Archive for Media & Marketing

In Technology Wii Trust

wii

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts be counted.

-Albert Einstein

It’s that time of year again; your mailbox is chock full of glossy catalogs while the Sunday newspaper is brimming with adverting circulars. We’re thinking ahead to holiday gifts for our children and technology gifts do have such great appeal.

Before you go out and buy the newest gadgets, you might want to think about the recent findings released by Nielsen. Kids ages 2 to 5 watch on average 32 hours of television a week, while 6 to 11 year olds watch more than 28 hours. The analysis based on the fourth quarter of 2008, measured children’s consumption of live and recorded TV, and game console use.

I’ve heard parents praise the educational value of children’s programming and fun of game consoles, but are they being truthful about their feelings? Would parents rather have children play pretend Wii sports or the real ones? Which choice would provide fresh air, real movement and learning to play with others so they are better prepared for the real world? Would parents prefer to outsource their child learning colors, letters and numbers to Sesame Street or use that time better to build relationships with children?

Perhaps we fall back to the TV and technology because we believe it is safe; after all it’s indoors and under our watch. But our fears and time constraints that cause us to make the easier choice may be the wrong answer in the long term. Less is more unless, we’re talking about time.

Don’t be pressured to buy things for your child that you don’t agree with or can’t really afford. See the question and answer posed by a parent to Parental Wisdom’s advisors.

We live in a very affluent community yet we are not that wealthy at all. My daughter often seems frustrated that her friends are able to do some things and buy some things that we cannot afford. Although I understand her frustration, how can I make her understand our situation and keep her grounded? She is 8 years old.
See question and answers

You can also visit the website for Parental Wisdom advisor, Dr. Stevanne Auerbach, aka Dr. Toy to find out about the best toys for 2009.

A new book by Parental Wisdom advisor, Mary Strom Larson, is also helpful.

Have a great week!
Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom

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There’s Always Room for Jello

hopscotch
Do you realize there is a food to eat even when we’re stuffed? That slogan became part of a culture ingrained with so much, that even in excess we want more.

The summer provides an opportunity to illustrate that less equals more. With school out and a naturally slower pace, let’s take advantage of that.

Less scheduled activities = more time
Less homework = more teachable moments
Less structure = more playfulness
Less indoors = more nature
Less planning = more spontaneity
Less stuff = more substance

In an age of cellphones, texting, email and videogames, the past looks like fun. Here are some ideas before the summer totally escapes us, to have simply wonderful fun with your children. The best ideas may very well come from memories of your own childhood.

Build a fort
Catch lightning bugs
Fly a kite
Hangman
Hopscotch
Hula hoops
Jump rope
Make (but don’t eat) mudpies
Marco Polo
Monkey in the middle
Planting vegetables, fruits, flowers, anything…
Play a pickup game of baseball, basketball, soccer
Play Capture the Flag
Red light, green light
Ride bikes
Simon says
Sleep under the stars
Stop and go dancing
Tug-of-War

What ideas can you add? Comment below

For more ideas visit Games Kids Play

Play is the way a child learns what no one can teach him. – Lawrence K. Frank

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Are You Not Entertained?

gladiator

Standing on the checkout line at the supermarket I can’t help but wonder…what if aliens landed here in search for intelligent life and turned to the media? They would see a civilization poised to watch the ups and downs in scrutizing detail of other people’s lives.

This reminds me of that great scene in Gladiator where Russell Crowe (who looked amazing by the way) turned to the crowd after killing his tenth consecutive opponent and cried out, “Are you not entertained?”

Why are we fascinated with the lives of other people, especially the challenges they go through. I don’t get reality TV, especially why you would let someone else with a camera crew of a dozen people into the privacy of your home and your life? Our words do not match our actions. Ask people what is most important to them and they will immediately reply, “My family!” Ok, so then why would you put them on display? For what purpose?

Sorry folks, but you will never see my family’s reality show, and I won’t be watching theirs. I’m making the choice to focus on living our best life.

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Let’s think…do we want our kids to have more books or toys?

books

In today’s USA Today, the cover page article Teachers snub Scholastic Toys should be read by all parents. Teachers are concerned that Scholastic may be taking advantage of the access to our school children. The intention was to provide books at low cost to our children to encourage an interest in reading. But the catalog seems to be catering more and more to toys, and branded products.

One teacher said that she didn’t care if children get a SpongeBob toy, as long as they read. I totally disagree – – we are giving our children too many material things so they will do something else, like reading. What that does it create an extrinsic reward when the opportunity to read is itself a reward. Additionally, all this licensed and branded products takes away our childrens’ natural creative ability. They don’t have to dream the day away creating the next cartoon character – – they find quiet and white paper to create their own great cartoon characters.

Honestly folks, look around. Do your children really need another toy?

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Sorry if I’ve caused you any grief

sully1
Apologies can be sorry things as we’ve learned over the past few years as ‘celebrities’ such as Spitzer, Madoff, ARod, Blagolveich, Michael Phelps, Chris Brown, etc. fall from grace.

Even in my local town, the former treasurer of an elementary school Mother’s Club was recently sentenced to four years in prison for stealing approximately $136,000 of school proceeds during a five year period.

You don’t have to a victim to feel victimized. We find ourselves waiting for the next news story to break as we build protective walls of distrust.

