too little too late (too busy!!)

Kia ora friends,

The busy is a bit much at the moment. In my life, the hurtling will be somewhat inevitable till we put the thesis to bed, in about 7-8 months. Hurtling. Data collection is complete, analyses mostly done and the descriptive chapter will burst into life in forthcoming weeks.

It’s a weird wee patch, where I’m having to pause and see it through, even as I can see what needs to happen next.

As ever, it’s hard to put my attention too squarely on the ol’ work during school holidays. The (not so) small person is now eleven, and I gotta keep finding ways to focus on her and be super productive in the moments that surround intentional interactions. That link is a funny gag, btw. I will be working my bum off at every available moment! It’s the only way!

Time is precious, we know that.

Time is the thing we can’t make more of. We can’t forget that.

And our kids are kids just the once! My firstborn will soon be twenty! When’s the last time i pushed her on a swing? But many of us are still on the phones more than we are with our children.While we’re thinking ’bout it, we could do a bit better at keeping phones away from children (babies!) too.

Can we agree that’s heartbreaking?

And sheesh, may I hold my hand to my heart and whisper sadly about the passing of a beautiful and beloved early childhood kaumatua, who I have acknowledged here in the old bloggity many times, and I’ve quoted her liberally in work for OHbaby! and others. Darlings, Pennie Brownlee has died. My go-to book for gifting to new parents has always been “Dance with me in the Heart” and many of you will also know “Magic spaces“, both of which were written by Pennie.

Yeah.

Exhale.

Life is short and precious and there is heaps to do.

The things which Pennie wrote so well about were the truly important bits that make child development magical and wonderful and make the most of the exuberant synaptogenesis of brain growth that rockets along in those early years.

Relationships. Play.

That’s it, y’all. that’s what makes children thrive.
and both those things are disrupted by by-God tech!

Anyway.

Walking in the woods is good for us, says Harvard, and this is the website of Diana Suskind, whose work I was reminded of by a lovely colleague last week. Cool rock play. Love. Here is a fab new post from our friends @ Sensible Screen Use, about the need to think more critically about our tech use in classrooms. OH! And ECE centres, brothers and sisters. It is most unsatisfactory what seems to be going on all over the show. May I remind us all that what’s ‘normal’ and what’s ‘healthy’ are not always the same thing!!

I’m doing that broken record thing again, so I’ll send so much love and go put a load of washing on. x x x

a blessed bee sting

kia ora e te whńĀnau

the other day I set off across the paddock in an open toed shoe – RECKLESS. I barely made it through the gate when OUCH I was stung. When sharing this story (my version was about pain, discomfort, self pity) one of the gorgeous women in my dance class saw this as a wonderful thing – the health of our bees is so important, and she hadn’t heard of anyone getting stung for ages. For her, this was evidence of bee-flourishing!

Speaking of flourishing – hurry, lovelies, and you can join this international online conference about human flourishing. YES, please.

Here is a timely reminder to all parents about letting children decide who to kiss & cuddle at holiday shindigs (thanks Mighty Girl!) and this is a resource to local families in the Chch NZ area… nature play, darlings!

A couple more links, then I might oughta get back to work. I’m organising my surveys so I can start recruitment as soon as my Chrissy hols are over!

Here’s a lil something from the New Yorker about algorithmic anxiety, and while we are at it … this piece asks why American teens are so sad and anxious. No prizes for guessing. This is the Guardian talking about the overexposure of kids to tech, and this article gives reason to pause when it comes to ‘sharenting‘.

Take care out there … life is busy and beautiful. xx

good and bad things

One good thing is this latest issue of OHbaby! So nice. And within is an article I wrote about parenting styles. Enjoy …

Conversely …let’s just put it out there. On the record:
I FLIPPING HATE DAYLIGHT SAVING. There. Said it.

We just changed our clocks in NZ (“Spring Forward”) and this is faux time. I mean, all time is a bit faux. As my dear, late mama used to say “Time is a societal construct”. Clocks are only a thing cos we say so. And as for changing them, depriving whole communities of circadian goodness…? I’m agin it! NOT A FAN.

