Part 2 of 2 in a Series About Kids & Fake News
Varda Meyers Epstein | Kars4Kids Guest Author
It is only natural for children to ask about fake news, since the term is just now part of our popular culture. Several fake news stories went viral during the 2016 election cycle and President Donald Trump often uses the phrase. The truth is that fake news, in which phony news stories are served up as the real deal and spread by the masses, have been around a long time.
One recent example of a fake news story that went viral is the claim that Barack Obama banned assault rifles in the wake of the Orlando Pulse Massacre. Read the Snopes article about the supposed ban with your child, following the link to Executive Order 13691. Ask your child how and why the story went viral. Talk about how people were feeling after what happened in Orlando. Ask your child to imagine how many people would have... Read more
By Chris Donnelly
As I walked with my 11-year-old to school this morning, he asked “How was Donald Trump elected if so many people don’t seem to like him?” (we live in California).
I answered, “Many people do like him - he was elected by the rules governing our nation…meaning, although we may hear more from folks who didn’t vote for him, very many people are hopeful about what he may do for America and they like what he says he will do.”
He walked for a bit and then commented “It seems like so many people dislike him…and want to show him as a bad president.” At 11, he was observing the news as he’s absorbing it.
What struck me about his commentary was not so much that he had questions or wondered about how a person popular in one part of our... Read more
Striving for Gender Equality
“More world leaders are beginning to understand that no society can reach its full potential until the women who live there are empowered to reach their own potential, too.” ~ Melinda Gates
Gender equality and positive role models continue to be priority for parents – especially in the media messages kids’ consume. Find some of the Inspiring Female Role Models media titles for kids here.
For more than a century, U.S. Women’s rights activists have worked to build gender equality across social, political and economic levels in order to gain equal footing in the domestic sphere, the workforce and in the political domain. Inspiring and powerful women such as Florence Nightingale, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Marie Curie, Rosa Parks, Amelia Earhart, Irena Sendler, Marie Tharp, Frida Kahlo, Malala Yousafzai, have fought to transcend... Read more
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The Benefits of Music on child development
“Where words fail, music speaks.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen
The American Poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, rightfully called music “the universal language of mankind.” I didn’t realize just how true that is until I had kids. Before my babies recognized their names or any other words I said to them, I could connect with them through the language of song. Singing with them and listening to great music has always been a great way to get their interest or help them calm down when they need to. Now that they are no longer babies (*sniff*), we can connect through the joy of an impromptu dance party or singing a silly song together.
Studies have shown that music can affect the human brain in many positive ways. It makes one happier, helps in reducing stress and increases focus and concentration. More so in kids, research has... Read more
By: Christine Peck
Thinking Outside the Box
We are all creative in our own way. At some point, as we become educated, a large portion of us start believing that creativity is something that is solely associated with the arts. But it's not. Creative thinking comes in all forms and across all disciplines. Creativity is an element of being human that not only improves the life and work of the person showcasing it, but rather, businesses, schools, communities and society at large.
One application of creativity is something called Divergent Thinking. This is the ability to be creative and to approach a problem by exploring many solutions. This type of creative thinking, when tested, can yield a genius level of thinking in as many as 98% of kindergartners, according to the longitudinal study by George Land and Beth Jarman. THAT is great news! However, the same study shares with us... Read more
Transform screen-time battles into fun, learning experiences
Simply limiting screen time is no longer the answer for a modern parent. Most of us have chosen to change an attitude instead of trying to change the reality. If children are going to be on their phones/electronic devices, they might as well be doing something worthwhile. Gazillions of wonderful apps out there blur the line between playing and learning. Here are some of my (and my daughter’s) favorites. Find additional Best Educational Games for your Kids in this thoughtfully curated playlist.
As it logically follows from the title, the game teaches basics of math, such as odd/even numbers, adding, subtraction, multiplication, division. There are also elementary ABC skills, such as recognizing letter shapes and telling vowels from consonants. The game promotes reaction and fine... Read more
With our continued shift to a technology driven society, few days go by that I don’t have a conversation with someone concerned about “today’s kids’ ” lack of “Soft Skills.” As the mother of 2 of these aptly named “GEN Z” babies…I can understand the worry. As an adult who has simply adapted to the culture, not grown up in it, I often find myself buried in my mobile phone rather than having an actual conversation. I’ve even recently learned a “wear your ear buds to avoid conversation” trick when I’m exhausted…from my twelve year old.
Yet soft skills remain some of the most important things employers look for when hiring according to the Jobs Can Bloghttps://www.jobscan.co/blog/top-resume-skills-for-2016-2/ . As educators our job is to ensure our students are prepared for success when... Read more
The Age of Information Explosion and it’s Impact on Decision Making
I have had numerous discussions about the presidential election in the last six months - - none of them satisfying enough. One consistent point did surface though, no matter whom you voted for. The nature of this election - its content, primary discussion points, and both sides’ disregard of the facts utterly disappointed. Yes, Donald completely lost sight of fact-based truths and did not even bother to present a semblance of a platform - what small portion there was (The Swamp, The Wall, The Ban) will quickly diminish under the weight of practical realities. But, Hillary was also unable to keep herself out of the muck, drawn into embarrassing debate exchanges, video sensationalism, and lost emails.
Even worse than the candidates’... Read more
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Homework Help Resources
Get our Quick "One-click to Save" Free Playlist! Best movies, shows, apps and books for homework help.
Although there’s a strong debate on the no-homework policy, students’ assignments remain an important factor in the learning process. A 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper revealed a positive correlation between homework and students’ achievements. The research said that students who did their homework performed better in school. However, some experts suggest that homework affects students’ emotionally and physically as it consumes energy that should be spent on building relationships, playing, and exploring. It is said to fuel negative attitudes about learning and leisure time for many young learners.
When you're looking for apps to help with homework - rememebr... Read more
Family game night is Family bonding night
Life is more fun if you play games. ~Roald Dahl
This summer, my kids and I spent our vacation with grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. As we contemplated over ideas on how to bring the different age groups together for some family fun time, I was touched by the power of great apps to bring family members of different generations together and provide a common vocabulary and points of interest. A game night is a family bonding night and time well spent together.
This has some beneficial effects on both children and grown-ups.
1. Many games help kids with improving their academic skills in the areas of reading (spelling, vocabulary) and math (identifying and counting numbers, addition/subtraction).
2. Games also help with developing good motor skills - hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
3. Strategy based games can help with learning... Read more
There is a scene in A Charlie Brown Christmas in which Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally, is writing her Christmas letter. Charlie Brown quickly becomes disgusted as Sally dictates what promises to be a long, very specific list, and says Santa could always just send cash. As her brother walks away, Sally says, “All I want is what I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.”
It’s a funny moment because few children would state the sentiment so baldly, but it plays to a fear many parents experience close to the holidays. What messages are our children absorbing about presents? How do we maintain our traditions of gift-giving while making sure our kids don’t become entitled?
One strategy is to focus on counting blessings this time of year. Research continues to affirm the power of... Read more
Real-life stories inspiring Courage
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ~ Nelson Mandela
As parents, we all have hopes and dreams for our children and we do our best to impart good morals and values to our kids which will help them to grow up to be happy, successful and righteous individuals. In sync with that ideology, at SmartFeed, our mission is to make available to parents, quality media which showcases positive character traits such as compassion, gratitude, courage, perseverance etc., which will help with the social-emotional learning of kids providing them with essential life skills.
A recent incident in the state of Maryland prompted me to ponder over the topic of Courage. 20 elementary school children were saved by a bus driver when the school... Read more
STEM based learning for young inventors
“It is my belief that every child has the right to invent, tinker, create, innovate, make, and do.” ~ Laura Fleming
These days, we hear so much about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) based learning initiatives for children and how it is essential for our younger generation to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to become our future scientists, engineers, educators and innovators who can tackle the most challenging problems our world is facing and make it a better place for everybody to live in.
Whether it’s STEM initiatives from the White House, Maker Faires springing up worldwide, or articles about how much kids learn through tinkering, I feel like I’m constantly being reminded of the importance of teaching kids the joys of science and engineering. It feels like such a huge responsibility... Read more
Media Resources to help Kids understand and accept Cultural Diversity
“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Recently Carla Hayden made history when she became the first African-American and the first woman to be appointed as Librarian of Congress. In an interview with PBS NewsHour, she talked about how “Children need to see themselves reflected in books”, her own favorite being Bright April by Marguerite de Angeli. She mentions that an illustration of a family gathering in the book reminded her of her own family sitting down together at her grandfather’s table.
