Believe it or not, if you’re in a relationship, the answer directly relates to the role you play in that relationship. If you’re the person who is the bill payer in the family, you’ll have more knowledge of how finances work — and not just your own — than the person who doesn’t deal with the bills.
Adrian Ward, an assistant professor at McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, recently published a study called “On a Need-to-Know Basis: How the Distribution of Responsibility Between Couples Shapes Financial Literacy and Financial Outcomes” in the Journal of Consumer Research.
He and his co-author gave questionnaires about finances to 272 people. The researchers also looked at how the participants decided who would be in charge of the finances, if they ever switched roles and how long they had been together. Some of the people were married, some were engaged, and the rest were in long-term relationships or cohabitating.
Ward learned that people don’t naturally come into a relationship with one expert and one nonexpert, he says. “Who gets the job (of the finances) determines the expertise,” he says.
What Ward also learned is that the more and more someone takes on that role, the better their financial knowledge becomes. The opposite is also true: The more and more a person gets away from that role, the less they know. He noticed it especially with people who had been married or in a relationship for a long time.
Actual financial literacy or credit score doesn’t seem to matter, he says, when it comes to deciding who will be the bill payer. “What does is who is spending less time in other shared tasks or who is spending less time at work,” he says.
Did gender matter when it came to selecting the bill payer? It did slightly more in older study participants — men tended to be more likely to have that role — than in younger participants.
Sometimes those roles changed over time, but less than 5 percent of the couples he studied switched roles. When they did, it was because of big things like the birth of a child or a change in employment — or the person who was in charge of the finances got the couple into debt.
One thing Ward says he worries about: If one member of the couple has always done the finances, the other person’s financial knowledge diminishes.
“As long as you stay in love forever and no one ever dies, it’s fine,” Ward says.
What happens when the person in charge of finances becomes incapacitated or dies or there’s a divorce?
Research shows that people can increase their financial literacy to match what their partner knew, but that might take about 10 years.
He invites couples to rethink the idea that one person is taking care of the other when only one takes care of the finances. In fact, the other person is becoming “more and more vulnerable.”
“We really do rely on each other,” he says. “If and when you are no longer together, you don’t only lose a partner, you lose a part of their intelligence.”
He did note that “most people don’t want to know too much about money.” That could be because of another fun fact: “The more you know about money, the less satisfied you are about money,” he says.
People also fight about money a lot; “that might be why they want to avoid knowing stuff — for psychological reasons,” he says.
Ward has been studying how people acquire financial knowledge. “The problem is that financial literacy is very low, not just in the U.S., but worldwide,” he says.
Specifically, he’s been looking at the role kindergarten through high school education can play in increasing financial literacy. “Money keeps getting poured into financial education, but research shows it’s not a good way to spend money,” he says.
Through his research, especially these studies, it appears that you know what you need to know. If you take an economics class in high school and learn about mortgages, you probably won’t retain that information 10 or 20 years later when you finally have a mortgage.
“You’re not buying a house,” he says of that high-schooler in economics class. “It doesn’t matter for you.”
We learn by doing, he says. A financial education is about giving an education to the right people at the right time.
What can parents do to make sure their children don’t become targets on social media or websites?
In the Raising Austin column, we’ve featured many experts in parenting or internet safety. Here are their tips:
Create a digital contract with your kids. You can get one for free for the whole family at netnanny.com. During that contract process parents would go over all the rules and restrictions for what is good behavior online.
Know what social media accounts your children are using and monitor them. One of those big rules is that kids can only have accounts that parents know about. “About 60 percent are unaware of the accounts teens have created,” says Toni Schmidt, the social media manager for Net Nanny.
Don’t rely on monitoring software to do your job for you. “The more walls we build, the more we are just creating little hackers who are just trying to get around the fence,” says Devorah Heitner, founder of the website Raising Digital Natives and the book “Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World.” Instead, be curious, engage in conversation about their online and social media use.
Mentor your children on the appropriate use of screens. Heitner offers this list of questions to ask your children:
Do they know people they are playing online games with? If not, you might want to set up a private server in games like Mindcraft to only invite real people they know.
Are they involved in group texts? Remind them that everyone is on those texts and can get hurt.
Are friends sharing texts with other friends about other friends? Remind them to not engage in that behavior and call it out when they see them.
