Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Technology Breaks Benefit Kids, Too

I am preparing to take a technology break – no email, texts or social media, nothing that requires me to look at a screen – for the next 5 days.  I am setting up “away” messages and scheduling posts.  I am letting family know how to reach us in the event of emergency.  Thinking about not using technology has caused me to notice how much it is being used around me.  I must be more aware because it is on my mind.  It is like when you buy a car and you start to notice all of the same makes & models on the highway.  I walked through a store today and noticed all of the children using technology.  Parents were shopping and children were looking at screens.  Children were swiping, poking, touching and listening.  They were being read to, challenged and entertained.  They were sitting so still with their eyes on the screens.
                       
This ability to entertain children with technology is fairly new.  It didn’t exist when I was raising my boys who are now 17 and 21 years old.  I remember carrying bags of books and toys.  Parents developed an uncanny ability to read, play and shop all at the same time.   As soon as they were big enough, they were out of the cart and nothing I could bring in my bag would entertain them enough to keep them from running in the aisles.  We tried to contain them by letting them stand on the back of the cart as we ran.  They must have felt like they were flying.

Do you remember being that child?  For as long as I can remember, I was a people watcher.  People fascinate me.  I remember shopping with my parents and watching the people.  I remember my father holding my hands and swinging me in the air.  I remember that whenever I had to wait and be patient, my mother would have her bag of tricks.  My doll was in it.  She had books to read to me.  There was a lot more interpersonal contact than there is today.

What are our children losing by having so many screens?  I cannot help but wonder how different their manual dexterity will be if they spend more time swiping  than turning pages or holding pencils.  Will they learn to take social clues if their heads are buried in gadgets instead of watching people?  There is something so impersonal about technology reading to children instead of humans.

I understand that technology has permeated our lives.  I know that parents need to help their children to wait or to be patient when on line in stores or sitting in waiting rooms.  It is unrealistic for me to tell people that children should never be using electronics.  It is more than I expect of myself.  But sometimes – every now and then – perhaps on holiday weekends – we should all take a break and teach our children to do the same.  Thanksgiving is in two days.  Families will gather.  Daily schedules to come to a screeching halt.  The days of conversation, family time and personal interaction that we so fondly remember can happen for children today.  It just takes more effort because we aren’t used to it.  Join me in pressing the "off" button and teaching your children the value of technology breaks. 


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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                                                                                               
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission. You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Fear Based Parenting – A Scary Trend

I recently drove past a church’s sign that said, “Are your goals about your hopes or your fears?”  What a great question, especially for parents.  Our words and our reactions to our children become how they think of themselves.  Our fears become their insecurities… and today’s parents are full of fear.  I speak to parents all the time in my role as a school director and on the road when I am hired to speak about parenting.  Their fears worry me because I also work with many children and teens who suffer from anxiety, depression and/or self-destructive behaviors.

Parents need to think about from where their parenting is rooted.  Is it rooted in hope and acceptance?  Is it rooted in fear and insecurity? Parenting goals need to be based on the reality of your child’s development and abilities with an eye on what really matters for the future.  When we hold our children for the first time, we dream of them having a happy and healthy life.  A happy and healthy life includes following their dreams and not ours.  It means having a life filled with personal fulfillment. It needs to be based in self-acceptance.  Somehow, along the way, this vision gets muddled with worry about being in the gifted & talented class or with fear that being identified in need of special services will harm the child.  It gets lost in concerns for being the best in a dance class or making the elite sports team.  It becomes about comparing their class assignments with the neighbor who has just 1 more advanced placement class.  Dreams for their happiness become too much about parents and not enough about the children.
                                          
Ask yourself, “Who do I want my children to be and what do I want them to value?”  If you want them to value your culture, then you must lead a life that immerses your family in that culture.  If you want them to be happy, they need to know that happiness is not about competition.  It is about self-acceptance.  They cannot accept themselves if you do not accept them – if you are pushing them to be who they are not. 

Every child develops at his/her own rate.  Every child has strengths and weaknesses.  We know that about ourselves but, too often, fear it in our children.  Children are always doing their best.  When they don’t seem to be applying themselves, there is a reason.  When they struggle with a subject, they simply need help, encouragement and the knowledge that being the best at everything isn’t reality.  They need to see confidence in their parent’s eyes and not fear or disappointment.  They need parents to provide them with the real tools for a happy life – confidence, peace of mind and self-acceptance.


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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                                                                                               
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Teaching about Thankfulness While Respecting Cultures



We live in a time when teaching acceptance and tolerance has become a necessary priority.  We try to teach that stereotyping, bullying and scapegoating are wrong.  We teach children to respect the ways in which we are alike and we are different. 

The month of November can be challenging when we are mindful of the messages that we give to children through our actions.  For generations, children in preschools and elementary schools celebrated Thanksgiving by dressing like Native Americans. The Native American headdresses and other clothing are sacred in their community.  They are not uniforms or the clothes worn by characters in a fairy tale.  The clothing has meaning.  Native Americans have written articles, editorials and other documents declaring how offended they are when we have children dress as them.  Unfortunately, some schools and teachers still create their garb. 

It is time that we stop teaching this holiday by dressing like characters and teach the true meaning.  We need to focus on the real lesson.  Let’s face it—the story of Thanksgiving that we all heard as children isn’t entirely accurate.   The real lesson of this month is thankfulness.  We should talk about what it means to be grateful and thankful.  We should talk about how lucky we are to be loved.  We should talk about how we can say “thank you” for all of our blessings. 

This is a great time to year for children to learn to respect that all of us have different traditions.  The children can talk about similarities and differences in their holiday celebrations.  They can create art that is about gathering of family and friends.  They can learn about traditional Thanksgiving foods and what others may eat that are less traditional. 

By the time November and the December holiday season is over, perhaps they will have learned to be a little more aware, a little more thoughtful and respectful of everyone.


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Read this blog for more articles.  Ask your parenting & education questions and learn about early childhood workshops for parents & educators - Helping Kids Achieve.
For information about private coaching for adults, youth, teens and families -  Helping Families Achieve with Cindy Terebush, CPC, CYPFC
                                                                                                                               
Copyright 2014 © Cindy Terebush
All Rights Reserved

Please do not sell, post, curate, publish, or distribute all or any part of this article without author's permission.   You are invited, however, to share a link to this post on your webpage, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networking sites.