I mean – if this is about making those dreamy summer nights longer… guess WHAT! Mother Nature already does that! Our days get longer in summer without any need for tampering by silly people and their dumb timepieces. Even my delight with the “extra” hour of sleep when we ‘fall back’ and put our clocks back to normal time – it’s not worth the price of admission. This springtime grumpiness is REAL, and I blame Daylight Saving. HUMBUG!!!

Right. Rant over.

Now for some links for my geeky brothers’n’sisters! After all, that’s what we do, here ūüôā

First up, here is an academic paper which describes a study using the Still Face Paradigm as a mechanism for understanding the impact of technological interruption on mother-baby interaction.

Also tech-related: here is a piece from the Conversation about toddlers’ use of touchscreen technology (*hot tip: use in emergencies only! eg on aeroplanes, or while a parent is receiving medical care!) and this is from the Washington Post, about making a media plan for your family. Bloody good idea, and the basis of my PhD research… what, WHAT?

I’ve been reading/hearing/thinking a lot about TikTok, lately. She’s not your friend, y’all. Here is a piece which highlights the advocacy of Fairplay (formerly the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. Loved them then, love them still!!) and YOU GOTTA hear this podcast from our pals at the Center for Humane Tech. It casts a calm and concerned eye over the platform. It’s not all cute dance moves, my darlings. Our poor young people need protection from data harvesting and capitalism, itself!

Another piece from the Conversation, now: about phones in schools (*I know – let’s just DON’T!) and just cos it’s fascinating – enjoy this cognitive biases cheat sheet.

Finally, please enjoy this piece of relatable satire from McSweeney’s, and some exceptionally beautiful Land Art. Let those beautiful images hold you till the pain goes away!

and the year goes March-ing on

Hello darlings,

Crikey dick. March already. Makes me a bit clammy on the palms, as I have SO MUCH WORK to do, and a finite amount of daily brain power.

In the meantime, I would like to share a slew of links with you.

First, a couple that specifically deal with TikTok (ugh). This is from Wired, and it’s about the company’s desire to host/post longer videos (even though longer videos stress users out). Why would they do that, you ask? To sell more advertising, of course!! Speaking of advertising on TikTok, check out this craziness, about ADHD medication being pitched to youngsters. Again: ugh.

Here is a link to some work from George Washington University, about the peddling of COVID-19 misinformation to parent groups, which reminded me of this from NZ’s Stuff about ‘mumfluencers’ (that word deserves another one: ugh!). ALSO: same but different, this is from Wired about the ways that the internet is failing mums-to-be.

What depressing news can I share with you, next? How about this, from the BBC, about how popular children’s game Roblox has been invaded by pervs (are we surprised?) but LEST WE FORGET, before we go blaming children for being enticed by the online world … kids’ screen habits are very much a reflection of their parents’ habits, and as this piece from the Atlantic reminds us, those parental habits MATTER.

Speaking of kids’ habits … this is a piece from the Newsroom in NZ about screen time, and I’ll invite you to compare and contrast that with an opinion piece from the Washington Post about how social media use is a much more useful yardstick than just ‘screen time’.

I’ll end with three hopeful-ish links … first, from the Guardian, about the value of prioritising in-person intimacy over our smartphones, and THIS from the BBC … it’s about ditching the smartphone and howzabout this from the Atlantic, encouraging connection to nature.

I mean … we are human mammals. We are part of nature. Jeez. With that in mind, I might rug up against the early-autumn chill and eat lunch outside. Arohanui! x x xx

supermoons and chickenpox

Good morning darlings,

Stayed up late last night to check out the blood eclipse super lunar extravaganza (almost 11pm when I went to bed … CRIKEY that’s late for this geek!). Worth it, dashing out onto the freezing deck and marvelling at the magic (I know, science, not actually magic …BUT STILL).

Thankful that Little Girl’s chickenpox saga was in its second week during the lunar excitement, because last week I’d have been too tired to wait up and behold the spectacle. Chickenpox would have – ahem – eclipsed the eclipse. It was almost like having a baby in the house again – broken sleep, lots of active, hands-on caregiving, needing to put a wee rashy body in the sunshine. A lot! With thanks and praise to the awesome Story Store podcast from the CBC! You got us through the calamine lotion sessions. What a sadness that there are no new episodes on horizon. You will be missed.