Also, in a recent Tedx talk, Chinese American author Grace Lin very rightly said, “As much as kids need books to be mirrors, kids also need books to be windows. Kids need to be able to see things from other... Read more
Celebrating Diwali all over the world
Diwali, commonly known as the festival of lights is celebrated by millions of people the world over. The most popular reason behind the celebration of Diwali, according to Indian mythology, is attributed to the return of Lord Rama along with his wife Sita, and his brother Lakshmana, from a 14 year exile after defeating the demon-king Ravana. To mark Rama’s victory, villagers are believed to have lit lights (diyas) all along the path, welcoming the trio. The festival signifies the triumph of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.
There is a lot of excitement in the days leading up to Diwali. People clean and decorate their homes and workplaces, buy new clothes for the occasion, light candles and lamps, delicious sweet foods are prepared and gifts are exchanged between family and friends. Fireworks form... Read more
Anyone else feel the need to duck and cover?
Anyone else fighting the urge to go underground and hide from the onslaught of vitriolic, inane, hateful commentary dominating our national conversation?
When we started SmartFeed as a platform to help parents surface inspiring media and filter out disappointing storylines, I never imagined our presidential debates being one of the shows our family would…filter out.
But, here we are with the last presidential debate looming, and after pulling our youngest two (1st, 2nd graders) out within moments of the second debate’s start, I’m undecided on our 5th grader watching this one.
The base arena this election has dragged our nation into baffles most. As disheartening as the dialogue is, watching our kids witness it in the context of presidential candidates disappoints.
But, like with all the mass... Read more
Find Halloween media that’s just the right amount of spooky for your kids!
“Where there is no imagination there is no horror.” - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
We are quickly approaching Halloween, my absolute favorite holiday. I’ve always loved the costumes, the candy, and the scarier side of it, too - I’ll be watching horror movies all October.
These days, though, Halloween also makes me think of the fall when my son was two. Our Chicago neighborhood was very into decorating for the holiday - yards were full of spider webs, monsters, and witches, and my sensitive little guy was terrified of all of it. We would rush past the creepiest houses just as quickly as his tiny legs could go. The first time we passed a yard with a happy smiling scarecrow, I pointed it out to him, hoping to show him the gentler side of the season. He screamed and covered his eyes - it... Read more
The Bullying Problem and What We Can Do
It’s very easy these days to find news stories about bullying being out of control, sometimes leading to tragic consequences.
What’s a parent to do? We send our kids to school and we want them to have positive experiences, free from the violence and negativity of bullying, and the terrible impact it can have on their sense of self. How do we keep them safe? Beyond that, how do we make sure they aren’t the ones doing the bullying? And that they will stand up for others when they see them being targeted?
Here at SmartFeed, we believe that part of the equation is making sure our kids’ media is sending the right messages - that bullying is unacceptable and is best combatted with self-confidence, empathy and kindness. We have put together a list of Books, Apps,... Read more
Fall into great media
“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree…” ~ Emily Brontë
Right now, I am enjoying a delicious breeze through my windows, listening to the hum of the end-of-summer cicadas and I can feel the approach of fall. Based on the number of pumpkin-themed posts I’m seeing on my Facebook and Pinterest feeds, I know I am not the only one who starts thinking about autumn just as soon as the school buses start rolling up my street. Crisp weather, leaves crunching under the feet, warm drinks, Fall is a fully sensory experience and I love it.
Autumn is also a great time to encourage kids to discover and explore the world around them. Jumping in leaf piles, visiting pumpkin patches and harvest festivals, maybe even apple picking at a nearby orchard are all great ways to get little ones excited... Read more
Inspiring Life Lessons from Kids’ Sports Media
As a data-driven Dad of 3 children (ages 10, 8, 6), I work to curate some of the best (in my humble opinion) media for kids from SmartFeed’s 28,000 titles in Movies, Apps, Books and TV shows. I crafted the Super 7 list with an eye out mostly for my 10 year old son. We had a fantastic time watching the Summer Olympics together…not just watching the races but hearing the athletes' stories. I wish more of his time (the average 10 year old is getting 7 hours a day of screen time!) and his media was spent with great role models. Coming out of the Olympics and getting into back-to-school sports, our team has pulled together more than 100 titles featuring Sports’ most inspiring lessons and highlighting the best of what team sports can offer children.
I’ve... Read more
Your cheat sheet to workable, positive kids’ screen time solutions.
Who works more hours? Full time working moms? Part time working moms? Or…Flex time working moms?
Answer: That’s a Trick question!
We’re all working an insane number of hours whether that work is Paid/Family/Life Admin/Keeping yourself Sane & Healthy work. Working Moms (and Dads) need Life Hacks. We built SmartFeed to manage one of our worst parent pain points – kids’ media and screen time management.
Do you value screen time, but despise the screen time battles?
Remember when your kids were little and we all learned about blending veggies into mac n cheese or adding kale into smoothies -- little life hacks to make healthy eating easier for kids and parents. I wasn’t even close to being an organic food maker, but... Read more
As seen in Parent Herald: Kids Media - 5 Secrets to Make Screen Time Work For You
By Linsly Donnelly, SmartFeed,
"Just one more minute."
"Let me finish this one thing?"
"Can we watch this, Mom, puhleezze."
"Why can't I play that app/game? Everybody else does!"
As parenting pioneers in the "digital age", we've heard all this and more.
But, why does it have to be that way? For our parents, books didn't feel like landmines. They weren't suspicious of paper and crayons. Catching a glimpse of "Kids" shows didn't give our parents a coronary attack.
But, today, the combination of wildly varying children's programs and the jarring... Read more
Calling all …
Beg. Borrow. Or steal your way into The Annual Digital Kids Summit (September 13-14th)
Register Here: http://digitalkidssummit.com/register/
< Good news: Kids' Digital Summit made it easier for us - grab this promo code for a 10% discount! VIPSF16 >
This... Read more
Overcome Anxiety, Cultivate Kindness
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” ~ Winnie the Pooh
The beginning of school brings up so many feelings for kids - children and teens going back to school, first-timers starting kindergarten, kids transitioning to a new school (and it affects parents too!) - Will I find friends? Will I know what to do? What does my new teacher expect of me? When’s recess?
It can also be a wonderful opportunity for discussions about goals, your child’s hopes and dreams for the school year, and values like integrity, persistence, and how to be a caring friend.
Strategies to deal with back-to-school worries
Engage your child in a conversation to discuss their feelings of fear, uncertainty and any concerns they may have as they navigate their back-to-school routine.
Think... Read more
I love what I love - but too much of a good thing...can be a bad thing. I like, sports, beer, Springsteen. But, I hope these loves are in balance with the rest of my life (although 68 Springsteen shows may test moderation to my wife). So, as I watch my kids absorb technology, I struggle with its place in our lives…just how much is enough? What is moderation?
It is hard to watch my kids entranced by any screen. My childhood was filled with bikes, kick the can, tag, sandlot anything and board games. But, the average American kid is now in front of a screen for more than 8 hours a day. It is not just a TV show or a movie that my kids find. It's an avalanche of new media in apps, games, TV and movies. All of which can be viewed on multiple screens, from a variety of sources which are completely... Read more
I’m not shocked over the last weeks’ events ranging from sniper or mass shootings on our own soil to truck or train bombings overseas – all of which take the lives of innocent people. (For tips on how to talk to your kids about these events - visit our Staff Pick on Talking with Kids about Tragedy and Loss).
I’m driven to connect our children with alternatives to the violence, stereotyping, and prejudice they are witnessing in the world around them. I’m more convinced than ever – that we as parents, as teachers, as librarians…we - as any kind of mentor for kids – have the chance – the obligation - to change our cultural collision course.
As much as we like to think our voices and guidelines shape our kids, a... Read more
We at the Parents Television Council believe parents are the final arbiters of what is and is not appropriate for their child to watch. That is why we strive to provide comprehensive content analysis of every primetime broadcast series so that parents can make informed viewing decisions. That fact does not relieve the networks or sponsoring companies from sharing the responsibility for program content, or for the negative influence violent and offensive programming has on young viewers.
As part of our continued commitment to bring responsibility to the entertainment industry, we'd like to provide parents with some practical advice on how to set limitations on children's access to television, how to talk with your children about what they view, and how to set a good example for your children with your own viewing habits.
Description of TV,... Read more
Katie Bugbee addresses Equal Pay Day and its affect on the career path and partner our daughters one day choose.
How will you explain the glass ceiling to your daughter?
Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to?
