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kids and parenting

When Scott Gatz and his husband decided to become fathers several years ago, pursuing parenthood meant finding both an egg donor and a surrogate to help them conceive a baby. Their first round of in vitro fertilization produced seven healthy embryos. One of those embryos was successfully transferred to their surrogate's womb, resulting in their son Matthew, who is now 6-years-old.

While the San Francisco couple feels their family is now complete, they are still in a quandary over what to do with their six remaining embryos — what they call their "maybe babies."

kids at play
Flickr Photo/guilherme jofili (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8Gw7aW

Dr. Peter Gray is an evolutionary research psychologist. He focuses on our education system and how children learn naturally. And that’s the rub: Gray points to the many ways our schools impede natural learning, with disturbing consequences.

His research and writing shed light on how the creativity and skills we establish in free play influence learning.

Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many.

He's at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a "small-family ethic" — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to "give them grandchildren."

Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe.

Bill Radke speaks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about a rise in birth tourism in Canada. Anyone born in Canada is automatically a citizen. This is prompting women from other countries to fly to Canada to have their children and give them the opportunity for dual citizenship.

It was one of the worst moments of Durga's life: the morning her father suddenly announced that in about a week's time she would have to get married.

She was 15 years old. Her husband-to-be was in his 40s, had barely been to school and had a reputation as a heavy drinker. Even by the standards of their village in Northern India — where child marriages are still commonplace — this was a singularly bad match.

The residents of Flint, Mich., received some welcome news this week: Researchers released the results of a new round of water tests, showing lead levels in that city's water system falling just below the Environmental Protection Agency action level.

Too many water samples above that level is a red flag for utilities, a sign that they may have a broader lead problem.

Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards, who leads the team documenting Flint's water problems, called the new results the "beginning of the end," a turning point in the city's saga with corrosive water.

Lead problems with the water in Flint, Mich., have prompted people across the country to ask whether they or their families have been exposed to the toxic metal in their drinking water, too.

When it comes to assessing the risk, it's important to look in the right places.

Even when municipal water systems' lead levels are considered perfectly fine by federal standards, the metal can leach into tap water from lead plumbing.

In Puerto Rico the local association of obstetricians and gynecologists has launched a new attack on Zika. Because Zika primarily is a problem for pregnant women, the doctors are trying to reduce the number of pregnant women by offering free contraception across the island to any woman who wants it.

"We have had ... historical barriers to contraception in Puerto Rico for a long long time," says Dr. Nabal Bracero, the driving force behind the initiative and the head of the local chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Connie Hill of Columbus, Ohio, got some unsettling news after her son's 12-month checkup.

A nurse called to say that the 1-year-old's blood lead level test had come back as slightly elevated, which would put him in the top 2.5 percent of lead-exposed children ages 1 to 5 in the United States.

Sesame Street has been a constant presence in children's entertainment for nearly 50 years. In addition to Big Bird and Elmo and Oscar the Grouch, the program also has human characters who ground the show, teaching the muppets big life lessons and helping them on their zany adventures. But over the past few weeks, there have been some issues with the grown-ups of Sesame Street.

At These Museums, Tragedy Is A History Lesson

Aug 3, 2016

Last week, NPR Ed rounded up our favorite children's museums — places dedicated to letting kids learn in kid-friendly exhibits. That got us thinking about a different kind of museum: the ones that teach about the toughest episodes of history. How do you explain what happened during the Sept. 11 attacks to a child? What about the Holocaust, or the Oklahoma City bombing? We asked leaders from three memorial museums around the U.S.

New York Bans Registered Sex Offenders From Pokémon Go

Aug 2, 2016

At least 22 percent of Pokémon Go's millions of users are minors, according to a Survey Monkey study obtained by Forbes. With that many kids and teens playing the game — which is rated for users 9 years old and up — they become potential targets for child sex offenders.

Think about our planet for a second. Earth has an elliptical — oval-shaped — orbit. That means we're closer to the sun for one part of the year and farther away another part of the year.

Does that fact explain why it's hotter in the summer and colder in the winter?

Lots of kids think it does. Lots of adults think so, too. And they're wrong.*

Philip Sadler is both a professor of astronomy and the director of the science education department at Harvard University, and he is obsessed with wrong answers like these.

Bad Moms is a movie about good moms who try to go bad. Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn play suburban Chicago mothers who find themselves ground down by the daily cycle of school drop-offs and pick-ups, soccer games, supermarket runs, errands, chores and endless worries. One night they wind up at the same bar after a PTA meeting and together they decide to let loose.

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Disney Channel

Move over, Elsa. There's a new Disney princess in town.

Her name is Elena, and she hails from Avalor — a fictional place that draws from several real-world cultures.

Elena is Latina. Which makes her the animation giant's first-ever Latina princess.

