Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back to School Morning Battles

Transitioning from summer to school is never easy. Getting all of the kids out of bed, ready for school, and out the door on time can be a challenge. While we’d all like to start the day with a “good” morning, if you have school-aged kids, mornings can often turn into battlegrounds. Of course, no one solution will work for every child or every family, but here are some tools that you may find useful.

Get Enough Sleep

Make sure you child is getting enough sleep. Pre-school and elementary aged kids need 11 to 12 hours of sleep. Middle and high school aged kids need 10 hours of sleep. Set their bedtimes accordingly. A well-rested child won’t be difficult to get out of bed, and they are much more likely to be cooperative and move faster than a sleepy child.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kids and Cell Phones -- Taking the Plunge

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and get your child a cell phone. Studies show the average age for a child to get their first phone is around 12 but there is  a good amount of variability in that number. Regardless of the age of your child, the success of this venture depends largely on you, as a parent. You need to set your child up for success. Here is how:

Establish Rules of Use
The first thing you need to do is define a Rules of Use Agreement with your child. This Agreement is the set of rules that governs what your child is and is not allowed to do with their phone. The rules should be specific and actionable. Avoid anything subjective or open to interpretation. I recommend a written document so that there is no confusion. A good activity might be to sit down with your child and come up with the agreement together. Capturing their attention for that long might seem impossible but if they know that getting a phone is contingent upon it, you’ll get some of their time and attention. Your agreement should include:

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kids and Cell Phones--Start Talking

If you are the parent of a child over the age of 7, the topic of cell phones probably causes heart palpitations. The anxiety associated with getting your child a cell-phone comes from many directions and the decision is anything but straightforward. The reality is that children aren’t magically ready to handle a cell phone at a certain age. You have to make your child ready. As with most major milestones for your child, parents need to prepare and take the leading role to make it a successful venture. The first step is talking to your child.

When. Parents need to talk to their kids about cell phones sooner than you think. “Out of sight, out of mind” is not a valid option. Just because your child doesn’t have a cell phone yet doesn’t mean they aren’t using their friends’ phones or their friends’ older siblings’ phones. Studies show that the average age a child first borrows a cell phone is 8, so get ready early.

Educate Yourself. Before you can have a credible conversation with your child about cell phones, you need to educate yourself on the topic. If you are a “techie”, you can skip the rest of this paragraph. If you are like the rest of us, keep reading. Surprise! Cell phones are not simply devices to call someone! Today’s cell phones can include texting, picture texting (made famous by sexting scandals of late), email,  video chat, cameras, video recorders, internet access, twitter, facebook, photo and video share sites, and on and on. Believe me when I tell you that our children are like cell phone savants.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Kids and Cell Phones -- Why Your Child Needs a Cell Phone

Yes, you read the title correctly. In my opinion, your child will eventually need a cell phone, and they will need it before the teenage years hit full throttle. Many parents are shocked to have a doctor tell them that. I know from talking to many parents that the issue of cell phones can be stressful, and opinions on cell phones vary greatly. Some of you may be inclined to get your child a cell phone at a very young age (lets say 8) especially if there are two working parents who have a harder time keeping tabs on their kids during after-school activities and events. Others want to get their child a cell phone but aren’t sure what is the best age. Still other parents might be thinking “I didn’t have a cell phone when I was growing up and I did just fine, so my child doesn’t need one either”. I’m sorry to say that this logic doesn’t apply to cell phones. Your child will eventually need a cell phone. Allow me to explain.