This week we are observing Equal Pay Day. The day in April 2016 when a woman would finally catch up to a man’s 2015 earnings. We’ve heard the statistics. They’re infuriating. The average wage of a woman working full-time, year-round is only 79 percent of a man’s earnings.
Statistically, the mommy-tax makes things even worse. Mothers, on average, have lower wages than non-mothers.
Why? Many of us never dreamed of leaving the workforce, yet felt our hands tied after having children. We just couldn’t make enough to cover the cost of child care -- or felt stifled by the pay gaps ahead.... Read more
Not every back to school sitter is the same. And some parents have found the key to using Care.com to make their house – and lives – run a whole lot easier. Here’s what Katie recently discovered.
“You know the best thing I ever did? Like total-life-changing thing EVER..”
Here I was at a BBQ on Sunday, talking/whining/laughing about how crazy life with little kids is (a very common discussion in my world) and one mom-friend suddenly has me on the edge of my seat.
What?! I asked.
And then she explained: Her kids were in school from 8:20-3. She needed someone for about three hours a day, but she didn’t really need much help with her kids – she needed help with her house and her endless to-do list.
In a recent guest editorial for The Hollywood Reporter, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made a persuasive case that The Bachelor in all its forms and franchises, is killing romance in America.
He writes, “As entertaining as these shows are (and they really are compelling fun), there is an insidious darkness beneath the fairytale pabulum they are serving up. … And when we think about where our children learn about the realities of romance, it becomes even more important to question what may influence their behavior in choosing a partner.”
He’s certainly onto something. Viewers of The Bachelor and Bachelorette shows are subjected to false, unattainable ideals of beauty; a lack of intellectual, racial and appearance diversity on the shows; and unrealistic, “fairy-tale” notions about how love unfolds — finding “the one,” and living “happily ever... Read more
Recently, a blog post entitled "Having it All Kinda Sucks" hit a nerve with a lot of women. It was heartfelt and real -- and gave a glimpse at issues we have as a country. Below, Avra Siegel, the Director of Policy at Care.com weighs in on the notion of women "Having it All."
For many women, “Having It All Kinda Sucks” is the kind of blog post that hits close to home.
For me, it hits close to work, too. And I’m not alone.
For the large segment of my social circle that consists of professional women in our early 30s, marrying and looking at the next phase of our lives, this blog post is a frank – and frankly – uncomfortable look at our future. Peeing our sweats at the mailbox isn’t the kind of detail you include in a five-year plan.
So now as my husband and I prepare for a family, I am going to be one of the women I’ve... Read more
As part of our continued commitment to bring responsibility to the entertainment industry, we'd like to provide parents with some practical advice on how to set limitations on children's access to television, how to talk with your children about what they view, and how to set a good example for your children with your own viewing habits. Below is a collection of advice, articles, quizzes and checklists from trusted sources. We hope this compilation makes it easier for you to get the information you need to keep your child safe.
Tips for Parents - American Medical Association
Effects of Media on Children - Parents Television Council
TV vs. Life Quiz - PBS
Warning Signs of Youth Violence - American Psychological Association
Strategies To Reduce the Impact of Media Violence in Young Children's Lives - Act Against Violence
Facts, figures, studies and surveys on popular entertainment, its influence and effects.
The New Media: The Wild Wild West
- A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics says the average eight year old child spends eight hours a day on media. A teen typically more than 11 hours of media a day
- In 2011, 36% of teens had a smartphone. In 2014, it grew to 79%.
- 13 to 17 year olds send an average of 3,300 texts per month.
- Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. 1 in 4 say it has happened more than once
- Only 1 in 10 kids report bullying to their parents
- More than 58% of children surveyed (ages 14 -17) report having seen a pornographic site on the Internet or on their phone.
- 50% of teens (aged 3-18) frequently communicate online with someone they've never met in person
- 37% have received a link to sexually explicit content
It has been said that finding a great babysitter is as much intuition as it is qualification. But whether you’re hiring a sitter for one Saturday night or a nanny for (hopefully) years to come, here are a few key questions to ask that will make everyone–you, your sitter, and your kids–feel more at ease.
1. What is your childcare background?
2. Do you have children of your own, nieces or nephews, godchildren, or young cousins?
3. Do you envision yourself doing this for a long period of time or just in the near future?
4. What do you think is the best form of discipline for a baby, toddler, grade-school child?
5. Do you believe tidying the house is part of your job?
6. How much do you charge and how does that relate to your experience?
7. Do... Read more
The questions we ask are important because obviously the answers that come to us are a result of what question we asked. So, asking the wrong questions gives us the wrong answers, and when we base our reactions, our relationships, our decisions, and our views on the wrong answers, we miss the mark. We end up on the wrong path and wonder why things aren’t working out properly and why it has gotten so hard.
This was the case for me eight years ago when my firstborn was three years old. I, like many other parents, asked one question over and over again. What do I do when…
What do I do when my child hits?
What do I do when my child doesn’t listen?
What do I do when he is defiant?
What do I do when he won’t sleep at night?
What do I do when…what do I do when…
It isn’t hard to find answers to these questions. The internet is full of them.... Read more
Dear Fellow School Librarians,
Every day we are confronted with the stereotype of the shushing librarian and the idea that libraries must be quiet places. Librarians fight against that notion on a daily basis. We know that a silent library of rules is not a welcoming environment. Silence is not golden.
It has become clear that we can no longer remain silent. It is essential that we must fight for what we believe is right. Every day students of different races, nationalities, and sexual orientations walk through our doors. Our libraries must be safe spaces for them, since the outside world has become increasingly unsafe.
There are myriad ways to make our schools welcoming and safe.
Make bulletin boards and other displays that reinforce the ideas of empathy, compassion, and standing up for what is right. One school librarian has already made three different book... Read more
“We were never meant to take care of children whose hearts we did not have, and that includes our teenagers. When they are not in right relationship with us, their instincts are to resist us, to oppose us, to shy away from us.” – Dr. Gordon Neufeld
Dr. Neufeld’s work in attachment theory has been instrumental in the way I now view children, childhood, and my role as a parent. Specifically, my understanding that children are not meant to follow those to whom they are not attached was a pivotal point in my journey as a mom. What does it mean to have your child’s heart? Let’s clear up the misconceptions first.
First, being in right relationship, or securely attached, does not mean that you must always do what makes your child happy. There will be times when your parental decisions do not please your children, yet you know your decision is in their best... Read more
Ask any parent how things are going and you’re likely to hear some version of “we are staying busy.” Whether you think busyness is a disease resulting in families being over-stressed and not spending enough time together or you see the productivity as a good thing that is benefiting your brain, few will dispute that we are, in fact, a busy people. The good news is that it appears that quality time with our kids trumps quantity. While I’ll always advocate for slowing down and savoring those precious miracle moments with our loved ones, I understand that some days are just so packed that there are only a few spare minutes with which to connect with our kids. For those days, here are 15 ways to connect in just five minutes or less.
1. Gather your child in your lap and read a short story. Of course, this is much easier to do... Read more
10 Things More Important Than Discipline by Rebecca Eanes
Parenting is a very complex task. If we're not careful, we will become too focused on one aspect and let the others fall by the wayside. Many times, I see parents who are intently focused on discipline, and I'm talking about the traditional use of the word here with regard to modifying behavior. Sometimes we get very caught up in "What do I do when..." or "How do I get my kid to..." and we lose sight of the bigger picture.
The truth is that there are many things that are more important in shaping our children than the methods and techniques we use to modify their behavior.
Here are 10 things that are more important than any method you choose, in no particular order.
1. Relationship. The relationship that we have with our children is the single biggest influence on them. Our... Read more
It is the age of being superficially known by hundreds and deeply known by no one, or by very few. We are virtually connected for much of the day, but our heart-to-heart connections are suffering - yet being known and accepted as we are, not as what we portray on social media, being seen and loved and valued at home, not seen and liked and noticed online, being connected to real people – these are what sustain us.
I understand the struggle of staying close when everything is pulling at our attention. My sons have iPads and Kindle Fires and X-Box systems. I have an online business. The pull is ever present, seeking to draw us into the online world and away from the blessings right in front of us.
I was struck by a passage in the book The Life-Giving Home by Sally and Sarah Clarkson.
