In our parents group, we had a HONEST CONVERSATION about how much the kids are consuming extra screen time and it was very heartening to see the responses.
I want to reach out today to everyone struggling and worrying about the same and say that it is okay.
Every thing you are doing in these uncharted waters to make things work is OKAY.
There is no need to feel sad or worry about how much extra screen time you are allowing your child. Including , classes, work outs, talking to friends etc, they are bound to get more than the usual amount of dose.
My own kids do NOT watch TV / have gadget time during week days on normal school days. But this time is different for all and everyone has different ways to cope. Even your children. Allow yourself and them the space to be GUILT FREE !
While I agree there is a severe negative impact to excessive gadget use, I do feel, self moderation and personal independence go hand in hand in teaching kids to balance technology themselves. Instead of keeping kids AWAY from technology, I think it’s more important to teach them how to BALANCE and use it as a tool towards their own success. Because the future is certainly leaning towards that…
To help your kids to SELF MODERATE and be INDEPENDENT at play during these times, it’s important to create a foundation of the same early. I have tips for that in my book. – https://amzn.to/3bMyMpJ Which is how I see many a times, my kids switch off the gadget in use by themselves and go play or find something else to do.
But first Remember, wen we talk about being judgement free, it starts with us !
In the spirit of transparency, my own kids are at 2-4 hours every day, including online classes, talking to friends, grandparents, games, school work, work outs etc
My daughter’s birthday is coming up soon. I dread to think how we are going to get through the day. Not because we had a lavish birthday planned but because it makes all this real for my kid. Which is why I am going to try to make this birthday more about memories than being inside, corona or missing friends.
My daughter loves her birthday just like her mama. We are people people. Having our friends around us makes days extra special. And I know this time now has been hard, not just because we have been home for almost 3 weeks now, but because they miss friends.
Being a person who likes to plan ahead, I have observed what people are doing online and some other ways that I can think up to make the day grand!
Remember, one of the most important things is asking for help from friends, even strangers.
An Online Birthday Event
I had done this for her 1st birthday, where I had invited my friends from all around the world and walked them through all her firsts. I think this time I will do the reverse, where I will have all my friends around the world, leave video messages in the online event and go live at a certain time to celebrate with them.
Hire a Character/Princess
There are online services that are reading/talking/celebrating with your child. If interested, leave a comment below and I will find a service that can help you.
I recently got into Tik Tok and the app makes it super easy to put together short dance videos. This would be a great way to celebrate.
She doesn’t want for much, but she has certain likes. I think this year, I may put to my friends a list of books that she would love to have. We have lot of book lists on this site if you don’t have an idea of what books to ask for. I would make sure the delivery was planned 3 days before her birthday so that the books have the time outside before they need to be brought in.
Drive By Birthday
Ask friends to drive by our home at a given window of time. Have the kids out at that time and while maintaining social distancing, throwing their birthday wishes or confetti out of their cars to make the day special.
Kids LOVE Getting Mail
So, whoever cannot make it in the drive by birthday, I would love to ask to drop her a birthday card. I have seen online, that people are asking in their local / favorite mom groups for wishes for their kids. People are sending cards, video messages and more straight to the mom’s inbox to share with the kiddo. A lot of fun!
I always recommend giving back to those in need. This year, I think we would brain storm for a way that enables us to donate items, our toys, money or time to a charity of her choice.
Not creative…not a problem. Go online and find ideas to make a special but elaborate birthday craft. This is specially wonderful for kids who enjoy getting creative with paints or seeing something fun being made by their hands. Our Pinterest has a tonnes of crafts you can do that same.
Baking in the Kitchen
Make your own cake this year. Or cupcakes or brownies or whatever you like to get cooking. Get creative, not just with your meal but with your dessert. Let the birthday kid make it on their own.
If it’s warm where you are, borrow / buy a second hand bouncy house or splash pad or play area for the special day. Make sure to sanitize it completely. And remember, this is not a community event but just for your kiddo.
Take a Virtual Tour
There are many virtual ways to visit a new place these days. Have your kids get into a blanket and take a virtual tour of a museum or park.
Movie Night Marathon
Pick your kids favorite movies/shows, get those snacks together and get cozy enjoying the movie with your favorite characters or stories.
Video Calls with Family & Friends
My kids love their friends and this time was made easy only after I got in touch with all their friends onto a platform where they could connect with each other. Just knowing their friends are a click away really helps kids feel a little better. Make sure to get your kids on the calls with those they care about.
Drive to an Open Place They Love
I may not do this but I have seen people drive to a near by lake or open park and just be in the open air or go fishing. The change of pace and place does wonders for a child’s day. Don’t forget to maintain social distancing.
Online Games with Friends
There are fun games like this https://www.drawasaurus.org/, you can play with your friends , far and near (well, physically) . It should make for a lot of laughs. This would be great for kids 7 and above though, who can read and type.
Scavenger Hunt Around the House
Have the birthday kid start from a spot and go to the next place depending on the clue they get. A lot of fun usually, specially so now. You could also just play hot and cold with their gifts or hide small Easter egg like things in the back yard and give them a special prize for finding all.
