If you’ve got 10 minutes, you can help researchers find the answer to that critical question. Let’s face it: We’re all worried about how omnipresent tech devices are going to impact our kids’ classroom performance, along with other modern-day pressures like jam-packed schedules and increasingly competitive sports. To gain some insight, Parents has partnered with a consortium of researchers at Brown University School of Medicine, Children’s National Medical Center, and New England Center for Pediatric Psychology in an effort to find 50,000 parents of children in grades K-12 to take part in The Learning Habit Study. The survey has been designed to examine how media use, family routines, and parenting style all conspire to help or hinder a child’s ability to learn. “Our goal is to provide parents, teachers, and pediatricians information on which family routines and behaviors improve academic success, increase social skills, and contribute to emotional balance in children,” notes lead researcher Robert M. Pressman, Ph.D.
The project originally began in 2012, when Dr. Pressman’s team conducted two surveys on homework and family routines. The surveys were administered to 1,000 parents in the waiting rooms of 12 pediatric offices. Initial results found—yep, you guessed it—a link between nighttime media use (meaning any electronic device with a screen) and a decrease in grades, opening a Pandora’s Box of concerns.
We all want some answers and advice with science behind it on dealing with our own digital natives. Do your part by taking the survey—it’s available online until October 31, 2013. (Bonus: Once you answer the questions, you can enter a sweepstakes to win $500.) Then stay tuned for the results, which will be published next August in the book The Learning Habit.
Whether your kids have been in school for weeks or just started this past Tuesday, there’s no denying that summer is over. Though this time of year can be exciting for kids with their new notebooks, backpacks, and blue jeans, it can also be extremely stressful. In fact, a 2010 study by the American Psychological Association found that when parents are stressed (possibly from buying all those jeans, backpacks, and notebooks) tweens and teens are emotionally impacted. On top of that, the change from relaxed summer schedules to an activity filled fall may make it more difficult for kids to get enough sleep and feel stressed, both of which can affect their health.
Today, our health director Kara Corridan is teaming up with CBS News medical contributor Dr. Holly Phillips for a Google + Hangout. Join them today at 12 p.m. E.T.to learn about how to keep your kids healthy as they get back to hitting the books this fall.
I’ve been obsessed with school lunch since my son first started preschool 4 years ago. I became fascinated with everything from the perfect lunch box to what goes inside.
How can parents encourage kids to expand their culinary horizons, especially when it comes to lunch?
The more you can get your kids involved, the better. Try taking your child to the farmers market or grocery store and let them pick out their fruit or vegetable of choice. Keep a running list of favorites. Remember that variety is the spice of life!
What should every lunch include?
I make sure that every lunch I pack has a fruit, vegetable, carbohydrate and protein with a little sweet treat too. If you send a balance of foods you’ve done your job.
Why is it important to pack a colorful lunch?
Kids eat not only with their mouths, but also with their eyes. If lunch looks interesting to the eye, it can be more exciting to eat.
How often do you include treats in the lunchbox?
I like to add a little sweet treat almost everyday. That could be homemade fruit leather or a cookie or even a few yogurt-covered pretzels.
Do you make your kids’ lunches in the morning or the night before? Is it okay to pack lunches the night before?
It always depends. Most times I get the fruit, vegetable and sweet treat ready in the lunch box the night before. Then I prepare the main event or sandwich in the morning.
What are some strategies time-strapped parents can use when it comes to making creative lunches?
Keep a list of your child’s top 10 favorite foods and make sure to have them on hand at all times. You would be surprised how many interesting, simple recipes you can come up with off that list.
How can the freezer help when it comes to lunchtime prep?
Your freezer is a total lifesaver. I freeze everything from pancakes to cookies, waffles, muffins and more. Whenever you bake pop a few items in labeled zipper bags so you can add a special treat or make pancake sandwiches when you run out of bread.
What are your kids’ hands-down favorite lunches?
That’s tough! The most requested are usually Veggie Tortilla Roll Ups, Sushi Sandwiches, Banana Dog Bites and veggies with Veg-Wee Dip. Having said that I’ve never given my kids the same lunch in 4 years, so they’re used to variety.
What doesn’t belong in a lunchbox?
White food. I really hope that lunch can be an opportunity for kids to fuel their bodies with nutritious foods.
