Why Canadian dads are more involved in raising their kids than American fathers

Why Canadian dads are more involved in raising their kids than American fathers

Thirty-five years ago, Canadian and American dads were doing a similar amount of child rearing, relative to mothers. Surveys from the mid 1980s showed that Canadian men spent 38% of the time that Canadian women spent on child care, and American men spent 35% of the time that American women spent on child care.

Today, there are significant gaps in fathering between Canadians and Americans. Canadian dads spend significantly more time taking care of their children than their American counterparts. For example, Canadian fathers spend an average of 14 hours on child care each week, while American fathers average about 8 hours a week.

As a sociologist and Canadian studies scholar, I am interested in how social policies affect fatherhood in different countries. I collected data on more than 5,000 men in the two nations from 2016 to 2018 for my upcoming book on the similarities and differences between American and Canadian dads. This data looked at how dads interacted with their children – whether they acted warmly and affectionately, if they provided emotional support and how they disciplined their children.

My data shows Canadian dads were much more likely to show warmth, provide emotional support, engage in caregiving and use positive discipline. In fact, American dads outperformed their Canadian counterparts on only one of the survey measures – the use of spanking and other harsh disciplinary tactics.

Why have Canadian fathers pulled ahead of American fathers in caring for and showing affection toward their children? I believe the answer lies, in part, with four types of social policies in Canada that help fathers be more engaged at home.

1. Family leave

When it comes to family policy, there are major differences between the U.S. and Canada.

Canada has guaranteed paid family leave for mothers and fathers. As part of their employment insurance program, Canadian parents get 35 weeks of shared paid benefits, paid at 55% of regular pay. On top of that, fathers get five exclusive weeks of leave.

Canada has guaranteed paid family leave for mothers and fathers. As part of their employment insurance program, Canadian parents get 35 weeks of shared paid benefits, paid at 55% of regular pay. On top of that, fathers get five exclusive weeks of leave.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is the only rich nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee maternity leave, and one of three rich countries – along with Oman and the United Arab Emirates – without a paternity leave option.

Studies from across the world consistently show that men who take paternity leave tend to be more involved in their children’s lives, have better relationships with family members and help their partners recover from childbirth more quickly.

2. Social inequality

Back to School: 5 tips for supporting children’s mental and emotional well-being

Back to School: 5 tips for supporting children’s mental and emotional well-being

Recent research from the Kaiser Family Fund reports that more than 25% of high school students experienced worsening emotional and cognitive health during since March 2020, and more than 20% of parents with children ages 5-12 reported similar worsening conditions for their children.

As we move into the new school year, helping to provide our kids and teens with the necessary support, structure and tools to help them manage their feelings and adjust to ongoing changes of daily life is imperative. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance states that “students benefit from in-person learning, and safely returning to in-person instruction in the fall 2021 is a priority.”

Below are a list of tips and suggestions on how to better manage children’s emotional health and wellbeing as we head back to school:

Tip No. 1: Share information. The CDC is a great resource for learning how to talk to your child about COVID-19. It’s important to provide children with appropriate support sooner rather than later. Talk with your child, be emotionally supportive and understand worries may extend beyond the anxieties that may come with heading back to the classroom for a new school year. Be proactive about learning what steps you can take to help reduce the amount of stress in their lives and help provide a strong support system for getting through possible challenges that may arise.

Tip No. 2: Help them feel secure. Going back to school may be daunting for children, especially after the stress and disruption of the pandemic. The CDC emphasizes — Be reassuring about their safety and validate their feelings by emphasizing that it’s OK to feel upset, scared, anxious, down and even angry. You might also share how you manage your feelings to help them learn from you. Make sure your children know they can ask questions at any time. For adolescents, consider walking them through the use of self-care tools like the Sanvello app to help navigate difficult emotions.