It says this, “If my awareness of space is concentrated on a screen, my home will reflect the... Read more
He was in the time-out chair again. He was in and out of it all day long as we struggled back and forth for what I assumed was control. After all, that’s what they tell us about kids, isn’t it? They’ll try to run the show. They’ll attempt to overthrow your authority and run you right over if you let them. Oh, and if you let them by with anything, even once, you’re done for. I just figured his “terrible two” stage had hit. I’d been warned about this stage, so I knew it was coming, and I was determined to get control before he got so out of hand, I’d never be able to manage him…
Let’s rewind for a moment to a day just a year prior. A day when we were playing peek-a-boo, and I laughed as he threw the cover off his head again and giggled uncontrollably. A day when we watched the silly tiger video for the third time and... Read more
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a babysitter checklist to hand your sitter when you hand her your kids? A really great checklist gives you something to go over with her when she arrives and leave with her so she has a handy reference to everything she needs to know about taking care of your kids and your home while you’re away.
UrbanSitter has created just that list to keep both you and your sitter covered and prepared. It includes everything you’d want a sitter to know, but not always remember to tell her in your rush to get out the door.
Fill in the blanks that are relevant to you to make it your own, and easily customize it each and every time you have a sitter.
Hi my name is Mary, and I am in 6th grade. The other day, Mrs. Malespina introduced the class to Aurasma through a video (watch it here). and in it there was a picture in the newspaper. Inside the picture you could see a tennis player playing at Wimbledon. The curator held up his phone and scanned the picture, and almost immediatley the woman started moving and you could hear her talking. My first thought was that it was exactly the way J. K. Rowling described the wizard newspapers in Harry Potter. I was so fascinated by this that I started experimenting with a smartphone. It was so cool! There were kinks, but most of them worked. Mrs. Malespina even showed us how to make them! To continue reading, click here.
School, Teacher and Student Voice: Why All Three Matter
Librarians are uniquely positioned to help schools, teachers and students find their voice. In this segment, we talk about why all three matter.
Teach Like MacGyver: 5 Ways Savvy Teachers Do More with Less
As budgets continue to tighten, educators are increasingly being expected to do more with less. Our guest is on a mission to curate the best ideas for doing great things in schools with limited resources.
10 Ways Your School Library Is Changing Teaching and Learning
Your father's school library and school librarian are rapidly disappearing. In this segment we talk... Read more
In a recent tweet, Elissa Malespina wrote, "I believe that librarians must become the technology leaders in our school!"
Malespina doesn’t just talk the talk and she has the hardware to prove it, having recently received the 2014 Bammy Award in the school librarian category.
Presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, the Bammy Awards recognize those who make a difference in the education of children, not only bringing their efforts to the public eye, but also encouraging collaboration across the disciplines responsible for delivering that education.
The awards were created in response to the pressure on educators and education leaders to improve student outcomes, as well as the scrutiny they face as they are increasingly held accountable for those outcomes.
“The Bammy Awards highlighted that it takes a village to educate... Read more
Standing Up for what you Believe in
“Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don't give up the fight.” ~ Bob Marley
I had the most engaging conversation with my son today. And it was a movie and sports story that combined to let me hear his amazing questions about something he had seen on TV. Whether you agree with him or not, Colin Kaepernick has raised a question about standing up for what you believe in. Is it right to kneel during the Anthem? Did he do it in the right way? What message does it send to kids? Can they understand why what he is doing is important…and even why disagreeing with him is important? Nothing should diminish the idea that our kids need their own beliefs and we need to have open discussions with them to help form these views.
When a story like this is on Twitter, ESPN, and... Read more
Mathematics is all around us
“Mathematics expresses values that reflect the cosmos, including orderliness, balance, harmony, logic, and abstract beauty.” ~ Deepak Chopra
During one of my trips to the local library, a chance discovery of the book, One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale, transported me back to my childhood summers in India when a bunch of us kids would be listening with rapt attention to this story told by my great grandfather. I would be amazed and inspired to learn how a young village girl outwits the inconsiderate king using the simple math logic of doubling numbers.
Unbeknownst to us, Mathematics is omnipresent - in nature, in daily life, in all of our favorite activities - sports, art, computer games, etc.
Did you know that the number of seed spirals on a sunflower head is always a number from the Fibonacci sequence?!
Did you know that snowflakes exhibit ... Read more
Honesty is part and parcel of integrity, fairness, and wisdom — and that needs to be spelled out for kids, at home and in the classroom.
Do you think there’s a difference between cheating and serious cheating?
According to a study, 71 percent of students don’t think copying from a website is “serious cheating.” This discouraging news comes courtesy of extensive reporting by Amy Novotney in an article called “Beat the cheat,” which was turned into an eye-popping infographic by Schools.com (republished below). Among other findings, the flow chart highlights these cheating-related facts:
More than half don’t think cheating is a big deal.
Almost all have let someone else copy their work.
Is that cheating?
Unfortunately, this moral lacking does not fade in adulthood: “Kids who cheat become adults who cheat.” In adulthood, childhood... Read more
Parents play a huge role in whether their kids are bullies — positive communication is a must.
Bullying is all over the media. Over the past couple of years, more and more victims have stepped forward to share their stories — and they’re horrifying. Our hearts melt. Collectively, we wonder how on earth this can happen. Secretly, many of us squeeze our eyes shut and hope the awful school bully will never be our kid. But just hoping your kid won’t be a bully won’t work. Luckily, we’ve learned some important nuances about bullying in recent years. Despite pop culture depictions, the bully is less likely to be the most popular or least popular kid; instead, bullying is more likely to be relational — done by the child who hopes to climb the social ladder. But as adults excluded from the kid world in many ways, this knowledge only gets us so far. However,... Read more
10 tips from experts on promoting gratitude in our kids
How do you raise kids that don’t just say thank you but mean it too? How do you fight the factors leading to entitled and materialistic children? GreatSchools queried three scholars who shared their informed opinions on combatting materialism, oxytocin parenting, and deepening gratitude in our children. Armed with these 10 tips, you can upgrade the “attitude of gratitude” in your household.
Tim Kasser, Ph.D, is the author of The High Price of Materialism and co-editor of Psychology and Consumer Culture: The Struggle for a Good Life in a Materialistic World. He’s an activist seeking to provide children with lives of “inward richness” instead of shallow consumerism and sits on the steering committee of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. He provided four tips you can’t put a... Read more
Everyone has been at that point when the house is trashed, the dishes are in the sink, and a producer from Hoarders is knocking on the door. Oh, if only you made the bed. If only the clothes went in the hamper. But what if dinner at 6, bath by 7, bed by 8 didn’t really matter in the long run? - See more at: https://www.fatherly.com/parenting-and-relationships/importance-of-mess-tim-harford/
Find your lunch buddies - Teaching Kindness in School
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." ~ Aesop
A new school year means the beginning of wonderful friendships and exciting moments of learning for many kids but it could also become a nerve-wracking experience for some. Especially at lunch time, when you are that lonely kid who is not welcome at the table of your fellow students and very soon you become isolated - an outcast and a potential target for bullying.
Natalie Hampton, a 16-year-old from Sherman Oaks, California went through a similar harrowing experience as she ate alone in the school cafeteria her entire seventh grade year. Now a junior in a new school and happier with new friends, she was determined to make something good from that earlier bad situation. She wanted to make sure that no other student experienced the trauma... Read more
Congrats! You’ve hired a new babysitter. She’s amazing on paper and even better in person. You feel like you’ve won the lottery, and you’re already dreaming of future date nights — maybe even weekend getaways. Of course you’re nervous about walking out the door that first time and leaving her in charge, but you know she’s bright, fun, and more than capable.
Your kids might not be so sure though; being left with a new person can be intimidating. It’s easy for parents to become so focused on leaving emergency numbers and writing down bedtime instructions that they forget to slow down and take the time to get children settled with the idea of having a new face around the house — a face that might tell them to do things a little differently than they’re used to. Even if you’ve been blessed with... Read more
You never know when you’ll need last-minute childcare. Whether your child gets sick and can’t attend daycare or school, or the nanny calls in sick, you’ll need a good childcare network to rely on. We will suggest a few ways the pros find a baby sitting service or one day daycare for their little ones. These methods will even help with finding childcare when you are on maternity leave or on bed rest.
I understand poverty is everywhere. I experienced poverty growing up as a child. I experienced poverty in my classrooms while teaching. I experienced poverty in my schools as a Principal. I understand the statistics; low income students now make up the majority of American Schools http://bit.ly/15dLprh .(SEF, 2013)
As an advocate for Rural Education (Rural Poverty Rate is the Highest of all Demographic Categories http://1.usa.gov/1ZemMkQ USDA 2015)
I have spent the last several years promoting excellence for All students in All Zip Codes. I know this is a constant battle, and it is one I plan on passionately fighting. WE as parents, students, communities, and educators must demand changes resulting in excellence for all of our children.
