Posts Tagged ‘ 92y ’

Five Ways to Help Your Child Develop a Healthy Relationship with Technology—and You

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

By Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D.

Photo: Claire Holt

Catherine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D., author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age. To learn more about how your relationship with technology can intersect with your child’s life – for better and for worse – head over to the 92Y Parenting Conference in New York on February 10, or watch the livecast right here at Parents.com.

The single most important relationship in your child’s life is the one she finds with you. What happens when you add a tablet, smartphone, laptop, or desktop computer that routinely pulls you away? What does it mean when you use screens and apps as a pacifier for your baby or toddler, or as a babysitter or teacher? Tech not only changes the iconic picture of the parent-child relationship–it changes the relationship itself. There are so many ways that tech expands our connectivity with each other and with the wider world. The challenge we all face now is managing our relationship with tech so that it doesn’t take away from our relationship with our kids and family.

In my six months on the road since The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age was released, in deep conversation with kids, parents, an educators, the most asked question is “how?” How can I get a handle on this while my child is young? How can our family make some changes in habits we can all see aren’t the best? Kids themselves are asking, too. They may rarely admit it to us as parents, but they want us to set limits, to show them how to set limits, to model a life offline that is rich and real.

Here are five ways to support a sustainable relationship with technology for you and your child:

• Let your infant and young child’s room be a screen-free room. Let the space between you—playing, eating, strolling, care-giving—be tech free. Your child will join tech culture soon enough. The American Academy of Pediatrics urges a screen-free environment for children under two years old, and a thoughtful, limited exposure for the nursery and pre-school age child. In general, power down screens, pick up a book, and read or playfully engage with your child. Let your child plug into you.

• Don’t let the magic of the screen replace the magic of real-life play. Make a list of four or five different non-screen activities, such as drawing, building with Legos or playing outside, and carry it with you so you can use it as a reminder. Unplugging from tech is a struggle for most of us; share that with your child, perhaps recruiting them to do something together. Know that when you model the struggle and the choice to unplug and do, you’re showing them how it’s done.

• Create rituals for you and your child that acknowledge you’re turning your attention elsewhere. At designated times, give yourself the uninterrupted time to get your work done. But stay offline and present for at least 45 minutes from the moment you pick your child up from school or day care. Create your own Responsible Use Contract that everyone sticks to—including you! Be clear about what kinds of screen time are okay, where, and when. Through these conversations, your child becomes more self-aware, and understands the tech relationship as something to be managed, something for which we dictate the terms.

• Be picky about the types of tech-based media your child interacts with. Choose shows that teach them about the world around them in a way that is kind, hopeful and encouraging; not bratty, sarcastic, fast, or frightening. Pick any media exposure as carefully as you would pick a babysitter to leave alone with your baby. Common Sense Media is an excellent resource in this regard.

• Remember: With infants and young children, especially, an app is not a “safe distraction” like a stuffed animal or a musical mobile. Neurologically, it’s a stimulant. When we give babies and toddlers stimulants instead of a calming attention and offer tech distractions from ordinary life instead of guidance through it, we teach them at a very young age to deal with life’s ups and downs by plugging into external sources to self-regulate rather than develop those skills within. Resist the urge to let tech replace genuine parental support and guidance through moments of frustration, boredom, or other dissatisfaction.

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How to Raise Happy, Successful Children

Monday, January 27th, 2014

By Dr. Edward Hallowell

Dr. Edward Hallowell is a psychiatrist who’s been in practice for more than 25 years. He is the founder of the Hallowell Centers in New York, Boston and San Francisco, and the author of eighteen books including The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness. He was a member of the faculty of the Harvard Medical School and is considered to be one of the foremost experts on the topic of ADHD.  He’ll be speaking at the 92Y Parenting Conference in New York on February 10; you can watch a livecast of the conference right here at Parents.com.

How do you raise a child so that he or she turns out to the best person possible?  That’s the question we all ask ourselves. And yet, with this clear goal in mind, few parents have a practical plan – one rooted in research rather than rumor – to increase the chances that a child will flourish and become a happy, vibrant, successful adult.

With so much (sometimes conflicting) information available, parents wind up with an uneasy feeling that they might not be getting it right. They are worried that their children will not be ready for the uncertain, competitive world that awaits.

I have good news for you. Research has actually shown us what works and what doesn’t. And it’s astonishing to me how few parents are aware of this research, so instead they either do what their own parents did (sometimes great, but sometimes misguided) or feel they must follow the latest celebrity-driven trend. Studies like the groundbreaking Harvard Grant Study and current positive psychology research, like the work being done by Dr. Martin Seligman and Angela Duckworth at the University of Pennsylvania, give us critical insights into what kinds of childhood experiences lead to happy, fulfilled lives.

Here are a handful of things you don’t need to raise a happy, well-adjusted child: wealth; straight A’s in school; a crammed schedule of extracurricular activities; or even a traditional family.

What DO kids really need?  They need to be deeply connected to at least one other person; they need the opportunity to play and imagine; they need the discipline, time and encouragement to practice one or two things well, and ultimately to feel mastery of it so that they can earn the recognition that comes with hard work. That’s the five-point plan: connection, play, practice, mastery, recognition.

At its heart, this plan is about the radiant force called love. But how do you implement love? How do you make it practical? How do you turn love into a daily force for growth, health, and success? And still get dinner on the table?

It’s not always easy, but there are steps you can take to put you on the path toward raising the happy, successful child(ren) you dream of.  I’ll lay out those practical steps at 92Y’s Parenting Conference, and share with you some of the research behind the plan. I hope that knowledge will give you the confidence to know that you are doing what is best, and that you are headed in the right direction.

A teacher gave me some excellent advice many years ago: “Never worry alone.” At 92Y’s Parenting Conference – whether you join us in person or on the livecast, you will have a community of parents to worry with and grow with. And you might even walk away whistling rather than worrying.

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What You Need to Know About Birth Order
What You Need to Know About Birth Order
What You Need to Know About Birth Order

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