Trend Lines Blog

Welcome to Child Trends’ blog, Trend Lines, where we share key findings from child and youth research and offer insights to inform  policies and programs.

Back-to-School Special: The Importance of Adolescent Sleep

After a restful summer, it’s time for students to head back to school. Get used to hearing the echo of snooze alarms before the sun rises, and seeing teens waiting for busses in the darkness of the early morning. There’s a reason why adolescents need to be dragged out of bed in the morning, are all too often dozing off during first-period, and sleep unreasonably late on weekends. Read More

The Social Genome Model provides insight into economic opportunity

The United States is facing a crisis of opportunity. Recent studies have shown that economic mobility in America is on the low end when compared to rates of economic mobility in other developed countries[i]. This raises an important question: how does one advance in the American economy? To help answer this question, Child Trends, working in collaboration with the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, helped to develop the Social Genome Model. To explain what the Social Genome Model is, and how it works, I explored the nuts and bolts of the SGM with Child Trends’s Senior Scholar Kristin Moore and Research Scientist Vanessa Sacks in a Q&A. Read More

To Prevent Bullying, Focus on Early Childhood

Bullies in the Block Area: The Early Childhood Origins of “Mean” BehaviorHow do we prevent bullying? Despite decades of study and numerous programs claiming to be the solution to bullying, few programs have actually been shown to be effective. One of the main issues is that “bullying prevention” is often a misnomer; instead of trying to stop the behavior before it begins, the focus of many programs is on reducing already high rates of bullying. By the time students enter sixth grade, the earliest grade for which nationally representative data is collected, nearly 28 percent report having been targeted in the past year. For younger children, data are far more limited, but suggestive. The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence found that 20.4 percent of children ages 2-5 had experienced physical bullying in their lifetime and 14.6 percent had been teased (verbally bullied).

To actually prevent bullying before it starts, we need to focus on how bullying behaviors develop—for those engaging in bullying behaviors and those being targeted—starting in early childhood. Child Trends recently conducted a literature review and convened an expert roundtable, which NAEYC took part in, to document current understandings of the roots of bullying in early childhood. We identified key contextual factors linked to bullying behaviors, promising and evidence-based programs that help address emerging behavior, and the need for further research. Read More

More U.S. kids are asking, “Can I eat that?”

Food AllergyAs a child with a severe allergy to chickpeas, I was always curious about why some kids have food allergies and some don’t. Just when my parents figured out how to make Indian meals to accommodate my allergy, my younger brother entered the world, bringing with him 11 allergies, ranging from tree nuts to coconuts, and almost every lentil under the sun. Today, as an undergraduate biology student, I am still just as curious, but a bit closer to finding the answers to my questions. Read More

Soft skills: What’s all the hype about?

WFC website imageWhen it comes to getting a job and succeeding in the workplace, more and more employers are making assessments of what are often called “soft skills,” “life skills,” “employability skills,” or “social-emotional skills.”

The list goes on and on. More likely than not, you have heard these words and may wonder what the hype is all about.

Even though different sectors use different terminology, these terms all generally refer to the broad set of skills, competencies, behaviors, attitudes, and personal qualities that enable people to effectively navigate their environment, work well with others, perform well, and achieve their goals. These skills are separate from academic abilities such as reading and math, and technical skills such as typing or welding, and are typically not assessed by standard achievement tests, though they enhance a student’s ability to perform well on these tests and to do well in school. Read More

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