What did you eat for lunches when you were a kid?
I ate cafeteria food every day from kindergarten through high school. I dreamed about being able to bring my own lunch. I used to skip recess to hang out with the lunch ladies. When I look back I realize I have been interested in the subject of school lunch for years and years.
Last year when my daughter started kindergarten, her lunch menu was the last thing on my mind. Every night before bed I would slap together a sandwich and my job was done, until one week in when she asked, “Why do the other kids get to have pasta and rice for lunch?” Being the inexperienced lunch packer that I was, I thought that I couldn’t pack any food that needed to be warmed because she wouldn’t have access to a microwave, so I made cold pasta salad which was warm by lunch time and thrown away.
“I always try to get the boys a new backpack and a new pair of sneakers to get them excited about going back to school,” Melissa says. “We talk for a few weeks leading up to it about the teachers name and who a couple of classmates will be to help ease some of those first day jitters.”
Courtney Lopez and husband, Extra host Mario Lopez are parents to 3-year-old daughter Gia and are currently expecting their second child.
“In order to avoid losing her stuff at school, we label all of Gia’s school supplies and clothes with Mabel’s Labels,” Courtney shares.
“Create a calendar of activities for each kid early on so they can see each day what they have and need,” Natalie shares. “And label everything! I love Mabel’s labels, as they stay on longer than the clothes lasts.”
Entertainment Tonight’s Brooke Anderson and husband Jim Walker are parents to 4-year-old daughter Kate, with another one on-the-way.
Brooke advises to “leave extra time to get ready and out the door in the morning so there’s no added stress of running late.”
“Your child may already be anxious and dragging her feet a little bit. Rushing her will do nothing to calm the nerves. Make the routine fun and as stress free as possible (for everyone including yourself!).”
“Write a fun, encouraging note for your child and leave in his/her lunch bag,” she adds. “I have found the notes from Little Jots to be cute and easy with included stickers but any old piece of paper will do. My daughter Kate loves to get words of support and love plus a little surprise drawing from me while she’s at preschool.”
The expectant mama went on to share a great time-saving tip. “Pack the backpack and lunch the night before with all the essentials so nothing is forgotten the morning of school,” Brooke says.
Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy O’Dell is stepmom to her husband Keith Zubchevic’s sons, Tyler and Carson. They are also parents to 6-year-old daughter Ashby.
“Make an album with your child,” says Nancy, an avid scrapbooker.
“Over the summer when it gets close to the time for back to school, sit down with your child and make an album or a scrapbook of the previous year in school,” she adds. “It will remind him or her of all the good times they had in school and it will get them excited about going back! It is a great bonding project to do together and you have a wonderful keepsake for the family as a result.”
Nancy goes on to talk about the benefits of enjoying family photos.
“Also bring out some of your family albums to show your child,” Nancy continues. “It will remind them that they are part of a group, that they are members of a strong family, that they belong and it will give them the strength to fall back on if they were to go through anything difficult at school, for example, bullying which is all too prevalent these days.”
“Child psychologists will tell you that seeing family photos, with it being reinforced visually, helps children to know they have this family unit behind them to lean on,” Nancy adds. “I share more of my album ideas at NancyODell.com including an Album of Hope which would be another great back to school project with your child.”
CelebrityBabyScoop.com is one of the most popular blogs on the topic and the foremost provider of everything celebrity-baby, featuring baby fashion, baby names, baby trends and up-to-the-minute celebrity baby gossip and pics. Get all the latest news, updates, and photos about Hollywood’s most beloved celebrity moms, dads and their babies. Who’s the latest Tinseltown baby? Who’s due next and who just announced a pregnancy? It’s all on CelebrityBabyScoop.com.
Looking for a quick, easy way to do all of the kids’ back-to-school shopping? Stock up on gear, satisfy their style needs, and stick to your budget at Shop Parents, where currently you can snag these and other school supplies at up to 40 percent off.
After what felt like an endless heat wave, it’s a chilly day here in NYC. Pulling a sweater out this morning was a harsh reminder that the relaxing days of summer are almost over and back-to-school season is fast approaching. Soon enough we’ll all be standing in lines at department stores, waiting to empty our pockets on the ever-growing back-to-school list. We’ll have to make sure that our kiddos’ snacks are healthy, their lunch bags are cool, and their backpacks, even cooler. But not to worry—we’ve got you covered.