Tip No. 3: Listen and watch. Parents, friends, teachers and family may often be the first line of defense for a child who may be struggling with their mental and emotional well-being yet unable to articulate their needs. Let them know you are here to listen and it’s safe to share how they’re feeling. Pay attention to more than just their words – it’s critical for parents to be aware of their children’s moods and uncharacteristic changes in behavior so they know when it’s time to seek expert support.

Tip No. 4: Help define boundaries and create regular routines. Consider limiting exposure to news coverage – including social media – and prioritizing and establishing a regular routine that provides children with structure when not in the classroom as this may help better manage children’s emotional wellbeing. For example, consider after-school activities, sports or hobbies that interest your child.

Top Tip: Take Action. Make sure to discuss your concerns with your pediatrician or family physician as soon as possible. Your doctor may recommend a plan of action or even a counselor who might help find ways to reduce any unhealthy stress and improve overall health.

Social Emotional Development In Children

When you think about your child’s development, the first things that usually come to mind are language skills, speech development, gross motor skills, and physical growth. However, social development is also a key piece of the development puzzle. Socialization in child development focuses on the child’s ability to interact with other children and adults.

A kid’s social development is the process by which children learn to interact with the environment and people around them. Interacting with other people in a community can help them understand their own individuality and learn how to communicate better with others. Healthy social development in 5-year olds can help children grow and navigate challenges in life with ease. From their ability to learn new vocabulary to resisting peer pressure in high school to handling conflicts in the workplace as adults, child development social skills play a major role in shaping personality.

What are the benefits of social development in children?

Socialization in child development can help your child develop and strengthen language skills. When your child has more opportunities to interact with other people, they are able to pick up on speech patterns, learn new words, and ultimately become better at speaking and interacting with others.

As they strengthen their language skills, they are able to play and communicate better with other children too. When children are unable to express their thoughts, they can feel frustrated and retreat further into their own selves. Being able to communicate effectively with other children can lead to meaningful experiences and also boost their self-esteem. This can impact academic performance too; studies show that children who have difficulty getting along with their peers face academic difficulties later.

How to enhance your child’s social development?

Social development in children starts as early as infancy. During the early years, parents are encouraged to smile at them, make frequent eye contact, and arrange playdates with other children to promote interaction.

As children grow older, you can begin to teach your child how to express emotions through words and actions. Encourage your child to talk about what they’re feeling and give them time to form sentences. There are also several social development activities for preschoolers recommended by curaJOY instructors, such as making up stories with their favorite stuffed animals and mimicking emotions that can help them become more expressive and learn social skills during the process. You can learn more about curaJOY’s social development programs for preschoolers and school-going children here

Wield The Power of Discipline Toward Your Dreams

Have you ever envied anyone who has better grades, bigger house, more recognition, popularity.. and grumbled “Why did she get xxx and not me?!?*#”  It’s easy to look at people who seem to have it all–beauty, fitness, great career, wealth, freedom and tell ourselves that it’s all luck.  Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his bestseller book, Outliers, that all successful people who achieved mastery in any area have devoted at least 10,000 hours to it. No exceptions.  

We live in a culture of instant gratification and overnight fame.  The youtube star that you believe to have gained fame overnight has hours of disciplined practice that people don’t see. . 10,000 seems like an insurmountable number, but when you’re consistent, a small step forward each day adds up to a lot of mileage over time.    Your life is too important to just leave it to chance. To guarantee success, harness the power of discipline. 

Free Success Fortune Telling Chart

What it takes to top the Billboard chart, win the Wimbleton, best-selling author, Nobel prize winning scientist, world renowned violinist

5 days a week 6 days a weekEveryday 
1 hour / day38.5 years (260 hours / yr)32 years(312 hours / yr)27 years(365 hours / yr)
2 hours / day19 years(520 hours / yr16 years624 hours / yr14 years730 hours/ yr
3 hours / day13 years78011 years9369 years1095
4 hours / day10 years10408 years12486.8 years1460
5 hours / day7.7 years13006.4 years15605.5 years1825

P.s. If you’re aiming for the best in your city, country, the bar would lower and you’d get to your target level of mastery sooner than what the chart below indicates.