Are they looking for validation based on the number of likes and comments on posts?
What will happen if they lose their phone, tablet or computer? How will they reimburse you?
Do they understand that digital money is real money? Do you have a plan on what permission they will need and how they can pay for their online purchases?
What will cause them to lose their phone, tablet or computer?
Make sure they know it’s OK to not respond to texts and social media posts right away. They don’t need to be connected all the time.
Invite them to ask you when they have a question. Google is wonderful, but it might provide information they might not understand or might be overwhelming to them.
Talk through different situations: What will you do if you see something inappropriate on your phone? What will you do if you feel a friend is not behaving well online? What will you do if a friend doesn’t understand that you can’t respond right away?
Children younger than 18 months of age: Avoid the use of any screen media except video chatting (with grandparents, for example).
Children ages 18 months to 24 months: Introduce high-quality programs or apps, but do it with your children to create a dialog about what they are seeing and how it relates to the world around them.
Children ages 2 to 5 years: Limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality programs that you view with your children.
Children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on time spent using media, the types of media and make sure that the use of media does not take the place of sleeping, exercise and other healthy behaviors.
Build up the parent-child relationship to prevent conflict and dangerous online use. Brooks and Lasser’s No. 1 recommendation is for parents to spend more time with their kids without technology. “The more time we spend with kids in that capacity, it feeds that part of their soul that is going to be happy, healthy, and they will have that in them that is it’s valuable to be in relationship,” Brooks says.
Have family meals at home and make that a top priority. “You have to communicate that our time together as a parent and child is more important than anything else,” says family physician, psychologist and author Leondard Sax, who wrote “The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt our Kids when We Treat them Like Grown-Ups.”
Take screens out of the bedroom. This includes cellphones, computers, TVs, video games. Kids are chronically sleep deprived, which leads to poor behavior and can even be the reason why kids are getting mental health diagnoses, Sax says.
Put screens in public places and limit how they are used. Even though, they might still be sneaking and text to their friends PWOMS (Parent Watching Over Shoulder) or some other acronym, they are less likely to be doing something unsafe if you could be walking by.
Remind them that what they post online stays forever. Those middle-school photos will follow them to their first job interview. Remind them of the permanent legal consequences of sending or receiving photos that could be considered child pornography. Kids can be charged with distributing child pornography even if they didn’t take the photo. And if a parent shows it to another parent or a teacher or principal, they’ve just distributed child pornography, says Bob Lotter, creator of My Mobile Watchdog, a monitoring app. They can only show it to law enforcement, Lotter says.
Make sure kids engage with real people they know. Their online friends can quickly become more important than the friends they see in person.
Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott will be heading back to Austin in October. This time, though, it’s not to shoot an episode of their HGTV show “Property Brothers.”
Instead, they’ll be at BookPeople Oct. 7 to read “Builder Brothers: Big Plans.” ($17.99, Harper Collins)
For the brothers, they are launching the book tour while also shooting in Calgary, where they are doing 14 projects for the show from now until December. They also just finished 16 projects in Nashville for the show.
Austin isn’t on their current list of where to film, but six years ago they did film projects here; we visited with them at one of the homes.
“I was just talking to people about Austin,” Jonathan Scott says. “We had the most fun. We always say, ‘You have to get there.'”
Filming in Austin, he says, was different because every house was completely unique. “There’s a lot of weird stuff we found in the walls and under the houses where we were renovating.”
They had fun filming during the day “and great food and music at night,” Jonathan Scott says.
Drew Scott would like to return to Austin because he’s a huge fan of “Fear the Walking Dead.” He says, he might just have to pop down here to see a filming of that show.
Before that, they’ll be here promoting “Big Plans.”
The picture book is about two brothers (who happen to have the same names as the Brothers) who want to build something big. Will it be a castle? A treehouse? Or the ultimate doghouse for their two dogs?
The book, they say, is based on who they were as children. “It all comes from us as kids always scheming, always some adventure, it could only be solved by us,” says Drew Scott.
On one such occasion, they noticed that the neighbor’s dog didn’t have a doghouse. They gathered up a bunch of supplies on their farm and their dad took them to pick up some more. They designed and built a doghouse that the dog actually used.
