Durable Human (2 book series)

How to Boost Children’s Mental Health

Being in nature can boost children's mental health. Girl looks up at sky as walks through woods.

Encouragement, structure, and media management can improve children’s mental health and boost their brain development. So say multiple mental health experts, even as a mental health emergency rages on among U.S. children and teens.

Matt Miles, a high school teacher in suburban Washington, D.C., sees the crisis playing out.

“The number that’s exploding are the kids with moderate day-to-day inability to cope.” They can’t handle the pressure they used to, he says, “like two tests in a day.”

Children’s mental health practitioners are also concerned.  

Continue reading

Child Psychiatrists and Advocates Condemn Dish Network Prime Video Ad

Grandparents on couch next to baby read parent written instructions on paper

Psychiatrists who care for children and teens are demanding the removal of a Dish Network Prime Video ad because it gives the impression it’s OK to park an infant in front of a TV.  

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s Media Committee writes in a letter to Dish:  

“Infants and toddlers need hands-on exploration and social interaction with their caregivers to adequately develop cognitive, motor, and social-emotional skills. These abilities cannot be learned by infants and toddlers from two-dimensional impersonal digital media.”

The “Babysitting: Prime Video” ad goes like this: Continue reading

Travel with Baby: To Screen or Not to Screen?

Shannon at car door and Cooper in carseat get ready for a trip

Successful travel with a baby is possible without using a device for distraction. Child development experts explain why tech-free travel is a boost to a baby’s brain, psyche, and relationship with you.   

My daughter Shannon, her 5-month-old son, and I had just finished a successful 8-hour car trip south and back. It wasn’t always easy, but we cajoled Cooper with chatter, songs, books and toysnone of which had a cord or battery.

The best moment was on our ride back home.

It was pitch dark when Cooper began to howl. We’d been driving for hours and I thought we were out of ideas, but Shannon had one more. She began to “read” The Very Hungry Caterpillar—completely from memory. Softly and gently, like so many times before, she recited every page.

Coop soon quieted down and was asleep before the caterpillar became a butterfly.

A few days later, Shannon clicked on a YouTube video claiming to have the inside scoop on how to travel with a baby. As she recalls:  

“First, the mom-fluencer, who was sitting in the back seat, showed her husband up front behind the wheel. Then the mom panned a little bit further to reveal an iPad, already playing a video, secured by a plastic case fastened to the back seat about a foot in front of the baby’s face. I had to laugh. Ohhh. That’s the big secret?”

Why Parents Turn to Tablets

Although our trip was sans tech, Shannon considered the alternative. Continue reading

Durable is the New Resilient

To explain concept of a durable human being, image is of woman in business attire standing in front of a shadow of a superwoman

As the pandemic drags on, you need to be a durable human. Simply being resilient doesn’t cut it anymore. New findings point to why.  

White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci wants our response to the COVID vaccine to be as durable as possible.

Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema says only laws with bipartisan backing will be durable.  

On Joe Rogan’s podcast, New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt spoke of how “parents and teachers should be helping kids develop their innate abilities to grow and learn.” He used “antifragile.”

Lebanese-American essayist Nassim Nicholas says he coined that term because “there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile.”

But, actually—there is. Continue reading

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