Tag Archives: balance

Parenting Tips: Kids and Recent News Coverage

25 Mar

Looks like I’m not the only one concerned about how recent news and media is affecting our kids.  Kudos to the Today Show for offering parents some quick tips from Dr. Michelle Borba on how to “calm kids’ jitters in a scary world” this morning.

My favorite piece of advice: 

Monitoring  what your child watches is always a good idea. But especially be aware of television that shows graphic images of tragedy. When in doubt, turn the television off. Studies show that even though kids may not have personally witnessed a tragedy, they can still be traumatized from viewing troubling news images.  A child’s age dictates what they can absorb.

Another interesting tidbit:  A study of over 600 middle-school students found that “late-breaking news without an adult there to comfort or explain” produced anxiety.  

So even older kids – who can more maturely process the content – are feeling it.

A smart way to counteract the bad news?  Find some good news to balance it out.  Highlight some of the good things people are doing (support, relief efforts, stories of survival, etc.)  Or, just go for a walk and connect with your child.

Great segment and solid tips for tech-savvy and techno(t) parents alike.  Thanks Today and Dr. Borba!



Anxiety and the Techno(t)parent

18 Mar

I’ve been feeling particularly – and inexplicably – anxious recently.  Me thinks the world might be “too much with me” – courtesy of technology.  And I’m wondering if our kids might be feeling the same.

Don’t get me wrong… I’m glad to be aware and informed about the world around me.  And I certainly don’t believe “ignorance is bliss”.  Technology has given us access to real-time news and information at mind-blowing speed, and we are informed  like never before with regards to global events.  We’re using digital tools to fuel humanitarian aid, lend support and connect with people and news far and wide.

But lately, the global news hasn’t been very good.  And from the nightmare still unfolding in Japan to unrest in the Middle East, to local tragedy, my heart has been aching at every turn.  If our kids are watching the news on TV or seeing these sad images online, I’ll bet some are also feeling the world’s grief – even if they’re not talking about it.

One important lesson I’ve learned through this Techno(t)parent experiment is “balance”.  And all the experts I’ve talked to have said media consumption should be done in moderation.  A self-professed news-addict, I’ve been deeply immersed in recent world events, and I’m wondering if that might be causing the anxiety.  It might just be time to bury my head in the sand a bit and “unplug.”

So this week, I’m limiting my screen time and focusing on the things I can control – working a good, honest day, getting home to my family, cooking a nourishing meal with love, and cherishing every second I have with the special people in my life.

Because sometimes, counting your blessings (without a calculator app) is important.

Email Thank Yous…Yes or No?

10 Mar

This blog post is dedicated to one of my favorite tech-savvy moms.  (She lives in Omaha and her initials are DP if she’s reading…)

Anyhoo, I cleaned out my kitchen desk this weekend and came across a half-addressed thank you note, complete with “forever” stamp firmly affixed.  I immediately cringed, realizing the baby gift thank you note I had intended to send six months ago had gotten lost among my post-baby paper clutter and never made it to the mailbox.  My face warmed, recalling the sweet handwritten note the gifter sent me in response to the gift I sent her for her little girl, who was born a month prior to my munchkin’s arrival.

So here’s my question:  In this day and age, is it okay to send email, text or Facebook thank you notes, or do you need to mail the real deal?  And will you require your kids to handwrite thank you notes as they grow up?

Prior to my “sleepless-new-mom” frame of reference, I would staunchly vote for the hand-written thank you.  My positioning was grounded in the manners my mom taught me.  A handwritten note shows thoughtfulness – by taking the time to  handwrite in a typing age, buy stamps, and get the note to the physical mailbox in a timely manner.  Plus, in this digital age, who doesn’t appreciate a non-bill piece of mail?

But  in my working-new-mom world, when I’m operating on two stolen hours of sleep a night and finding clean, matching socks seems like a miracle, thank you notes can fall into a drawer, only to be discovered on my child’s first birthday.  And where are the manners then?  Good intentions are great, but if they don’t get the job done, they’re not that good, right?

So while I’m a *huge* fan of the handwritten thank you, both for the manners and the skills it teaches, (and I will teach my munchkin this graceful way to say thank you for sure) today, I fall in the “email works” category.  It shows you acknowledge the gift.  It shows you’re thankful for the time and money the giver spent selecting, purchasing and shipping it.  And most importantly, it guarantees the thanks gets to your destination (spam mailboxes aside.)

So DP, in the spirit of Techno(t)parent, this is my formal, digital thank you.  I appreciated the gift *so* much, and the munchkin  practically wore the outfit out.  (And she’s still wearing the accessories!)  I hope you know –  since you’re a new mom too – it wasn’t a matter of saying thanks in my heart… I’d send you the half-addressed note as proof, but it may take a few additional weeks!

