Best of the Web

Should kids climb trees, put down your phone, why teens need rites of passage, and more.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful articles from around the web on educating and raising children.

Should I let my kid climb trees? We asked five experts

(Sasha Petrova, The Conversation)

Was climbing trees a regular part of your childhood? There was a sense of achievement, scaling up limbs and taking in the view. That was then. As the author notes, parents want their children to enjoy the same joys of childhood, but many struggle with getting the balance right between freedom for their children and making sure they are safe. This article sought out five experts for their view – from a paediatric surgeon to a teacher educator.


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Parents, sometimes you're the problem when it comes to tech use

(Anya Kamenetz, npr)

We agonise over the use of digital technology by our children. But what kind of behaviour are we modelling? A recent study found that parents of young children pick up their phones an average of almost 70 times a day. This article, written by the author of a book on the subject, explores the issue, drawing on expert and parent advice. There’s useful advice, such as stop using the phone as a pacifier – for you and your child.


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Stop worrying about screen ‘time’. It’s your child’s screen experience that matters

(Brittany Huber, The Conversation)

While on the subject of the use of devices, here’s an interesting argument that it’s what’s happening on the screen that also matters. Most Australian families are exceeding the national guidelines of no more that one hour of screen time a day for children aged two to five. But, as this article argues, that’s built on a premise that isn’t clear cut. Not all screen time is ‘bad’. The author outlines what parents can do to to give children a healthy, positive, quality screen media experience.


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How to help young people transition into adulthood

(Betty Ray, Greater Good Magazine)

How do we prepare young people for an increasingly uncertain future. We often talk about the skills they need such as critical thinking, resilience and empathy. But, as this article explains, there’s a sense young people need real-world experience in navigating the unknown. A way to do this is an authentic rite of passage, where they can young people can try out the unknown, learning skills for ‘adulting’. The author reports on her work on developing a contemporary approach to rites of passage.

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