Tag Archives: kids

Charlotte Parent: Explanations Are In Order

Bedtime battles are a fact of life.

You’d think, as the young dudes and dudettes grow up, they’d stop fighting sleep so constantly. You’d be wrong.

Sure, tweens and teens are more likely to sleep through noon if left alone, but the odds are they also stayed up until dawn. So it’s not like they’re getting a lot of sleep, only timeshifting their rack time.

As much as we parents tell the young ‘uns they need more sleep, they just don’t listen.

But you might be doing about it the wrong way.

Today, over at Charlotte Parent, I’ll be talking about the thought that just telling your kids to go to bed NOW might not be the best way to make sure they get enough sleep. As usual, I’ll be blogging under our Stay-At-Home Dudes column name.

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Digital Dads: Together Time App For iPhone

Playtime with your little dude is the best time.

No matter how much time you dudes are able to spend with the little dudette, it’s never enough to have all the fun you want to show her.

Oddly enough, though, there are some dads who get stage fright when it’s time to play. They’ll sit down, face the little dude and then go completely blank, with absolutely no idea whatsoever to do.

Which explains the continuing popularity of television as a babysitter.

Fortunately for those sorts of dudes, the folks at 7Potato have put together a little iPhone app to help you over the rough spots.

This is from their release.

Parents everywhere have superpowers! Unfortunately this power is often dormant because most parents don’t even know they have it. No, it’s not flying or shooting spider webs from wrists, but it does involve spiders of another sort: “Itsy Bitsy Spiders.” As handy as flying and web spinning would be for wrangling little ones, parental superpowers are far better and have a greater impact on the world.

 The Power of Play

The superpower that all parents have is play; it is something that we all share, but like Peter Pan, parents often forget how to play. If only there were an app for that. Well, now there is: Together Time with Song and Rhyme is a new app that helps parents bond with their preschoolers through fun, tickles, songs, and rhymes that support early childhood development.

 “Together Time makes parents more FUN for kids,” said Laura James, the app’s creator and founder of 7Potato.com. “Childhood is a once-upon-a-time opportunity, it only lasts a few short years. It’s easy for parents to spend too many of those years focused on trying to getting kids to behave in our adult world, when we could be using our superpower to make us child-like again.”

Parents are better served when they practice living in their children’s world and play.

“It’s more of a Jane Goodall approach,” James said, “where you observe and behave like the little creatures, to try and understand kids and their world, instead of trying to make the little creatures fit into your world.” 

Unfortunately, I can’t give you dudes a first-hand report on just how good this app really is, but it’s got 4.5 stars over at the iOS App Store. Just giving it the eyeball test, it sure looks darn good.

It’s only $4.99 at the App Store, which, in my mind, is low enough that you can take a flyer on the thing and see if it’s what you’re looking to find.

According to the release they sent, this sort of creative play can short-circuit bad behavior before it even begins. In looking over their strategy, I’ve got to say that a lot of the stuff they’re recommending is stuff that I used for my little dudes. Well, for the last little dude, mostly because it took until then to work out something that worked better than me gritting my teeth and hoping both of us would live through it.

Does your child refuse to get in the car? Start singing “Windshield Wiper” before you even get out the door. This helps set expectations for where you are going, rather than the seat they have to be strapped into, while giving your child a sense of fun.

 I’ve been talking a lot about jobs here lately. About a dad’s job. About a parent’s job. That sort of thing. One job I have yet to mention is the little dude’s job. And yeah, they do have one.

Their job is play. Playing with objects and people from the world around them will help acclimate them to their new surroundings and teach them how things work, what helps them and what hurts them.

“It supports their ongoing development physically, cognitively, and emotionally. One of the best parts of having kids is that it gives you an excuse to relive childhood. It goes by fast so have fun, play often and connect! If fun is the focus, learning will be the outcome, every time.”

Makes sense to me. If any of you dudes do download this app, please let me know how it works. I’d like to see if it is as good as it looks.

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Maybe The Handwriting Isn’t On The Wall After All

Our brain must understand that each possible iteration of, say, an “a” is the same, no matter how we see it written. Being able to decipher the messiness of each “a” may be more helpful in establishing that eventual representation than seeing the same result repeatedly.

The same research also notes that there could be a difference in the brains of young learners between those who only know how to print block letters (Hello! I’m mostly one of those. Long story.) and those who learn how to write in cursive.

In dysgraphia, a condition where the ability to write is impaired, sometimes after brain injury, the deficit can take on a curious form: In some people, cursive writing remains relatively unimpaired, while in others, printing does.

In alexia, or impaired reading ability, some individuals who are unable to process print can still read cursive, and vice versa — suggesting that the two writing modes activate separate brain networks and engage more cognitive resources than would be the case with a single approach.

That might not be all that much of a big deal, if it weren’t for the fact that cursive writing is disappearing as a subject being taught to the little dudes and dudettes in school. My youngest, Hyper Lad, really only had cursive for about a single year.

He had to learn the letters, try to put them together, and then was forced to write his spelling sentences in cursive each week for the rest of the year. And, really, that was it.

Now it’s years later and, because he didn’t get cursive reinforced in school and because his dad didn’t get a chance to really learn cursive his ownself, I now have to do the reading for him when it comes to cursive notes written by his oldest relatives. Annoying, but also, apparently, only the smallest of problems relating to not knowing cursive.

It turns out, the benefits of learning both handwriting and cursive will last through childhood and into adulthood. Most adults know how to type and consider it an efficient method for taking notes, certainly above using a messy handwriting. However, the very efficiency of typing could be working against adults trying to assimilate new information.

Two psychologists, Pam A. Mueller of Princeton and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles, have reported that in both laboratory settings and real-world classrooms, students learn better when they take notes by hand than when they type on a keyboard. Contrary to earlier studies attributing the difference to the distracting effects of computers, the new research suggests that writing by hand allows the student to process a lecture’s contents and reframe it — a process of reflection and manipulation that can lead to better understanding and memory encoding.

All of which means . . . what?

I’m not going to say that you must emphasize handwriting in the young dudes and dudettes, but it’s looking like it might be a good idea.

Heck, even just having them handwrite the really important bits from their notes might offer a significant improvement in their ability to assimilate new information. Definitely something to think about as you sit down for your . . . erm. . . their homework come fall.

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