Archive for Play

Experience the joy of parenting

“When we are centered in joy, we attain our wisdom.” – Marianne Williamson

As we celebrate the birthdays of our first born, we are also celebrating our anniversary as parents. As you think back, what do you remember?

If I had to sum up my feelings to one word, that word would be joy.

I find myself nostalgically thinking of all the things we did and I can’t help but smile. Not that we were perfect parents, or our lives were perfect, but it was real, and we really enjoyed bringing up our children – every step of the way, even when they were teenagers. We didn’t rush through the stages, anxiously waiting to get to the next one, but really lived in that moment.

Joy is something that is easily spread around, which means that if parents are enjoying the ride, so are their children. I thought it would be interesting to put together a list of your favorite moments of parenting; this would make a wonderful book!

Care to contribute your favorite moments of parenting?

Let me begin…

1. Each year on their little boy’s birthday, a picture is taken in his dad’s button down shirt. Same shirt, every year. They will continue to do that to see how he grows into it.
2. Celebrate every holiday, and include decorations, food and discussion about why that holiday is being celebrated. Presidents Day then isn’t about a sale, but your children will remember the log cabin you built from pretzel logs, as you discuss why Lincoln is still remembered.
3. Cutting down the Christmas tree each year has all the makings of the next National Lampoon Griswold’s movie, but you wouldn’t trade it for the world.
4. You attended every Thanksgiving Day football game at the local high school regardless of the weather, and went back home and prepared a Thanksgiving feast together as a family.

P.S. If you aren’t yet a parent, but remember things your parents did that you really enjoyed; that counts too!

Love to hear from you!

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom®

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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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It’s Just Background Noise

A new study proves what we may have suspected all along; just having the TV on distracts kids. You knew that already just as you noticed your own level of concentration increases when the TV is off.

A recent study reported in the journal Child Development suggested that parents who leave the television on all day are stunting the development of their infants. It goes on to say that even when babies appeared to pay no attention to adult programs, they spent less time focused on toys compared with when the program was turned off.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under two should watch no television and older children should be limited to no more than two hours a day.

”Parents should limit their young children’s exposure to background television,” said Marie Evans Schmidt, who carried out the research at the University of Massachusetts. She said TV was a potentially ”chronic environmental risk factor” affecting most children.

Many studies have indicated that excessive TV in the early years of life can stunt language skills and contribute to behavioral problems.

The message is loud and clear. Expand the same limits to all forms of media and you will have a child with time to think, dream and play.

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Dumbing Down America – Part II


You might read this wondering when part 1 happened, so let me fill you in.

Part 1 happened around 1900, when we moved to the Industrial Age. Prior to that, people were farmers and craftsman, completely responsible for production of their own products, meeting with their patrons and getting unfiltered feedback. This gave them complete control and pride in their work.

Then came the factories where the wealthy few decided that it was far more important that people knew only a tiny portion of work in assembly lines as a way to expedite production. They basically wanted us to be robotic – almost dumb so things could be done exactly as they wanted. In order for that to happen, the employee was born, and in the wake of the employee, the manager would soon to follow – just to make sure the employee was performing as expected.

Jump to over 100 years later and we are desperately trying to give people incentives to care about their work. It’s simple: show them the bigger picture and have them understand how their work affects the people they work with before and after the widget hits them on the production line. Ooops! I’m too late for this, we no longer do any manufacturing in the U.S.

So why am I writing about this in a so called parenting blog? Simply because the next wave of dumbing down America is upon us. It’s called product licensing and it’s robbing our kids of any creativity they have. Look at their clothes, shoes, books, anything! Try to find a plain t-shirt, sneakers, coloring books, backpacks, or note pads. Try to get the attention of an adolescent (in fairness, that is tough anytime) but the electronic gadgets rob us of any possibility of having a discussion with them, let alone for them to have anytime to think or dream.

The next wave of dumbing down America will rob our children of the next generation of creative thinkers. That is unless we have the courage not to succumb to the pressure of the next kids show.

Think about it.

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Jury Duty Compared to Working Little League Concession Stand

Of all the wonderful memories I have of my children growing up, one of the worst was the rotation of working the concession stand at little league.

In order of preference I would put jury duty and root canal surgery ahead of that task.

A 7-year-old Massachusetts boy was benched during his Little League baseball game because his mother failed to show up to work the league’s concession stand, and the mother isn’t happy about it.

Jodi Hooper of Freetown said she was unable to fulfill her obligation at the concession stand because she couldn’t get time off from work, according to MyFOXBoston.

Dave Brouillette, head of the Freetown Youth Athletic Association, told MyFOXBoston that the concession revenues are necessary to fund the league’s programs and that he has to enforce the rules, which require parents show up for their assigned concession stand shifts or risk suspensions for their children.

Brouillette told the station that he wasn’t able to see his own son play because he had to cover the concession stand shift for Hooper, according to MyFOXBoston.

As usual, we’re focusing on the wrong things. Instead let’s consider:

1. We have too many adults involved in children’s sports which is taking away from the real objective; to have children learn a sport, have fun and team building skills without adult interference.

2. If parents sign up their child, they are there to see them play, not watch fries turn a lovely golden brown.

3. Why is the concession stand needed anyway? Don’t we have an obesity problem in this country as it is?

Adults, get out of the way and let kids play.

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Another Reason Families Love Steven Spielberg

Tell me a fact and I’ll learn,
Tell me a truth and I’ll believe,
But tell me story and it will live in my heart forever.

-Indian Proverb

One of the many happy memories I have of my children when they were little, was my son Michael walking around town with a Fedora as shopkeepers would call out, “Hi Indy.” My son loved the Indiana Jones movies so much, that at four-years of age, he wanted to be an archaeologist-adventurer.

A good story teller gets you to believe. As a family, together we enjoyed every movie Steven Spielberg made because you were told a great story and felt a part of that story.

Last night, with children now young adults, we went to the movies and saw the trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie with a fully grown Indiana Jones – and we can’t wait to once again enjoy it together.

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom

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