Robin thought she was “being Super Mom” as she made nice dinners and tidied her midwestern U.S. home, with her toddler son quietly sitting nearby watching made-for-babies TV. She didn’t know that by letting him watch so often, he was developing the newly described condition termed “Virtual Autism.”
Took a While to Realize
For weeks, Robin rationalized the changes she saw, but finally had to admit something was wrong. Her formerly happy, lively 14-month-old had stopped having eye contact, no longer said words, and began to display hand-flapping, spinning and other autistic-like symptoms.
“The big one was,” she recalls, “he had stopped answering to his name.” Continue reading →
Successful travel with a baby is possible without using a device for distraction. Child development experts explain why tech-free travel is a boost to a baby’s brain, psyche, and relationship with you.
My daughter Shannon, her 5-month-old son, and I had just finished a successful 8-hour car trip south and back. It wasn’t always easy, but we cajoled Cooper with chatter, songs, books and toys—none of which had a cord or battery.
The best moment was on our ride back home.
It was pitch dark when Cooper began to howl. We’d been driving for hours and I thought we were out of ideas, but Shannon had one more. She began to “read” The Very Hungry Caterpillar—completely from memory. Softly and gently, like so many times before, she recited every page.
Coop soon quieted down and was asleep before the caterpillar became a butterfly.
A few days later, Shannon clicked on a YouTube video claiming to have the inside scoop on how to travel with a baby. As she recalls:
“First, the mom-fluencer, who was sitting in the back seat, showed her husband up front behind the wheel. Then the mom panned a little bit further to reveal an iPad, already playing a video, secured by a plastic case fastened to the back seat about a foot in front of the baby’s face. I had to laugh. Ohhh. That’s the big secret?”
Why Parents Turn to Tablets
Although our trip was sans tech, Shannon considered the alternative. Continue reading →
As the pandemic drags on, you need to be a durable human. Simply being resilient doesn’t cut it anymore. New findings point to why.
White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci wants our response to the COVID vaccine to be as durable as possible.
Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema says only laws with bipartisan backing will be durable.
On Joe Rogan’s podcast, New York University social psychologist Jonathan Haidt spoke of how “parents and teachers should be helping kids develop their innate abilities to grow and learn.” He used “antifragile.”
Lebanese-American essayist Nassim Nicholas says he coined that term because “there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile.”
But, actually—there is. Continue reading →
Babies and their loving caregivers are naturally attracted to each other. Feeding a baby is a sacred time when lifelong bonds develop through tender caresses, late-night murmurs and loving, long glances.
But there’s competition now. A spare moment is an opportunity to catch up—with email, social media, and other digital demands on our attention.
Yet, a child’s vital need for Attachment remains. Without secure attachment, a baby can grow up to be someone who is anxious and less durable for the long run. Without the opportunity to closely study a caregiver’s mouth and expressions, a child’s language development can lag. Kids faced with phones instead of a parent can miss out on learning the vital skill (for survival in life and in business) of learning to read faces and understand emotions.
Research is beginning to indicate that if the view of a caregiver’s face is blocked by a device or if a very young child is left to spend too much time in a 2-D screen environment, the trajectory of brain development can be altered, as seen in a newly-discovered syndrome among many toddlers. Continue reading →