My eyes were opened to the extent of the poverty battle we are facing in our... Read more
You have probably seen this ad making its rounds on Facebook; hidden cameras capture tech-absorbed kids who don’t notice that the room around them is being rearranged. Worse, they don’t notice that the people doing the rearranging are complete strangers. It preys on a parent’s worst digital-age fear: that they are losing their kids to video games and social media. The proposed solution is a device disguised as a pepper grinder that interrupts a wi-fi connection and shuts down tech devices. But do you really need to hack your own family in order to have dinner with them? Is there a better way to set screen time limits?
The so-called Pepper Hacker appeals to many parents who feel like they have no other options. And it may be just the thing for families dealing with severe behavioral problems. But it isn’t something the average family... Read more
As a rural educator and an advocate for rural schools across the United States & the World…I am thrilled with the things I’m seeing in our rural schools. I’ve watched educators and communities coming together to serve students and provide the best possible environments for learning in some of the most remote and isolated areas you can imagine. School districts are going above and beyond to provide High Speed Internet not just in their schools, but also in their communities. I’ve seen school buses equipped with wireless Hot Spots so students may access the internet on their often long, rural routes to and from school, then parking the buses in remote areas overnight and allowing an otherwise “disconnected” community access to this hot spot. A rural territory in Canada got so fed up with their lack of Internet... Read more
Yesterday, the FCC voted to “Modernize Lifeline.” This was the culmination of a long process to provide families which qualify for the lifeline subsidy for their home telephone to now be able to use this subsidy for access to broadband.
While addressing the CUE conference on educational technology just a few weeks ago, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said, “There was a time when access to broadband was a luxury. No more. And nowhere is that as clear as it is in education.” Rosenworcel has been a huge proponent of the “Modernization” of Lifeline. She has actively campaigned for the FCC to take measures to “Close the Homework Gap” by providing access to broadband through the Lifeline program. I am THRILLED by this vote. I agree with Dr. Paul Lasley:
Much of... Read more
You see the effort. You see the time put in. You see the frustration and the tears. Your child is not slacking. She works hard. But sometimes working hard is not enough. It’s time to improve your child’s efficiency.
Some children have the persistence to do homework but still lack organization and time management skills. And this lack of efficiency doesn’t just affect them academically. Spending a disproportionate amount of time on work means less time to engage in play activities that are important for growth and development. Fortunately, you can improve your child’s efficiency with time and practice. In this edition of the LearningWorks for Kids Beyond Games series we give you strategies that can improve your child’s efficiency.
You can use games like Hay Day to improve your child’s efficiency
First things first. Teach... Read more
“Why don’t they listen?”
“How come they can’t follow directions?”
Parents at home and teachers in the classroom get frustrated when kids seem unable to listen or follow directions. But being able to listen to directions and then perform the described task is not always easy, especially for kids with executive function disorders and learning differences.
But executive functions and school success go hand in hand. Being able to accurately process information and then generate a to-do list or execute a task requires a number of thinking skills and a lot of practice. A great way to practice these skills is with video games, almost all of which put multiple executive functions to the test. Explore our extensive list of games and apps that can help kids develop the skills required for listening and following directions, including ... Read more
Wow! Here’s a cool concept – use those “date night” or “travel time” movies to do more than simply entertain your kids. How about putting the 90 minutes to work reinforcing your family values or introducing inspiring curriculum content? I just found this site – Teach With Movies – which allows you to search popul . Wow! Here’s a cool concept – use those “date night” or “travel time” movies to do more than simply entertain your kids. How about putting the 90 minutes to work reinforcing your family values or introducing inspiring curriculum content?
I just found this site – Teach With Movies – which allows you to search popular films against criteria beyond just age to social/moral lessons, ethics, school curriculum categories and more. Now – if only we... Read more
By Shuka Kalantari
One Berkeley preschool is baking empathy into its curriculum—and for good reason.
In the fall of 1979, Yalda Modabber had just moved from Iran back to her birthplace in Boston. Her timing was bad: Just weeks later later, a group of armed Iranians took more than 60 U.S. citizens hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. As a result, her fellow students bullied her ruthlessly.
Golestan Education's Yalda Modabber
“It was nonstop for two years,” says Modabber, who has dark curly black hair and a warm smile. “That period in my life was so hard that I blocked it out. I don’t even remember my teachers’ names. The entire class turned on me.”
Modabber is now the principal and founder of Golestan Education, a Persian-language preschool and after-school program in Berkeley, California that collaborates... Read more
It’s way past bath time – way past story time – in fact – it’s embarrassingly close to way past bed time. But, I’m…way past due on the to do list for today. So, my nose sits in my screen while rapid fire typing muffles my parent conscious.
“Oh man, I so so so need to get the kids heading to bed.”
Type type type type
Type (some more)
“Ugh. Where’s that ‘beam ‘em’ up capability subliminally promised to me as a 6 year old watching early Cap’n-Kirk-Star-Trek episodes at about this same time every night? Why can’t I ‘beam ‘em up’ at least to PJs and teeth brushing…?!?!?”
One more download
Scan, scan – edit
... Read more
...at the beginning of the summer as a child. One summer in particular (or maybe it was every summer?) we got pieces of paper shaped like peanuts for each book we read. We would fill in the author’s name and book title and write a short paragraph about each book on the peanut, then turn in all our peanuts at the end of the summer. The meaning of the peanuts escapes me – but the thrill of stacking up the peanuts that represented all the books I had read is still fresh!
I will admit that my children are not the voracious readers I had hoped they would be….yet. The pull of iPads is way stronger than a dusty old paperback most of the time. But this summer, I’m excited to leverage SmartFeed technology... Read more
Our modern world requires kids have technology to maximize their education; to learn about global trends and to connect with peers on their generation’s channels. When I was in school I can only imagine the awe we would have felt at things like:
Time marches on…
We’ve all heard of big data and how data science impacts our daily lives.
And we’ve all experienced the benefits….from making an online flight reservation when the price dips down, to being notified when an item goes on sale, or receiving a call-back rather than waiting endlessly on hold. More and more, we’re navigating life through a sea of data made easier via smart systems and apps.
At SmartFeed, we’re deploying big data science to help parents better find and flag great digital media options to inspire their kids. We aggregate as many kids’ digital media titles and reviews as possible, and then organize the information so parents can navigate and customize media libraries for each child across all media formats (Movie/TV/Apps/Books).
For the most part, we do this... Read more
With sites like Safe Video Search provided by Google you can be reasonably confident that your youngsters will not get into any nastiness that could provide fodder for psychiatrists when your kids grow up. But—you do have to take a couple of steps on your own. What about Youtube media content?
Do browser customization. Grab your kids’ Internet access equipment, open all their browsers and go to YouTube on each one. (Firefox, IE, Safari, Chrome, et al.) Log in (if you don’t have a YouTube account, create one). Once you’re signed in, scroll down to the bottom of the page and there you will see something like this:
Youtube account customization
Restricted mode (indicated in red, and sometimes called Safety Mode) always defaults to OFF. Click that item and a new... Read more
One of the favorite books in my house I have read to my six-year old daughter repeatedly over the past couple of years (and I still do) is “Am I pretty?” by Lindsey Jensen Berke. The gist of this wonderful book is a mom telling her preschool aged daughter, who is having issues fitting in with some of her “pretty-looking” friends at school, that “You are pretty smart. You are pretty strong. You are pretty kind, pretty brave and pretty amazing. Pretty is too small a word to describe you. You will always be so much more than pretty. Real friends don’t treat each other that way.”
I found this simply awe-inspiring.
What a powerful piece of advice!
When my daughter was barely 4 years old, she would ask... Read more
Our children dictate screen time rules for us… When our daughter, Tess, was younger than 3 years old, she’d toddle over, stretch her hand way up to grab mine and then emphatically shove my hand – with my phone in it – into my pocket demanding “phone away, Mama”.
Right she was.
Flash forward just four years and you know we’ve reached some kind of a kids’ tech tipping point when researchers read out not on parents’ tech rules for kids, but instead kids’ rules for their parents! (note - we're using our kids tech contract for ourselves now...)
Now, of course, it’s more often my husband and I repeating the familiar “Get. Off. That. Screen” refrain. Still, our parent generation as we manage our own omnipresent screen time - in front of our kids - is... Read more
When I first started working on the concept for SmartFeed a year ago, there wasn't much out there to help parents find and manage media for their kids. Besides industry leaders Common Sense Media and Children's Technology Review -- who have been helping parents make better media choices for years -- there were not many tools to make the process of finding, customizing, downloading and managing media easier and faster for parents.
