Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Reading To Your Children is a Win/Win!

Great minds are formed through reading.  Read to and with your children.

Okay, we all know this...our lives our hectic.  We are so busy juggling our commitments and checking our facebook pages that we are forgetting to take advantage of the simplest pleasure of being a parent...reading to our kids. Come on, fess up...when did you last read a story to your child? Last night?  Well if that's true then--CONGRATULATIONS!  But I'm guessing, not last night...or even the night before...or, well you get the picture.

So start tonight.  Or right now.  Sit down and read a book together.  Share a story.  Or start a chapter book, or dive into a series.  Share some snuggles.  Expand your child's vocabulary.  Bond.  This is the good stuff of parenting.  Don't deprive yourself of the good stuff because you are too busy!  No one should be too busy to sit down and read a book to a child.  And then, do it tomorrow night and the next night and on and on.  You will grow, your relationship will grow, your child will grow.  It's all good.  So no excuses.  Read a story to your child...and continue to build on that.  You will NEVER look back on that time as anything but precious.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Mean Threats are not Good Parenting!

Timeouts are effective for young children.  They should be one minute for each year of the child's age.  This time allows them to reflect on what they did and gives both the child and parents a brief break to calm down.

Writing a parenting blog does not mean that I think my husband and I were perfect parents...far from it.  We made our share of mistakes and learned from our missteps.  Hopefully, as you read my blog and you can learn from our experiences.  When we were young parents, I remember using threats at times to get our toddlers to behave.  And I also will admit to relying heavily on the Santa threats when the hectic holiday season was upon us.  But as our family grew and our parenting knowledge grew along with it, my husband and I stopped using threats to get our children to behave.  We started to rely on our own confidence as parents.  We expected our children to behave because we said so, and they understood that if they were choosing to be uncooperative there would be consequences.  Consequences that we all knew about.  When they were young, it was timeouts, and when they were older it was a whole host of things; losing a play date, having a toy taken for a certain amount of time, extra chores or even writing a paper!  My husband liked to get creative.

This type of parenting was a lot easier than making scary threats and hoping the threats scared them into doing what we wanted.  And through the years I have heard of parents using some whoppers!  I understand that parents, when utterly frustrated and embarrassed will resort to saying just about anything, but threatening that the police are going to have to come to your house and take your tyke to jail, or the pilot of the plane will be coming back to deal with your child's behavior are empty and frankly ridiculous ploys on the part of the parent!  You can do better and your children deserve better. Using fear and humiliation are not effective or healthy ways to discipline your child.  Remember that you are the adult in the relationship.  Your child looks up to you.  Therefore, learn discipline techniques that are positive and relationship building rather than destructive and negative.  There are classes and books and blogs that discuss positive discipline techniques.  Educate yourself and your parenting partner so that you both are committed to effective and mentally healthy methods of disciplining your children.  You might also enjoy reading this:


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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

5 Ways to Guard Your Child's Precious Childhood!

As a parent, you are your child's legal guardian.  But there is another type of guardian that you need to be.  You need to be your child's guardian charged with the duty of protecting your child's innocence.  You are the guardian of your child's childhood.  Why is this important?  Because in our technologically advanced society with smart phones and tablets within an armed reach of your child, we are oblivious to the fact that we are committing a crime against our children.  WE ARE SYSTEMATICALLY ROBBING THEM OF THEIR CHILDHOOD.

Children who are swiping from the time that their chubby hands can hold a phone or tablet are losing out on real world experiences, and conversations and an innocence and simplicity that childhood should include.  We all have seen how adept children are at figuring out devices.  And parents love the fact that a device can keep a child quiet in a restaurant or at a family party or when a parent just wants a few minutes to check their own device.  And often that minute turns into a half an hour, or longer.  Think of the last time you took your children somewhere.  Did they use a phone or tablet to entertain themselves?  Was the use of the device sacrificing real life conversation with others? Were they missing out on a life lesson that they could have had?  Maybe if the phone was put away they would have had a conversation with their grandpa and learned something new.  Maybe you would have asked them a question that lead to a discussion about something they are curious about.  Maybe you would have noticed at the restaurant that your children need a lesson in polite conversation or table manners.  They are missing out on other things when they are constantly looking at a device. We parents need to reflect on what our children are missing out when they are interacting with a device instead of interacting with others.

