily interactions, the use of technology, or the act of listening. However, when a personal health crisis changed my life, I had to think about what it really means to listen to your family, and in particular, your kids. In early December,...

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I Wish You Gifts of Time

I have always been an overly excited gift giver, taking my time to choose just the right gift. I remember when I was a young child, I’d ask my grandmother (affectionately named Mim by her six grandchildren) what she wanted for Christmas. She always gave me the same answer: “Honey, all I want is your time.” Of everything in the...

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The Toothpaste Theory of Child Development

Have you ever studied the label on a tube of toothpaste? A good number of years ago, out of sheer boredom, I picked up the tube while supervising my daughters as they brushed their teeth for the proverbial and interminable “two minutes.” The label reads: “Active ingredient: sodium fluoride.” Its function: cavity prevention. And just below that was a list of...

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Parents Boost Their Preschoolers’ Literacy Skills With Texted Tips

What’s the most cost-effective way to prepare toddlers for school? Turns out it might involve texting parents. A new study by Stanford researchers confirms what early studies were showing: Texting parents early childhood learning tips and reminders boosts preschoolers’ literacy skills. And it costs approximately $1 per family. Research has repeatedly found that kindergartners from low-income families are already behind their...

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Protecting Children From Extreme Screen Violence

Last week, my wife and I were enjoying coffee in our local diner when we spotted a group of four children huddled around their father’s iPhone. A boy, about 8 years old, looked up, intently studying one of the big TV screens over his table, just as one of the commentators rehashed the details of the latest beheading. You could clearly...

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