Tag Archives: children

So much unwanted advice

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In the day and age of social media, things like blogs, web pages, Pinterest and Facebook are all peppered with things you should or should not do to raise a child. To spank or not to spank, homeschool, public or private school, are you a creative lunch maker or just a boring sandwich pusher, do you teach them things or let them figure things out on their own, and I could go on and on!

I admit, when I have an issue with my child, I first go to family and friends for advice. But, if I don’t find an answer that seems to fit my situation, I know I can turn to the world wide web. There are many professional child psychologists, pediatricians, nannies, childcare workers and moms that provide sound and calming solutions. It amazes me the wisdom you can glean from these sites. However, when articles pop-up on Pinterest urging you to read it or someone rants on a Facebook post about how they saw a mom doing or not doing something, this barges in on me like a neon sign and tends to irk me more than entice me. Why? Because advice for children is not one-size-fits-all. What my child needs to curb a certain behavior may not work for your child and vice-versa. The fact that a lot of these posts insinuate you are a bad parent if you AREN’T practicing their latest finding is downright maddening.

Mischievious

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There is pressure for our kids to be the best soccer player, the smartest student in school, the highest jumper, the most advanced in technology and the healthiest of eaters. I miss the days when it was okay for kids to try out a sport and see if they liked it before signing their summer away to be on the team. There is pressure from every angle, even from ourselves, to raise a kid that will overachieve as opposed to just succeed in this world.

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Just don’t read the articles!

If only it were easy NOT to notice the articles.  However, because these articles pop up on Facebook, Pinterest, or as a header on a website you are shopping on, it is difficult to ignore the taunts. “What IF I’m doing something wrong?” If you suffer from anxiety or depression these articles can deepen your feelings of inadequacy and make you question everything you are doing or not doing for your child. The internet can be a great tool, a way to connect people with the latest information, but it can also be a dangerous web luring you in to “keep up with the Jones’s.” I think it is okay if you want to post what has worked for your child, but it would be great if you didn’t claim this to be the fix of all fixes and look down your nose to people who don’t share your ideals. I’m grateful that you had the luck to find that magic ticket in your family’s life, I might just try it on my child as well. But if it doesn’t work, or if I find that it isn’t in his best interest, then I will file your idea in my “things that didn’t work” file and move on. Don’t judge, don’t talk behind my back, don’t push your convictions on my family and give people a break for choosing their own path.

toddler

I do my best each day to try to be secure in who I am, what I’m doing and embracing the love and comfort of my family. If the internet is going to keep throwing out pop-up shaming and unsolicited advice, what I may have to re-think is the amount of time I spend on social media.

Social Media is Great, but What about Good, Old Fashioned Book Reading?

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Everywhere I look, new advances in technology are being made—and seemingly, this happens every couple months when some unique form of technology appears to solve society’s daily problems. When I was younger, I had an mp3 player (really a glorified USB drive) that used an AA battery and held up to 60 songs at once. Then I owned a Motorola flip phone that I used to text my friends and buy cool ringtones. It fit in my pocket, so it was a huge “level up” from the old, clunky phones my parents talked about.

(Does anyone remember the Nokia phones from the 90s? It’s OK if you do; the 90s were pretty cool!)

With these advances in the early-to-mid 2000s, it’s not surprising that now, in 2016, we’ve soared even higher with our interactive watches, Google Glass, and virtual reality. Through these gadgets, we get the latest and greatest features in social media and have the ability to constantly plug into our Twitter, Facebook, and other social circles. We no longer live in a world where we need to disconnect. Our signal is boost 24/7!

Continue reading Social Media is Great, but What about Good, Old Fashioned Book Reading?

Cook. Play. Connect.

Healthy kids are successful kids. According to the CDC, “Health-related factors such as hunger, physical and emotional abuse, and chronic illness can lead to poor school performance.” Physical inactivity and poor nutrition is resulting in childhood obesity at an alarming rate – it has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Obesity can result in other chronic ailments and contributes to depression. It may also prevent children from trying new activities for fear of being judged or made fun of by their peers. It is a dangerous epidemic that we need to stop.