In the book, the story has an unexpected twist. The brothers measure incorrectly, and the doghouse is built too small. They turn it into a birdhouse instead.
“We wanted to show kids you will come across struggles,” Jonathan Scott says. “Failure is not a bad thing.”
“Big Plans” is the first of a series of books. Each book will have a project that kids can make from stuff that they might have at home. In the first book, it’s a birdhouse out of a juice carton.
They use a lot of materials that kids might already have at home and repurpose them. “It’s thinking outside the box,” Drew Scott says.
As children they always were turning appliances boxes into experiences for their friends, he says, or creating their own Halloween costumes or building forts. “It’s so fun for kids not to be stifled, to be creative.”
While the brothers don’t have any children of their own, Drew says they were writing for any future children they might have, as well as their young fans.
Surprisingly, even to the brothers themselves, they have a lot of young fans, who come up to them in public places like airports or at home shows. “It blows our mind,” Drew Scott says of the number of kids that watch them. At home shows, kids bring them sketches of dream homes they are planning.
“Property Brothers” is giving kids inspiration, Drew Scott says. “It’s the reason we wanted to do a children’s book. It warms our heart.”
“It warms our heart . . . as if we only have one heart because we’re twins,” Jonathan Scott jokes.
The Scotts encourage parents to involve their kids in home improvement projects. “It means so much for kids to be involved in some way,” Jonathan Scott says. And that doesn’t mean you have to give your kids power tools. There are a lot of safer things they can do from painting to caulking, he says.
In writing the books, the brothers consulted with a child psychologist to make sure it was developmentally appropriate, but at the end of the day, the goal was to have fun. “This is a fun book,” Jonathan Scott says.
“For Jonathan and me, it’s a fun read,” Drew Scott says. “There’s a great message behind it. Working together is better than working by yourself.”
“It’s positive reinforcement for kids about the things you can accomplish,” Jonathan Scott says. “There are things kids want to do, and they can have fun doing them in a safe environment.”
They see it as a positive thing “with all the chaos in the world,” Jonathan Scott says.
Property Brothers read “Builder Brothers: Big Plans”
Sewing after Dark for Teens. 5 p.m. Friday, Central Library.
Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3 learn about color this month., 9 a.m. Monday and Saturdays. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.thinkeryaustin.org
BookPeople. 10:30 a.m. Saturday story time. Lazy Morning, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Flix Jr. Flix offers $2 children’s movies.“Sing.” 11 a.m. Saturday. 2200 S. Interstate 35, Suite B1, Round Rock. flixbrewhouse.com
Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “Goodnight Goon: A Petrifying Parody.” Check out the website barnesandnoble.com for future story times.
Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.
Batman Day. 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Little Walnut Creek Branch.
Minefaire. The largest convention for a single video game is in Austin on Saturday and Sunday. $49-$69.50, but kids younger than 2 are free. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez St. Minefaire.com.
Slime Time workshop for ages 4 and older. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.thinkeryaustin.org
“Tortoise and Hare” at Zach Theatre. The Aesop fable becomes a musical for ages 5 and older. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $18-$24. Kleburg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org
Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids at the Alamo: “Odd Squad.” 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Lakeline and Slaughter Lane. drafthouse.com
Girl Scouts Kickoff. Make 3-D printed prosthetic hands, visit with service dogs, do science experiments, learn about Girl Scouts and more. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Girl Scouts of Central Texas Kodosky Service Center. 12012 Park Thirty-Five Circle. gsctx.org
Flix Jr. Flix offers $2 children’s movies. “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” 11 a.m. Saturday. 2200 S. Interstate 35, Suite B1, Round Rock. flixbrewhouse.com
BookPeople events.Events: Sonia Sotomayor reads her new children’s book. (This event is sold out and at First Baptist Church.) 2 p.m. Saturday. 10:30 a.m. Saturday story time. We Love Our Grandparents. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “Corduroy Takes a Bow.” Sept. 8.
Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays. Yarborough Branch.
Saturday Movie Matinee: “Despicable Me 3.” 2 p.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.
Literature Live, “Tales from Graves.” 2 p.m. Saturday, Howson Branch.
