Top 10 essential and empowering articles for parents for July 8th-14th

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My Top 10 Articles for this week include how to enhance wellness (through art therapy, stress management, journaling); how to feed picker eaters; how to help children read better; why learning the US economy empowers parents; and how to talk to children about race and racism.

The purpose of posting Top 10 Article every week is to share articles that I believe contain essential information for parents, potential parents, children, or anyone who care about the next generation. I ranked the articles subjectively. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it!

10. Art therapy: Go to museum to feel good

This article talks about Art Therapy, as studies have shown that trip to museum change your hormone level and boost a sense of well-being. Some doctors even prescribe a museum visit and send their patients to a museum to cure health concerns.

Good news is that many museums are kid/family friendly. Families with small children can visit a local museum easily, and both adults and children will feel better.  

(Source: Fortune)

9. Mind and Body Benefit from Two Hours in Nature Each Week

People who spent at least two hours outside—either all at once or totaled over several shorter visits—were more likely to report good health and psychological well-being, stated by the article. Even if you are very busy, two hours in a week seem attainable and worth trying.

(Source: Scientific American)

8. Journaling is empowering

I’ve been keeping journaling since high school, and I totally agree that journaling is empowering because you address your problems rather than feeling you can’t help yourself enough.

I share two secrets to keep journaling for such a long time. First, don’t feel obliged to keep it every day. Although I try to write every day, I sometimes skip it. Once in a while, I even don’t write anything for weeks, but I can resume anytime I feel like. Second, you don’t have to write lengthy paragraphs every day. Sometimes I write a short sentence, such as “I’m grateful to my friends for their support”, “I did my best”, “Today was a terrible day”, or “I feel tired.” Even one sentence journaling helps me to address my problem or to realize how lucky I am. My average length for a single day entry is half a page.

(Source: Psychology Today )

7. Making sure your stress isn’t contagious

If you are stressed, people around you – your partner, child(ren), friends, and colleagues – notice it and your stress spreads to others. In my experience, my stress is contagious especially to my young children and negatively impact their mood, because Mom accounts for a huge portion of their little world and they are too young to control emotion by themselves. So, managing my own stress is one of the most important parenting skills for me.  

This article recommends specifying and pinpointing your stress factors, and then discuss how you can manage your stress by keeping a stress journal every day for a month.

“When people talk about what stresses them, they tend to describe generalities like ‘my job’ or ‘unrealistic deadlines’ or ‘the new boss.’ We don’t typically dive deeply into the triggers, because we’d rather not wallow there. However, we can’t solve what we don’t truly understand.”

“Try this: keep a stress journal for one month. At the end of each day, jot down when you felt stressed, including details about the specific situation and what was happening at the time. Reflect on these questions: What conditions caused me to feel stressed today? What about the situation felt important at the time? How was the situation meaningful to me?”

(Source: Harvard Business Review)

6. Why choosing kids’ food is a bad idea and what we can do so that children have healthy eating habits

In many countries, children eat “kids’ food” at restaurants and home while most of kids’ food is unhealthy options, such as sugary squeeze yogurt, colorful cereals, processed food, or salty French fries. Such food is convenient to parents and appealing to children; however, unintended long-term health concerns – such as health concern and obesity – could arise if such eating habits persist through adulthood.

Then, what should parents do? Make the healthy option the normal option and be patient; make food a positive experience by involving children in planning and cooking meals, which are some of the suggestions from the article. Getting toddlers involved in cooking means more work and patience required of parents; however, it must be a valuable investment for children’s health.

(Source: On Parenting by Washington Post)

5. Literacy in poor countries

Unfortunately, 262 million young people are without access to school, and global literacy in poor countries won’t significantly improve in the next decade, according to Unesco. Shortage of qualified teachers and lack of infrastructure (destroyed by a war, for example) are some of the factors. Liberia, a sub-Saharan African country with the worst literacy rates in the world, went through a pro-longed civil war in the 1990s; as a result, an absolute shortage of teachers and school buildings still prevent many children from learning.

(Source: BBC)

4. New Dads and mental health

This is a great step: National Health Service (NHS) England, a British public health organization, is starting to provide mental health services to new fathers. As I discussed in a blog post last month, a number of new fathers suffer from depression. Indeed, about one in 10 dads experience mental illness in the first six months after the birth of their baby. In this emotional video, a new father Dan talks about his experiences of mental health problems when his son was born.

(Source: BBC)

3. How we can help children read and comprehend better

US schools value reading comprehension skills over knowledge, which is a wrong approach and devastate kids from poor families, according to the article. Reading comprehension skills focus on finding main ideas, making inference, and making a prediction, and what kids read does not matter. But, to really comprehend the context, kids need to know knowledge and vocabulary, and knowledge is best taught through real life context and first-hand experiences. Unfortunately, kids from poor households enter the school with less knowledge and vocabulary compared to their peers from rich households. Meanwhile, to improve test scores, teacher in poor school district force kids to do mere “reading comprehension” curriculum.

Some teachers in Ohio have tried a new content-focused curriculum, according to the article. Teachers choose a right topic to satisfy children’s curiosity and ask questions such as “what makes a great heart”, which naturally enhance children’s knowledge, vocabulary and reading skills. As a result, students who previously struggled with reading have remarkably improved academically.

(Source: The Atlantic)

2. Why we should care about US economy

US economy has been expanding for an unprecedented length of period (almost 121 months). There are no immediate signs that can trigger recession, and the stable growth can continue further although there are some risks (including political risks), according to the article.

Learning the US economy – its economic upturn/downturn – very much empowers parents. First, it helps parents to make their own financial decisions. Knowing that the economy is currently booming, you can save for rainy days. Education is costly almost everywhere in the world. If you want to save for the college cost for your children, the best time is when the economy is doing well. Second, US economy account for one fourth of global output. If US economy stumbles, the rest of the world will suffer. Thus, even if you are not in USA, learning American economy is still beneficial.

(Source: The Economist)

1.How to talk to children about race and racism

Racism, along with nationalism, is becoming a global trend these days, lamentably. Just a few days ago, the US president sparked a huge controversy after tweeting racist remarks against four US congresswomen.

So, what can adult do to let children properly understand race relations? Instead of avoiding talking about race and racism, adults should proactively discuss those issues with children. This article provides practical and workable way on how we can talk with children about complex things like systemic racism and societal inequity.

(Source: BuzzFeed)

(Photo by niko photos on Unsplash)