Preschoolers and Naps


Do you want your preschooler to learn more?  Make sure he gets a nap!

According to an article in the LA Times, naps are a critical part of a preschooler’s day—even though more and more preschools are adding additional curriculum to their programs.

New research has found that kids who took hour long performed better on memory tests than kids who didn’t take a nap.

In addition, the non-nappers couldn’t make up the deficit simply by getting more sleep at night.

Dr. Rebecca Spencer is a research psychologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  She says, “With increased curriculum demands, classroom nap opportunities are becoming devalued.  These children are in the process of growing from babies who slept off and on all day to children who sleep primarily at night.”

Dr. Spencer says the new study provides evidence that midday naps for preschoolers support learning and improved academic achievement.

The researchers looked at 40 children from six western Massachusetts preschools, ages three to five and a half. They taught the kids a memory test in which they were asked to remember where various pictures were located on a grid.

Each child played the game without a nap, and after a nap. And they played it the following day.

Right after a nap, there wasn’t much difference based on the sleeping. But later in the afternoon, the nappers recalled ten percent more of the picture locations. And the benefit remained the next day.

You know, I’ve been misplacing my car keys lately—maybe I need a nap!

If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” page on the Family Expert page.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Good News Story: The Significants of Shelter Dogs to Veterans

Lisa shares an inspiring story linking shelter dogs and veterans on their way back to civilian life. Listen here:

Good News Story: Dogs Help War Vets



Good News Story: Marine Goes Above and Beyond

A former marine emerged as a hero of the Nairobi siege last week after he was credited with saving up to 100 lives. Hear the rest of the story here:

Good News Story: Marine Goes Above and Beyond

More Gym Class


In some schools, there has been a greater emphasis on academics—but are we building our kids’ brains while hurting their bodies?

Many districts have ditched P.E. and even recess to increase classroom time. And while it’s hard to argue against beefing up education, our kids are bulking up too.
The number of overweight and obese children has skyrocketed, and school is one of the best places to teach our kids about the value of exercise, plus allow them to burn calories.

If your child’s school has their P.E. program sitting on the sidelines, encourage them to play outside when they’re home—or play with them. And have them exercise alongside you. You may just build something your kids will never get in a classroom—a stronger relationship with you.

Find more information on this and many other health topics, when you log onto

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Intelligent Design: Textbook Debate


Intelligent Design is again at the center of a textbook debate.  The Texas State Board of Education is evaluating seven high school biology textbooks, and that has reignited a decade-old battle over how to teach evolution versus creationism.

At a public hearing last week, one Texan told the board, “Presenting Darwin as facts would be nothing more than junk science.”  But Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, says, “I want to make sure only the science facts go into our science books.”

More than 50 science experts, parents and activists testified at a public hearing before the state education board.

Advocates of teaching intelligent design say student’s should be given a chance to challenge Darwin’s theories.

A vote by the State Board of Education is not expected until November. School districts are not required to buy board-sanctioned books, but most of them do.


In other faith and family news, Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay say they kept their son’s lifelong struggles with mental illness out of the public eye for the sake of his dignity.

In an interview on CNN, the Warrens said, “We were always praying that he would either be healed or we could find treatment, therapy, or medicine that would help him manage his disease for the rest of his life.”

Matthew Warren committed suicide earlier this year at the age of 27. The Warrens, founders of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, gave the interview to CNN in recognition of National Suicide Prevention Week.  They said their goal is to help remove the stigma of mental illness.

If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Same Goal, Different Routes


Well, we had a flight scheduled to Minneapolis this week. I made the flight and you didn’t.

I missed my plane. Although, it wasn’t irresponsibility, it was a snowstorm I got caught in.

We got there eventually together. We gave our seminar that night, but nobody would have expected we got to the same place via different routes that day.

We never imagined it. The same is true sometimes in married life, because we will have a common goal we are working toward, but my personality or my circumstances causes me to get there in a different way.

I think that is a great point to remember in our marriages. We might have the same goal in mind, but our personalities may cause us to take a different route. Think about that in your own relationship.

If you have a comment or question for the New Shine.FM relationship experts Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, visit the relationships experts page at Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Ibuprofen and Your Heart


A listener asks, “I’ve heard that over-the-counter painkillers may be bad for my heart. Could this be true?”

Well, research suggests that high doses of certain pain relievers, such as ibuprofen may indeed be linked to an increased heart risks. But don’t pour out your pills just yet.

Study results show the risk occurred only in patients with “moderate heart disease,” and even for these, the risk was statistically small. Not only that, their ibuprofen dosage was much higher than average.

So the risk is low, but it’s there. If you have heart disease, I think it’s wise to talk with your doctor about whether you should take ibuprofen or another pain reliever, just to be safe.

Find more information on this and many other health topics, when you log onto

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Lisa’s Home School: Toddler Manners

Listen here as Lisa’s shares how to teach toddlers essential manners that will benefit them as a child and in their maturation growing up.

Lisa’s Home School: Toddler Manners

Good News Story: 99 Year Old Woman Gets Her Diploma

99-year-old Iowa woman, Audrey Crabtree, dropped out of  high school in 1932, and has finally received her diploma. Here more of Audrey’s incredible story here:

Good News Story: 99 Year Old Woman Gets Her Diploma

Breaking Lazy Habits


Dear Dr. Bill,

I have two daughters, ages 16 and 10, who seem to be very lazy.  They won’t help me around the house and wait until the last minute to do their homework!  As a single parent, I usually don’t have the strength to make them do what I know they should.  How do I break this bad habit — not only in my kids, but in myself?



Dear Sheila,

You answered your own question. Even though it’s tough, the best thing you can do for your daughters is to establish house rules on chores and homework, and then follow through.  You’ll need to be consistent and firm, even when you’re tired or frustrated.

Unless you make some major changes in your parenting now, your daughters are going to have a tough future ahead of them.  If they haven’t learned personal responsibility and self-discipline, how are they going to succeed in college or hold down a job?

One method you can use is called the “Premack Principle.”  Basically that means that a less desirable activity needs to be completed before a person engages in a more desirable activity.

Say your 16-year-old loves texting or talking on the phone with her friends, while your ten-year-old enjoys riding her bike or watching TV.

Tell your girls you want to help them get ready for the “real world,” and because of that, you are going to set some new household rules.  One of those rules will be that all homework and chores are to be done immediately after school, BEFORE they are allowed to engage in “fun” activities, like texting or watching TV.

It’s critical that you follow through—even when you’re tired or don’t feel like being firm.  I’d write up a contract that clearly spells out the rules, and even build in some special rewards your daughters can earn by keeping their end of the deal.

Thanks for writing, Sheila.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

Listen to today’s audio here.