Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Parents are you Ready for the Summer?

I remember my Summers as a child. I loved to go out and run my neighborhood hours on my bike hanging withe my friends and lots of picnics at parks, in our backyard, swimming lessons, Girl Scout camping trips and lots of ice cream. LOL Times have so changed! Now, kids rarely have friends in the neighborhood. We would never allow them to leave the house at nine, come home for lunch and be off until dinner. So, what is a parent to do and how do we help kids have a fun summer and still be kids?

Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Summer Camps for interests. You kids have a variety of interests choose camps which will spark their imaginations and curiosity. You can choose weekly,  two weeks or monthly camps. There are a variety of camps:STEM, Music, Writing, Acting, Singing, Artist pick the ones where your child has the most interes. Even get them involved in choosing wht they want to do.
  2. Overnight Camping--I suggest this as both a camp children go away for a few days and as a family. Camping is a great way to spend some time away from home and get back to nature/ If you are not the "camping type" try glamping and rent an RV for a weekend or week-long trip. You have all he convenience of a hotel (no room service) so you get to sleep in a bed. But, you are still at a camp grounds where you can enjoy all the outdoor activities.
  3. Read a novel as a family-Take a trip to the bookstore or sit in your living room and check out some children's novels (Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Huckleberry Finn, Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys, Charlotte's Web) then read a chapter a night as a family.
  4.  Scavenger Hunts-this one takes some planning and coordination. This would be a great weekend activity. Pick a series of activities to do and write a clue for each. Then take to the clues to a each place. One should start at home of course. Let the children read the clue and guess. Then go this is so great if you live in a walkable neighborhood. But, getting in the car is okay also. I suggest you have a meal or a ice cream for the last clue so you can talk about your days adventure.
  5. Scrapbook as a family. Use your pictures from all you your trips and adventures to create a Summer of 2018 scrapbook. Each family member could create two or three pages for the book and it will become a great family heirloom to remember and tell the stories for years to come.
  6. Plan and cook meals together. Make this meal an event. Plan the meal together go shopping for the ingredients, Cook together. Turn your backyard into a cool place to eat and take you dinner al fresco.
  7. Find a local trail and go walking or bike riding as a family. Take a picnic.
  8. Do a staycation and find out about your town. Check into a local hotel and do the tourist thing in your own town. Do you have places seen on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives? What are the local tourist events you have never seen?
  9. Take your kids to a concert of your favorite band when you were a kid. Then take them to a concert o their favorite artist today.
  10. Take several evenings and play some board games. Make it a junk food night and just have fun.
  11. Spend a lot of time at or in the pool! 

 In addition, to these suggestion I encourage you limit your child's screen time to no more than the amount of time it takes to watch two movies each day (2-4 hours); this includes computer, phone, video games and TV watching. Brain development studies are showing that screen time hampers brain development and keeps kids wasting rather than spending time. Encourage kids to journal, draw, talk to friends face to face, play games,  take walks and simply engage with the world beyond the screen. Get them involved in some local classes for kids where they can learn more skills and develop a hobby. Kids like adults waste time on the screen because there is nothing else to do. Fix that problem and kids will find other activities far more engaging and interesting.

I hope these suggestions will help you and your kids have a Summer 2018 to remember!

Believe in Parenting

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Parents: School Shootings and the Myth of Quality Time

During the first hour of his May 21, 2018 radio show Denis Prager; the creator of the popular video blog series PragerU talked about the root cause of the school shootings in the US. He basically said it is the lack of Character Education in the school system. I think he is right. We have replaced character education with emotional intelligence education. Even worse we have told parents it is ocak to spend less time with their children as long as the the time spent is constructive and relationship building. However, this is not true. Character is not built quickly it is built over a long period of time whre children and parents spend lots of time together talking about what character is and how it is build.

What is interesting about this is that as I am reading Simon Sinek's book Leaders Eat Last it is also all about character or rather the lack of it in Corporate America. Where the guys at the top are looking out for themselves rather than looking out for their employees. The same could be said at today's FBI, the leaders are looking out for their won interests instead of the rank and file officers serving by putting their lives daily. Thus, there is a real crisis of character in our society today. What I know is that character is not built in a day. It is built from the age of 2 and it requires lots of lessons and understanding in what moral development is and how it is formed.

There is a theorist by the name of  Lawrence Kohlberg who crafted the theory of Moral Development. Many have said his theory is erroneous. However, I am going to share it with you and let you decide.
According to his theory; moral maturity is reached when a person can see, recognize, and choose to take action on behalf of another person who is vulnerable to the plight of someone less fortunate than themselves.

He groups them as follows:

The six stages of moral development are grouped into three levels of morality: pre-conventional, conventional, and post-conventional morality.

As shown in the graphic above each of these stages are divided into two stages each. Starting from the bottom are the typical moral development of a two year old to the top which according to the theory should be reach around the age of 13. However, we know that in today's culture this maturity is often not reach until a person reaches college-level if then. According to the final level of the theory communication is the key to understanding. Yet, with the twittersphere and texting communication is lacking in the lives of our child with their friends and even with us.

Several years ago I noticed a Mom sitting in Chili's waiting for their food to arrive. Both mom and daughter were on their devices. I found this sad here was an opportunity for this mother and daughter to connect and communicate an yet their devices had their attention instead. The problem has become more pervasive. So, I want to challenge all parents who are reading this article. Get back to family dinners at least three times a week where you connect as a family and talk. Make it mandatory for everyone to be at the table device free. Find out about each others day, talk about past and upcoming events. Talk about movies you all are interested. Afterwards play one board game start with a short one like Sorry or Uno and work yup to Monopoly and Clue. Spend time talking, sharing, listening, and most of all paying attention to body language and facial expressions. Quantity of time spent with your children talking about expectations and hearing theirs can build a strong bond but most of all it can build a strong character. This is what is needed in our schools. A child who can see another who is lonely or being rejected can reach out and help a child who is not. Sitting at a lunch table and defending a child who is picked on and offering support to that child can prevent the hopelessness and anger which leads to school violence. It is not the guns we need to be worried about it is the character of the children who attend school with our own.

Believe in Parenting!