Wednesday, August 26

Mommy, Daddy! Look at Me! (No, really look.)

Sad to say, but if you just sit back and observe how parents interact with their kids, you'll find that most of them totally ignore the kids unless they're fussing or screaming. It's rather enlightening. Sad, but enlightening. And think about it. How many times a day do you actually look your kid in the eye and talk to them? Or at least talk with them if your eyes are trained on dinner or the road in front of you?

Here's a good article on how speaking to your child speeds up the language learning process.

It makes perfect sense. You can't stick a kid in front of a screen and expect them to pick up language as quickly as those who interact with an actual human. There are subtle cues in language - we use our tone, eyes, face, and body to communicate a heck of a lot - that kids miss when watching it on a screen. It's like with preemie babies. Have you ever heard how parents are encouraged to "kangaroo" preemies? Those little angels arrive on Earth a little too early, but tend to grow and thrive better with actual human, skin-to-skin contact. Why? Why isn't it good enough to have them "grow" in an incubator, away from germs and stimulus? Well, because it just isn't! Humans have a light energy about them that cannot be replicated from a machine. It's living. It's love. Communication is meant to happen with two actual, living people. We are just very accustomed to it being electronic and get lured into thinking that the tech we stick in front of our kids is "educational." Get yourself away from that line of thinking!

Babies and toddlers need you to look at them. Talk and interact with them. Guide them. Teach them about the world. Don't let a gadget do that for you. Please.

Cheers and Zen to you! (Do those even go together? Hunh.)

Tuesday, February 24

Oops! The 9 Ways We Screw Up Our Toddlers

You know how sometimes you shoot up in bed in the middle of the night (okay, maybe you don't, but I do; so indulge me a bit here and go along) and think, "OH my gosh! I forgot to brush my kid's teeth AGAIN!" Or, "OH crap! I forgot to give my daughter her antibiotics tonight!"

Oops is my new book, and kind of hits on the ultimate "OH crap" of Am-I-Messing-Up-My-Kid? I normally give a lot of how-to advice, but wanted to veer off the track and write a what-not-to-do book. Do-this, Do-that is good and all, but can get a little boring and dance around the elephant in the room. We've got an entirely new generation of kids growing up, and they are as sweet as can be, but wow - are they spoiled! I don't discount myself as one of the spoilers, so don't think of this book as a lecture. It's more like a bootcamp for bad parenting habits. ALL of us can do it just a little bit better, and it takes being honest about it before we can drop our defenses and say, "Okay, I should cut that out."

Oops goes through the top parenting mistakes and how it will affect our toddlers as they age. Right now it's all about getting through the day. But there is a bigger picture to keep in mind. Our kids will grow up one day (soon!) and instilling habits to promote indepence and problem solving is a day to day process that needs to start NOW. It's one of those things that whops you on the butt if you wait too long.

So download it for free on iTunes/iBooks. It's a quick, fun read, meant to poke fun at our parenting, but not to judge. I'm sailing the same boat as you are, and we all have our sight on raising beautiful, healthy kiddos!