But now in late 2015, it's exciting to see what a focus this area has become - for hardware and software companies alike.
The Wall Street Journal just published a story about several new tablets - the Amazon Fire Kids Edition, LeapFrog Epic and Fuhu Nabi Elev-8 - that "entertain and educate and may just leave parents guilt-free." In many ways, I now see tablets as the paper and crayons, or library books, of the next... Read more
Calling all parents … Want some great stuff to help reinforce positive character traits with your kids NOW? Per Part 1 of our discussion on Positive Psychology (see post here), a new media movement is emerging to help our kids develop a long list of critical skills related to their happiness and well-being, including gratitude, resilience, positive relationships, and empathy. Our resource set below lists some of the best-of-the-best thinkers, producers and researchers who are creating some of this positive-mindset driven content.
Prior to the recent emphasis on Positive Psychology in new media, many of us (and our kids) have benefited from positive media on good old-fashioned television shows. Think Bob the Builder (“Can we Fix it? Yes we Can!”), Dora the Explorer and of course the... Read more
Many parents worry about the negative impacts of digital media on kids today -- including the potential to numb them to violence, expose them to sexual content too early, or teach them to be materialistic. But what about the positive impact that digital media can have on kids?
What if the right media could teach our children how to:
And, what if research showed that learning these things (resilience, compassion, and gratitude) leads to happiness and well-being for our kids? Imagine apps and games that help our kids live happier lives and avoid depression and anxiety in life. Sign me up!
It may sound too good to be... Read more
“You can't think the future, you have to sense it.” – Toca Boca co-founder & CEO, Bjorn Jeffrey
Fortunately for us, the leading Kids’ Digital Media Conference, Digital Kids, takes place in our San Francisco back yard. The event is held at the SF Children’s Creativity Museum – which helps to keep our kids top of mind while there. I was able to attend both days last week – and discovered a total treasure trove of information, inspiration and innovation!
As I inhaled all the enthusiasm and commitment in that auditorium, I walked (leapt?) away uber-energized and more convinced than ever that the world needs SmartFeed!
1. The Power of Positivity:
We’re launching a new SmartFeed blog series about inspiring content and why it matters for our kids. This is at the core of our mission at SmartFeed - and exactly why we are hard at work building a tool to easily discover and deliver better media options. Look out for stories from our SmartFeed family to yours about the transformative power of quality media! Enjoy this first installment – from our Marketing Communications guru, Susan George, who is Mom to Emmet, 10 and Kathryn, 8.
I remember first reading the news that Bethany Hamilton – who had lost an arm to a shark attack while surfing – was BACK on her surfboard and winning contests again. I couldn’t imagine the strength and fearlessness it required for her to get back in the water and figure out how to surf with one arm.
My kids were too young to see the... Read more
What if Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg had never learned to code? Today, the world would be minus the Windows Operating System, Apple, and Facebook. And though these are the three names that top the list when many people think of coding pioneers, the genius doesn't begin and end here.
Consider Bonnie Ross -- General Manager at Microsoft and one of the driving forces behind the groundbreaking games Halo 4, Gears of War, and Mass Effect. And then there's Caterina Fake -- co-founder of the sites Flickr and Hunch. And don't forget Dana Ulery -- the first female engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab.
They were all kids once. And none of them grew up to work minimum-wage jobs, at least not for long.
Today's kids can summon knowledge and conjure up tools unimaginable when we navigated the Wonder Years. We want ensure the online content our children encounter fits their age and demeanor. But, internet browsing = the wild (uber wild) West.
To help? Major search engines offer a "safe search" mode. Still, a kid-friendly browser allows parents to better control the online content children explore.
Have kids preschool or elementary school age? Check out these three browsers - all consistently lead multiple “best-of” lists - Kidoz, KidZui/LeapSeach, and Zoodles.
Science fair meets show and tell.
Visiting one of these amazing events is bound to blow you away with the amount of skill and creativity on display. Even better - get in the Makers Movement with your kids.
For parents who may be wizard tinkerers and makers themselves, invite your kids into your workshop. For parents with magic of a different sort – amazing resources await to help your kids learn and master everything from coding and graphic design to fixing bicycles and building robots.
As the weather gets warmer, kids and parents alike are feeling the urge to get out and play. Looking for ideas to inspire outdoor play and creativity without breaking the bank? We’ve rounded up some great resources to encourage you and your kids to get outside and enjoy the weather.
MotionMaze is a free app where kids solve mazes by physically moving. The game character only moves if the person holding the phone is in motion. They can walk or run in place, so they don’t inadvertently run into things while looking at the phone. The faster they run in place, the faster the game character moves. The game encourages players to beat their best time by running faster and faster each time.
Children are natural scientists. They question, observe, test, and measure in their daily lives. We've pulled together some of the best kids science apps, websites, and media to help you and your child exploring and questioning together.
Ask Dr. Universe: This website follows a question and answer approach to questions related to science. Dr. Universe is a cat named Wendy Sue Universe and this is a fun way for kids to pose their questions about science. This is mainly a text site, no videos or games to engage kids. But if they have a question about science, it’s a fun way for them to find the answers and see what kinds of questions other kids are asking.
The Science Explorer: This fun site offering simple science experiments that kids can do at home is maintained by The Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum based in San Francisco. There are... Read more
Why foster lifelong reading?
Lifelong reading goes beyond simple phonetics and grammar. Cultivating a lifetime love of literature encourages writing, expands a child’s world view, increases their emotional range, and provides cultural literacy. Consider yourself a lucky bookworm? Can you remember how you first fell in love with words and stories? Sit with that wrapped around you for a moment and then rest a wee bit more easily because sharing your litearcy love with your children is not only doable is engaging as the medium shifts before our eyes.
The reward goes beyond the story times. When we foster a love of books and reading in our children, we build critical thinkers, puzzle decoders and empathetic leaders to come.
Want to read more about the benefits of lifelong reading?
Children are natural problem-solvers and knowledge seekers. They’ve been doing it since they were born, literally. Yet, that inherent joy of learning can get extinguished when kids struggle with new math concepts. Game and app developers have responded to this concern by creating engaging educational tools that reunite play and learning. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best math apps currently available so that you can help your kids love math.
Which refrain best reflects your parenting philosophy around kids online safety and media management?
"See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil"
These are a few of my favorite things"
The next series of posts will explore these two kids media management approaches - in hopes of finding an inspiring hybrid.
For this first installment, let's consider "see no evil, hear no evil (although relevant online as well, speak no evil is different ballgame).
If you come from a position of "how can I shut out all the bad, scary stuff my kid can stumble into online?" (a mission which sort of feels like huddling up under a tree leaf to stay dry in a hurricane, but ok) three types of tools can help.
March - national women's history month - generated a repository of compelling media and technology resources for girls. Before we shift gears into new domains, we're due ideas on inspiring boys digital media and technology content.
The challenge for our us with our two boys (9 and 5) has been how to repeatably find content that genuinely engages our sons while clearing our "good for their mindsets" hurdle. It's the classic - and I feel like I'll be writing about this often - problem of finding something better brain junk food, but also than "chocolate covered broccoli".
For girls, the inspiring "girl power, you can do, WE can do it" story lines compel and rally them at a core level. It's "good" for them... Read more
There is a link between kid's movement = healthy brains.
Kids Wii-ESPN-ing away...
When I say kids health and fitness, we all think digital media, right?
But why not? Why does today's equivalent of kids writing, drawing and reading materials have to mean backsides glued to the couch?
It turns out - it doesn't.
Almost every type of kids research out there promotes more movement for better children's health and fitness levels. Many education and brain development advocates point to more movement for better cranial processing and retention levels. And, most environmental studies and outdoor appreciation organizations would point to time out and about in nature as a fundamental lever in a child's love of and regard for The Great Outdoors.
So - for parents in the digital age our... Read more
What a fun kids media round up this will be.
We'll hit resources for the best apps, movies, books, musics and games to remind girls' they are their own power and teach boys how powerful they can be in building a better world via a gender equality lense.
... Through the lonely, empty, quiet times or amplify their sense of unstop-ablity when they get to the other side?
The songs we immersed into, envisioned our lives through and harnessed as magic carpets into the great wide open touted tales of independence, rebellion and rowdy adventures.
Wanna See You Be Brave...Hear Me Roar...How You Gonna Know if You Never Even Tried?
For you -- what was it? Maybe...
Tramps like us, Baby, we booorn to ruuuuun...
Don't Stop Believin...