In other news: I got my copy of Bruce Perry’s new book “What Happened to You?” in the post (written with some unknown co-author … Oprah blimmen Winfrey is who!!) and I’m enjoying slowly making my way through that. It’s a super read – here’s an excerpt – it’s just taking me a while as I am also reading the amazing ‘The WEIRDest People in the World” by Joseph Henrich (click here for a write up in the NY Times), as well as the fascinating “The Attention Merchants” by Tim Wu (here is a review in the Guardian) and I have yet to finish Sarah Wilson’s “This One Wild and Precious Life” (read about it on the RNZ website). So glad that Ms. Wilson shines a light on the dangers of hypercapitalism (speaking of which – this is also a great book) and the challenges of life in a society still reeling from neoliberalist nonsense.

“Can’t control your tech use? That’s YOUR FAULT! Never mind that big tech is largely unregulated, never mind that we are in an enormous experiment, never mind that the your psychological vulnerabilities are being exploited by attention harvesters … it’s on YOU!” Same neoliberalist argument gets trotted out for all kinds of things – the great Pacific garbage island is YOUR FAULT for not recycling devoutly enough. Never mind that a handful of corporations produce most of the waste, never mind that regulators don’t insist on cradle-to-grave corporate responsibility … ETC!

Anyway, I was a bit naughty in just ordering another book, which I JUST DID. It’s called “Goodbye Phone, Hello World” by Paul Greenberg and you can read about here, also from RNZ.

Speaking of Goodbye Phone … major admiration and respect for a Chch high school for doing away with the phones and allowing their kids to be unplugged kids! It’s working!

In other news, I was super delighted to learn of this excellent resource from my Pals at the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, about tech use in the presence of infants. I mean, talk about important! And SO my cup of tea! Amazing. The only resource of its kind that I am aware of! And this is precisely what I obsess about for a living (well, not really for a living … but as a PhD student, so … um … y’know …)

Also fascinating (albeit somewhat depressing) is this piece from the Guardian about older adults’ relationships with tech. A place where we live … we are snails. OMIGOODNESS. The stress that emerges as a result of reading that research review must be countered by some cosy yoga, thank you Adriene.

Did I share this yet? An excellent piece from a nursing journal about the experience of new babies in a frequent facemask world. I think it’s so important that we continue to use our mature skills of mind mindedness to consider how life is for today’s babies (apparently we’re calling them Generation Alpha. I thought Gen Q was better – hubby and I invented that. But I’ll go along with Gen Alpha if it encourages contemplation of infant experience!). We must remember that their access to faces (which is SUPER IMPORTANT for optimal development … hello still face paradigm, G’day Polyvagal Theory!) … babies are having limited access as a result of masks, sure … but also as a result of our PHONES.

Beware! And I can feel my face sitting in a blank affect. I’m going to sign off and wish you all an emotive, expressive, and temperate time of it until we meet again x x x arohanui x x x

Thanks for today’s lovely pic … Photo by Ahsan Avi on Unsplash.

OldTryCovidPosters-01Kia Ora e hoa ma, g’day mates. Here is another lovely image from the talented folk at The Old Try.¬† Free to download!¬† If you’ve a printer, put one on your fridge!

We have at-home schooling starting in NZ today – I’ve tried to put some reasonable guardrails in place for my two. Sorry to say, but there are still a great many reasons to be cautious about tech.¬† I know people are all jazz-hands about online learning, but let’s not forget that kids’ data is still being harvested, that children need our protection from online sexual predation¬†(MORE THAN EVER), or that we learn best hands-on, pen & paper, face to face.¬† And we gotta get outside to play!

Not to be all Captain Bringdown … just speaking truths that are STILL TRUE.

Here’s some lovely stuff, to counteract the grimness … some beautiful tips from a zen master for staying sane in challenging times are here, and this is a cool little video clip about making it out of lockdown without murdering anyone in one’s bubble. Here are some cool ideas for families from the excellent Sparklers website, and darlings: make space for your grief.

