When it Comes to Our Kids Having Sleepovers, Here's Why We Just Say No WHY OUR FAMILY JUST SAYS NO

(This is a post written by Natalie Romero that appeared in

Why we don't do sleepovers in our family

I filled with dread as soon as I opened the invitation and saw the word Sleepover…click here to read the rest of this post.

Teens say they’re addicted to technology. Here’s how parents can help.

(This is an article written by Amy Joyce that appeared in The Washington Post.) 

Photo obtained from
Half of all teens say they feel addicted to their mobile devices. That’s right, 50 percent of teens actually admitted that they feel addicted. Just imagine what the real number is.
Not only do teens feel they can’t put their devices down, but their parents know it (59 percent) and many parents themselves can’t put their own devices down (27 percent). This according to a new report by Common Sense Media, which also found that teens feel their parents are addicted as well.
“Digital devices have transformed people’s lives. They are changing everything from parent-child relationships, to human interaction, to our ability to focus on the task at hand,” said James Steyer, founder and chief executive of Common Sense, an organization that studies and rates media and technology for kids and families. “And particularly for young people who are growing up as digital natives. It has public health concerns.”
With technology blending into our lives in ways that we never could have imagined just a decade ago, it’s tricky to decide what’s okay and what is just the way we live now. It’s difficult to find a balance and to set boundaries, for our children and ourselves. For instance, 48 percent of parents feel they have to answer emails and texts immediately, and 72 percent of teens say they need to; 69 percent of parents say they check devices hourly while 78 percent of teens do.
What impact does all of this have on our lives? According to the report, it’s led to multitasking that our brains, and certainly our children’s brains, can’t handle. In fact, high percentages of teens admitted that they watched TV, used social media and texted while doing homework. (And yet most teens said they didn’t think their multitasking harmed the quality of their work.)
The report also found that devices are impacting our relationships. Of the parents surveyed, 77 percent feel teens get distracted by devices and don’t pay attention when they are together and 41 percent of teens say the same about their parents. Screens are also impacting our health and safety: 56 percent of parents admit to using devices while driving — with kids in the car — and 51 percent of teens see their parents checking mobile devices while driving.
The report, which surveyed more than 1,200 teens and parents, also pulled together recent reports and research on technology use and suggests the constant attention to devices is making it difficult for our children to have face-to-face conversations or learn to be empathetic. In case you still think teens aren’t in front of screens all that much, November’s Common Sense Census: Media Use by Teens and Tweens, found that teens in the United States spend an average of nine hours daily on media.
As a true sign that both parents and teens recognize this is a problem, about half of parents and one-third of teens surveyed said they very often or occasionally try to cut down on the amount of time they spend on their devices, and 52 percent of teens said they agree that they spend too much time on their mobile devices. Yes, that’s more than half of teens saying they are on their devices too much.
So why not just turn all technology off and go back to pioneer days? Very funny. We all know that’s not possible, but it also wouldn’t be smart. Parents who have a balanced approach to media, and who allow their teens access to it, can guide the usage and conversation around it better, and help them find a healthy balance, Steyer said.
Need some help figuring out how to develop better balance? Common Sense offers up ways parents can help teens locate that sweet spot when it comes to technology use:
Declare tech-free zones and times. As with most things, boundaries are good. Support your kids in trying to find balance and set limits. These rules could be as simple as no phones at dinner or no texting after 9 p.m.
Check the ratings. Choose age-appropriate high quality media and technology for your family. These things can be especially beneficial when used to form deeper relationships, allow for creativity and exploration. Encourage kids to be creative, responsible consumers, not just passive users.
Talk about it. Connect with your kids and support learning by talking about what they’re seeing, reading and playing. Encourage kids to question and consider media messages to better understand the role media plays in their own lives.
Help kids understand the effects of multitasking. As parents, we know that helping kids stay focused will only strengthen interpersonal skills and school performance. Encourage them to minimize distractions and manage one task at a time, shutting down social media while working online for homework or engaging in a conversation.
Walk the walk. Put your devices away while driving, at meal times and during family time. Parent role-modeling shows kids the behavior and values you want in your home. Kids will be more open and willing participants when the house rules apply to you, too.
Seek expert help if needed. If you observe significant negative issues with your kids’ use of media and technology (for example: It’s harming their mental health, disrupting their relationships or hurting their academic performance) and you don’t feel equipped to address it yourself, consult your pediatrician, a psychologist, a social worker or another professional for advice.

