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Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingRaising a child in today's fast-paced world is anything but easy. Now two new books say many parents are going about it all wrong -- that to really give kids the best start in life, families need to slow things down.
Talk to any parent and you'll find a common complaint. It's no surprise, in between rushing from home to school to soccer practice and music lessons parents have become glorified chauffeurs and social secretaries for their children's increasingly crowded schedule.
Now two new books, ‘Einstein Never Used Flash Cards’ and ‘The Epidemic’, say far from helping kids, trying to pack too much in is hurting them. The researchers say there's no evidence that teaching children how to do math and read when they are very young has long term benefits.
Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, Child Psychologist: "The research in child psychology in the past 30 years really does not support that learning things much earlier will help them become geniuses or help them get entrance into Harvard later on."
In fact she says rote learning and drilling kids will only make them fidgety and more aggressive. In ‘The Epidemic’ UC Berkeley's Doctor Robert Shaw says, “One consequence of overly permissive, often absentee parenting, is overactive children. Something we then try to fix by using medications.”
Dr. Robert Shaw, Child Psychologist: "I think we are using medicine to sedate the children who are bounding around, you see if the child has not had the bonding experience, is not attached, does not have the moral training, they do not even know how to play."
The solutions they offer are relatively easy. Set clear boundaries and spend more unstructured play time with your children. Let them make up their own games and learn how to exercise their imaginations.
Kathy Hirsh-Pasek: "What we have learned from research is that children really get a lot out of unstructured play time, and mind you unstructured time does not mean leave your children alone and let them sit in front of the television. It really means playing with, talking with children."
The two books are filled with good common sense advice. The only problem is, when will busy parents find the time to read them?