Another tech caution is HERE, in an article I wrote for OHbaby!, and here is a lil’l something from the brilliant Bruce Perry about responses to trauma (which I suspect an unprecedented number of people will be relating to, right now!) and if that all has you feeling a little verklempt try moving your body! Take it away Sam Shorkey!

Or try a little meditation, thank you Adriene ūüėČ

Love y’all x xx take care x x x arohanui x x x

 

many links for geeky friends

Kia Ora e hoa ma,

Many amazing things for you to read, coming right up.

First, from the World Health Organisation, about the needs of li’l kids.¬† I love how they cut through the dross and tell it like it is!¬† Here is a gift from the folks at New Dream, about being an effective change maker in 2020.

And now … a bunch of tech links.¬† Cos I gotta.¬† The first comes from MIT, the prestigious technology based university.¬† I highlight that source, because you cannot accuse them of being anti tech!¬† And if they are concerned about use of tech in the classroom, we oughta be concerned. From NZ, now, a summary of research that led to some recommendations for classrooms. Thanks, Sensible Screen Use!

 

(I wrote this piece a few years back: for OHbaby! about school readiness … might have to pitch another one with an emphasis on countering the over-technification of too many of our classrooms!)¬† I would begin by sharing the NEW ACTION KIT from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network.¬†

Outside the classroom: here’s a write up of an initiative to get kids to put down their phones, and here is a link to that initiative (“Look Up”). Kids can function just fine without phones, enjoy this story from the NY Times as evidence!

We do need to be a little more nuanced in our thinking about all this … the Human Screenome Project is one interesting example.¬†

From a speech language perspective, this is for parents about their own tech use, and this is about the need for sharing books with babies … books made of paper, not digital ones.

Children in NZ also need us to pay attention to the fact that so many of them are living in poverty,¬†they need our support in getting outdoors and being a little free range,¬†and let’s not forget the emotional development¬†or the magical glial cells!

Finally, cos I gotta go drive a carload of kids to some swimming sports … I am coveting this.¬† Is that shallow or WHAT?

computers, compassion

Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,

If you are in NZ, I hope the school hols are treating you kindly.  Today has been a great day for a warm fire, baking and puzzles.  Soon I shall get serious about creating a delicious dinner for my crew.  Till then, I gotta lotta quality links to share.

Shall we?

First, I’m a little into the whole notion of Technology Shabbats, brainchild of Tiffany Shlain.¬† I heard about them via promotion for¬†the upcoming webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network.¬† Those webinars tend to be pretty awesome.

There are a great many reasons to try something like a tech shabbat, to declare yourself a member of the resistance.¬† We are part of a mass experiment and our brains are changing as a result¬†…. or should we say, our brains are being changed.¬† There is something intentional and manipulative at play, although many will deny it.¬† Like Google.¬† Jeez, Google. You do WHAT?¬† Profit from pedophiles with your crazy recommendations and asymmetric algorithms?¬† Taste the shame.¬†

What to do?¬† If you’re New York rich, you might hire a coach to help raise phone-free kids,¬† which would be lovely, because all sorts of suboptimal outcomes are associated with too much tech … like these things in this blog post by Rae Pica, and read about¬†diminishing physical skills¬†in that there Australian article.¬† Pals, tech insiders don’t use the stuff like we’ve been coerced to.¬† Children are being predated on by the tech companies as well as the weirdos on their platforms.

Sigh.¬† Too much tech gets in the way of lots of other important things that children need to do.¬† They have WORK to do (they need “love, attention and plenty of free time”), if they are to be allowed to be thought “ready for school” at the appropriate age.¬† They gotta figure out how to make sense of emotion, they need adults helping them to process trauma¬†before it gets lodged in their bodies, and they gotta climb trees.

I mean, we all gotta get outside more, preferably to dig in the dirt.  We are going to have to continue to raise a little hell, like this mama in Maryland who I salute from afar as she advocates for saner screen use in her school.  Put books in all waiting rooms!!

a little light reading

Photo on 28-05-19 at 1.08 PMKia Ora e hoa ma,

This picture shows me holding a few of the books I’m kinda simultaneously reading.¬† How’s the attentional bandwith, you may ask?¬† Yeah, well you oughta see my piles of papers … and the electronic files all over my desktop (the ones awaiting printing!).¬† Does your brain ever feel itchy with the awareness of it all?¬† At least I have the blessed luxury of this website as a place to clean up the jumble of my tabs!¬† Let’s do that now, eh?