To everyone else, what do you think?  Is email or FB sufficient in the “thank you” department?

Patience, Grasshopper…

2 Mar

So last week I posted about my frustration with the blogosphere.  And this week, I’m doing a complete 180… thanks to the tons of support and encouragement I’ve received from readers.   Friends and strangers alike have freely shared suggestions, tips and praise for techno(t)parent, and I’m in awe.  Who knew the “faceless” digital world could be soooo crazy cool?!  (Hush, you early adopters!)   

This post is one of thanks for those reading daily, those reading occasionally, and for those who’ve stumbled on my crazy techno(t)parent world by mistake and simply stuck around.  I *sincerely* appreciate your tips, advice and thoughts, and humbly thank you for joining me on this journey. 

I’ll continue to share what I uncover, and also my mistakes and hiccups along the way, so you can benefit.  And I’ll be taking some interesting leaps in the weeks to come – attempting to incorporate my own video, and perhaps a podcast or two… So stay tuned, and please continue to read, comment and share techno(t)parent with friends, colleagues and family you think might benefit from the info.  Together, we can make it even better. 

For those in the yoga know, Namaste.  (Roughly translated:  The goodness in me salutes the goodness in you.)

A Tall Glass of Common Sense, Please

1 Mar

As I searched for some basic guidelines for parenting in a digital world, I stumbled on this great tip list from Common Sense Media – an organization who’s mission is “Improving  kids’ lives in a 24/7 media world.” Thank you, my new friends.  This is the *exactly* the type of info a techno(t) parent needs.  I especially liked the tip:

Make kids accountable. Using digital media is a privilege. Make sure your kids earn it.

Somehow, I never thought about digital media as a privilege.  And yet how many times as a kid did my mom utter the non-negotiable phrase, “NO [REPLACE WITH OUTDATED FORM OF MEDIA] until homework is done!”  

Because I use the Internet daily, I think of it as a “given” or a “tool” vs. a “privilege.”  This list was a nice wakeup call. I’m giving the  Common Sense Media site a  thumbs-up, and will add it to my list of cool sites so you have easy access to the info, too.

Do you teach your kids that media is a privilege?  If so, how are you enforcing the message?

The Blogging Rabbit Hole

21 Feb

This blog was created for a grad school class, and the expectation is that we’re blogging five times a week.  For my readers’ (are you out there??) sake, I’ve been killing myself to draft well-written posts that offer value, insight and guidance in the world of technology and parenting.  So before I complain, I must preface my thoughts with the following: 

I *love* the blogging platform.  It allows me to express my creative (and not-so-creative) self.  It’s a free, immediate, easy way to share my ideas and thoughts with others, and get their feedback.  And I’m thrilled when someone takes the time to weigh in on something I’ve written or a broader discussion ensues.  As a writer, I also cherish the chance to write something other than press releases, company statements or white papers.  And I hope the few people I am reaching find my posts valuable and interesting.

But penning a regular blog is also stressing me the hell out!

From researching unique topics and finding credible experts to interview to selecting appropriate graphics and obsessing about sentence structure, I find the blogging process a *huge* time suck.  I’ve been up since 6 a.m. today – on a vacation day no less – drafting and editing blog posts while my mom and sister play with my baby girl in the next room.   (Did I mention it’s now 2:31, and I have yet to stop for lunch?!)

See, I think blogging is great for people who are casual writers. Or people who don’t mind mistakes.  Or people who’ve been able to draw a solid, paying audience.  Or experts sharing info in a field they have expertise in.  Or people who like to throw things out in the Universe and see what comes back.   Or people who aren’t obsessive editors or self-critics.  But I’m learning that I’m not that type of person.

I’m a perfectionist, and I don’t want any less-than-solid writing representing me in the public realm.  And so the blogging process becomes a time-consuming, politically correct, research-driven, grammar-obsessed monster that gobbles up huge chunks of my time.  Time I simply don’t have.

As one of my fellow classmates shared when discussing the blogging experience, “I start down one path, and then I link to something else, and then something else, and then I have so much information I don’t know where to stop.”  I feel her pain.  And I raise her ten.

And since I have yet to learn how to market this beast of a blog, I’m also feeling the proverbial tree-falling-in-the-woods frustration.   Why am I killing myself to deliver quality stuff if no one is reading it??!  

So I’ve decided to cut myself some slack,  and if my grade suffers because I need to dial back, so be it.   Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it’s that the blogging process – while rewarding – can also be all-consuming.  And I need to figure out how to set some limits or I’ll be sucked down the blogging rabbit hole faster than I can yell “feed the baby while I’m gone!”

Oh, and I’m starving.