Teacher confessions: 5 things parents should never do

Photo obtained from

I’m not alone either: There are hordes of parents out there who inadvertently annoy their children’s teachers. Some are borderline neurotic, obsessing over which type of glue stick will get their little one into Harvard, while others are a bit too lax, sending their kid to school in flip-flops on gym day. 

While we all have the best of intentions, here are five ways to avoid aggravating your child’s teacher and get off on the right foot this school year. Click here to read the rest of this article.

Facts and Solutions about Bullying

A number of myths about bullying continue to circulate, leading people to believe it's a normal part of childhood. The facts tell us this is simply not the case. Bullying is a complex problem that requires a multitude of approaches. 

Here you will learn the facts we know about bullying, and the various solutions that must be implemented if we are ever to eradicate this problem for our children.

  • Bullying causes serious harm
  • Children do not grow out of bullying
  • Bullying affects the majority of our children
  • We are not doing enough to protect Canadian youth
  • Reporting bullying is an effective way to stop the violence
  • Fighting back makes the bullying worse
  • Bullying happens wherever children gather to live, learn, or play
  • Bullying can occur within the family or the family home
  • Peers play a major role in bullying – by either escalating or stopping it
  • Bullying is a human rights issue – one of safety and inclusion

Click here to read this article from PrevNet Canada.

10 ways to boost your child's brain power through play

photo obtained from

Play is not only fun for your baby, but it’s good for brain development, too. Psychologist Jeffrey Goldstein conducted a study and found that “play increases brain development and growth, establishes new neural connections and in a sense makes the player more intelligent. With supportive adults, adequate play space, and an assortment of play materials, children stand the best chance of becoming healthy, happy, productive members of society.”

In other words, it’s never too early to start playing. Click here to discover 10 ways kids can play their way to a stronger brain.

School advice from parents who have been there, done that

  (By Astrid Van Den Broek, Parents Canada Magazine)

Image obtained from

What advice would you pass along over coffee to a kindergarten mom? As a mom of kids in Grades 1 and 5, I'd say get involved. After all, volunteering in your kid’s classroom or handing out pizza slices is one of the quickest ways to learn about the school’s dynamics. I'd also probably tell you to not sweat it when your child is put in a separate class from a close friend, and to have your little one practise ripping open cheese strings and granola bars before they step inside the kindergarten room.

Do other parents have similar advice? What would the parent of a middle schooler tell me? What secret tips would a high-school parent share with a middle school parent?  Click here to read this article.

The Creative Gifts of ADHD

(by Scott Barry Kaufman)

In his 2004 book “Creativity is Forever“, Gary Davis reviewed the creativity literature from 1961 to 2003 and identified 22 reoccurring personality traits of creative people. This included 16 “positive” traits (e.g., independent, risk-taking, high energy, curiosity, humor, artistic, emotional) and 6 “negative” traits (e.g., impulsive, hyperactive, argumentative). In her own review of the creativity literature, Bonnie Cramond found that many of these same traits overlap to a substantial degree with behavioral descriptions of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)– including higher levels of spontaneous idea generation, mind wandering, daydreaming, sensation seeking, energy, and impulsivity.

Click here to read the rest of the article of Scott Barry Kaufman published in Scientific America.

4 Ideas for Supporting Biliteracy at Home

A year ago, our family was facing a bit of a linguistic challenge. Our youngest daughter who was almost 8 at the time, did not want to pick up a book to read. She was able to, but chose not to. And since she is bilingual, this description applied to reading in both her languages: French and Finnish.

My husband has always spoken to our daughters in his native French, a language that despite the worldwide prestige that it enjoys has been in a definite minority position in Finland. The language spoken nearly everywhere around us is Finnish and it has required a lot of effort from my husband to reinforce our children’s minority language to the point that today they are fluent in both their languages.

So here we were, equipped with the knowledge that reading in both languages was very beneficial, but faced with a child who did not want to do it in even one language. As forcing her might have been very counter productive, we decided to go about it in another way: helping her find her reason to read. Here are a few things that we found helpful:

1) Reading to her every day.

