Best of the Web

Putting your phone away when walking your child to school, the benefits of family holidays rather than toys, and the debate over heavy school bags – our selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.

Seize the day: leave your phone at home

(Clare Boyd-Macrae, The Age)

Our constant attachment to our mobile phones comes at a cost. Often, we are missing out on real-life experiences in favour of a virtual reality. With the start of the school year, the author has observed parents on their phones while walking their children to school. That precious time with their children is being lost. ‘I mean, really, what can be so important?’ she writes.

The science behind why you should spend money on family holidays instead of toys

(Hattie Garlick, The Telegraph)

This article is based on an interview with Oliver James, one of the United Kingdom’s best-selling psychological authors. Parents are wasting their money on buying toys for their children, he argues. Rather, it’s holidays children want. Family holidays are valued both in the moment and long after in the memory. ‘So if you’re going to spend money on something, it’s pretty clear which option makes more sense,’ says James.

Parents Don’t Get How Negative They Seem to Their Teenagers

(Julie Fraga, TIME)

For parents dealing with teenage meltdowns – and this is a large cohort – new research has shed some light on what might be going wrong. The University of California researchers found that when teens thought their parents’ reactions to their anger was stronger and more negative than their parents had meant it to be, they became even more aggressive. Telling an angry child to ‘get over it’ caused the child to feel dismissed and neglected. A solution? Parents should invite teens to share their perspectives.

Are heavy schoolbags really damaging children’s backs?

(Carl O’Brien, The Irish Times)

Concerned about the weight of her daughter’s schoolbag, Margo Fleming weighed it. The hardback books, sports equipment and copybooks came in at 15 kilograms. Horrified, she decided to drive her daughter to school – and many other parents are doing the same. This article looks at the two sides of the debate. There’s potential injury to children. But with concern about obesity and sedentary lifestyles, some experts argue that walking to school with a school bag should be encouraged.

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