BASHFUL GENES When kids are shy, it's easy to blame their upbringing, but increasingly, scientific evidence is suggesting that it just may be their genes. A recent German study found that shy parents tend to produce shy kids--at least hinting at a genetic link. And University of Maryland researchers have studied infants' brain waves and found that babies who were shy later in life had more activity in their right frontal lobe than in their left. Extroverted babies had the opposite brain-wave pattern.
FALLING IN LINE Score another one for old-fashioned learning. Since the 1970s, progressive educators have advocated seating students around small tables in classrooms rather than at individual desks so that they can learn from one another. But a British study based on 20 years of observation of classroom behavior has found that children's work rates can be doubled if they sit in rows. The reason is obvious: when kids huddle face-to-face, they tend to spend more time chatting than learning.
TINY TRACKERS Often the scariest part of an amusement park isn't the roller coaster but the ease with which kids can get lost. A new service, ParkWatch, can help family members keep tabs on one another. Parents and kids wear wireless wristwatches with individual ID numbers. The watches are rented for $3 a day and tracked by antennas around the park. Simply drop by a kiosk and have your watch scanned to pinpoint where anyone in your family is.
--By Lisa McLaughlin