With that one guitar... sunk way down low...
Cause I've got friends...in loooooowww places
I want it all... I want it now...
Or St. Elmo's Fire or Flashdance or maybe it really was Eye of the Tiger...
The Cure - The Smiths - Blondie - Joan Jett - ACDC - Def Leopard - Nirvana - Guns and Roses - Pearl Jam - ah, but I digress (and reveal a... Read more
A magic trick unveiled. A childhood tale unraveled. A not-so-real friend exposed?
Remember how you moved out of duped and into wise?
It's time to help our kids make that shift. It's time to empower them to see the effects rough media has on them and help them take back their own share of voice from mass stereotyping and big media's self-serving story lines. Help your children see how kids media affects them in everyday life.
The Representation Project makes that easier with it's media curriculum. Take back your share of voice - and help your kids begin to find and develop their own.
Start with the Representation Project's curriculum suggestions here. Then expand and build your own curated media set. The resources here can help.
Have fun with the stories. Have fun with media and... Read more
We're on our third week of travel with 32 hours of road time under our belts and 8 hours more until back to normal life schedules. If you read the prior post on tablet contracts, you saw we have device time limits of 20 minutes on week days and 45 on weekends. With 16 days of travel and 5 more to go, you can imagine the questions we've fielded.
"Is Tuesday a weekend day on vacation?"
"What if I use my iPad to do my vacation homework (b.c. two of the weeks are school weeks) does that count?"
"I'm showing Papa my brain game, can't we play longer?"
And, oh-so-many more.
Whatever kids screen time rules and regulations you set, you can bet you don't want to repeat "please, turn off your iPad now" a gazillion times. On a vacation day or regular ole... Read more
You use it (right) or you lose it (for sure)...
The first contract I signed was at sixteen accepting a job working oversees. My parents double and triple checked it since it was early in any kids' life for such a document. And - although I did eventually sign a contract with my parents <<when I borrowed $3K for grad. school living expenses promising to repay 60 days post graduation with cash or goods a' la giving them my saucy - albeit used - Jetta>> - I don't recall signing any other high stakes document beyond a lease until decades later.
But, times have changed.
These days kids sign "behavior" contracts in elementary school. They sign "practice" contracts for after-school activities and teams. And, via first jobs, they sign "working norms" contracts.
So,... Read more
In addition to the coding phenomenon sweeping after-school programs and kids' apps (see next post on favorite code teaching apps, sites and classes), developers have launched a myriad of toys where the "real world" meets the digital screen. Whether programmable robots, 3D building programs mapped to tablets or offline puzzles triggering online game levels - more options exist to bring the screen play alive with hands on kids technology.
Check out the Best Six to Try from Kids Love this Stuff!
Some other SmartFeed favorites:
Dash and Dot robots - Kids program the robots and interact with mobile apps and parents dashboards
Light Up Electronics - Light up magnetic modular electronics for young kiddos to build - connects back to a mobile app which can debug the builds.
For less than $5 per month (a cup of the big size coffee) - you get a quick slice and dice of apps by age, things you want to learn, platform, editors picks and awards.
You can try it for free - but it's so worth the subscription. Chase good content with your spending so more good content continues to be made.
Nine years into the parenting game, my husband and I are primed and ready for The Talk. We've had generations go before us, we've seen friends march down the path years ahead of us, even some of our siblings have blazed the trail with kids recently enough that we can mimic exact "Talk" wording. The playbook is clear.
But, of course, what kind of parenting game would it be if we didn't get a few curve balls? Low and behold, this weekend we did.
When our 9 year old went to a fantastically fun-filled sleepover with a family we adore and enjoy, it launched a whole new kind of "Talk" for our family.
"The Talk"? No.
The "Share and include everyone and remember your manners, even when you've had... Read more
To paraphrase the old adage , “I was an excellent parent, until I had kids”. Or more recently, I was an excellent tech and media moderator, until I had kids - who could out-swipe me.
Full disclosure: we are (or soour eldest child - an 8 year old boy - constantly tells us) – a relatively “strict” tech and media family. We keep screen time to a minimum (i.e. none on weekdays, two hours max total over the weekend). We keep our smart phones to our selves. “My phone is not a toy” is a family mantra. We review all movies, books, games, and songs as best as possible before unleashing them on our kids. And, we work reasonably hard to incorporate tactile play, outdoor adventures and social skill development into our home life.
All that said, my husband and I dance neck deep in technology.... Read more
In my house – with soon to be 4th and 6th graders - the superhero of the moment is the Marvel’s Captain America, of the recently released film “Captain America: Civil War.” Hailing from the 1940’s comic book series, the original Captain America was a patriotic supersoldier with a huge fan base during this wartime period. Children’s admiration for the superheroes of comic books and movies offer a great way to talk about real heroes stories and the sacrifices they make to connect children to Memorial Day. As defined by Merriam-Webster:
Superhero: a fictional character who has amazing powers
Hero: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities
Based upon Mathematics and Science the Top 10 Countries in the world are…(drumroll…):
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) May/2015
Wait? No US top 10 ranking? How about the top 20? No?
Out of the 76 nations examined in the above study, the U.S. shared 28th spot with Italy.
In the Pew Research Center report, the US rankings fared worse - 35th in Math, and 27th in Science. Ouch! Why is that?
By definition schools are places where you learn facts and processes to learn concepts. Good teachers present them in an inspired way, but increasingly teachers battle classroom intrusions for share of view with their students.... Read more
Teach kids to code is an integral part of education. Children as young as 5 years old are learning the basic principles of coding. Gone are the days of just reading, writing and arithmetic. Coding is the newest element of a 21st century education.
Teaching coding to kids isn’t just about preparing them for a future job. Coding utilizes skills such as problem solving, teamwork, perseverance and creativity. Coding can teach children better ways to accomplish tasks, a different way to flex their brain, and how to embrace technology.
Have you heard about the Hour of Code? It’s an innovative idea from the learning website Code.org. Their goal is to have every school-age child spend one hour learning how to code during Computer Science Education Week each December. In 2013, the first year, over 15 million kids participated... Read more
By Sarah Wheeler | May 16, 2016
A new study suggests that children are happier when they’re more forgiving toward their friends.
If you’re a parent or an educator, insisting that children apologize is a daily—sometimes hourly—occurrence. Apologizing and naming what we’re sorry for (“I’m sorry…that I called you stupid”) is a major part of our culture’s moral education. We even coach children to really “say it like you mean it” and to “think about” what they’ve done when they’ve harmed someone.
However, we may be forgetting a crucial step in the process of atonement: forgiveness. New research suggests that we should consider focusing not just on the offender but also on the injured child’s response to a wrongdoing.
Plenty has been written about the positive effects of... Read more
Our parenting DNA is wired to search out the best resources to support our kids and develop their brain flexibility. Since every child's magic and fuel varies, we need help repeatably surfacing the right resource mix for each child.
Learning Works for Kids founder, Dr. Randy Kulman, has been leading the charge for decades in pursuit of creative, but proven tools to support kids across a myriad of developmental needs and learning dimensions. When we learned about how Dr. Kulman began highlighting popular video games and digital media as powerful tools in our parenting support arsenal, we knew we'd found a kindred spirit on the mission to help build our kids' positive mindsets.
What about their own cell phone? Whether we’re rewarding our kids’ good behavior with a fun game or helping them to improve their aptitude in a particular scholastic area, American parents are leading the way when it comes to providing positive digital media for our children.
With so many parents turning to app and video downloads as entertainment for their kids, it has become commonplace for munchkins to enjoy some quality screen time--even on their own smart phones. A 2015 survey conducted by vouchercloud.com found that 53% of American kids get their own cell phone by age 6. Although it isn’t clear how many of these phones are smart phones, it is safe to assume many of them are.
31% of parents in the same survey reported they got their 6-year-olds cell... Read more
Just a few years ago even, most parents resisted tech adoption for their children. Parents may have had the latest gadgets – but their kids? Probably not, or if they did – parents often had a hint of shame around handing their children the gear. Research continues around how much screen time works well for children and at what age does the impact change. Newer research also tackles the purposes for whic screen time can be of the highest positive impact.
But, as more and more content providers craft compelling media to pump through kids’ devices, parents have better options around what to bring in their homes.
No one argues for endless screen time, but with the right content – evidence is coming online around measurable upside to the time your kids do spend on screens.
... Read more
But, somehow our Spring Fever embodies all of the hankering to play with none of the age old "Spring Cleaning" urge alongside. What to do?
