Moms Columns & Blogs

Stop the texting, kids

Texting and the "send" button are major distractions in classrooms across the United States. The average teenager sends about 50 text messages a day while at school - despite the fact that most schools ban text messaging.

To battle the nuisance, a school in Connecticut is holding a moratorium on the use of technology every Tuesday in September.

"No-Tech Tuesdays" at Hyde School in Woodstock, Conn., materialized after a campus-wide meeting of students and faculty. A common pitfall expressed at the meeting was the decline of face-to-face interaction, because of electronic messaging chosen over any other form of communication.

Suspending use of technology on "No-Tech Tuesdays" - students are supposed to go all day without texting - is one way the school hopes to encourage face-to-face connections.

Protect their eyes

About 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented through proper eye protection. Prevent Blindness America has declared September as Sports Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month to encourage parents and children to learn the easy steps they can take to protect vision for a lifetime.

Eye guards should be considered an essential part of any sports equipment, says the National Eye Institute. Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in school-age children, the Institute says. Most of those injuries are sports-related. Every 13 minutes, an emergency room in the United States treats a sports-related eye injury; many of them involve children.

Go to StarPupils.org to find a listing of recommended eye protection for many sports.

Invest in homework

Children are more likely to do their homework if they see it as an investment, not a chore, according to new research at the University of Michigan.

Most children in the United States say they expect to go to college, but there often is a gap between students' goals and their current behavior, according to the study. The gap can be especially wide among low-income and African-American students, the study says.

"Even among children with the same starting grades, expecting to be a teacher, an engineer, or a nurse when you grow up predicts that they'll invest more time in homework," one of the researchers says.

Swaddling is safe

Swaddling a baby is perfectly safe," says Pamela Diamond, a Raleigh baby sleep consultant. To advise parents to use an arms-free swaddle or no swaddle "is downright absurd," Diamond says.

"Swaddling is a vital tool that is clinically proven to comfort a crying, screaming newborn and keep an infant safely asleep on its back."

Harvey Karp, a pediatrician, agrees. An expert on the subject of newborn sleep, Karp says swaddling is essential to public health, because infant crying and the exhaustion it causes in parents can factor into a host of other problems, such as postpartum depression, SIDS, child abuse, breast-feeding failure, maternal smoking, marital stress among others.

Also, The American Academy of Pediatrics advocates swaddling. Loose bedding is dangerous, but is a separate issue from the safety of swaddling.

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