Stories tagged children

In the libraries i've seen the children have always been living really close to the library or they are old enough to ride a bike or bus to go to the library, mind you this is just a burst or an idea. I mean do you go to the library a lot because you live close to it? I certainly would!

Sep
29
2008

This man is a professional: And his yelling can make anybody learn.
This man is a professional: And his yelling can make anybody learn.Courtesy xiangdian
So, it turns out that kids aren’t able to learn from their mistakes, at least not until they’re about 12 years old.

That is to say, negative feedback don’t mean a thing to an 8-year-old, as far as learning goes.

Now, don’t start worrying yet. All that time you’ve spent hollering at little children hasn’t been a total waste of time, it’s just been a waste of their time. And kids have time to waste—they’ll be alive for decades, while you could go any day now. With your days as numbered as they are, it’s important that you spend your remaining time living life to the fullest, and part of that involves yelling at young children, doesn’t it? Everybody needs a good yell now and again, and if you were to go around yelling at grown-ups all the time, you’d probably get punched in the mouth all the time. Because yelling at people is disrespectful.

And I don’t want you to walk away from this thinking that you should only yell at young kids. In fact, yelling at kids after they’re about 12, but before they’re old enough to crash your car on purpose, is particularly effective, because those kids can actually learn from negative feedback. This means that they’ll probably learn to provide you with fewer excuses to yell at them—and that makes each rarified yell that much sweeter.

See, it just so happens that kids develop a dramatically different learning style between the ages of 8 and 12. An 8-year-old (and younger kids) will only learn from positive reinforcement—so saying to them “Hey, JGordon Jr, good job bringing me my cigarettes!” is a good strategy, but yelling, “These aren’t my cigarettes, you accident, these are Darla’s!” at them is just going to go over their heads. You may have enjoyed yelling, but that’s not necessarily going to help you get the right cigarettes in the future.

Once they reach the age of twelve, your productive yelling options really open up. So, if you really wanted to, you could probably praise your 12-year-old for the stuff they do right, and they’ll learn. But you could also yell at them, with just as effective results. “Two and a Half Men season 3? What am I supposed to do with this? I wanted Three Men and a Baby! Three Men and a Baby! Charlie Sheen is a kitten killer!” is going to make sure you get what you want next Christmas.

Researchers are still unsure as to whether this change in learning styles is a result of the brain maturing, or if it simply comes from experience. But, as I see it, there’s only one good way to find out.

Researchers in Sand Diego have found that two-year-olds interact with a special giggling robot as if it were human. The robot does a sophisticated job of responding to its environment, and the children aren’t sophisticated enough to distinguish living from non-living things. (My two-year-old nephew would qualify as a giggling machine, I think.)

Just barely. Whoever performed this study has obviously never spent an afternoon with my nieces and nephews.

On a serious note, it was interesting to learn, down in the last paragraph, that the researchers found evidence of empathy in apes--something long considered a human hallmark.

Aug
30
2007

It won't be so bad!: A human child enjoys his new home.    (photo by sofubared on flickr.com)
It won't be so bad!: A human child enjoys his new home. (photo by sofubared on flickr.com)
Evolution has just taken a bold step forward. I hate to be the bearer of grim news, but, if, like me, you are a human being (and I expect that most of you are), I have this to say to you: we have been left behind.

That’s right, if you haven’t guessed it already, the inevitable has finally happened, and a New York woman has given birth to a healthy 12-fingered and 12-toed baby boy. The scientific press hasn’t said so directly yet, but I think I am safe in saying that the boy is expected to be a superb athlete (at least in ball-sports), a concert pianist, and some sort of crime fighter (I’m thinking “Spiderman Jr.”).

So there you have it. All that’s left now is for the rest of us to wait and wonder what we should do now that we are obsolete. If nothing comes to mind, governments across the world will be initiating the long-planned “Troglodyte Protocol,” a voluntary program to assist members of the species homo sapien to our rightful future home – deep below the surface of the earth, where we will cheerfully run factories and power plants for homo sapien superior.

Goodbye surface and sunlight. We know when we aren’t needed.

Apr
05
2007

You kids are like a bunch of wild animals!: Horseplay helps animals develop social skills. Photo by steve_gobeil via flickr.com
You kids are like a bunch of wild animals!: Horseplay helps animals develop social skills. Photo by steve_gobeil via flickr.com

For centuries, mothers have told their kids to “cut out your rough-housing!” (Certainly, my mother said that. With three boys, she said it a lot.) But now it turns out that rough and tumble play is actually important for development.

A new study from England shows that animals who engage in horseplay (no pun intended) develop better social skills. They can read a situation better, and respond more appropriately, than animals that had been sheltered from such activity.

So, the next time your mother tells you to simmer down, just say, “But Ma! We’re investigating dominance behavior in primate social structures!”

(This column takes no responsibility for how your mother may react.)

Researchers suggest children who watch TV while receiving a shot suffer less pain from a hypodermic needle than children not watching TV.