Are the 3 R’s of Education Sufficient for the Future?

When I was a kid in the 1970s and ‘80s, those who could memorize the most facts and calculate figures the fastest were generally deemed the smartest and most likely to succeed. You could say a “cognitive” and “IQ”-based view of intelligence prevailed.

Enter technology and the shift from Industrial to Information Age. Nowadays, facts and figures have been rendered far more easily accessible to far more people than ever before. At the same time, our increasingly complex and globalized world is placing new demands on us to think critically and creatively; and now more than ever to “play well” with, empathize with and read other people. 

Continue reading “Are the 3 R’s of Education Sufficient for the Future?”

Hello. Allow Me to Introduce You to the QI Skills.

If you haven’t heard of QI skills before, you are not alone.

That’s because the use of the word “QI” (pronounced “key”) to describe a set of valuable 21st century skills is, in fact, altogether new as a concept I introduce in my new book, The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow. The familiar set of skills that I have collectively dubbed “QI,” however, are anything but new and likely to be quite familiar. Continue reading “Hello. Allow Me to Introduce You to the QI Skills.”

Teen Driver Safety

News of teen car crash victims invariably get me choked up, but I have recently found myself thinking even more than usual about teenage drivers. I’m sure this is in large part due to the fact that my oldest child has now started talking about what car she hopes to drive in the not-too-distant future. I’m pretty sure it’s also because of the recent news detailing the incredibly sad local story about teenage sisters involved in a fatal crash. But to be honest, this time of year always makes me think about the risks involved in newly licensed teens getting behind the wheel. I’m not sure why the time of year should make a difference – since the premature death of a teenager is without exception a horribly sad occasion in any season. But there’s apparently something even more devastatingly newsworthy about covering the senseless loss of life when it happens on prom night or just after graduation when teens should be excitedly preparing to embark on their future, not being laid to rest. Continue reading “Teen Driver Safety”

Kids, Coats and Cold Weather

I have to say, it’s a good thing I have the opportunity to talk to lots of parents on a regular basis, if for no other reason than because I’m able to reassure myself that I’m not the only parent having conversations like this one:

Me:     “You can’t wear shorts today.”

Child who shall go nameless: “Why not?”

Me:     “It’s winter, and it’s too cold outside for shorts.”

Child (still wearing shorts):    “So?! I’m not cold.”

Me:     “It’s not just a little cold. It’s frigid outside. As in snow temperature. As in it’s sub-zero wind chill and like the arctic tundra outside. Now go change!”

Child (still not changing):        “But mom, WHY?!”

Me:     “Because I give people parenting advice for a living, and if you don’t, you’ll make me look bad, so end of discussion – go change!” Continue reading “Kids, Coats and Cold Weather”

The Problem with Childhood Vaccines

To get right to the point, I find that the problem with vaccines (or at least writing about them) is that more people are likely to read what I’m about to write if I imply there’s a problem with them then if I were to simply state that vaccines happen to be one of the single most life-saving accomplishments of the twentieth century – appropriately credited with literally transforming the landscape of medicine. That’s not to say that a majority of the general public doesn’t take vaccines seriously. But in this day and age – when we all reap their benefits – we perhaps run the risk of taking vaccines a bit too much for granted. Continue reading “The Problem with Childhood Vaccines”

An Alternative to Valentine’s Day Chocolate: Reasons to Dance Your Heart Out

Valentine’s Day is undeniably all about love and sweethearts. It’s also defined by the heartfelt gifts of chocolates, sweets and (candy) hearts so plentiful this time of year. Now it’s not that I think we need to do away with all of these sweet gifts in lieu of a more heart-healthy approach to Valentine’s Day. But it has occurred to me that this holiday could mean so much more when it comes to finding ways for our loved ones to have happy hearts. To get you one step closer to achieving this goal, I’d like to suggest that you, your kids, and your sweetheart all get up and dance. That’s right…dance! Continue reading “An Alternative to Valentine’s Day Chocolate: Reasons to Dance Your Heart Out”

Helping Children Cope with School Shootings

My children and I took our first trip to India over the holidays, accompanying my U.S.-born husband who hadn’t been back to visit relatives in over 20 years. The trip was eye-opening. We traveled all over India – making our way through big cities and tiny villages as we visited relatives and introduced our children to a world very different from the one they know. Continue reading “Helping Children Cope with School Shootings”

Winter, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, and Family Safety

In an attempt to maintain my glass-half-full view of the world, I’m always relieved when I sit down to read the morning paper and come across a good tragedy-averted story interspersed amongst the doom and gloom. So believe me when I say I was particularly happy to read John Schreier’s article, Carbon monoxide sickens students. While it’s unfortunate that more than 40 UNL students recently wound up at the hospital after waking to symptoms consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning, the operative word in this description would have to be “waking.” Because the fact of the matter is that carbon monoxide is one of the leading causes of poisoning deaths in the United States. Often dubbed “the silent killer,” this toxic gas is colorless, tasteless and odorless, but has the deadly ability to disrupt the body’s use of oxygen. In other words, things could have been worse at the UNL fraternity house. Much worse. Continue reading “Winter, Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, and Family Safety”