Time is an egalitarian, limited commodity.  No matter your age, race, intelligence, wealth, we all have the same number of hours each day.  The power to steer the direction of your life is in your hands!  How do you choose to spend your time? Are the little things you do each day adding up to something positive? Do they lead you to where you want to go in life? 

With consistent action over the next 10 or 20 years, what could you accomplish? 30 minutes of extra math practice each day / 5 days per week equals 130 hours in 1 year–surely a time investment that would get you an improvement of a full letter grade in math.  Five small pieces of chocolate over the same duration is roughly 25,000 calories, or the equivalent of over 7 lbs.  4 hours in front of the TV everyday gets you to become a world class TV watcher in less than 7 years. 

Are your consistent behaviors helping or harming where you want to go in life? Be disciplined enough to make your dreams come true.  

Groundhog Day 

If you re-live today for the next 10 years, where would you end up? (It’s a classic.  Go watch it here if you haven’t seen it yet.”)

An effective way to predict your success is to honestly examine your average day and project the likely logical outcome into the future. It’s a no brainer that  if you saved just a small amount of money each day, you’d eventually be wealthy. If you overeat slightly each day, you are guaranteed to gain weight. Your teeth aren’t clean because you brushed them for an hour straight. They’re healthy because you brushed them for 2 minutes twice a day for 365 days straight.

For one week, carefully record how you spend your time in 30-minute increments everyday.  Consider where your daily habits and behaviors are leading you academically,  financially, socially, spiritually, and physically. What logical conclusions do your daily activities predict?

3 Steps for More Self-Discipline

1.   Set success on auto-pilot.     Good habits decrease resistance and help make self-discipline easier because research shows that people have a finite amount of self-discipline .  By building good habits, you’re creating helpful, positive actions that are automatic and don’t require you to use up your reserve of self-discipline. Relying on discipline day after day is an uphill battle. While discipline can grow with effort and the right training, having helpful habits is more effective and much less painful.  To make sure habits stick, Tie them to environmental triggers or something you already do to encourage consistency.  I discussed habits more in this article.

2. Just do it.  The greatest barrier to self-discipline is procrastination. Each day, you have the choice to get closer to making your dreams come true.  Each day lost is lost forever, so if it’s the right thing to do, then isn’t it worth doing right now?

3.  Have reasonable expectations. When your time horizon is unrealistic or when you ask too much of yourself too soon, disappointment and frustration are sure to follow, and  you doom yourself to give up. Be positive and enthusiastic, but be reasonable. Focus on your trajectory and aim for regular and consistent improvement. Perfection isn’t required.

Whatever your dreams are, you need self-discipline to make it happen.  What you do once in a while doesn’t impact your life significantly. Rather, it’s what you do consistently with discipline.  All of curaJOY’s social emotional training programs build up children’s self-discipline with consistent practice of critical skills in dynamic, gamified formats. Click here to find a program appropriate for your child today with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

How long should my child/student be spending on curaJOY games for it to be effective?

We recommend 30 minutes of game play twice a week for skill retention, but even 15 minutes would be beneficial.  Be sure to help your student set up their avatar in the game play as some younger children have trouble with this part.  When the game says “You finished the game,” your child has finished a scene, and may return next time for their session.  It’s important to note that children should finish a scene before quitting for the most accurate personalized assessment reporting. Consistent practice is essential to mastering any skill. curaJOY products incorporate proven effective methods of enhancing children’s character and social emotional skills. Each game we offer contains 24-30 scenes, and children will benefit most from repeated play. Your child has unlimited access to the game during their subscription.

My child is getting very frustrated by curaJOY’s games.

