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'kids' Parentelligence posts

In Real Life

This video has sparked some controversy about exposing babies and young children to technology. Some people think it’s a shame that the baby thinks the magazine is ‘broken’. It seems to me that the baby is just figuring out that the iPad works one way and the magazine works another. She’s trying out her world. She’s testing those Baby Physics again.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated quite clearly that “pediatricians should urge parents to avoid television viewing for children under the age of two years.”  This is to include limiting the time exposure as well as limiting the content to appropriate entertainment (no violence, drugs, alcohol, etc.).

I agree completely that screen time should be limited for our children but it would be nearly impossible to completely restrict all exposure to media.  We just need to harness the technology and use it appropriately.  

Our children are growing up in an age where we can carry the internet in our pockets. They do need to learn their way around a laptop and an iPad.   We get upset if the schools don’t have computer labs or the latest technology. Some schools even issue laptops instead of textbooks because laptops are so inexpensive but can be updated so easily. That’s wonderful. The amount of knowledge at our fingertips is incredible and increasing exponentially everyday.

However, there are serious drawbacks to too much screen time:

Baby Physics

As parents, we want to do everything we can to help our children be happy, healthy, smart, and successful to give them the best chance at being happy, healthy, smart, successful adults. Especially with a first baby, we tend to listen to all sorts of sources, family, friends, and even marketing to find out what we should do and buy.

Retail stores will try to sell you tons of stuff and we often times will buy it because we don’t want to look like we don’t know what we’re doing. So, we buy the toys that have flashing lights with buttons that play Mozart, and the ones that teach infants higher math because we think we should. After you spend all the money and get the present back home, all your child wants to do is play with the box. How frustrating is that? The parents end up spending more time with the toy trying to entice the child to come play. Why do babies love playing in boxes?

This is what I call Baby Physics. They’re ‘real world’ items. They can crawl in and out. Toys can disappear only to reappear again. The sides and corners are planes and angles. Just like playing with ...

Your Child's Champion

Our children face all sorts of challenges. Challenges at school, at home, with friends and with siblings. Challenges that are self-imposed (questions about worth, and self-doubt) and challenges of just sorting out this big world.

As parents, we’re there when they take their first breath. We help them thrive and exist as an individual being. We help them take their first steps. We cheer when they are happy and we experience physical pain when they are hurt, sad or heartbroken.

We know our child’s personality better than anyone else in the world. We know what scares them and what makes them happy. We know their likes and dislikes. We can see when they’re getting tired or hungry. We know them better than we know ourselves.

If a child then develops a problem ...

Praise Junkie

What does it mean when you say, “You’re so smart!”? Are you telling someone they’re intelligent, clever, cunning, observant, ‘book’ smart, ‘street’ smart, adept, sharply painful?

What does your child hear if you say it to them? “Mom loves me be because I’m smart.”

How about if you tell your child, “You’re so cute!” or “You’re funny!”?

When we offer praise to a child we’re putting emphasis on a trait that we appreciate. Of course, we think our children are smart, cute, and funny, but what we really need to say are things like, “Wow! I really like how you worked on that puzzle to figure it out.” Being specific teaches them about what it is that we like and value.

Do we really want our child to grow up thinking that we value them for being ‘cute’?

Say No to Mom Guilt

We moms have all sorts of things we feel guilty about but shouldn’t.

We feel guilty because...

  • We go to work (we feel like we should be home)
  • We stay home (we feel like we should go to work)
  • We play with our kids (we should get the chores done)
  • We work on the chores (we should be playing with the kids)
  • We want some ‘me’ time (we should be spending time with our partner)
  • We want to work out and get back in shape (we should be working, playing with the kids, getting the chores done, and spending time with our partners)

That’s it! We work at work and work at home (and only write our blog at 11pm the night before it’s due after partner and the kids have all gone to bed.)

Mom guilt is a real problem. If you search “Mom Guilt” in Google, you’ll get 12,700,000 results in .2 seconds. This topic is well versed, but they all say the same things:

Lunchbox Battles

In order to be successful in school, our children need fuel. School lunches can be tough. We have to balance what is healthy and what our child will eat. There’s also the distraction factor.  They have 20 minutes and a cafeteria or gym full of other kids who are all talking and eating.  The distraction is enough to delay nutritional intake past the time when lunch is over. (To see what I'm talking about, Try to fit in a lunchtime visit to your child’s school sometime. Prearranged with your child and the office. You'll be amazed.)

So, we need something tasty and quick and easy to prepare, but nutritionally sound and easy for our kids to eat quickly.

A birthday and a backpack

As school starts, I am reminded of my youngest child’s first day of kindergarten.  The poor child had 5 stitches in his right heel from an unfortunate accident with a metal door plate.  He turned 6 years old a few days before school started and he was using a walker which gave a little extra stability than crutches.  He was standing in line with the other kids outside the kindergarten room.  All the parents were standing a couple of paces away from their kids  anxiously awaiting the bell to ring.

My husband and I were old hats at this as he is our third child.  The backpack was full, the emergency card was signed and his lunch was packed.  We did our part and now off he went.  I had a moment of misty-eyed “My baby is growing up” motherly emotions, but it passed and off we went to spend the day alone, childless and enjoying it.

In the afternoon, we returned to pick him up and the teacher was standing next to him.  As we walked up, excited to see him and hear how his first day of school went, the teacher stepped up to talk to us.  (Now after two other boys, I took this as a sign that there was a ‘talking to’ in my youngest son’s future.)  The teacher hugged me and said, “Thank you so much for preparing him for school.”  She had spent the day with kids yelling, misbehaving and jumping on the furniture.  My son, confined as he was because of his foot, was patient but helpful.  He waited until someone was available to help him to get his lunch or binder.  He waited until he was called on.  We couldn’t have been prouder of our son.

I hear so much about schools needing to do better.  They have tests to measure how the teachers are performing and there’s more and more scrutiny on the schools’ performance.  But what about the parents?  Where is the accountability for the parents to prepare their children?

We’ve created Head Start to try and catch the kids earlier in order to better prepare the kids for school, but preparing for school starts years earlier.

Here are a few things that parents can do to prepare their children for school:

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