Wondering if those 3 hours of unboxing toys videos is having an effect on your child's brain development? How do we balance virtual learning and regular fun screen use when it feels as though we are online for hours on end? Do my kids REALLY need to get outdoors daily? These are some of the questions that made a mom of 2 preschoolers (4 & 2) seek out answers for. Drawing from her work as a mental health nurse practitioner; Penny distills the scientific and medical data on screen use and makes it relatable to the parent just trying to make dinner and in need of someone to build a fort with the kids. Screens 'n' Kids will provide insight into why, now more than ever, we need to preserve the early childhood years. It will also share practical tools on how we can (and need to) put our phones down and look up more - recognizing that we must still find a "digital sweet spot" for our kids to interact with technology. We will engage with parents navigating these digital waters, leaders in the field of the early years - childhood educators, speech therapists, children's book authors & get to hear from recovered gaming addicts. Listen in every two weeks and lets unpack this thing together.
Children's digital safety - Lagos, Nigeria
Chukwu Emeka is a lawyer and university instructor who joins us from Lagos Nigeria. He is passionate about all things digital safety that pertain to children rights, protecting children online and shares the importance of why having a solid parent-child relationship goes a long way in empowering kids in navigating the digital sphere. He shared tips on what to look out for that make kids low lying fruit in the minds of online groomers and how as parents we can safeguard from this.
Some of my takeaways from this conversation:
A prepared child is less of a target : have those difficult conversations and have them early.
Child predators capitalize on children's curiosity, innocence and desire to please parents
As a parent, connect, connect connect before you disconnect
Wise and Harmless - http://www.wiseandharmless.ng
The Enchanted Hour : The miraculous power of reading aloud in an age of distraction
Our guest on the podcast - Meghan Cox Gurdon is an essayist, book critic, and former foreign correspondent who has been the Wall Street Journal’s children’s book reviewer since 2005. Her work has appeared widely, in publications such as the Washington Examiner, the Daily Telegraph and the Washington Post.
Meghan shows how reading out loud offers a refreshing, fast-working antidote to the fractured attention spans, atomized families, and unfulfilling distractions of the tech era. From a thrilling look at what happens in a toddler’s brain when a grownup reads a story, to the way shared books are keeping far-flung military families connected; from the imaginative transport of classic novels, to the rejuvenating late-life consolations of the spoken word: the evidence is clear and the benefits irrefutable.
To purchase the book
Quotes from the book
"The sight of a parent or teacher sitting down with a book attracts young children like iron fillings to a magnet." Meghab Cox Gurdon
When we read with a child, we are doing so much more than teaching him to read or instilling in her a love of language. We are doing something that I believe is just as powerful..we are teaching that child to be human.” Anna Dewdney
If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. Albert Einstein
“When a child asks for the same story again and again, he is telling us something important, though we may never find out what the important thing is. The book may be helping him perform quiet interior work having to do with fear or sadness he cannot articulate.”
"Please read to your kids. Its not the schools job to get our kids reading, its our job – and it’s a wonderful, magical act of love and caring. James Patterson
“There is no genius in Silicon Valley who has yet devised a machine half as effective for teching and There is one thing the purveyors of electronic toys and child-oriented tech would rather not say. They are no match for us nurturing the young mind as a flawed, fallible, physically present human being.” Meghan Cox
"Picture books enhance the time parents and children spend together. Its like adding an extra shot of espresso to a café latte."
Human beings need to feel competent at what they do, they need to feel authentic in their lives and they need to feel connected to others. Sebastian Junger
Wait Until 8th - Let kids be kids a little longer
Our guest today, Brooke Shannon is the founder and executive director of Wait Until 8th. A national organization that empowers parents to say yes to waiting for the smartphone. She was also gracious in sharing tips on what to do if as a parent you feel you could have waited a little longer to hand your kid a smartphone. Brooke is here to tell you its never too late. I love their mission – Let kids be kids a little longer as is it is so aligned with our work here. Take a listen
Wait Until 8th Pledge - https://www.waituntil8th.org/
The Wait Until 8th pledge empowers parents to rally together to delay giving children a smartphone until at least 8th grade. By banding together, this will decrease the pressure felt by kids and parents alike over the kids having a smartphone.