Birthday balloons When They Wake Up
You can do the classic birthday balloons around their room the night before or have them fall down when they open the door. Who doesn’t love balloons ?
There is no time like now than letting go for some of your usual ways and stepping it up personally. Go overboard with the decorations around the house. Plan in advance and make the birthday last all week long. The little kiddos deserve it, specially for being such troopers.
And remember, if this year you don’t feel like doing ANYTHING but just lounge around in pajamas, that’s okay too!
Has your child’s optometrist recommended corrective lenses? With more than 60 percent of the population wearing glasses or contact lenses, they’re not alone. Getting their first pair of glasses or contacts is a milestone for many kids and teens, but how do parents decide which is best for their child? Here are four factors that can help you choose.
Age and Maturity Level
Contacts require a great deal more care than glasses, so children who always forget to brush their teeth or wash their hair may not be the best candidates. Kids who aren’t old enough or mature enough to keep their contacts clean and in good shape can suffer injuries and infections from improper use. Make sure your child won’t wear dirty lenses, clean them with spit or swap contact lenses with friends.
Sports and Activities
You might think that contact lenses and sports don’t mix, but many eye doctors recommend contacts for athletes. Glasses don’t provide peripheral vision correction, which means that your child’s athletic performance may suffer. It’s also easy to lose or break glasses while playing sports. However, children who participate in water sports like swimming and diving should avoid wearing contacts in the pool due to the risk of irritation and infection.
Contact lenses work best for healthy eyes. If your child suffers from frequent eye infections or allergies, wearing contact lenses can increase irritation and even result in vision loss. Wearing contact lenses can also reduce the flow of oxygen to the cornea, a condition called hypoxia, in some wearers. If your child wears contacts, make sure they practice good eye care and remove the lenses at the first sign of problems.
Type of Vision Correction
While nearsightedness and farsightedness are easily corrected with contact lenses, a condition called astigmatism is more complicated. A common cause of poor vision in kids and teens, astigmatism is a genetic condition that causes the cornea of the eye to be shaped like a football instead of a sphere. Regular soft contact lenses are not good at correcting this problem, which means that your child may need to use glasses or a special type of contacts if they have astigmatism.
If you and your child still can’t decide between glasses and contact lenses, keep in mind that many people use both. Check with your vision insurance plan to see if two types of vision correction are covered and remember to ask your child’s optometrist for both prescriptions.
In the midst of all the turmoil in the world it is very important to take the time to rest and let ourselves be. Especially, if like me you are suddenly involved with another four hours a day in study time for children, where you have to school at home.
“You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, TRUST, let go and see what happens!”
– Mandy Hale
In my case, in a language I do not speak or read at an academic level – it has been an interesting and occasionally stress-filled school at home time. Needless to say, I am learning many tricks to translate all the data to English, learn the lessons in English and then once we understand the details of the lesson we are translating back to our target learning language to answer all the questions and send the corresponding answers back to my children’s teachers for marking.
We have a very large case of “Perfectionist, please meet your children”. Not one of them will operate on a schedule. Not one of them ever managed to follow any plan that I worked on for hours, planned and researched till I was exhausted, and was enthusiastic to implement during our school at home time.
“What do you do?” I hear you ask…. Well, panic and mayhem were the order of the day for a long time. Until I learnt a valuable lesson…
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than a year in conversation” – Plato
I had taken the fun out of learning with my scheduling and research. In my panic over the possibility of missing something, I had failed to recognize, I had left nothing to chance. No space for investigations. No space for thought without an outcome already being known. No space for play.
Find New Ways to Learn
My having missed the mark significantly was summed up neatly whilst learning about volcanoes, when my daughter says, “Mum, we have talked about this till there is nothing to talk about, drawn about it till there is nothing more to draw, when do we get to make the volcano?”
Right, make the volcano… make a mess in my kitchen… for me to clean up mess-in-my-kitchen… eek…. I am thinking “How about, Never! Never works for me!’ Then my daughter pipes up again, “I saw this baking soda with vinegar experiment that they did, online. The mum made the volcano down her kitchen drain because it is really good for cleaning out the drain. Then you just turn on the cold water tap and it all washes down the drain to clean it! Wouldn’t that be neat?” Wait a minute…. Clean my kitchen drain with a science experiment about a volcano…. I can get on board with that! “Please tell me more?”
This was how I learnt that over scheduling, over planning and over stressing were taking the joy out of learning. I needed to step back and “make a time” as opposed to “make time”. Here was where I had to prove to myself and my children that we were worth more than adherence to a schedule that was making everyone frazzled. It was time for a rest!:
Time to make muffins and declare it “all school work complete for the day”.
We covered maths (measuring ingredients), science (Learning about oven temperatures and how ingredients mix together), literacy (reading the recipe) and geography (where did the food come from?). Oh, and don’t forget the tea, hot chocolate and candle for the table when the muffins are ready to eat!!!
Let me leave you with this quote:
“Have regular hours for work and play.
Make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well”