Way back B.C. (Before Coronavirus), a chief complaint from kids about their parents went something like this: “All my mom cares about is her phone” or “My Dad doesn’t really talk to me.” For years, too many of us have been in a state of continuous partial attention. Even when someone was sobbing in front of us, we’d have one eye on our phones. But now, confined in the chaos, we have an opportunity: for a parenting Do Over.
First off, we need to know the difference between Us and Them—in mind and in body.
Our kids are worried and anxious, just as we are. But we’re the ones in charge—their Reassurers-in-Chief. They need to know we’re there for them, no matter what.
“Don’t wait for them to
bring it up. Ask how they’re feeling,” advised Dr. Robin Gurwitch, psychiatry
professor at Duke University School of Medicine, on a call with reporters about
the virus and mental health. “That way, you can get a sense of their
understanding, validate their feelings, and correct misperceptions.”
To ensure lots of reassuring face-to-face contact and hugs, we can take a tip from the helpful American Academy of Pediatrics Family Media Use Planner: establish zones in the household and times of day (at least at meals and bedtime) that are free from distractions such as personal technology—theirs and ours.
This post is written with all due respect and the fervent hope for the ultimate wellbeing of all those directly fighting coronavirus. Those at home containing the threat must also summon strength from within.
This will require endurance and for us to bedurable in body, mind, and our relationships.
Luckily, the intuition, generosity, humor and other human assets we possess shine brightly during difficult times. They’ll get us through—along with some good planning and design.
To that end, here are some practical, empowering, mostly no-cost strategies so you, your children, or other members of your household can be durable, happier, and more hopeful managers of the day to day:
Before coronavirus, kids had complaints like “all my mom cares about is her phone” and “I can’t get my dad’s attention.” In these scary times, our loved ones need to know we’re there for them, no matter what.
When talking to a child—or anyone in the household—look in their eyes and listen closely to what they say. Your undivided attention helps them feel safe and secure.
The mother of a 6-year-old who accessed photos of topless women on his school-issued iPad believes his Austin,Texas school system has not done enough to protect students, so she and other parents are taking legal action.
At a board meeting of the Eanes Independent School District, Meaghan Edwards used the Texas public information act to request terms of service for every website, app, and software product used by district students during the last and next school years.
“If you’re following the rules, these questions will be easy to answer,” Edwards said at the June 16 meeting. Because it was an open forum, board members did not respond with comments.
Hooray for the big tech companies who’ve enhanced their products to offer better customer control.
Apple was surprisingly quick to roll out Screen Time, a feature that iPhone and iPad users automatically receive for free with the iOS12 update. The improvements come only a year after iPod creator Tony Fadell bemoaned “We have zero data on our habits with these devices”. Now you have your data, right down to how often you pick up your phone. You can also track exactly what you do on the device so you can better manage how you spend your time.
A Boon for Parents
Screen Time is especially life-changing for parents who now can oversee Continue reading →