Instead of children being in rear-facing seats until they turn 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that children stay in rear-facing seats as long as possible until they meet the upper number for that seat’s height or weight limits. That means that most children will outgrow that rear-facing seat anywhere from age 2 to age 5, but there could be some kids who are older than age 5 who are still in rear-facing seats because of their size.
Why make the change?
It’s all based on analysis of trauma data from car crashes, which is the No. 1 cause of death for children age 4 and older.
Children who were in rear-facing car seats had fewer injuries and a decreased chance of death than kids in forward-facing car seats.
Why is that? Kristen Hullum, a nurse and trauma injury prevention coordinator at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, says that it’s all about avoiding head, neck and spine injuries. Young children have immature spines and necks and are also head-heavy, she says. The rear-facing seats prevent more movement of the head, neck and spine than forward-facing ones.
“My 5 year old is petite,” Hullum says. “I still have her rear-facing. That might have seemed pretty conservative to many people, but this justifies it,” she says of the new recommendations.
Here is the progression of where and in what your child should sit in the car:
Rear-facing infant carrier in the back seat (or convertible rear-facing car seat if it’s weight range is low enough for an infant) until the child outgrows the height or weight limit for that carrier, which is typically anywhere from 22 pounds to 35 pounds. For infant carriers, that usually happens around age 1, but it could be later.
Rear-facing car seat in the back seat until the child outgrows the height or weight limit for that seat. That could happen any time from age 2 to 5 or even later depending on the upper limits for that seat, which can be 40 to 50 pounds or even more.
Forward-facing car seat with a harnessin the back seat until the child outgrows the upper height and weight limit, which could be anywhere from 65 to 90 pounds. The forward-facing seat should be tethered to the car.
A booster seatin the back seat that raises the child up so that the car’s seat belt fits the child properly until the child is 4 foot 9 inches tall and outgrows the upper limits for that booster, usually around 100 pounds. That could happen anytime between age 8 and age 12. It’s Texas law that children younger than 8 ride in a booster seat or car seat.
In the back seat using the car’s seat belt once they have reached the upper limit of the booster seat’s height and weight limits until age 13.
In the front seat, only after age 13, but also tall enough and heavy enough to not be injured by the air bag. That’s at least 4 foot 9 inches and 100 pounds. Even though it’s hard for preteens to want to be in the back seat, it’s about safety. Airbags inflate at 200 miles an hour, Hullum says.” If that air bag hits them in their face, there’s a significant brain injury,” she says. “The air bag should be at somebody’s chest.”
There are other recommendations and guidelines that parents should know.
Get your child seat professionally installed each time you get a new one. Hospitals and county Emergency Medical Services offer car seat checks that you can sign up to attend.
When picking a car seat, the most expensive one is not necessarily the best one. They all have to pass the same federal guidelines. It’s more of a question of which one has the fanciest cup holders.
If you can’t afford a car seat, your pediatrician or any car seat check location should be able tell you how to get a free one.
Car seats do have expiration dates that are usually between six and 10 years. They wear out with use.
Once a car seat has been in an accident, it is no longer safe to use. Car insurance companies will reimburse you for the cost of the new one.
Unless you know the complete history of that car seat, do not buy or receive a used one.
If you have a truck that only has a front-seat, you can install a car seat in the passenger seat, but you have to make sure the air bag is turned off.
Rear-facing car seats could be a problem for toddlers and preschoolers who get motion sickness. If that’s the case, talk to your pediatrician about what medications or techniques they recommend.
For parents who might be thinking that their 5-year-old is never going to see the world around her if she’s still in a rear-facing seat, Hullum says, not to worry. Her 5-year-old can easily remind her if she’s passed a Chic-Fil-A.
Car seat checks
9-11 a.m. Sept. 7, Dell Children’s Medical Center, 4900 Mueller Blvd.
9 a.m. Sept. 10, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St.
9 a.m.-noon, Sept. 13, Williamson County Emergency Medical Services, 1781 E. Old Settler Blvd, Round Rock
2-5 p.m. Sept. 13, Elgin Fire Station, 111 N. Avenue C, Elgin
9-11 a.m. Sept. 17, H-E-B Mueller, 1801 E. 51 St.
9 a.m. Sept. 19, Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane
9 a.m.-noon Sept. 29, St. David’s Emergency Center, 601 St. David’s Loop, Leander. Free car seats will be available at this event.