All of curaJOY’s StrengthBuilder are professionally designed and validated to assess and build resilience and cooperation as well as other key strengths such as communication, confidence, self discipline and empathy. Remind your child that this game is all about practicing and learning. We don’t often get anything right on the first try, but if we keep practicing, we’ll get it eventually. curaJOY’s psycho-educational experts intentionally design scenarios to challenge children and occasionally frustrate them in order for them to grow. These frustrations are necessary for the children to master the necessary life skills and emotional intelligence that are often missing from their schools and real life.

Our proprietary algorithm dynamically adjusts the difficulty of game-based tasks throughout the entire game to be sufficiently challenging yet d not so difficult that uncertainty, confusion, or frustration. If your child is frustrated by certain challenges in StrengthBuilder, you’ll likely see corresponding weakness in your child’s reporting on that area of your parent dashboard. curaJOY games provide realistic, research-based, and often missing opportunities for children to build strengths and grow their social emotional skills. For some children, knowing the benefits and purpose of curaJOY games might be the key to their buy in. For example, you can share that they can practice approaching new friends or stand up to a bully in the game, and the strengths that they build in curaJOY will carry over to real life.

Your words of encouragement go a long way when children become frustrated from their lessons. It’s ok to take breaks or complete just one scene at a time and come back to the game. Remember, it only takes 15-30 minutes twice a week for children to experience benefits from our program. It’s ok to take a break, and come back to tackle the challenge another day. Afterall, that’s what one of our key strength, resilience, is all about! Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need additional help or recommendations.”

How much should I help my child through curaJOY’s games?

Initially, you should help your child set up their avatar if they are younger, and become familiar with the games’ interface. Research shows that personalization of game elements enhances both engagement and learning for users and the avatar is one of the most important opportunities for personalization (Chin, Dukes, & Gamson, 2009). Specifically, providing young children the ability to customize the look of their in-game character enhances their subjective feelings of presence and psychophysiological indicators of emotion during gameplay when compared to children who must select from a pre-established pool or have an avatar selected for them (Bailey, Wise, Bolis, 2009). Children will be more successful in the long run if you encourage them to persevere in figuring out how to move through the games, and solve problems on their own. Remember frustrations and challenges are built into curaJOY’s games by design in order to build confidence, resilience, cooperation, self discipline, communication and empathy. curaJOY’s StrengthBuilder games is an age-specific collection of comprehensive 3-prong programs which evaluate, improve and roadmap the social emotional skills and behavioral readiness of children ages 5-15. Our curriculums are written by PhD level educators and psychologists, and much of the work is behind the scenes in our assessment algorithms and customized content. Try to only step in if they are really stuck, so you and your child are fully benefiting from the initial Strength Assessment Report and final StrengthBuilder Roadmap. And remember it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes twice a week for children to experience the benefits of our programs.

Is the StrengthBuilder game an IQ test or assessment?

curaJOY’s StrengthBuilder is an age-specific collection of comprehensive 3-part programs which assess, improve and roadmap the social emotional skills, performance and behavioral readiness of children ages 5-15. The composite score from StrengthBuilder assessments have been validated to be a reliable social emotional competence (SEC) score. (Cronbach’s alpha =.82).  Validity of StrengthBuilder’s evaluations and reporting went through rigorous validation criteria, compiling multiple qualitative and quantitative data points including

  • Clinical research staff’s 1-on-1 observation of children’s gameplays (prior, during, post evaluations)
  • Children’s self-evaluation and feedback
  • Educators’ standardized assessment scale of children
  • Parents’ assessment of children using Devereux Student Strengths Assessment short form (DESSA-mini)
  • Review by clinical psychology and third party research agencies

In fact, StrengthBuilder games are the only social emotional games to go through large-scale efficacy studies by the US Department of Education.

How long should my child be spending on curaJOY games?

“We recommend 30 minutes of game play twice a week for skill retention, but even 15 minutes would be beneficial. Be sure to help your children set up their avatar in the game play as some younger children have trouble with this portion. When the game says “You finished the game,” your child has finished a scene, and may return next time for their session. It’s important for children to finish a scene before quitting for the most accurate evaluation results. Consistent practice is essential to mastering any skill. curaJOY products incorporate proven effective methods of enhancing children’s character and social emotional skills. Each StrengthBuilder contains 24-30 scenes, and children will benefit most from repeated play. Your child has unlimited access to the game for the length of your subscription.