That's a big deal for Latino kids, who are for the first time, with "Elena of Avalor," seeing a Disney leading lady who resembles them. But for writer Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Elena isn't a complete success.

Kelly Paluso has been a child welfare worker with the Oregon Department of Health for 10 years.

OPB’s Kristian Foden-Vencil asked her what it’s like trying to find a home for a child when he or she is sitting right next to her in the Portland office.

“It’s close to impossible,’ Paluso said.

The biggest problem, she said, is trying to protect the child emotionally. That is, not letting him or her know you’re calling one foster home after another and being turned down, often because the are kids have behavioral issues and are seen as especially challenging.

Why can't kids today just work their way through college the way earlier generations did?

The answer to that question isn't psychology. It's math. A summer job just doesn't have the purchasing power it used to, especially when you compare it with the cost of college.

You might not know Marni Nixon's name, but you've probably heard her. The singer dubbed the voices for Deborah Kerr in The King and I, Natalie Wood in West Side Story and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady — three of Hollywood's biggest movie musicals.

Nixon died Sunday at 86 from complications from breast cancer.

When you're pregnant, going to the doctors can be exciting. You get to find out if you're having a boy or a girl. Maybe hear the baby's heart beat.

But in southern Africa, many women find out something else.

Allison Groves at American University recently ran a study in a town outside Durban, South Africa. They followed about 1,500 pregnant women. The results left her speechless.

People who live in the country who want to play Pokémon Go have a problem.

There are a lot of techie reasons why Pokémon stops are found more often in cities. But generally speaking, where there are more players or people there is usually more Pokémon activity on the game -- it just works better.

When the school year ends, some kids go to camp, summer school or daycare. But a lot of these options are expensive for families who have to come up with creative, cheaper alternatives, whether that means sending kids off to the city's rec center, or to stay with grandparents.

NPR's Lynn Neary spoke about the economic hardships of summer with KJ Dell'Antonia, who's written about the topic for The New York Times.

Charles Jones' 12-year-old son, Malik, has autism. When he found out, Jones says, the news came as a shock — and fodder for plenty of fears.

"It was like a shot in the gut," he says. "I thought my son would be nonverbal, that he would never say 'I love you.' But when he started talking he wouldn't shut up."

Washington's Poison Center has unveiled the new warning label to identify products that are not for children.
Washington Poison Center

Mr. Yuk may have a new sibling in Washington: a bright red hand.

Washington's Poison Center has unveiled the new warning label to identify products that are not for children, like edible marijuana. The new label has a red hand, the words "not for kids," and the number for the Poison Center.

For LGBTQ Students, Author Says, Safety Is 'Not Enough'

Jul 14, 2016

Across the country there are stories like this: In a high-poverty area of Honolulu, a high school social worker helps her Asian-Pacific Islander students talk with their families about being LBGTQ.

At a time when LGBTQ concerns in schools are increasingly visible — and often debated — teachers and administrators are looking for new ways to support students.

In 2015, after winning an Emmy for her work on Inside Amy Schumer, comedy writer Jessi Klein made one important stop before heading to the award show after-party — to pump breast milk in a backstage dressing room. Klein's son was 3 months old at the time, and she says that while winning the Emmy was "genuinely awesome and exciting," she also knew it wasn't going to change her life.

Todd Bishop uses Amazon Dash to keep on top of his young son's Play-Doh needs.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke speaks with Geekwire's Todd Bishop about Nintendo's surprise success in Pokemon Go and Amazon Dash's foray into toys. 

Summer break for many students is a time to kick back, play outside, and hang out with friends. For a significant portion of public school students in the United States, however, the end of school also brings a familiar question—what's for lunch?

How Parents Can Help Their Underage Kids Resist Alcohol

Jul 6, 2016

While a sense of inevitability often surrounds the topic of teen drinking, adults can play an important role in preventing underage alcohol use.

Two recent studies provide guidance for parents. One finds that parents who set limits in a warm and supportive environment reduced the risk that their adolescent children would binge drink. The other study reports on the potential of a home-based program that educates parents and children about alcohol prevention.

When Lily Shum was little, she dreaded speaking up in class. It wasn't because she didn't have anything interesting to say, or because she wasn't paying attention or didn't know the answer. She was just quiet.

"Every single report card that I ever had says, 'Lily needs to talk more. She is too quiet,' " recalls Shum, now an assistant director at Trevor Day School in Manhattan.

She doesn't want her students to feel the pressure to speak up that she felt.

"Why are traffic lights red, yellow and green?"

When a child asks you a question like this, you have a few options. You can shut her down with a "Just because." You can explain: "Red is for stop and green is for go." Or, you can turn the question back to her and help her figure out the answer with plenty of encouragement.

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