Sunday, June 30th, 2013
Parenting in summer requires a little bit of deftness. Schedules change, kids may be around the house a lot more than usual, weather needs to be navigated. It’s a really fun time – but also one that requires something of a game plan. So this month I’ve shared some thoughts on summer parenting, including
The Importance of Reading – yes the summer slide is real and parents need to be strategic about it
The Necessity of Wearing a Helmet – unfortunately kids can suffer serious head injuries when riding a bike and a helmet is not optional
The Reality of Sunscreen – kids have sensitive skin and you need to be proactive about preventing sunburns
The Need to Monitor – every summer we hear about tragedies like toddlers drowning in a pool, so it’s important to remember to practice good parenting monitoring
The Upside of Unplugging – parents and kids alike need a break from technology, so cut down on the screen time and interact
The Advantages of Hands-On Activities – rainy days bring choruses of “I’m bored” so be ready to encourage hands-on activities like arts and crafts
Have a great and safe summer!
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Sunday, June 30th, 2013
Screen time is increasing for every age group – from babies to adults – and as a result face-to-face interaction goes down. So while there is nothing inherently wrong with screen time, it’s also a great idea to use summer as an opportunity for everyone to unplug for a while and, well, interact.
I’ve had many parents comment to me that they find themselves – and their kids – simply spending too much time focused on their screen. Computer, phone, TV, whatever – we all attend to the screen much more than ever. And they are finding it rewarding to simply designate an hour or two when everyone is together as a screen free time.
Same goes for kids hanging out with each other. There is a new form of communication within peer groups these days – almost everyone has a phone and uses it while they are with their friends. Sometimes they are texting others who aren’t with the group. Sometimes they are texting within the group. Again, this isn’t inherently troubling as every generation has its own technology that they use for social communication. That said, it’s also not a bad idea to ask all of them to turn off the devises for a while and just hang out with each other.
It’s not so much about losing social skills – although there is an element of that. It’s more that the human brain is wired fundamentally for social interaction. Sustained, reciprocal interaction is rewarding. Kids and adults alike can find themselves surprised at how much fun it can be to interact without someone being distracted by a text or someone needing to check something out online. We all spend plenty of time doing that. The reality is that it can be rewarding to go out of your way to find times and contexts where we all unplug for a while and just talk and laugh and enjoy each other’s company.
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Tuesday, June 25th, 2013
We see them wiggle their way out of it. Run away. Make funny noises. Get antsy. Get nasty. Get crazy.
Kids don’t like putting on sunscreen. They really don’t like it when we do it.
Kids will be spending lots of time in the sun this summer. That’s awesome. They do need to protect their skin though. With regularity.
Ask your pediatrician to suggest the right type of sunscreen for your child, based on their age, skin sensitivity, and family history of skin cancer. Make sure you then know the guidelines for how frequently it needs to be applied – meaning reapplication is as important as that first application.
Then just do it. No negotiating allowed. Going to the beach? You need sunscreen. Staying at the beach? You need to reapply. Properly. Same applies at the pool. Or if there will be extended time outside.
Make it a habit, keep it cool but firm – and sooner or later your kids won’t try to wiggle or scream their way out of it. And if they continue to do so? Too bad. It still gets applied properly – and then everyone starts having fun.
Sunscreen via Shutterstock.com
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Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Summer is here, and we parents have to walk the line between filling up our kids’ days – and leaving space. Today Golnar Khosrowshahi of GoGoNews shares some guidelines she uses with her kids in summertime.
As parents, we are raising children in the era of over-programming. Our renaissance offspring are shuttled from one activity to another throughout the school year and according to a recent survey of American families from the American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, we are spending more than ever on summer activities.
On average, it costs $600 to $1,200 to keep one child busy during the summer months. While I do my best to keep up with the Joneses – because as everyone knows, fencing is a life skill – I worry that our children do not have the free time to indulge their creativity.
My children definitely enjoy a wider variety of activities than I did as a child and at their age, and are far more competent at most things than I ever was. However, I am also hyper-conscious that they need to have free time to learn how to entertain themselves.
I worry that if they don’t have this free time, that they will never learn how to rely on their own faculties to be creative and engage and educate themselves. What kind of problem solvers will they be later in life if they don’t know how to think creatively and be innovative?
While ours is not a rules driven household, I have managed to establish a few guidelines to ensure that my children have some free time during what my generation remembers as our idyllic summer holidays.
These guidelines include:
- limiting television and video game time
- equipping them with reading material on a wide range of subjects of their selection
- providing them with kits and tools that encourage them to work with their hands
- giving them some “Me” time without camps, lessons or friends
- putting them in situations to which they are not accustomed – for example, taking them to work with me and actually giving them real responsibilities
I believe that doing some or all of the above throughout the summer will at least help our children get to know themselves, and better define their interests and then, set the stage to refine their interests. This free time to be creative will allow them to steer themselves towards subjects and interests that they are passionate about.
As a parent, one of the most important takeaways I had from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs was how vital it is for our children to find their passion and ultimately, their happiness. We parents need to make sure we allow the time for this to happen because, while fencing is a life skill, creative thinking will probably prove to be more useful in the long run.
Image of kids playing on a sunny day via Shutterstock.com
Golnar Khosrowshahi is the founder of GoGoNews, a website that publishes up to the minute, age appropriate current events for children. She has also written for The Huffington Post and been featured in many technology and parenting related columns. You can read featured guest blog posts by her here at Red-Hot Parenting every month.
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