2018 Results

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Increasingly, teachers and celebrities are influencing kids’ lives.

How Kids Answered

“My teacher, she helps us learn all of the challenging things. She also spreads kindness through the classroom.”

“I admire Simone Biles because she is very brave when she does so many gymnastic skills.” —Girl, age 11
Growing Influence of Teachers and Celebrities

How should parents view this rise in external influencers? It’s a good idea for parents to approach their child’s expanding interests with an open mind. “Sometimes kids need a caring adult outside the family who believes in them, and a teacher can be that go-to person,” says Jennifer Miller, M.Ed., author of Confident Parents, Confident Kids. “In today’s classrooms, teachers are more responsive to each individual child because teachers have gained knowledge of child development. Teachers are partnering with families to maximize their impact on children's social and emotional development alongside math and language arts. They are connecting students, sharing feelings, and keeping kids safe.”

Celebrities are in our screen lives today. TV used to be the primary source of entertainment for kids, but now it’s YouTube and gaming. Top that with the fact that a typical child now spends seven hours a day on screens. Children’s digital participation is really another community that parents have to be invested in, monitor, and discuss. But Miller advises parents not to approach children with a “Gotcha” moment (“What are you looking at?”) but more of a thoughtful moment (“I hear you laughing. Share with me what you like about this.”). This helps establish an open dialogue rather than an inquisition. Your children will be more likely to share with you if the fear factor is removed.

Takeaway
Research tells us that the best predictor of a child’s academic performance is parental involvement, and we know how vital it is to have an open dialogue with your child about celebrity role models. Approach both relationships as you would meeting a new co-worker or neighbor. You’d go out of your way to make a connection, to get to know each other. Do the same with your child’s teacher—extend a hand, make eye contact. And make a connection with your child about the celebs she looks up to as well. Ask probing questions like “What makes you so interested in this person?” Your child is excited about this celebrity, so use it as an opportunity to tap into her mindset.

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