Are you convinced that screens are hurting our children's brains?
I am. Not just in theory but based on personal experience! Maybe not the way you think -- my case is a counter-example.
When I was 12 or so, my mom cut the cord off the TV because we weren't keeping the rules -- and so I enjoyed a very *rich* teen time frame despite being raised by a single mom, well within poverty level.
I was *rich* in my zeal for living a real life! I wasn't weighed down by expectations put into my brain by watching TV shows or seeing commercials about everything I couldn't afford and being convinced that I needed those things. I had free time to find out what was important to me and then do it!
I rarely felt "left out" when conversations about TV shows seemed irrelevant to my life. In contrast, my friends often felt left out when I described how I spent my time discovering and developing various hobbies, enjoying real-life social fun like impromptu pizza parties, long drives to interesting destinations, and long talks with my on-again-off-again boyfriend (our relationship was not defined by TV's examples). Yes, I still watched TV at friends' houses sometimes -- I wasn't against it altogether -- but those exposures solidified my philosophy that TV's pressurized influence would have greatly clouded my vision, and likely was blinding my peers from seeing their potential.
Nowadays, it's no longer TV alone trying to program our children's behavior and thought processes. It comes through so many screens that cutting one cord wouldn't make much of a difference! How can we help our children navigate this territory that's also new territory to us as parents? Is it really possible and plausible to keep them away from such a pervasive influence -- or is keeping them away the goal anymore? Despite my past that I'm proud of, I'm parenting in extremely different circumstances, and I've determined that the goal is not to avoid screens altogether, but to build the ability to manage screen time effectively, and ultimately flourish with screens.
Our family has a Family Technology Plan that is consistently being reviewed and sometimes revised as we encounter new situations that may not have been covered by previous drafts. As parents, we are straightforward with our children about how screen time (even educational screen time!) can be detrimental to our brains. Yes, we restrict the amount of time, redirecting repeatedly, and with the responsibility placed incrementally more on the child according to their age. Our goal is to help our children develop their own healthy habits, with a strong desire to be actively architecting their own lives rather than just watching someone else's scripted life through a screen.
If you haven't gained a conviction yet of the necessity for parents to be pro-active in their children's journey to safe screen use, please watch this documentary! Yes, the struggle is real, and so worth every effort!
The following is copied and pasted from the YouTube page:
For the first time in history, mental illness and suicide have become one of the greatest threats to school-aged children. Many parents still view dangers as primarily physical and external, but they’re missing the real danger: kids spending more time online and less time engaging in real life, free play, and autonomy.
What are the effects on the next generation's mental, physical, and spiritual health?
Childhood was more or less unchanged for millennia, but this is CHILDHOOD 2.0. For more resources and to download a community discussion guide and share with your community, please visit: https://bit.ly/32voKpY.
NOTE: Bark is proud to sponsor the free release of this film because we believe every family should have access to such a crucial, powerful resource.
Run Time: 88 Minutes
A Film by: Jamin Winans, Robert Muratore, and Kiowa Winans
Music by: Jamin Winans
Written by Cindy Thomsen, Momivate's Director of Schedules & Systems. Originally published on her personal blog and reprinted here with her permission.
In answering the question, "What do Moms DO anyway??" Momivate declares that Moms R.A.I.S.E. U.P. society! The "A" in RAISE UP stands for Atmosphere. Moms, we create the haven we call home. With intention and deliberate effort, we contribute to the well being of our family's mentality through a pleasant atmosphere. Momivate is currently looking for a Director of Atmosphere! If you read the following blog post and feel like this is an area where you have strong desires to make an impact, please fill out our application!
Have you been in a home that just feels nice and you really can’t put a finger on it? There are things you can do to increase the overall feeling and good atmosphere in your home. Take a minute to observe your home. What is the overall feeling your home gives off? What do you see, hear, smell, touch, and taste as you look around? Using the 5 senses can help you set the tone in your home and improve the overall good feelings there.
Cindy's original blog post gives TONS of great ideas here: http://resilientmotherhood.net/how-to-use-the-senses-to-create-a-happy-home-environment/
Regan Barnes, Momivate's ChairMom of the MotherBoard, shares her insights on hugs and random thoughts about hugs that she's gathered over the years.
As I was growing up, hugging didn't happen much in my family. My mom had been molested by her step-father, so her subconscious reaction was to respect her children's personal space, to the point where we just didn't hug. Then my older sister learned in a college class about the importance of hugging and how this physical act has many benefits—even psychologically! So she started hugging. She put up a "Free Hugs" sign in her dormitory. And when she came home for the holidays, she would hug us, somewhat awkwardly, convinced that she could change our family's ways so we could all gain the promised blessings of embracing. Of course, hugging is best when it's a two-way thing, so most of us hugged her back, playing along. If she patted us on the back during the hug, we would emit a burp as though we were babies who had swallowed air while feeding. I'm glad she got us started hugging because I married into a hugging family (though they don't appreciate the fake burps).
Hugging still isn't second nature to me, I admit. "Hug the kids more" has been a New Year’s resolution for me more than once. Gradually I've learned to hug more freely and commonly, and recognize the power hugging has in making a relationship whole. Since I've experienced both the hugging and the non-hugging life, I feel authorized to declare that it is definitely better to hug than not to hug.