9 A.M. Oct. 2, Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive
9-11 a.m. Oct. 5, Dell Children’s Medical Center, 4900 Mueller Blvd.
9 a.m. Oct. 9, CommUnity Care Clinic, 211 Comal St.
9 a.m.-noon, Oct. 11, Williamson County Emergency Medical Services, 1781 E. Old Settler Blvd., Round Rock
9-11 a.m. Oct. 15, H-E-B Mueller, 1801 E. 51 St.
9 a.m. Oct. 17, Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane
Call 512-943-1264 to register for an appointment with St. David’s or Williamson County EMS. Call 512-324-8687 to register for an appointment in Elgin, Dell Children’s Medical Center or H-E-B. Call 512-972-7233 for CommUnity Care Clinic and recreation centers.
Get this: It ranked us 106 in family fun. What? It couldn’t find our parks? Our children’s museum or the many other museums with family programming? Our family theater companies? Our at least one festival every weekend that is for families? Or recreation center offerings?
We could understand if it knocked us for affordability or access to health care, but family fun? You don’t know Austin, Wallet Hub.
By the way, in affordability, it ranked us 21. What? It ranked us 74 in health and safety, and 97 in socioeconomic issues. In education and child care it ranked us 36th.
So where does Wallet Hub think is the best place to raise a family?
Overland Park, Kan.
South Burlington, Vt.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
I’d like to see you move to South Dakota, North Dakota or Kansas and enjoy the family fun there, Wallet Hub.
Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and the 10 other Ascension hospitals in Central Texas are participating in a national collaborative program to improve the care of children in emergency departments, particular those emergency rooms that are not in a children’s hospital.
The collaborative is a response to a national 2013 Emergency Medical Services for Children Program study that found that 80 percent of emergency departments were not prepared to treat children in a uniform way. That program found that 69.4 percent of the 30 million children who go to the emergency room every year are treated by emergency departments that treat fewer than 15 children a day.
That study found key areas in which emergency departments weren’t ready for children:
Children were not weighed in kilograms, which can impact the proper dosing of medication.
A full set of vital signs including blood pressure, temperature and mental illness assessment weren’t being done. Doctors were missing when children had abnormal vital signs.
Hospital systems didn’t have guidelines for when and how to transfer pediatric patients to a higher level hospital.
Disaster plans didn’t include children, who could come into an emergency department without a guardian, identification or the verbal ability to say what is wrong.
Dell Children’s already had been working on improving emergency department care at some of Ascension’s Central Texas Facilities. It added Dell Children’s-branded emergency rooms at Seton Northwest Hospital, Seton Southwest Hospital, Seton Medical Center Hays in Kyle, Seton Medical Center Williamson in Round Rock and Providence Healthcare Network in Waco.
“The real goal for us is to prepare for all hospitals to handle children,” said Dr. Sujit Iyer, assistant medical director at Dell Children’s emergency department and director of pediatric emergency department outreach.
Dr. Katherine Remick is one of the executive leads for the national Emergency Medical Service for Children Innovation and Improvement Center and the director of this collaborative, which Dell Children’s applied to be a participant.
Remick, who is also a doctor at Dell Children’s, says if her child was child choking and she lived outside of Austin, she’s not going to drive 45 minutes to Dell Children’s. She’s going to go to whatever emergency department is close and hope they are ready for her child. “Without the presence of preparedness efforts, most emergency departments are not ready for that child,” she says.
People think of preparedness in terms of disasters, she says, but what this project is about an emergency room being able to treat one child.
“Children have unique risks,” she says. “These include differences in anatomy and physiology.”
Being prepared is about training and about having the right equipment and supplies that are child-sized, but it’s also about having someone who is looking at quality control for children, Remick says. “It’s about having someone who is putting children on their radar,” she says.
To be part of the study, Iyer says, all the management of the Ascension hospitals in Central Texas had to sign off on it and be interested in improving care. Each of them also now have someone trained to be a pediatric care coordinator.
Once all the data is collected from participating hospitals around the country, the hope is that they will share best practices and note that these efforts improve outcomes in the care of children, Remick says.
Summer is over. The kids are back in school. But that doesn’t mean the family fun has ended. September is full of fun events, including two different museum days and the start of fall festivals and pumpkin patches.