2) Looking for easy books in both languages for her to read on her own.

3) Putting a biliterate twist into everyday life whenever we could.

4) Making writing fun.

Click here to read the rest of the post written by Annika Bourgogne published in Global Wise Parenting.

Social and Psychological Benefits of Summer Camps

Have you ever considered putting your child in a summer camp? 

If you have been to camp, you are not surprised when you hear about the benefits of summer camp. Experiencing life at camp yourself as a child, you know the profound positive effects that still matter to you as an adult, and you also know that you want the same thing for your own kids.

Summer camps offer to a child a different environment in which to grow his/her social skills and expand his/her friendship circle. The primary feature of most camps is that they offer recreation and creativity in a structured environment. That structure usually provides for downtime to just hang out. 

"Camp is a key opportunity for kids to develop both sides of their social intelligence by offering them a way to practice becoming adept at socializing by offering them access to many new people and environments."  Click here to read more about this article

4 Great Parenting Audio Books: Finding Time to Read When You Are Busy

I sincerely think that audio books are an excellent solution for busy people.  You can listen to them when driving, cooking, exercising, watching your kids playing a sport, etc.  Depending upon your activities, it is possible to finish an audio book in a few days or a couple of weeks. 

Here 4 excellent parenting audio books that I am listening, or have listened during the last few weeks.  They are great books that are highly ranked in various parenting websites. None of them is very long and can be easily completed in about 1-2 weeks depending upon your schedule.

Click here to read this post. 

Screen time creates sleep problems in children

if you have a child who is having sleep problems, you may want to ask yourself, how much time he/she is using electronic devices? According to a recent study, children who view television for more than an hour and a half sleep less than those who watch little or no television. Click here to read more about.

Obesity and Lack of Physical Activity affect Academic Performance in Children

I found interesting information that links academic performance to both obesity and lack of physical activity. More important, the studies that I read suggest that parents and schools may both play a role on these issues.  Click here to read more about it...

Preparing your Child for Kindergarten: Social, Academic and Motor Skills

Although each child is unique and develops at his or her own pace, most educators and developmental experts agree upon a certain set of social and “academic” skills as essential tools for further development and achievement in school. Here is a checklist that I put together using information from various websites. Click here to read the rest of this post.

How to Prep your Child for Kindergarten -- Painlessly!

Here is a very good article about how to prepare children for kindergarten. In this article, the author proposes several tips for "the big plunge into kindergarten". 

"Preschool’s main function is to let kids learn through play, and to help them build social skills. It lays the foundation for successful formal schooling. But Kindergarten is a whole other bag of gummy worms. Kids begin to learn to read and write, and they learn basic numeracy and foundational math, along with a host of other skills"

Click here to read the article.

7 Ways to Raise a Child with Eternal Values in the 21st Century

What can we do to raise kids with eternal values in today's challenging 21st century world? Teach and role model! 

1. Explicitly teach values, not by lecturing but by asking questions. Listen, and help kids reflect so they can sort out what they think. 

Click here to read this post.

What Kind of Mom Do Kids Really Want?

This is a fantastic, funny and beautiful post from Pint-sized Treasures that all Moms should read:

"As moms, sometimes we wonder if we fulfill our children’s desire for a mother. Some moms may even ask their kids, “Do you think I am a good mom?” We want our kids to love us, respect us, and think they have the best mom in the world, but what kind of mom do kids really want?"

Click here to read the post.

37 Pieces of Advice from Moms and 8 Funny Parenting Moments

This is a great article about motherhood. These are top parenting tips from Moms that will make you think about everything that we do every day. Things that make you smile, but also that may upset you from time to time.

Here are some examples:

Take a nap. Let it go. Remember that these years fly and they will never come back. Savour every moment -- even the messy, frustrating, "you've got to be kidding me" moments.
--Rachel, Pennsylvania
Everything always works out for the best eventually.
--Colleen, District of Columbia
Have a sense of humour.
--Joanne, Florida
Take time for myself and also with my husband. It is so easy not to do that and fill the time with other things, but the time spent refilling our own tank and nurturing our marital relationship is more beneficial than you realize.
--Tammy, Minnesota
Click here to read the whole article.

No comments:

Featured Post

Antlers for Dogs and Puppies