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May 1, 2017

This week’s family-related news included a report from the BBC highlighting children’s criticism of their parents’ overuse of mobile phones, an interview with Sheryl Sandberg about her new book with a focus on how to help kids deal with grief, a study about the benefits of daily routines for kids, a fascinating look at China’s use of webcams in the classroom, results of a study of American middle schoolers exposing a distressing lack of arts’ knowledge, an exploration of “two-gen” programs in the United States, a clarion call to couples to think about the ramifications of a break-up before they move in together, a personal account of an older dad who must admit his limitations, details of a NY festival geared specifically to kids with autism, and a look at whether the boys scouts should permit girls.

Parents’ Mobile Use Harms Family Life, Say Secondary Pupils Judith Burns, BBC, April 23, 2017 An overuse of mobile phones by parents disrupts family life, according to a survey of secondary pupils. More than a third of 2,000 11 to 18-year-olds who responded to a poll said they had asked their parents to stop checking their devices.

Sheryl Sandberg: How to Build Resilient Kids, Even After a Loss Sandberg sits down with Judy Woodruff, PBS, April 24, 2017 After a life-shattering loss, Sheryl Sandberg reaches out to others in grief. As one of the best known female executives in the world, Sheryl Sandberg had resources and support when her husband died at 47, but that didn’t stop grief from engulfing her and their children. In her new book “Option B,” Sandberg writes about grief and resilience in the face of adversity, and offers advice for others experiencing personal tragedy. See also Sheryl Sandberg’s New York Times Opinion Page.

Eat, Sleep, Repeat: How Kids’ Daily Routines Can Help Prevent Obesity Allison Aubrey, NPR, April 25, 2017 Nagging your kids to stick to a set bedtime each night may feel like a thankless task. But here’s some justification that your efforts are setting your kids up for a healthier life: A new study finds that preschool-age children who didn’t have a set sleep routine were more likely to be overweight by the time they became tweens.

In China, Daydreaming Students Are Caught on Camera Javier C. Hernandez, The New York Times, April 25, 2017 Thousands of schools in China — public and private, from kindergarten to college — are installing webcams in classrooms and streaming live on websites that are open to the public. School officials see the cameras as a way to improve student confidence and crowdsource the task of catching misbehaving pupils. Parents use the feeds to monitor their children’s academic progress and spy on their friendships and romances. But many students see live-streaming as an intrusion, prompting a broader debate in China about privacy, educational ethics and the perils of helicopter parenting.

American Teenagers Remain Behind on Music and Visual Arts, Study Says Maria Danilova, Associated Press, April 26, 2017 The National Center for Education Statistics reported dismal finding that in 2016, American eighth graders scored an average 147 in music and 149 in visual arts on a scale of 300. Some 8,800 eighth graders from public and private schools across the country took part in the test, which was part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the Nation’s Report Card. This is a wake up call to make improvements — arts education can be especially valuable for our nations’ underserved students, leading to better grades, higher graduation rates and increased college enrollment. A Path Out Of Poverty: Career Training + Quality Pre K Eric Westervelt, NPR, April 28, 2017 “Two-gen” programs are springing up across the U.S. And while they differ in emphasis and detail, at their core they intentionally focus on ways to help both the child and parent. Usually this happens through targeted education and career training and other vital support such as health services, mentoring, and transportation.

What I Wish I’d Known Before Moving in Together Anna Goldfarb, The New York Times, April 28, 2017 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more Americans than ever are choosing to live together before marriage… The truth is: Living together before you’re married is a big step legally, financially and emotionally. Frederick Hertz, author of “Living Together: A Legal Guide for Unmarried Couples,” says the first step toward moving in together is to figure out what will happen should you part ways: “You can either plan your breakup in a civilized, caring, thoughtful way, or you can try to avoid it and have it be a nasty fight later on.”

An Older Dad, Down for the Count Robert Markowitz, The New York Times, April 28, 2017 My parenting style mirrored what I do in my work as a kids’ musician: show up, burn brightly, then high-tail out. Yet hobbling through a Wednesday work day, my torso skewing to the right, I wondered if our roughhousing was my way of clinging to youth, a denial of again.

Lincoln Center to Host Theater Festival for Autistic Audience Andrew R. Chow, The New York Times, April 28, 2017 Lincoln Center’s new Big Umbrella Festival, a month long event, coming in April 2018, is designed to cater to children on the autism spectrum. The festival’s organizers hope to educate and inspire, and to make theater a safe space for those who may have previously have found it less inviting.

Meet the Teenage Girl Who Wants to be a Boy Scout Yasmeen Kahn, NPR, April 29, 2017 According to the Boy Scout Law, a Scout is “trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” But does a Boy Scout have to be a boy?

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