Dive into fall (even if it’s still 100 degrees) with this calendar of family fun.
Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. Free. Discovery, 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 5. Reservations required. domainnorthside.com
Shine Circus. The big top comes to H-E-B Center. 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 1. 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sept. 2. $35-$19. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. hebcenter.com
Third Annual Austin Skipathon. Skip around Mueller Lake Park while helping Foster Angels of Central Texas. $25 per person, $10 kids ages 4-10, free for children younger than 3. 8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 22. Mueller Lake Park Browning Hangar, 4550 Mueller Blvd. austinskipathon.com
Starry Nights. See a star show in the mini-planetarium and see how the Ancient Greeks saw the universe. 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 6. Free. Girlstart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane. girlstart.org
KUTX Rock the Park. The show “Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child” currates this monthly free show. Hear Mobley and Groundwork Music Orchestra. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 21 (Sept. 28 rain date). Mueller Lake Park. kutx.org
Kidz Bop Live! You’ve heard them coming from your child’s room and in your car in the carpool lane. Now you can hear them live. 7 p.m. Sept. 21. $30.25-$50.25. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. hebcenter.com
Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch.Wander through a corn maze, go on a hay ride, pet the goats and pick a pumpkin. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 22-Nov. 4. Saturdays and Sundays. Free, but pay for each activities and pumpkins, or get a $10 wristband for everything. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple. therobinsonfamilyfarm.com
Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin picking. 10 a.m.-7 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, Sept. 29-Nov. 4. $15.95, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop. bartonhillfarms.com
Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick your own pumpkins and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22-Nov. 4. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, Marble Falls. sweetberryfarm.com
Austin Museum Day. Tour some of Austin’s most well-known and little-known museums for free Sept. 23. Museums also host special events such as fossil, bones and more identification day at Texas Memorial Museum. Get the full list at austinmuseums.org.
Smithsonian Museum Day. Explore one of the participating Austin museums by printing out a free ticket for Sept. 22. Some of the museums participating include South Austin Museum of Popular Culture, Neill-Cochran House Museum, Texas Military Forces Museum, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Find the museums by searching for your ZIP code at Smithsonian.com/museumday.
Science Mill. Labor Day Weekend Scavenger Hunt. Create your own team and use your smartphone to find items throughout the museum. Free with admission. Sept. 1-3. Homeschool Day: Concoctions of Chemical Conundrums. Hands-on activities planned throughout the day. 10 a.m. Sept. 13. Girl Scout Badge Day. Do activities and earn a badge based on your program level. Sept. 29. Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org
Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3 learn about Color this month., 9 a.m. Monday and Saturdays. $5. Art Start: Nature as our Canvas workshop. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Wednesdays, Sept. 5-Oct. 24. $20 per class. Namaste & Play: Get into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays, Sept. 7-Oct. 26. $20 per class. Little Builders. Create structures and sculptures. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds, Sept. 3. $20. Slime Time workshop for ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Sept. 1-3, Sept. 15-16, Sept. 29-30. $8. Spark Shop Sewn Circuits for ages 4 and up. Learn to sew with conductive thread and circuits. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 8 and Sept. 22. $6 for a kit. Community Night Spotlight: Hispanic Heritage. Celebrate food, performance and culture. 4-8 p.m. Sept. 12. Free. Parents’ Night Out, 5:30-10 p.m. Sept. 28. Kids must be 4 or older and potty-trained. $45 first child, $25 each additional sibling. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.thinkeryaustin.org
Bullock Museum.Free First Sunday: Totally Texas. Fun hands-on events with a Texas theme. Noon-3 p.m. Sept. 2. Little Texans. Hands-on program for children ages 2-5.10 a.m. Sept. 13. Story time: Giddy up. 10 a.m. Sept. 27. American Indian Heritage Day. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for school groups. 6 p.m.-8 p.m. for the public. Sept. 28. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com
Contemporary Austin. Families Create:Sink or Swim. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 8. Free, but reservations required. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org
