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Topic Archives: Sports & Extracurriculars

Sports Success: Why Cognitive Skills Might Be the Key

July 6, 2016

Do you have a kid that seems to have all the key ingredients for sports success: athleticism, interest and motivation? Yet he still isn’t making the “A team” or the coach is “surprised at his lack of progress”. Perhaps it’s time to consider if some of those same executive function skills that affect classroom performance might be interfering with his playing. Listening. Does the coach need to call your kid’s name in the group to make sure she’s listening? If your child doesn’t actively listen to the coach, she’s probably not absorbing as much feedback as her teammates. And chances are, she’s making mistakes as a result. Why doesn’t she listen? The first thing to check is your child’s hearing. If she can hear you just fine, you might… Read More

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Things Students Can Do This Summer to Prepare for a Successful School Year

April 29, 2016

  Parents frequently ask the Mindprint team about appropriate expectations for summer learning. We know they receive conflicting advice ranging from “do everything you can to prevent the summer slide” to “let your kids relax and be kids.” The amount of structured learning we recommend depends on the age and specific learning needs of a child. For children who fell behind during the school year or struggled to keep the pace, structured summer learning can be an effective way to make the coming school year a lot easier. For teens, summer prep can alleviate some of the heavy burden during the school year associated with challenging classes, standardized tests and extra-curriculars. However, there is a lot to be said for kids of all… Read More

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Drive your Child Everywhere? Uber May Replace You

June 5, 2015

Edited by Sarah Vander Schaaff How is your college-aged child going to get from the airport back to campus next fall? Or get to the dentist if he or she needs a filling? Or head into the big city for a job interview when public transportation, mom’s car, or the help of a friend aren’t going to cut it. Taxi? In my own town of Princeton, Uber is said to be giving standard taxis a run for their money. According to the company, drivers who “partnered” with Uber earned 656 million dollars collectively in the last three months of 2014. Just last month, when our high school intern at Mindprint explained how she got from the school campus to our offices in… Read More

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Saboteur: Parents Who Just Have to Wave

October 3, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff If your child was about to walk a tightrope in a circus act that demanded great dexterity and focus, would you yell and wave and try to get her attention, or would you let her concentrate on the task at hand? Why, then, I wonder, do parents yell and wave and try to get their children’s attention when they step on stage to sing? I’m about to outline five things parents do that sabotage their children’s growth in the realm of live performance. These tacit rules are in danger of being obliterated by parents who just can’t let go. Am I fired up about this? You bettcha. But I’m not getting on a soapbox to preach… Read More

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Are You (as a woman) Ready for Some Football?

September 27, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff I don’t have an answer to the question many women are asking about their relationship with the NFL. I cannot say, however, that I ever assumed that the NFL particularly valued women. The fact that the most prominent women on the field are cheerleaders, who are paid $500-$700 per season but reportedly generate one million dollars in revenue, has something to do with that. We can rightfully lambast the way the league disciplines its players who’ve broken the law, not only with violence against women but also other offenses. But the sport is violent, and instead of focusing on how the league handles what happens after a player has assaulted a woman, I’d like to… Read More

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Concussions: There’s an App for that

September 11, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Ben Harvatine had been practicing hard before he hit the mat and couldn’t get up. He’d been dizzy for a while during wrestling practice, but that hadn’t alarmed him: it’s what happens when you’re cutting weight in a 100-degree room. The twenty-year-old MIT student wound up in the hospital and spent months recovering. It was a concussion, the first he said he’d gotten in more than a decade of wrestling. “For a week or two I struggled to carry on conversations,” he told me when I interviewed him by phone a few weeks ago. He couldn’t keep up in his mechanical engineering and architecture classes. And he was sensitive to light. “I effectively didn’t go… Read More

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Is this a Seinfeld Moment in Parenting?

August 29, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Remember “The Opposite” episode of Seinfeld when George realizes, “…that every decision I’ve ever made, my entire life, has been wrong.” He then sets about to turn old patterns upside down—ordering tea instead of coffee and being blunt instead of agreeable in a job interview—and his life radically improves. I sense a similar epiphany in the real-life version of parenthood, but whether we’ll change our ways is yet to be seen. A new study out of the University of Colorado Boulder, says, “…the more time children spent in less structured activities, the better their self-directed executive function. Conversely, the more time children spent in more structured activities the poorer their self-directed executive function.” The senior author of… Read More

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Concussions: A Parent’s Education part II, Healing

June 20, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff Blurred vision, painful headaches, and the inability to attend even a half-day of school. When her eight-year-old daughter, Charlotte, took a fall into a metal pole on the playground at school, her mother didn’t expect the ensuing concussion would change the course of third grade. Charlotte, as you may remember from our post last week, had been twisting a friend on the swing when the friend spun-out rapidly and knocked her down. Charlotte’s head hit the pole, and after a trip to the school nurse, the pediatrician, and a few days of painful symptoms, it was clear the injury was more than a bump. We pick up today with our interview with Charlotte’s mother at… Read More

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Concussions: A Parent’s Education, part I

June 13, 2014

By Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff When President Obama held a summit at the White House to address youth concussions earlier this month, the focus was clearly on those injuries incurred while participating in sports. And much of the flak following has related to one sticking point: yes, there’s going to be more money put into research and education, but is anybody going to make it less likely that kids get concussions in the first place by changing the rules of the games? Until then, parents have a few choices: don’t let their kids play or insist on changing the culture, “that says you suck it up,” as the President said. But what about when the injury doesn’t happen on the… Read More

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Life is an Open-Atlas Test

February 12, 2014

By Sarah Vander Schaaff Ok, I admit it, I don’t know where Azerbaijan is on a map. I know where it is not, generally speaking, and where it is most likely, generally speaking, but that does little good when your eight year old turns to you during the Olympic Parade of Nations, and asks, “So, Mom, where is that country?” “Hum. That’s a really good question. Oh, look, it’s Matt Lauer!” As my husband pointed out, the fact that the delegations were arranged in Cyrillic alphabetical order only added to the appearance of our parental ineptitude. I say “appearance” of ineptitude; my children may have a different opinion. While it may be a little late, there are still several more… Read More

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