It’s easy to point fingers and blame fast-food, lack of PhyEd programming in schools, and video games as the culprits, but the truth is many times the problem lies closer to home. Many parents simply don’t take the time to plan and cook nutritious meals or take the kids out for a long walk or a bike ride after dinner. They aren’t instilling healthy habits into their children. Yes, I know we are all busy trying to make ends meet. I’m a single mother – I get it. But if you make time to cook (most) meals at home and ensure your child engages in daily activities like biking or walking, playing outside or at indoor parks with friends, or swimming at the local pool, those things start to add up to a healthier, and more engaged, life. And your relationship with your child might just become closer and stronger to boot.

My son isn’t an organized-sports fanatic and frankly either am I, but he has found a niche with TaeKwonDo and swimming and he participates in those activities year-round. I limit video game time and the only television he watches is the occasional movie, usually with me, on the weekends. Is it hard to maintain and enforce these standards? Sometimes. But it would be harder to watch my son grow up living an unhealthy lifestyle.

We cannot control what our children do once they leave the nest, but for the short time that I do have a say over how my son spends his time and what he puts in his body, I’m going to make sure he has an opportunity to be healthy and active and hopefully those habits will stay with him into adulthood. Making dinner and making memories with your kid is way more fun than making excuses, too!

Here are a couple great resources for how to involve your kids in cooking at home, engaging in healthy activity together with your kids, and facts on how to prevent childhood obesity. For more information, just Google “healthy kids” and peruse the millions of hits you will get. Or join the movement!

 

Technology and Children

About 8 months ago, I was talking with friends about that children’s singer, Raffi.  We were reminiscing about singing “Baby Beluga” as children and how we were all going to go to a Halloween party as Raffi songs.  When I got home that night, I decided to look Raffi up and see what he was up to.  I found him on Facebook and Twitter and followed him.  It became clear quickly that Raffi, still singing songs for children, has evolved into an anti-technology advocate, especially when it comes to children.

I didn’t get my first smartphone until 5 months ago.  I will openly admit that I am addicted to my laptop and when it broke this past Sunday I actually became depressed, but when it came to my phone, I was insistent on never getting a smartphone.  I didn’t want to become one of “those” people who, when out with friends, spends all their time playing on their phone.  Now that I have my smartphone, I can see the negatives and the positives.  While I am not addicted to it like I am with my laptop, I find it useful for the GPS and looking up information when a computer isn’t nearby.  I also see how smartphones can disconnect you from real life because you are no longer having conversations when you are out with people.

Back to Raffi, he has a book about the dangers of technology and children.  I haven’t read it, but I have followed him long enough on social media to know what the gist of it is.  He has said that children do not use their imaginations when they are around technology.  I find this very true in my own life.  Ever since I got my first laptop, I’ve had the hardest time being motivated and finding ideas for my creative writing.  I feel like my mind is so busy with information that I can’t filter it out to focus on what is important to me.  Because of my addiction to the Internet, especially, I get anxious about being bored and having nothing to do.  When I was a kid, I remember being bored, especially during the summer months when Dragnet Fridays came on Nick@Nite’s Summer Block Party.  (I hated Dragnet).  When I was bored, I didn’t have the Internet to entertain me, but I was very creative as a child and figured out things to do.  This fear parents seem to have about their children having nothing to do and bothering them has resulted in kids being addicted to technology at young ages when they should be using their imagination and being kids.  Kids should be out playing with friends, playing Cops and Robbers, riding their bikes, not in front of a computer.

While I know I can’t be without technology for very long, I don’t want my future children to be like me.  I want them to experience camping in the wilderness and going for family bike rides like I did when I was a kid.  I want a better world for them and an over-consumption of technology is not the answer.