Neill-Cochran House Museum. History Lab: Making Folk Art. Make a whirligig and more. 4 p.m. Sept. 9. Free. Neill-Cochran House Museum. 2310 San Gabriel St. nchmuseum.org
Toybrary Austin. Daddy & Me Foam Playdate. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 1. $10. Kids’ Cooking Classes. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. $15. Baby Play Date. 1 p.m. Tuesdays. Free. Music Class with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. $10. Scavenger Hunt. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 6. $10. Story time with Vanessa Roeder. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 7. $7. Magic with Silly Sparkles. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 12. $10. Art Class. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays beginning Sept. 12. $20. Trees & Leaves Playday. 10:30 a.m. Sept. 13. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane. toybraryaustin.com
Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Fortlandia Grand Opening Weekend. Step inside forts from University of Texas students and Austin architects in the Texas Arboretum. Sept. 29-30. Nature Creations: Bracelets. Make bracelets using things from nature. 10 a.m. Sept. 29. Free. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org
“Beauty and the Beast” at Zach Theatre. The Disney story comes to life in musical form. 2:30 p.m. Sept. 1 and Sept. 2, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7. $25-$150. Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd. zachtheatre.org
“Tortoise and Hare” at Zach Theatre. The Aesop fable becomes a musical for ages 5 and up. 2 p.m. Sept. 8-9, Sept. 15-16, Sept. 22-23, Sept. 29. 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28. $18-$24. Kleburg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Drive. zachtheatre.org
Zach Theatre Open House. Try out some of the classes for children age toddler to fifth-grade. 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. This week it’s at the North Austin location, 12129 RM 620 N. location. RSVP on a link on zachtheatre.org.
“The Legends of Robin Hood.” Directly from Sherwood Forest Faire, Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws are bringing mischief to Austin Scottish Rite Theater. Noon, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 1 and 10 a.m. and noon Sept. 2. $8-$12. Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 207 W. 18th St. brownpapertickets.com/event/3527404
Pollyanna Theatre presents “The Mystery of the Green Teeth Ghost.” 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Sept. 28, Oct. 1, Oct. 4-5, 2 p.m. Sept. 29-30, Oct. 6-7. $10.50 and up. The Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive. longcenter.org
Emily Ann Theatre presents “Little Red Riding Hood.” See this classic children’s tale on stage. $10-$8. 10 a.m. Saturdays starting Sept. 29; 2 p.m. Sundays. 1101 Ranch Rd 2325, Wimberley. emilyann.org
Austin Film Society’s Sunday School. Introduce kids to “Safety Last,” a 1923 movie with Harold Lloyd performing death-defying stunts. 1 p.m. Sept. 9, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10. $9. Austin Film Society Cinema, 6406 N. Interstate 35, Suite 3100. austinfilm.org
Alamo Drafthouse. PBS Kids at the Alamo: “Odd Squad.” 10:30 a.m. Sept. 8-9, Mueller. 10 a.m. Sept. 15-16, Lakeline and Slaughter Lane. drafthouse.com
Flix Jr. Flix offers $2 children’s movies. “Rio.” 11 a.m. Sept. 1. “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” 11 a.m. Sept. 8. “Sing.” 11 a.m. Sept. 15. “Annie Sing Along.” 11 a.m. Sept. 22. Flix Brewhouse, 2200 S. Interstate 35, Suite B1, Round Rock. flixbrewhouse.com
Texas Book Festival Books and Breakfast. Celebrate the Texas Book Festival and hear Cate Berry read “Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime!” at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. 8:30-10:30 a.m. Sept. 22. 25 percent of all breakfast sales will go to the fest. Hat Creek Burger Company, 5902 Bee Cave Road, West Lake Hills. texasbookfestival.org
BookPeople events.Events: Alex Beard reads “The Lying King.” 6:30 p.m. Sept. 5. Kendra Fortmeyer reads “Hole in the Middle.” 7 p.m. Sept. 7. Sonia Sotomayor reads her new children’s book. (This event is sold out and at First Baptist Church.) 2 p.m. Sept. 8. Ngozi Ukazu reads “Check, Please!” 2 p.m. Sept. 23. Max Brallier reads “Last Kids on Earth and the Cosmic Beyond.” 6:30 p.m. Sept. 26. Matthew Cordell reads “King Alice.” 3 p.m. Sept. 30. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday story times. Brand New story time. Sept. 1. Spectacular Superheroes. Sept. 4. Sens-Sational story time. Sept. 5. We Love our Grandparents. Sept. 8. Bold and Brave. Sept. 11. Ms. Staci Gray. Sept. 12. Lazy Morning. Sept. 15. Armstrong Community Music School. Sept. 18. Hello, Autum. Sept. 22. Hispanic Heritage. Sept. 25. Banned Books. Sept. 26. Let’s Get Moving. Sept. 29. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com
Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “Pig the Fibber.” Sept. 1. “Corduroy Takes a Bow.” Sept. 8. Check out the website barnesandnoble.com for future story times.