For many young children, social situations and using new skills can be new and challenging, and to prevent cognitive overload and fatigue, we included “purposeful breaks” between sets of scenes (2-3) that will lead children through mindfulness activities such as deep breathing to help clear their minds and relax before they move on to the next scene, but also recommend that children play no more than three scenes in one sitting.”

My child can read fluently yet. When there is no pinyin or BoPoMoFe, my child can’t read all texts. Will you be adding these reading tools in the games?

curaJOY programs can accommodate a wide range of abilities. Children can still play and enjoy our games even when they cannot read fluently. Every single line is recorded and played aloud either automatically or at the click of a mouse, and the program is developed and tested to children’s social emotional and cognitive developmental milestones.

How are curaJOY StrengthBuilder games different from the many free games that are available for children?

curaJOY products are developed specifically for social emotional learning with funding from the US Department of Education and National Science Foundation. Six years of rigorous research, more than $6 millions in training methodology, game design and research validation, and multiple peer reviewed published studies conclude that the consistent use of our programs improve skills in 6 key areas of strengths: confidence, communication, discipline, resilience, cooperation and empathy. We know that there are games with flashier animation than ours, but none can say positively that they help children build skills that will last a lifetime. To find out more about our product development, see StrengthBuilders.

Mental health: the new top priority

Mental health: the new top priority

Kai Humphrey, 9, has been learning from home for more than a year. He badly misses his Washington, D.C., elementary school, along with his friends and the bustle of the classroom.

“I will be the first person ever to have every single person in the world as my friend,” he said on a recent Zoom call, his sandy-brown hair hanging down to his shoulder blades. From Kai, this kind of proclamation doesn’t feel like bragging, more like exuberant kindness.

But when Kai’s school recently invited him back, he refused. That’s because his worry list is long, topped by his fear of getting COVID-19 and giving it to his 2-year-old sister, Alaina. She was born with a heart condition, Down syndrome and a fragile immune system. To her, the disease poses a mortal threat, and he is her protector, the only one who can make her giggle breathlessly.

Kai also worries about being separated from his mom, Rashida Humphrey-Wall. His biological father died in 2014, and she remains his rock, his mama bear and occasional taekwondo partner. He sometimes visits her bedside in the middle of the night just to check on her.

This pandemic has been stressful for millions of children like Kai. Some have lost a loved one to COVID-19, and many families have lost jobs, their homes and even reliable access to food. If that stress isn’t buffered by caring adults, it can have lifelong consequences.

“Children have had extended exposure to chaos, crisis and uncertainty,” said Dr. Matt Biel, a child psychiatrist at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

But there’s some good news for children like Kai: Educators across the country said their top priority right now isn’t doubling down on math or reading — it’s helping students manage pandemic-driven stress.

“If kids don’t return to school and get a lot of attention paid to security, safety, predictability and reestablishing of strong, secure relationships, (they) are not gonna be able to make up ground academically,” Biel said.

To reestablish relationships in the classroom — and help children cope with the stress and trauma of the past year — mental health experts say educators can start by building in time every day, for every student, in every classroom to share their feelings and learn the basics of naming and managing their emotions. Think morning circle time or, for older students, homeroom.

At Irene C. Hernandez Middle School in Chicago, teacher Lilian Sackett starts off each day by checking in with students, then diving into a short lesson on mindfulness and other social-emotional skills.

“We need to allow the students to share their experiences with the pandemic and to give them that safe space (to) talk about it,” Sackett said.

What’s more, she said, children can benefit a lot from just a few minutes each day of classwide calm. When she found out her students love Bob Ross and his tranquil, televised painting lessons from the 1980s and ’90s, Sackett decided to work him into their morning routine.

Continue reading the rest at www.newstribune.com

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