Best of the Web: Tips for parenting teens on screens, and more

Useful ideas to mange your teen's screen time, Lego removing gender stereotypes, and expert advice to help maintain children's mental health.

Our selection of thought-provoking and useful resources from around the web on educating and raising children, and supporting families.

5 tips for parenting teens on screens

(Bec Cavalôt, Understanding Boys)

The past 18 months have seen screens dominate the lives of our young people. As the author notes, teens have been living their lives virtually.

‘School? On a screen. Entertainment? On a screen. Socialising? Yep – that’ll be on a screen too,’ they write.

While a digital detox isn’t possible at the moment, there are things you can do to help manage screen time.

These include establishing screen rules for the family, modelling good behaviour, and making regular exercise non-negotiable.

If you are looking for more ideas, you might like Andrew Fuller’s popular article on The Parents Website, Wean your teen off the screen

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Lego to remove gender bias from its toys after findings of child survey

(Helen Russell, The Guardian)

The Danish toymaker Lego is working towards removing all gender stereotypes from its toys, supported by research it commissioned for this week’s UN International Day of the Girl.

The research, which surveyed 7000 parents and children across the world, found attitudes to play and future careers remain unequal and restrictive.

Girls were becoming more confident and ready to engage in a range of activities, but boys – and their parents – were worried about being teased if they played with ‘girls’ toys’.

It’s important because toys are ‘training opportunities’ for later life, one expert noted. For example, if boys didn’t play with dolls, they are missing out on nurturing skills. And if girls didn’t play with Lego and other construction toys, they aren’t developing spatial skills.

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Tips for maintaining children's mental health during lockdown from the experts

(Sumeyya Ilanbey, The Age)

Our sixth lockdown in Melbourne has asked so much of us all, including our children.

Last month, Victoria’s Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Neil Coventry, spoke of the toll on children’s mental health. While humans by nature are resilient and would largely be able to cope, he encouraged parents and carers to reach out to their children.

He urged them to have frank conversations about the pandemic, and truthfully answer their questions.

The author went in search of some practical advice, from the Royal Children’s Hospital director of mental health, Ric Haslam, and coordinator of clinical psychology, Alice Morgan.

Both responded to questions including what parents and carers should look out for, and what to say to their children who are experiencing worries and anxieties.

It’s a valuable and practical guide for parents from two respected experts.

You might also find useful this article on The Parents Website, How to talk to kids about COVID-19

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