At the library
Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays. Yarborough Branch. With Roo the Dog. 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Little Walnut Creek Branch. Read to George. 3:45 p.m. Sept. 12. Pleasant Hill Branch. With Aussie. 3:30 p.m. Sept. 26, North Village Branch. With Daisy the Dog. 11:15 a.m. Sept. 27, Ruiz Branch.
DiversiTEENS Teen Art Showcase. 4 p.m. Sept. 1, Central Library.
Saturday Movie Matinee: “Avengers: Infinity War.” 1 p.m. Sept. 1, St. John Branch. “Despicable Me 3.” 2 p.m. Sept. 8, Yarborough Branch.
Minecraft Club. 4 p.m. Sept. 4. Little Walnut Creek Branch.
Family Craft Night. 6 p.m. Sept. 10. Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 7 p.m. Sept. 13, St. John Branch.
NBTween Graphic Novel Club “Secret Hero Society.” 4:30 p.m. Sept. 12, St. John Branch. “Brave.” 4:30 p.m. Sept. 12, St. John Branch. “Tumble & Blue.” 6 p.m. Sept. 20, Twin Oaks Branch. “The Blachorn Key,” Sept. 20, Spicewood Springs. “The Nameless City,” 4:30 p.m. Sept. 26, St. John Branch. “The Oceans of Secrets.” 4:30 p.m. Sept. 26, St. John Branch.
“We’re recommending that doctors write a prescription for play, because it’s so important,” said pediatrician Michael Yogman, the lead author of the report in a press release. “Play with parents and peers is fundamentally important for developing a suite of 21st century skills, including social, emotional, language and cognitive skills, all needed by the next generation in an economically competitive world that requires collaboration and innovation. The benefits of play cannot really be overstated in terms of mitigating stress, improving academic skills and helping to build the safe, stable and nurturing relationships that buffer against toxic stress and build social-emotional resilience.”
What the study and others like it note is that children are playing less.
Here are some stats this study offers:
Children’s playtime has decreased by 25 percent from 1981 to 1997, and we bet that if someone did a current study, it would be even less.
About 30 percent of kindergarten children don’t have recess and instead have more academic lessons, says research from Advances in Life Course Research.
In a study of 8,950 preschool children and parents, only 51 percent of those children went outside to walk or play once a day with a parent.
Part of what has happened is that academics have replaced play at a very young age, and parents don’t know how to play with their children or they are fearful about safety concerns to let their children play.
It enhances brain structure and function and promotes that executive function, the study says
When kids play, stress is reduced and kids learn to regulate their stress. One of the things the study found was that preschool children who were anxious about going to school were twice as relieved of their stress when they were able to play with their teacher of fellow students for 15 minutes instead of listening to a story. Kids with disruptive behaviors were also less stressed and disruptive when a teacher played with them one-on-one.
Children who played as preschoolers had a better advantage when it came to paying attention and behaving appropriately in the classroom.
Of course, the study also looked at play in rats and changes in the brain structure of the rats who played and the rats who weren’t allowed to play. “Rats that were raised in experimental toy-filled cages had bigger brains and thicker cerebral cortices and completed mazes more quickly.”
And in kids, the study notes that “Children who were in active play for 1 hour per day were better able to think creatively and multitask.”
Play also helps our children be physically active, be socially aware, learn self-regulation skills, language development, imagination and more.
So, parents, get out there and play with your children. Yes, you can put the phone down and they can put down that tablet or gaming device. Also, make sure that your child’s school still has elements of play such as outdoor time or recess.
Zach Theatre is starting a new class for parents and young children to play together called Wee Play. It will be showcased at the open house on Saturday at it’s 1510 Toomey Road location and on Sept. 1 at its 12129 RM 620 N. location.