Chores and Allowance bubble up in parenting priorities
Chores teach the adult reality around everyone pulling their own weight. And, allowance can be the corollary support with "nothing comes for free". Many parents look to an allowance program - whether linked directly or indirectly with chores - to help kids learn money skills and financial fluency.
We've compiled a hit list for parents to help kids (and them) to track chores and manage allowance.
If chores are a new thing in your household, you may wonder what tasks are age appropriate for your kids.
Whether you have a six week, six year or sixteen year old, chances are you care about media and it's influence on your children's mindset. When I transitioned from simply "keeping out the bad" to a focus on "massively driving the good" I began a seemingly endless research journey around kids & digital media usage, media's effects on kids and good content options for kids' of all ages.
Still, even I didn't get all of these quick quiz answers right.
Sit back, pop quiz away, enjoy eyes-wide open learning of kids media statistics.
Then, when you're ready to load up more of the good stuff for your kids - check our Best New Kids' Media Finds and Cheat Sheets and Resources links to get started.
So long as it doesn’t come at the expense of homework, sunshine and family dinners, right? But screens also bring dangers, such as exposure to inappropriate content, reduced attention span, problems sleeping and eating, and trouble in school.
No parent wants that.
The answer? Monitor and limit your children’s screen time. This, of course, is easier said than done, especially when some kids are old enough to enjoy their laptops, tablets and televisions behind closed doors. Below we lay out five of the best screen monitoring tools to help you ensure kids maintain a healthy relationship to devices and don’t go overboard.
By Shuka Kalantari | Greater Good Science Center
Here's what Shuka Kalantari learned from researching the science of gratitude while raising a toddler.
What can Susan Sarandon teach us about giving thanks?
Earlier this summer, I joined a team that was creating a one-hour radio documentary on the science of gratitude, produced by Ben Manilla Productions and the Greater Good Science Center for Public Radio International. The documentary is done, and is hosted by none other than Ms. Sarandon. (Check PRI’s program locator for details on when it will air on your public radio station.)
The GGSC co-produced the new radio special The Science of Gratitude, hosted by Academy Award-winner Susan Sarandon.
In The Science of Gratitude, we report on studies suggesting how being grateful is good for your health, how it can strengthen your romantic relationships, why... Read more
As well as lots of wide open time to discover fun, inspiring kids apps. Here are the ones which bubbled to the favorites list for our kids (Boy 4, Girl 6, Boy 8).
An apology out of the gate:
Having just started this blog as a repository for the great content we're discovering, my interactivity level is quite novice. I'll work on having these lists "quick-to-get" in upcoming posts. But, until then - we found all below in iOs flavors via the iTunes App Store. The run on our kids low octane minis just fine.
Our 8 year old boy: Monument Valley, Amazing Alex, Collider, Lifeboat to Mars, Tynker, iStopMotion, Seek Your Own Proof, The Numberlys, World of Goo
Our 6 year old girl: Zumba Kids, Where's My Water, IfYouCan, LaboDancingKids
Our 4 year old boy: Cut The Rope (all... Read more
This past week, a photo of French police officers forcing a woman to change her burkini swimwear went viral. Here in the United States, school administrators are busy telling girls to change how they dress so they are not a “distraction” to their male peers. And across the globe, women who have been sexually assaulted are still judged based on what they wore. - See more at: http://therepresentationproject.org/burkinis-dress-codes-still-fixated-women-wear/#sthash.uiyaiNrq.dpuf
This week, I find myself looking for meaning in the face of so much tragedy. I find hope in seeing my fellow citizens organize for change by going to Black Lives Matter rallies, kneeling on the football field, and advocating for restorative justice in our schools and justice system. - See more at: http://therepresentationproject.org/time-change-narrative-around-black-masculinity/#sthash.sXMdWaKv.dpuf
The NFL season officially starts today with a rematch between Super Bowl 50 opponents, the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. To get ready for the game, we’re calling on every fan, player, coach, journalist, and team owner from Pop Warner through the NFL to #BeAModelMan. - See more at: http://therepresentationproject.org/watch-need-people-nfl-beamodelman/#sthash.OOIysjYO.dpuf
We watched as gender took center stage at the first Presidential debate between a man and a woman in our country’s history. Moderator Lester Holt asked Donald Trump what he meant by saying Hillary Clinton didn’t have “a presidential look.” - See more at: http://therepresentationproject.org/watch-lets-keep-gender-stereotypes-politics-representher/#sthash.IcCHuDyP.dpuf
Whether it’s demanding better coverage on the red carpet, holding brands accountable for their advertising, or advocating for women friendly policies, young people are integral to challenging and overcoming limiting stereotypes and norms. That’s why we’re excited to share a new video from our Global Youth Advisory Council members about how and why they’re creating real change - See more at: http://therepresentationproject.org/watch-become-youth-rep-create-real-change/
As the Olympics close this week, it is clear we still have to raise our voices and challenge sexist narratives in sports and beyond. We’ve heard way too many comments about how women athletes look, who they’re married to, and whether they’re smiling enough. - See more at: http://therepresentationproject.org/better-celebrate-katie-ledekey-simone-manuel-gabby-douglas-askhermore/#sthash.aaAisFl1.dpuf
Top 3 Reasons to Use Education Technology
Sometimes in edtech we get caught up in a lot of minutiae. In fact, we get very deep into the details here on our own site when we talk about specific criteria and the precise ways in which different apps meet those criteria or don't. So today we thought we'd back up to the 50,000 foot view and talk about what we think the three most important reasons to use education technology are. And we'd love for you to add to our list in the comments below!
First, one of the big things we love about edtech is that software can be made to be intelligent enough to adjust to every individual learner. Whether a program is online, a stand-alone curriculum, a mobile app or even a console game, the amazing thing about software is that it can be incredibly responsive to individuals. From the kind of feedback it gives, to... Read more
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<p><a href="https://vimeo.com/194442272">02-SmartFeed-Music-iOS-tag</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user36616361">SmartFeed</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
Try our go-to resources for best kids media:
Common Sense Media – The mothership site and easy use mobile app curating all forms of media for all age groups across a myriad of world-view criteria. In addition, Common Sense Media provides an extensive overview of parental controls, web activity monitoring tools and digital citizen ship curriculum guides to shape families’ digital content use.
Best Kids Websites.com – Reviews kids’ websites with an eye for safety as well as learning content across areas of interest (Math, Science, Art, Literature and so on).
Ed100.org – Resources for apps in use across curriculums as well as gamifying what’s happening in public education today
By Shauna Shapiro
Mindfulness is more than just moment-to-moment awareness, says Shauna Shapiro. It is a kind, curious awareness that helps us relate to ourselves and others with compassion.
I attended my first meditation retreat in Thailand 17 years ago. When I arrived, I didn’t know very much about mindfulness and I certainly didn’t speak any Thai.
At the monastery, I vaguely understood the teachings of the beautiful Thai monk who instructed me to pay attention to the breath coming in and out of my nostrils. It sounded easy enough. So I sat down and attempted to pay attention, 16 hours a day, and very quickly I had my first big realization: I was not in control of my mind.
I was humbled and somewhat distraught by how much my mind wandered. I would attend to one breath, two breaths, maybe three—and then my mind was gone, lost in thoughts,... Read more
By Delia Fuhrmann
A new study is the first to show that kids get a happiness boost from sacrificing for others, suggesting our strong inclinations for altruism.
Are kids born kind or do we need to teach them kindness? This nature versus nurture debate is an old one, but new findings published last month in the journal PLoS ONE may provide some novel insights.
The study, by Lara Aknin and her colleagues in the psychology department at the University of British Columbia, builds on the idea that if altruism is a deeply rooted part of human behavior, serving an evolutionary purpose, we’d find kind, helpful—or “prosocial”—acts intrinsically rewarding from the earliest stages of life, even when these acts come at a personal cost. In other words, performing selfless acts would make kids happy—even before they’ve been socialized to fully... Read more
If you do a nice thing for someone else knowing you'll reap some benefit yourself, is it still a good deed? What if your primary reason for doing it is because of the benefits it'll bring you?
Researchers spend a lot of time debating whether any altruistic act is ever truly selfless because we benefit so much when we are kind to others. I think of kindness like laughter: we might be laughing because we want someone else to feel good about their joke, but mostly we laugh because it feels good. Like laughter, kindness is a terrific happiness habit, good for both our physical and emotional well-being.
Did you know that kinder people actually live longer, healthier lives? People who volunteer tend to experience fewer aches and pains. Giving help to others protects overall health twice as much as aspirin protects against heart disease. People 55 and older who... Read more