All posts filed under: Parenting

Children and Smartphones: The Pros and Cons of Technology for Families

Does it seem like most toddlers at restaurants or stores are staring at a tablet? Are you tempted to hand over your smartphone to your children in the car to distract them during a temper tantrum? If you answer yes, you’re right. And if you’re tempted, you’re also in the majority. NBC News on Kids’ Health reports, “Almost all children (96.6 percent) used mobile devices, and most started using before age 1,” according to a survey by an urban pediatric clinic in Philadelphia. Two-thirds of 4-year-olds own a tablet that they use when their parents do household chores, to create a sense of calm and at bedtime. Whether you frown upon it or support it, toddlers with tablets and smartphones have become the new norm. As a parent, you are your children’s greatest teachers and role models. If you constantly check your phone or play on your tablet, can you expect your children to not mimic that behavior? Let’s break down the pros and cons of mobile device use followed by useful guidelines to help …

Immeasurable You

I watch you, my darling daughter, where day ends and night begins, your eyes closing against the darkness.  I see and feel all of you.  Your character, your spirit. Your fury and sarcasm. How your eyes flash when you’re cross. (Your aunties say you get that from me). The way you diffuse tricky situations with a joke or a kind gesture. You don’t like to see people in turmoil. You would rather give up something you love just to see them smile again. Your empathy is huge; bigger than your age. Your tears over homeless people and your desire to help them is something I will not ever forget. Your energy is boundless, your enthusiasm infectious. I watch you cartwheel and skate and climb. Over grass and pebbles; up trees. No limits. This is how I see you – without limits. I know you will love all your life. I know you will not settle until you have fought for change. I know you will forever be kind. Sarcastic and irritating and full of temper …

Unauthorised

At the weekend, I wrote this post, which seemed to strike a chord, being shared 5,000 times (to date) on Facebook alone, and I’ve struggled to write anything since, unsure quite how to follow it.  The travel and review posts I had in the pipeline didn’t feel right somehow.  Inspiration finally hit this evening upon emptying my daughter’s school bag to find a letter regarding her absence on Tuesday.  The school is aware, it reads, of the campaign “Let Kids Be Kids” urging parents to keep Year 2 children out of school for one day.  The absence, however, will be marked on my daughter’s record as unauthorised. I have had issue with unauthorised absences before. In February, we took the children to see their grandmother on the Greek island of Paros where she now lives.  They had not seen her for several months – they miss her terribly since she moved. We tried our best to coincide the trip with half term. Being winter, we had a little trouble trying to book a ferry to …

To Whom It May Concern…

Dear Whoever Obviously, this letter is to anyone who should happen to read it. But it is particularly to those nameless, faceless oafs that dictate how and when and, precisely, what my children learn.  This does not include their beloved teachers, who know them well, but a heap of people they will never meet.  Yes, I’m talking to you, and I have a few questions. What do you hope to achieve, exactly? Why must you focus so rigidly on  attainment?  Why do levels and scores matter to you oh so much?   Are you ever curious about the lives behind the names on your precious test papers?  Here is one such life – one face, one name.   This is my daughter and she is seven years old. When I put her to bed this evening she cried because she cannot recall all of her times tables. As an aside, I cannot recall them all and I am 28 years old. This is the same child who, at the age of four years and eleven …

Home Learning

I’m a big fan of home learning as a supplement to state education.  I wish I could say I was brave enough to try homeschooling but I think we all benefit too much from the respite school affords us to give it a go.  My ideal situation would be to have a mixture of both – one or two weekdays at home and the rest in school.  Obviously, I can see that this would be way too much of a headache for schools to ever actually be offered as an option, so I try to make the most of after school time, and school holidays, leaving weekends free for family fun. I think one of the common misconceptions about learning at all, but especially at home (or in “free time”) is that it needs to be organised and produce results to be worth the effort.  Extra-curricular activities, handwriting practise, workbooks… these all have their place, but I truly believe that the best way to learn is by experimenting and playing. My children do participate in a number …