Not only is it a proven fact that children are getting way more screen time then is good for them. This observation doesn't even take in to account that what they may be watching or playing can also have a negative affect on them.  Games featuring violent themes, aggression against women, smart mouthed humor, or gruesome images can desensitize our children and convey ideas that we don't want them exposed to, and yet most parents don't even know what their children are doing while online.  We tell ourselves that they are just playing games.  But in reality they know how to search and find all kinds of things.  So what is a parent to do?  Here are my suggestions:

1.  Less is more:  When it comes to screen time, set limits on how much screen time you allow your children.

2.  Educate yourself:  Find out what your children are doing when you hand a smart phone or tablet over to them.

3.  Explain:  Let your children know why you think it is important that they limit their online time, in order to have real life experiences and form relationships with other people.

4.  Protect:  Don't allow your young children to be exposed to adult themed games or movies. Childhood is such a brief period in our lives and children deserve to experience a time when imagination and creativity and "happily ever after" themes are embraced and celebrated.

5.  Read:  Read books to your children.  This is a pleasure that reaps great benefits to both you and your children.  The stories you read, the bond your form, the shared experience, the exposure to a wider vocabulary, are just a few of the countless reasons to make it a daily ritual to read together.

I am not anti-technology.  I firmly believe we adults owe it to our children to protect their precious minds and offer them real life experiences in their childhood that will fuel their curiosity, their imagination, their social and emotional stability and resiliency.  And they won't get that with their faces glued to a smart phone or tablet.

Here is what they American Academy of Pediatrics has published about TV/Screen guidelines:

  • Set limits on your youngsters' television watching. Keep their use of TV, movies, videos, and computer games to no more than one to two hours a day.
  • Use a program guide and TV ratings to choose appropriate programs for your child.
  • Watch TV with your youngster whenever possible, and talk about what you've watched. For example, counteract the stereotypes of women and the elderly on TV by discussing their real-life roles in an accurate way.
  • Limit the commercials your child sees by having him or her watch public television (PBS). Explain to your youngster that TV commercials are designed to make people want products they may not need.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015

    Parent Shaming is non-issue!

    Good Morning America (GMA) is a nationally televised network program that most if not all Americans are familiar with.  Yesterday the program featured an interview with a woman who works for Yahoo Parenting.  You can find the report here:

    The report featured the results of a survey on Yahoo about how parents are feeling judged by others and are fighting back with the hashtag #noshameparenting.  The report itself featured a graphic that 50% of parents spank their children.  This whole segment made my blood BOIL!!!  And here is why...the report focused on parents who feel victimized by the perceptions of other parents.  The report and interview conveyed that we all are too judgmental about other parents and how they are parenting.  Poor mommy and daddy are feeling judged for the job they are doing when they are out in public with their kids who have no manners or our out of control.  Whine, whine and more whine! There is a crucial piece missing from this report.  How are their kids fairing?  How are the kids who grow up in families who believe spanking is a wonderful parenting method?  How are the kids who grow up in families where the parents are bothered by other's perceptions of them?  Is it beneficial to your family to play the victim?

    Shame on GMA for running such a poorly thought out segment that benefits NO ONE!  Why can't a powerful network that is watched by millions feature a segment that empowers parents with solid parenting advice.  Why can't they feature a roundtable of experts who explain the most effective parenting techniques and the research that shows spanking your children is using fear and violence to control their behavior and results in more aggressive children.  Instead, they feature a ridiculous survey on the "hurt feelings" of parents, as a way to advertise one of their sitcoms and a method to direct people to Yahoo Parenting.

    Parents who feel shame about the job they are doing as parents might have some work to do.  Why don't we all strive to be the best parents we can be--for the benefit of our children and their future.