Screen Strong Families - https://screenstrong.com/
ScreenStrong is an alternative way to raise kids in a screen-dependent world. If you are ready to stop the screen conflicts in your home and prevent screen addiction, we can help.
Through our ScreenStrong program, we empower parents to take the lead and rethink cultural childhood screen trends, rebuild life skills, and reconnect families distracted by screen overuse.
Raising Tech-wise littles
Our guests today - yes guests - today we have two guests! Jenifer and Kay bring years of experience working in the field of education – meeting both the socio-emotional and academic needs of kids.
As new moms, they had so many questions about screen time and couldn't find clear answers! Like many parents with little ones, they found it hard to navigate the minute limits, all of the different shows, and the guilt that comes with screens! This led them to dig into the research, ask the questions, combine it with their background as therapists to bring us a parent curated course and community - Raising Tech-Wise Littles.
To quote from their most recent newsletter, "Our course, Raising Tech-Wise Littles, is NOT for everyone. We are organic and whole-child based, but we are super hippies that hang kale stalks off our necks. We are science-based, but not lectury or boring. We are for modern families who want realistic, research-backed tips they can use today. Families that have tech, use tech, love their iPhones, and still want tech health in their families. We stand for working families, stay-at-home families, and families who want to shed the guilt and gain confidence on tech.
They were so spot on - no beating about the bush - just hardcore research backed facts. If you have a little one, are expecting a little one - this is the episode for you!
Forest schools: Outdoor education, risky play and nature
Our guest today, Marlene Power founded the Carp Ridge Forest Preschool ; Canada's first outdoor, nature-based Forest Preschool. She was also part of the creation of Forest School Canada, a national initiative to promote nature-based education through Forest School and Nature School professional learning, policy and research. Marnie was so graceful in sharing her journey to being at the heart of the forest school movement in Canada and she shared the language that is beneficial for kids around risky play that fosters their confidence.
Lots to learn, grab a coffee and lets dive in.
The Child and Nature Alliance of Canada - https://childnature.ca/
Balanced & barefoot
"We do not stop playing because we grow old we grow old because we stop playing. " - George Shaw
" Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are."
The Family Dinner Project: Food, Fun & Conversation about things that matter
Our guest on the podcast today, co-founded The Family Dinner Project - a non-profit based out of Boston, MA whose slogan is food, fun and conversations about things that matter. Dr. Anne Fishel is a clinical psychologist and director of the Family & couples therapy at Mass General Hospital. She describes family dinners as “a seatbelt in the potholed road of childhood & adolescence.” She is the co-author of Eat, Laugh Talk: the family dinner playbook and the book Mixing Food, Fun, and Conversation for a Happier Family and Healthier Kids.
There are several research-backed benefits to families having dinner together at the table such as increased vocabulary especially in preschoolers, lower risk of substance abuse & depression and greater resilience just to name a few.
Some of my take-aways from this conversation were:
Family dinners need not be fancy or grand.The "secret sauce" to a successful dinner is the atmosphere we create - through conversation and even gamesThere are many ways to engage picky (selective) eaters at the tableUsing technology practically to have conversations with tweens and teens during dinnerFamily dinners could even be breakfasts or late night snacks - its the connection, enjoyment and stability we should be focused on.Resources
The Family Dinner Project - https://thefamilydinnerproject.org/
Eat Laugh Talk - the Family Dinner Playbook -order here - https://www.amazon.com/Eat-Laugh-Talk-Family-Playbook/dp/1641701641/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Anne+Fishel&qid=1629428343&sr=8-1
Home for Dinner - order here - https://www.amazon.com/Home-Dinner-Conversation-Happier-Healthier/dp/0814433707/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Anne+Fishel&qid=1629428374&sr=8-3
It is the job of parents to decide what, where and when the kids should it; but it is the job of the kids to decide how much and whether to eat - Emily Sader