Over twenty years ago, I received an email that listed some facts about hugs. I don't have a source to give credit to, and for that, I apologize. It was back in the days of chain letters that claimed a curse would come upon you if you didn't pass it along to all the contacts in your address book. This particular email assured the recipient: "You are under NO obligation to forward this electronic hug. For once, NO bad luck will befall you if you don’t want to or don’t have time to keep this moving . . ."
Then came this list of reasons that hugs are so great!
NEVER WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW TO HUG SOMEONE TODAY!
You could copy and paste this onto your Facebook feed or send it through Instagram to all your followers. E-hugs just might be more necessary now than before coronavirus demanded all of us to socially distance. But please, please, also put down your device, and use your hands to close the physical and emotional distance in your home and give real hugs to your husband and children! There can never be too much hugging in the world, and the world is made up of our homes.
Sleep—What a Wonderful Word
Written by Alana Hutchins, Momivate's Director of Energy: Eating, Exercise, and Sleep
Ahhhhhh, it is finally 10:00pm, and time to sleep. Isn’t this how we feel most days dragging ourselves into bed and crawling in between our nice soft covers. We look forward to drifting off peacefully into a rejuvenating slumber that oscillates between soothing dreams and deep-sleep oblivion? Or at least that’s how it would work in the ideal world. Often, the cadence of our slow breathing is interrupted by the sharp cry of an infant or the wail of an unhappy two-year-old. BAHH! Not again! I’m too tired to get out of bed, it’s your turn, honey. Alas, waking up with children is part and parcel of the whole parenting deal. Even if waking up with small things is part of the deal. It is not always ideal for getting a good night’s rest, but falling asleep and sleeping through the night is a skill that has to be learned just like any other activity of daily living.
What about those nights when there is no baby to blame and we still sleep terribly? When the red alarm clock taunts us from the nightstand with yet another hour lost and gone to the void of could-have-been-sleeping, when instead of dreaming we are simply lying there wishing we were sleeping. Around midnight, wishing turns to stressing and all hopes of a being chipper tomorrow evaporate all together.
We are happier and healthier when we are well rested—that is all there is to it. Here are some reasons why:
Tips and Tricks for women who want to be pro sleepers:
Tips and Tricks to help children become pro sleepers:
Good luck, and sweet dreams!
*While there is no hard and fast rule, the general guide is toddlers need around 12 hours of sleep a night; children aged 3–6 years old need 10–12 hours; 7- to 12-year-olds need 10–11 hours; and teenagers need around 8–9 hours. You may feel cheated when your child consistently sleeps less than his peers, but the truth is, some kids just don’t need as much sleep to be healthy and feel their best during the day.
A Perfect Christmas
Written by Cindy Thomsen, Momivate's Director of Schedules & Systems
(Note: Cindy wrote this BEFORE Christmas, and unfortunately I (the webmother) am only getting it posted today, on New Year's Day. Cindy's writing is always worth reading, though, so go ahead and indulge yourself! There's always a mindset to learn and apply even if outside the holiday season.)
WOW! This is has been a crazy year! Covid has changed all of our usual Christmas traditions. Now we find ourselves wondering what we should do as a family and focusing on those things that are most important for us. Is it possible to have a great Christmas this year? How about a perfect one? Click here to learn more about how to add more peace and joy to your home this holiday season.
Link to my blog post…
What you hear is what you get
By Regan Barnes, ChairMom of the MotherBoard
Every six months or so, for reasons so far unexplained, my vocal cords go on strike. Maybe it’s something to do with the change of seasons or an unidentified allergy… Whatever it is, I’m left without one of my main mothering weapons… ahem, uh, I mean, tools.
I used to be a yeller and have worked hard over the past 15 (or so) years to tone down so my kids won’t tune out. The occasional temporary loss of my voice has taught me an important lesson in this sense: volume matters, and lower is better.
During one of these vocal cord vacations, I needed to get my children’s attention and ask a question, but whispering was all I could do. I decided to clap first, then ask the question once I had eye contact with them.
*CLAP* (their eyes look up)
Me, whispering: “We don’t have any leftovers. What would you like for lunch instead?”
Much to my surprise, the child who responded used a whisper, too! Then another child wanted to give their input, and (although this malady of mine is not contagious, I swear) their two cents were given with the same reduced-volume breathiness.
We all looked at each other and started giggling, realizing that the kiddos unnecessary raspiness was simply a matter of “monkey see, monkey do” or more appropo to this situation: monkey hear, monkey speak.
While this particular story is with regards to the volume of my voice, I’ve found its lesson to hold true with regards to a wide range of hearing the echoes of myself as a mother.
If I yell too much, so do my kids.
If I take a deep breath and try to stay calm, so do my kids.
If I make excuses and avoid chores, so do my kids.
If I sing silly songs to make chores more pleasant, so do my kids.
If I use sarcasm, so do my kids.
If I give compliments, so do my kids.
You’re understanding, right, Mama? Do you hear these "echoes" in your own home as well? It can be humbling!!
Our maternal voice -- not just the loud or soft but the content as well -- is like a hoe digging ruts in the brains of our babies. When their voices start to flow, the forces of gravity dictate that they’ll fall into those ruts and follow our example.
Since the whispering incident brought this natural law to my awareness, now I can conscientiously hoe the rows that help their voices flow along adding harmony to our home. It takes effort, yes. But I can do hard things! And so can you, Mama!
Our Team of CouncilMoms take turns submitting blog posts in each area of the RAISE UP acronym. Guest authors are encouraged to submit their blog posts as well (CONTACT US for more info! Thank you!)
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