19 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2015
    1. When we adults unite play, love, and work in our lives, we set an example that our children can follow. That just might be the best way to bring play back into the lives of our children—and build a more playful culture.
    2. Finally children do as we do, not as we say. That gives us incentive to bring play back into our adult lives. We can shut off the TVs and take our children with us on outdoor adventures. We should get less exercise in the gym and more on hiking trails and basketball courts. We can also make work more playful: Businesses that do this are among the most successful. Seattle’s Pike Fish Market is a case in point. Workers throw fish to one another, engage the customers in repartee, and appear to have a grand time. Some companies, such as Google, have made play an important part of their corporate culture. Study after study has shown that when workers enjoy what they do and are well-rewarded and recognized for their contributions, they like and respect their employers and produce higher quality work. For example, when the Rohm and Hass Chemical company in Kentucky reorganized its workplace into self- regulating and self-rewarding teams, one study found that worker grievances and turnover declined, while plant safety and productivity improved.
    3. As adults have increasingly thwarted self-initiated play and games, we have lost important markers of the stages in a child’s development. In the absence of such markers, it is difficult to determine what is appropriate and not appropriate for children. We run the risk of pushing them into certain activities before they are ready, or stunting the development of important intellectual, social, or emotional skills.  For example, it is only after the age of six or seven that children will spontaneously participate in games with rules, because it is only at that age that they are fully able to understand and follow rules.
    4. The results showed no advantage in reading and math achievement for children attending the academic preschools. But there was evidence that those children had higher levels of test anxiety, were less creative, and had more negative attitudes toward school than did the children attending the play preschools.
    5. sociodramatic play, where two or more children participate in shared make believe, demonstrate the value of this play for academic, social, and emotional learning. “Sociodramatic play activates resources that stimulate social and intellectual growth in the child, which in turn affects the child’s success in school,” concludes Smilansky in a 1990 study that compared American and Israeli children. “For example, problem solving in most school subjects requires a great deal of make believe, visualizing how the Eskimos live, reading stories, imagining a story and writing it down, solving arithmetic problems, and determining what will come next.”
    6. found that children who received an enriched, play-oriented parenting and early childhood program had significantly higher IQ’s at age five than did a comparable group of children who were not in the program (105 vs. 85 points).
    7. In infancy and early childhood, play is the activity through which children learn to recognize colors and shapes, tastes and sounds—the very building blocks of reality. Play also provides pathways to love and social connection. Elementary school children use play to learn mutual respect, friendship, cooperation, and competition. For adolescents, play is a means of exploring possible identities, as well as a way to blow off steam and stay fit. Even adults have the potential to unite play, love, and work, attaining the dynamic, joyful state that psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls “flow.”
    1. gratitude does more than just make kids feel good; it also improves their mood, mental health, and life satisfaction, and it can jumpstart more purposeful engagement in life at a critical moment in their development, when their identity is taking shape.
    1. psychiatrists estimate that only one percent of the general population meets the clinical criteria for narcissistic disorders. However, narcissistic characteristics are found in all individuals in varying degrees. Early childhood is marked by egocentrism, the inability to take another’s perspective. This preoccupation with one’s own internal world is a normal stage of human development. Over time, most of us evolve out of this restricted perceptual lens. However those who continue to see the world primarily from the inside out slide down the slope from ordinary egocentrism to entitled narcissism.
  2. Oct 2015
    1. But one place where we might not find too much flow these days, sadly, is in American schools. For years, the learning conditions in classrooms have been practically antithetical to the conditions people need to achieve flow and all the benefits that come with it. Especially in the era of No Child Left Behind and high-stakes testing, schools have often favored regimentation over self-directed learning, making it harder for students to get deeply engaged with topics that interest them. Paradoxically, these trends might be undermining the kind of student achievement they were designed to promote, and could even be causing student burnout.
    1. when parents and teachers praise their kids for being perfect,right the kids feel alienated and anxious. By contrast, when you praise kids for justtrying hard and putting effort into some things they feel motivated.
    1. The positive response to the program was almost immediate. “In one classroom, the children went from having the most behavioral problems in the school—as measured by number of visits to the principal’s office—to having zero behavioral problems, after only two to three weeks of instruction,” says Schonert-Reichl.

      Mindfulness training in schools seems to have some major benefits.

  3. Sep 2015
    1. giving kids rewards for their prosocial behavior may actually undermine kindness. One possible explanation for these somewhat counterintuitive findings is that, in order for children to grow up seeing themselves as kind and giving, it is important for them to feel that they do good because they want to, not because others expect them to.
    1. warm, sensitive parenting for three year olds predicts greater focused concentration in the children one year later—which in turn predicts greater sympathy at ages six and seven. Vagal tone in the kids at three years also predicts sympathy three and four years later. As was the case for parenting style, the Vagal tone effect was largely related to the children’s concentration skills as four years olds.  Together, these data suggest that warm, sensitive, authoritative parenting may support skills like managing emotions and focusing attention, and that children with higher Vagal tone are more likely to have these skills, which in turn paves the way for sympathy for other peoples’ suffering.
    2. In the Oliners’ study of Germans who helped rescue Jews during the Nazi Holocaust, one of the strongest predictors of this inspiring behavior was the individual’s memory of growing up in a family that prioritized compassion and altruism.
    3. Nancy Eisenberg, Richard Fabes, and Martin Hoffman have found that parents who use induction and reasoning raise children who are better adjusted and more likely to help their peers. This style of parenting seems to nurture the basic tools of compassion: an appreciation of others’ suffering and a desire to remedy that suffering.
    4. First, children securely attached to their parents, compared to insecurely attached children, tend to be sympathetic to their peers as early as age three and a half, according to the research of Everett Waters, Judith Wippman, and Alan Sroufe. In contrast, researchers Mary Main and Carol George found that abusive parents who resort to physical violence have less empathetic children.
    1. Evolutionary biologists like Frans de Waal have shown that we are social animals who have naturally evolved to care for each other, just like our primate cousins. And psychologists have revealed that we are primed for empathy by strong attachment relationships in the first two years of life.  But empathy doesn’t stop developing in childhood. We can nurture its growth throughout our lives—and we can use it as a radical force for social transformation.
    1. Along these lines, they go on to propose the development of a “social curriculum” with programs and activities that “enhance social inclusion and connection.” For ideas and techniques to make that happen, please see Greater Good’s education channel!