This week we’re giving away three Back to School Chobani Prize Packs. Each pack includes a 3-month supply of Chobani Champions Greek Yogurt tubes (four 8-ct. boxes delivered each month for three months), a Built lunch bag, an FJALL Raven Kånken backpack, and two reusable LunchSkins. Leave a comment below, up to one a day, between now and Wednesday, July 31, and you could be one of three lucky winners!
Last month, Chris Noth presented a generous donation to Nourish Now—an organization that brings meals to families in need—on behalf of BV Wines. Parents spoke to Chris about how his work (both on-screen and on the hunger relief effort) impacts his life as a father to his 5-year-old son, Orion, from dealing with dinnertime pickiness to spending time together before Orion heads off to full-day school.
P: How does being a father impact your perspective on the issue of hunger relief?
CN: As a father your instinct kicks in and you want to make sure your kid is safe and well-fed. People don’t really know that 1 in 6 Americans don’t have access to food, that 17 million children are living in food-insecure households. Like me—I didn’t know that. It’s inconceivable to me that if you have a child that they would be food insecure.
P: Speaking of nutrition and healthy eating, your son is at that age when it can be difficult to feed your child, not due to lack of resources but due to pickiness. Is Orion a picky eater?
CN: All kids have their own peculiar tastes, I think. For instance, Orion doesn’t like spicy foods. He loves strawberries. He’s a big cheese eater, too, by the way. I was surprised at that. He loves cheese. Loves Parmesan cheese [laughs]. We’re just now getting him to eat meat; he wasn’t attracted to any kind of meat. But, then, he loves certain seafoods.
I try to trick him of course because he’s in that superhero-fascination age. I say, “You gotta eat this if you wanna be like Spiderman, kiddo. You gotta finish this up.” It’s an ongoing challenge. We’ve made vegetables kind of fun for him to eat. But we also use the old tricks of the trade. My son, for dessert, he doesn’t like chocolate—believe it or not—but he likes mochi. He’s crazy about mochi. So if he knows that he’s gonna get his two mochis at the end of the meal, he’s gonna clean that plate.
CN: She [my wife] is very good at that, at chopping vegetables up and blending them into things so he thinks he’s getting a French Fry but maybe it’s beets. I mean he does love those salty things that can be a little dangerous.
P: What about school lunches? What are you most excited or most nervous for with him going off to full day kindergarden?
CN: We just had our kindergarten meeting, so he starts next year. It’s a huge huge step. He had a very tight community at his preschool and so did we—with the teachers. It was just such a nourishing environment. I hate to say this, because it’s ridiculous, but it’s like from that [preschool] environment to kindergarten it’s kind of like he’s going to university in his eyes. He’s nervous. But, it’s still a really small community.
P: Since you split time between New York and L.A., when you and Orion get to see each other and you are in the same place, what are some of your favorite things to do together to celebrate that father-son bond?
CN: He’s into baseball. A Yankee game has got to be on the list. He’s obsessed with Derek Jeter; he’s very upset about his injury [chuckles]. You know, I love taking him, believe it or not, I want to see a couple of shows on Broadway. He digs that. He’s seen Spider-Man twice. I’m trying to see if Matilda is the show for him. Although, I desperately don’t want him to be an actor.
P: Why is that?
CN: There’s enough…entertainment isn’t one of the things we lack. Actors are not something we lack. Do we need another actor? G-d no.
P: Obviously charity work is very important to you. Is volunteerism and giving back something that you hope to encourage as Orion gets older?
CN: Thanksgiving we went to a local church that I found through the food bank. I think it would be a nice thing for him always to know about these things. He didn’t really quite get it, he was having fun, you know, asking to serve things, but he will get it. I think it’s important for every child to understand what’s around them, what the problems are and to be a part of the solution as they get older. I didn’t do it as a kid, frankly. I wasn’t aware of it. It is about awareness and then action.
P: Aside from volunteerism and helping out those around you, what would you say is the most important value you hope to instill in Orion?
CN: Generosity. I want him to be strong, but a gentle man. I want him to be able to see the difference between something that has real value and something that doesn’t.