Digital devices can be so helpful and entertaining it’s easy to forget what they don’t do to help kids grow up to be self-reliant, durable adults. In fact, many tech-savvy school kids are doing strange things like losing their balance on chairs, bumping into other kids in the hallways, and bursting into tears at the drop of a hat. Occupational therapy researcher Angela Hanscom, author of Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children, also reports that core strength among children has plummeted. A big reason? They just don’t get enough rough and tumble.
These non-tech gifts supplement kids’ digital pursuits: Continue reading
Parents want to raise well-rounded kids who are comfortable in their own skin and with navigating in the natural and digital worlds. These advice books help parents and other care-givers to achieve that goal or to care for themselves in the process.
The sensible guide to raising digital citizens we’ve all been waiting for, Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World finally gets how kids use technology and how parents can support their efforts.
Author Devorah Heitner is thoroughly respectful of both sides of the equation and never talks down to, judges, or belittles anyone. Her book is chock-full of practical use-‘em-now tips and she gently instructs and builds the confidence of kids’ first and best digital mentors: their parents. This book doesn’t just skim the surface, it gets gritty and granular, supplying the words and tools we all need.
Among Heitner’s most important points:
- Choose mentoring your child over simply monitoring what they do online.
- Have clear, consistent boundaries and explain them to your kids.
- Pay attention when your kids need you, or as Heitner says, “Be here now.” Why that’s absolutely crucial.
Another must-read, Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children supplements Screenwise by Continue reading
Could a soggy patch of dirt and some logs be better for kids to play on than sleek slides and swingsets? Absolutely, say some child development experts.
Angela Hanscom, for instance, is an occupational therapist who sees strange new symptoms among today’s kids. In her research and testing, Hanscom observes that more and more elementary-age children: Continue reading
One of the beautiful things about kids is that they’re unencumbered. Their minds are tabulae rasae—fertile, open fields. The job of parents, teachers, and other caring adults is to direct their exposure to seeds of knowledge and experience, and to help tend what takes root.
The idea, says Dr. Michael Rich—a pediatrician and founder of Children’s Hospital Boston Center on Media and Child Health—is to:
Build a menu of diversity which makes them a richer, fuller person.