Friday, January 16, 2015

So, there might be a limit

I have read a lot of articles in the past few years regarding the use of screen time and young children, namely how often you put an electronic device in their hands as opposed to other forms of amusement, education, and entertainment. I still feel that is no big deal, but there are some general things I have noticed from watching my own son play these devices and how he behaves before, during, and after using these devices.

1. Crabbiness

This is not just Lucas. More often than not, children get crabby after you take a device away from them regardless of how long they got to play or how they interacted with the device. It is actually a little scary, as the longer you let them play, the crabbier they are when they separate from the device. While I have never followed this train of thought before, I do believe playtime on such devices should not last longer than 20 minutes because of this attitude change that is pretty consistent in most children.

2. Laser like focus
I don’t know if it is just Lucas, but when he plays a device, he is ultra focused. Whether the app involved is a book, an educational game, an entertaining game, or a puzzle, he is intimately involved with what is in front of him. Since this kind of focus is kind of unnatural for a 5-year old child, I would assume that this level of focus is not that good. While I’m sure the practice of paying attention to something for a long period of time isn’t that bad, it is difficult to apply the direct interaction that a device offers as compared to the interplay and interpersonal communication that most play and learning involve. I would love if Lucas could focus like that at school!

3. Extra time for a reset

Whenever I see children playing these devices, I do see a consistent pattern of some time needed for a reset. The time between putting the device away and the start of the next activity tends to need a longer “reset” moment. I know my son has this feeling of boredom and pressure that he seems to release in a long sigh after the device is put away, then he can move on to the next thing.  Again, I used to think screen time was not a big deal, but it does seem to take a lot out of children.

In the end, I don’t see too big a problem with children using tablets, smartphones, and other assorted devices to play and learn with. They can be fun and let’s face it, the future of our children’s lives will involve a lot of time in front of screens. I do see the point and value of limiting this time, however, as I think too much time in front of a screen does limit your capabilities in interacting with the world around you.

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posted by Luca Lashes @ 7:00 AM   0 Comments

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Admitting you are wrong

So I have come upon an interesting situation, the handling of which is a little too delicate for my own personal taste, so I decided to write a little about it. I tend to be an opinionated person, which has gotten me into trouble for a very long time. This is a trait that I try very hard to hide from my son, who I would rather he emulated his more diplomatic mother rather than his over-opinionated bloviating father! So I have decided to write more of a diary entry about what its like to be opinionated yet making sure your child remains an open child who loves everyone.

1. The past matters
The whole reason behind my opinions started so long ago, that being in my own house, you were expected to have an opinion about the world around you and the life you were both living and the lives you were watching. Watching the news, reading the newspaper, and having long discussions about philosophy, politics and economics were common in my household. I try to introduce some of these things at home, but I do know that my son is way too young to have to know, care, or experience any of these things. So changing a cycle becomes important, because although I was always able to form an intelligent argument, in the end those things don’t make a happy childhood. In fact, it makes you very different from everyone around you in some not-so-good ways.

2. Evolution
The whole thing about opinions is that they should evolve over time. Just because one believes and states something categorically one day, there is no commitment to that opinion over time. This is one thing I do hope to teach Lucas, that being that no one should be tied to any one idea for a long time. I have been liberal and conservative, Republican and Democrat, etc. I have read so many things that have colored and shaped the opinions I have about the world around me, but in the end, experiencing the world first hand changes my opinions on a regular basis. The thing I want Lucas to learn from this kind of ability is to never get too tied down to any one idea. There is never just one right answer, and there is never just one way to find happiness in life. Opinions should evolve the same way that people move from childhood to adulthood.

3. Sometimes you are wrong
I know I have been in this situation where I pontificate about some subject that I think I know something about, and then someone introduces a fact that completely blows my opinion out of the water. What are you supposed to do then? Stay married to an opinion or an idea? Isn’t more important to learn new information and incorporate that information into your life in positive, healthy ways? This is the one trait I have that I know will help Lucas as he grows into an adult and learns how to be a good friend, a good teammate, and a good partner in a relationship. Never be afraid to admit you are wrong. We are all human, we all make mistakes, and we are all wrong sometimes. Admitting this humanity helps everyone move forward.

All in all, it is healthy and normal to have opinions about the world around you, just like it is healthy and normal for others to have different and self-specific opinions about their own worlds and viewpoints. Understanding that life is so different for everyone can be such a great skill to teach our children, but it is very difficult because some of our adult-themed opinions can get in our way.  Happy Parenting!

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posted by Luca Lashes @ 7:00 AM   0 Comments

Monday, January 12, 2015

Keep those teeth sparkling!

posted by Luca Lashes @ 7:00 AM  

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

New Year's thought and stuff

So, my lovely fellow parents, after a long hiatus, we hope that you had a wonderful holiday season, joyous Christmas, and the happiest of New Year’s. In doing my end of year inventory and planning for the year, I started thinking about the anti-resolution kick that everyone hears regularly. You hear this from almost everyone that no one ever sticks to a new year’s resolution. It’s become a joke to people, and yet, so many people still read and follow what self-improvement authors and gurus like Anthony Robbins, who tell you to write down your goals. I wanted to look at this disconnect and how it applies to parents and their kids.

1. Always follow through on what you say

This is especially true for parents, as kids are the first to take advantage when an adult does not follow through. If you say there is a consequence for a behavior, then make sure to follow through with that. If you have a plan you are trying to keep, then you need to keep to that plan, and not let distractions keep you from seeing a plan through. We all get distracted, but being able to always follow through is a great life-trait for your kids to learn from you.

2. Write things down

When it comes to goal setting, there is a reason that people who are good at planning, keeping schedules and writing things down tend to accomplish their goals more often than those that fly by the seat of their pants more. There is no problem with either approach, but writing things down tends to make you more accountable to something. Again, this is a skill for kids to learn from their parents, and writing things down for your kids to do tends to keep them doing those things you need.

3. The beginning of a new year is awesome

It is the perfect time to re-evaluate where you are, where you are heading, and the steps you need to take to keep walking that line and reaching that destination. Resolutions can be an awesome way to write things down that you want your family to accomplish this year. Reading more, taking more walks, hug each other more often…what is wrong with these resolutions?

Can you guys think of more? Remember, there is technically no difference between goals and resolutions. So why is it so easy to dismiss the resolution but as a culture we value goal-setting and goal-accomplishment?

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Leaving on a jet plane!

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