Gimme 5: Stories Parents Should Hear This Week

We know you’re busy — here are the most important stories for parents to hear this week.

Students’ grades affected by sleep schedules

It’s likely that college students’ grades are affected by their sleep schedules, a recent study shows. When students stay up late to cram extra study time in before an test, they may not be doing themselves any favors, according to a recent study from Scientific Reports. The study measured students from Harvard who kept a diary of their sleep schedules. Students were divided into two categories – those who kept regular sleep schedules and those who had irregular schedules. Irregular sleepers tended to have lower GPAs than students with regular sleep schedules. Bad sleep habits may not be the only reason for the students’ lower grades, but it was likely to have been a factor. (CNN)

Number of multiracial, multiethnic babies grows in recent years

A new report shows that the number of multiracial or multiethnic babies has tripled since 1980. The growth coincides with the increasing number of interracial marriages. 42% of multiracial and multiethnic babies are born from one white and one hispanic parent, with babies born from one white and one Asian parent (14%) and one white and one black parent (10%) following. The trend varied across states – 44% of babies born in Hawaii were multiracial or multiethnic, while only 4% of babies in Vermont were. 22% of Americans think more children with parents of different races is positive for society, while the majority of Americans believe it doesn’t make much of a difference. (Huffington Post)

“Macho” messages are damaging to young boys

Stereotypical language and messaging surrounding men and fathers is generally viewed as a negative factor in young boys’ lives. While father figures in children’s books are likely to be funny, adventurous, or strong, they rarely demonstrate expressions of love. Various studies show that mothers are more likely to use language, especially emotional language, with their daughters than with their sons. Daughters will use emotional language when talking with their fathers and, in turn, fathers are more likely to use emotional language with daughters than with their sons. Incidents involving physical injury lead to parents telling their daughters to be careful 4 times more frequently than they do their sons. The interactions children have with adults at such young ages affects how they will behave later in life — men are less likely to be comfortable opening up emotionally in relationships and may avoid creative activities surrounding language. Harvard psychologist Susan David suggests saying “I can see that you’re upset,” or ask them, “What are you feeling?” or “What’s going on for you right now?” when talking to young boys about their emotions, stating that a greater emotional literacy will help them cope with difficult feelings in the future. (NYT)

Disturbing trends in higher education

The Washington Post reports three recent findings in higher education. First, rich private universities keep growing richer and more exclusive, as they raise more money through fundraising and tuition and admit fewer students each year. More students apply to elite institutions, while most admit fewer than half of their applicants. Second, small colleges who lack wealth struggle to survive. One third of small colleges operated at a deficit last year and many of these schools are in a steep decline, with a 5% decrease in enrollment. Universities with 10,000 students or more have grown slightly. Third, public flagship universities look more like large private universities, accepting higher rates of out-of-state student enrollment, possibly limiting options for potential low-income in-state students. (Washington Post)

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