Best of the Web: Why you should listen to your mother, and more

How a mum’s advice in high school continues to guide as an adult, the four things for a healthy, affordable lunchbox, and the power of guided play in education.

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

Mum told me you don’t want to peak in high school. Her advice guides me still

(Benita Kolovos, The Guardian)

When the then 13-year-old author’s mother told her, ‘You don’t want to peak in high school,’ she recalls thinking her mother must be unwell. But those words have stayed with her and guided her decisions throughout her life as she discusses how it’s some of the best advice she’s received.

Many young people face pressure to conform to societal expectations and achieve success early on. She explains how her mother’s advice encouraged her to look beyond the immediate pressures of high school and set her sights on long-term personal development and fulfilment.

‘I think what Mum was trying to say was that there’s no fun in having everything sorted out at high school. It’s a mess – but it’s meant to be.’

The enduring relevance of her mother’s wisdom continues to shape her perspective and choices even as an adult. She writes, ‘Mum’s advice now serves to remind me that there are always better days ahead’.

The long-lasting impact of a mother’s advice and the valuable lessons that can shape our lives remind us to look beyond the pressures of the present and strive for personal growth and fulfilment in the long run.

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Good lunchboxes are based on 4 things: here’s how parents can prepare healthy food and keep costs down

(Clare Dix, Stella Boyd-Ford, The Conversation)

Lunchboxes, you either love them or loathe them. No matter which side you fall on, providing a balanced meal to keep our kids fueled and excited throughout the school day can sometimes be challenging.

In this article, the authors share how parents can prepare healthy and affordable lunchboxes for their kids. It emphasises four key things to consider: energy, growth, health, and hydration.

The authors suggest that parents and carers should aim for variety in their children’s lunchboxes. Including a mix of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains can ensure a wide range of nutrients. Try experimenting with different colours, textures, and flavours to make it engaging for kids. It’s also important to balance different food groups (such as proteins, healthy fats, and carbohydrates) and go easy on the treats.

‘Most kids will eat a treat food over the core foods listed above (just like most adults!). These foods are fun and yummy but not the best choice for sustained energy and focus at school everyday.’

The authors suggest being mindful of the budget when preparing lunchboxes. Families can keep costs down by using sales, bulk-buy discounts and opting for seasonal produce. Additionally, incorporating leftovers from dinner can be a great way to save money while ensuring a nutritious lunch.

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Parents underestimate the importance of guided play in education

(Michael Dijkstra, Fronteirs)

A recent US study found that parents are embracing playful learning for their kids’ development. The researchers found that parents see the value in using play as a way to teach their kids valuable skills.

The study suggests that parents are recognising the benefits of play-based learning for things like problem-solving, creativity, and social development. It was found that parents tend to rate free play as more educational, while experts said guided play with a learning ‘goal’ was more effective.

Author Charlotee Wright, a senior research associate at Temple University College of Liberal Arts, Philadelphia, said, ‘Here we show that US parents understand that play can be more powerful for learning than direct instruction’.

‘While free play is crucial for children’s well-being, recent research emphasises that guided play is a more effective approach to support children’s learning in reading, STEM, and learning-to-learn skills like attention, memory, and flexible thinking,’ said Wright.

It’s all about blending fun and education to help kids thrive. The survey also revealed that parents believe playful learning can better prepare their children for future success.

Dr Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor at the same institute, said, ‘We need to help refine parents’ knowledge about the importance of play so that they can create guided play opportunities in everyday experiences like doing laundry, taking a walk in the park, or playing with a puzzle. As parents come to see these as “learning” moments in everyday play, their children will thrive, while they will have more fun being parents.’

So, it seems like more and more parents are realising the power of play when it comes to their kids’ growth and development.

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