What do our children think? What can we tell them and teach them about these blunders headlining the news?

Do what you’ve always done – teach by your example and don’t expect celebrities to be role models – that is your job. Be the kind of role model that does your personal best and doesn’t look for a silver bullet to meet unrealistic goals. But at the same time, don’t set unrealistic expectations for your children.

• Don’t fight to have them in the honors class if they really don’t belong there
• Don’t argue that the high school coach should give them more playing time if they aren’t the best players
• Don’t challenge the director of the play if the lead went to another child

It’s about putting the right person in the right job.

Which brings me to a person who said he was “simply doing his job” when he miraculously landed his 100,000 pound jetliner in the Hudson without losing a single life. Capt. Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger said he trained his whole life for that landing, as he shared the credit with his crew.

Imagine if Sully hadn’t earned his wings, done the work and was put in the job without the right skill set – the story would have had a different ending. Instead, he did it the old fashioned way; he did the work.

The people your kids look up to should be real, make real mistakes, and most importantly recover from them. The best lesson to teach your kids is that you don’t drown by falling in water, but by staying there.

I don’t have to know you to know that you, like me, have made more than your fair share of mistakes. Let’s enter a new era of responsibility and accountability and sing that old classic to our kids – – “just pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.”

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Lead Us Not Into Temptation

thanksgiving

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others. – Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. That is how I feel as I read Sunday’s paper. On one hand, the dismal economic forecasts for 2009; on the other hand, the glossy slick ‘door buster’ circulars encouraging us to get up at 4am the day after Thanksgiving.

Our children are watching. We have an opportunity to fight the marketers back. A young mom putting her child into his Spiderman® pajamas said, “I have fought as much as I could, but he lit up when he saw them in the store. I loved watching the joy on his face and I had to get them.”

The desire to elicit joy comes from love. But as we approach the most difficult financial conditions any of us have ever experienced, we cannot do things the same way we have in the past. The need is pajamas; the want is Spiderman® pajamas. The instant gratification of that purchase is momentary and fleeting, for both the parent and child.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, be grateful for what you have. Are any of the items on the circulars glossy pages are among them? Sitting together at the table this Thursday, ask everyone to write down what they are thankful for.

Gratitude is a emotion that can get us through the most difficult times and put in perspective what really matters. Don’t respond to the ups and downs of a turbulent economy; instead be grateful for the people that matter in your life.

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Watering the Money Tree as we explain our Country’s Economic Woes to our Children

Brown legal size envelopes, edges worn with age and use would make their monthly appearance. Each outer label would indicate where the money would go. This is how I remember my father dealing with the family finances. In those days, people were not in personal debt the way they are today. They waited until money filled the ‘wish list’ envelope so they could actually afford what it is they wished for.

“I’m living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart. “ – e.e. cummings U.S. poet (1894-1962)

Exerpted from Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals®

When asked to inscribe my book, it’s always the same, “Spend half as much money, and twice as much time with your children.”

Never has that been more true than today given the current state of the economy. Rather than feeling helpless, use this as an opportunity to teach your children an important life lesson – how to handle money.

As soon as children can understand, begin to discuss wants vs. needs. You can present that distinction during dinner; you need food, but you want dessert. “Happiness does not consist of having what you want, but wanting what you have.” – Confucius

Give children an allowance so they learn how to manage their own money. Be sure to setup a bank account in their name.

The family is a child’s first and most important experience in belonging. For that reason, make sure children have chores which you can find on Parental Wisdom.

Be a good role model. Teach your children how you manage the household budget and pay bills.

Instead of clothes or toys or electronics, consider family outings or time spent together as a way to reward children.

Encourage your child to select a favorite charity and to spend time and money on that charity.

Counter the overwhelming marketing of licensed products and walk down the aisle with your kids showing the different price of the plain notebook or the one with Hannah Montana®, High School Musical®, Cars®, etc.

Keep the change. A great way to demonstrate how pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters add up is to put the change from your pocket/pocketbook at the end of each day in a large jar. Don’t go to a bank where you dump in the contents and leave with cash. Instead, consider the old fashioned way of sorting and rolling the coins yourself. Make a guessing game of the total and then vote on what to do with the savings. Studies have shown the best conversations with kids happen during an activity.

Make it a practice for everything new that comes into the house, you remove something; preferably giving something to charity. “It’s possible to own too much. A man with one watch always knows what time it is; a man with two watches is never quite sure.” – Lee Segall

Involve your children in purchasing activities. With their comfort level in navigating the Internet, you may be surprised how they can investigate the best purchases, especially when it comes to electronic purchases.

Discuss whether or not teens can handle a part-time job without neglecting schoolwork. Have teens set financial goals such as saving for a car.

Explain to students going off to college that credit cards shouldn’t necessarily be banned, but spending must be handled properly. According to a survey in USA Today, college seniors are more worried about debt than terrorism.

Despite conventional thinking you are not defined by what you do, but who you are and how you live your life. If you are at risk for losing your job, make sure you’re kids know that.

As always, the best lessons come from the wisdom of the past and nothing says this better than the following quote:

“The national budget must be balanced. The public debt must be reduced; the arrogance of the authorities must be moderated and controlled. Payments to foreign governments must be reduced if the nation doesn’t want to go bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance. “

-Cicero, 55 BC

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