Nurture Shock, the book by Po Bronson & Ashley Merriman-- no time to read it? Look here...

Nurture Shock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman is a great new book.  Each chapter in Nurture Shock addresses a major area in the world of research about children. It’s the
most current collection available, and there are practical applications
you can put in place immediately.

Chapter 1: The Inverse Power of Praise
When we praise children for their intelligence, they take fewer risks.  Kids need to think of intelligence as something to work hard at.  Kids
who learn that “the brain is muscle” and that “a harder workout [of that
muscle] makes you smarter” perform better. 

What can you do now?  Spend time noticing what you see, rather than passing judgement.  “You climbed all the way up the slide!”; “You used red and blue and green and swirled it around,”; “You
are working so hard to finish that puzzle.”  The meaning children construct from this kind of scaffolded talk is long lasting.

Chapter 2: The Lost Hour
“Around the world, children get an hour less sleep than they did thirty years ago.  The cost: IQ points, emotional well-being, ADHD, and
obesity.”  Children’s sleep in the “slow-wave stage” more than adults,
and that “slow-wave stage” is essential for brain development--
remember, they are still growing!

What can you do now?  Help your child get as much sleep as he can.  Talk about sleep positively, don’t glorify “staying up late”, and make bedtime early enough so your child isn’t overtired and
staying up late.  Most children 8 and under should be getting about 11
hours of sleep a night.

Chapter 3: Why White Parents Don’t Talk About Race

It seems that many white parents don’t talk about race, thinking that we
shouldn’t bring attention to differences but focus on similarities in
people.  The issue is, kids are developing ideas about black and white,
light and dark, while we aren’t talking about it.

What can you do now? 
According to Phyllis Katz, who studies race and children, we can talk about race the way we talk about
gender—noting people of all colors in all different kinds of jobs,
roles, etc.  Try not to “shush” children when they say something
embarrassing that is race related.  Use it as a time to talk: “You
noticed that a lot of nannies have darker skin,” and see where the
conversation goes.

More to come next week.

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