Is cursive writing important to child development?

Legislators push to keep cursive in their schools' curricula, but experts seem split as to whether it's necessary.

Tracy Burns checks her third grade student Nikolai Wilkins' cursive writing during class. (Photo: Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
  • Ohio has joined many other states in reestablishing cursive in their schools' curricula.
  • Research shows the value handwriting has for developing children's fine motor skills and a connection between words and memory.
  • But experts seem split on whether it's a question of print vs. cursive, or cognitive fluency vs. disconnect.
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Are screens really destroying young people’s brains?

A new report says there's not as much evidence of physical harm as you might think.

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  • Leading pediatricians say the assumption that screen time is behind problems is not really supported by research.
  • The danger has more to do with a screen being a gateway for unwanted intrusions into a child's life.
  • While recommendations are difficult based on the limited amount of research that has been done, the report offers a few.
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Why ‘mom guilt’ is an unreasonable term

What is 'mom guilt'? It's a symptom of the tragic state of America's parental leave policies.

  • America's poor family leave policies for new parents are the reason why 'mom guilt' is universal – but that guilt is unreasonable, says Smith Brody.
  • 'Dad guilt' is not a term, but men should also be part of this conversation.
  • For every month of parental leave that a father takes, the mom's lifetime earnings increase by 7%. Studies prove fathers who take parental leave ultimately have better relationships with their teenage children.
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Want your kid to cut down screen-time? Put away your phone, study suggests

Also, don't offer screen-time as a reward for good behavior.

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  • A recent study tracked the media habits of families with preschool-age children.
  • The results found that the screen-time of mothers was positively associated with the screen-time of their children, and that offering screens as a reward for good behavior is also linked to increased screen-time among kids.
  • It's important to study the effects of technology on preschool-age children because they're at a stage in development when it's especially easy to form habits and routines that carry on into adulthood.
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How the Nazi’s inhumane parenting guidelines may still be affecting German children

"The best is the child in a separate room, where it then remains alone," a bestselling Nazi-era parenting book advised.

German Federal Archives
  • In 1934, a German pulmonologist wrote a book that contained child-rearing advice that promoted extreme forms of neglect in order to encourage toughness in children.
  • The Nazis later incorporated these principles into a mothers' training program that millions of German women undertook.
  • Some German therapists suggest that the effects of these harsh parenting styles are still being felt by German adults and their children today.
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