First, a comprehensive report from our cousins across the Tasman, about the first 1000 days and the opportunities for investment, support.  Brought to my attention by the good peeps at ARACY: the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth.  Kia Ora!

Next, a few links about early childhood education.¬† This is a report¬†emphasising the importance of ECE¬†from a financial perspective, here are a few goodies from the awesome Evolutionary Parenting website (ECE as allocare … when it’s done well, I say “hell, yeah!”), and here is a piece about play based learning in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Now … this is a small but important piece about the problems with using food as a play material¬†in ECE settings.¬† I’ve had this debate – I distinctly remember a training in San Diego, CA, in about 1999, where I explained that kiwi early childhood teachers hadn’t been using food in play since I could remember.¬† And friends, I trained in the early 90’s, not yesterday.¬† BUT… full disclosure: I have never been able to reconcile my effortless acceptance of removing rice/pasta etc from collage areas AND my deep, abiding love of play dough.¬† I am a work in progress.¬† ¬†Speaking of food: random link here from Harvard Medical School: new findings in praise of broccoli.¬† Yum!

Now, some links about play … here is an article from the New York Times about the adventure playgrounds that seem to be coming back into vogue (right on!) … reminds me of the one I long to visit in Tokyo, featured in the book Savage Park (which I devoured).¬† Whilst on the topic of adventurous play, the NY Times article references some research done here in NZ, and you can read about it HERE.

Oh, while we are thinking about international research … this piece from the awesome Conversation website is about talking to babies all over the world, and included the shocking stat that 95% of the world’s developmental science research is done on only 5% of the world’s populations.¬† Holy ding dong!

Now, from Psychology Today … it’s about letting toddlers help.¬† While we are talking about toddlers, I humbly share a piece I wrote a few years back for my pals at OHbaby! mag.¬† I adore toddlers and will defend them, always.

Hey … I talked about the Evolutionary Parenting website back there?¬† Here is a link so you can listen to her founder, Tracy Cassels, interviewed by Australian breastfeeding advocate, Pinky McKay.¬† I seriously rate Pinky, I just wish she didn’t encourage mums to include their phones and tv remotes in their breastfeeding support package, alongside their water bottles and (awesomely named) boobie bikkies. What’s my beef?¬† I insist that we must all¬†Beware the still face of parental phone use!¬†

For now, I am going to hurl a slew of tech related links at you, then do some non-computer stuff my damn self!  My shoulders insist!  

Right ho, so this is a piece I wrote for the fine folk at Tots to Teens, here is a piece from the Guardian about how people’s lives have changed since they got phones for their kids (the good, the bad …) and here are a bunch of links to reports from the 5rights peeps in the UK.¬† I was wowed by their “Disrupted Childhood” report, about persuasive tech.¬† And now (irony!) I want to stay online and read all the others!

THIS is a good read, from Forbes, about the push toward ‘personalized learning’ (ie, tech in classrooms) and here is something about tech in the home from a dad’s point of view, from the San Francisco Chronicle .¬†While we’re thinking of dads, here are some interesting findings about paternity leave in Spain.

What else?¬† A cry for more time being barefoot, some interesting findings from Australia about elitism, sexism, and the size of your school’s sport’s fields, and just because it’s been ages since I linked to the Talaris Institute and they’re awesome … check out these language links.¬† Speaking of language(!!), with thanks to the Distinguished Professor who shared this blog (Discussion is the Food of Chiefs), enjoy.

Getting harder to type now, cos my fingers are crossed … why?¬† Because I’m sincerely hoping the Wellbeing Budget will bear awesome fruit.¬† Now gird your loins as you read this li’l something from the Spinoff about the problems with Plunket’s founder.¬† Now, I adore Plunket as a supporter of families in NZ, but I don’t think it hurts to acknowledge that historical figures are flawed, and for contemporary biographies to describe more than one side of a person.

I don’t wish to end this post on such a downer note, so instead, here is an inspiring snack¬†(I’m obsessed with that stuff!), an item I covet shamelessly, and finally …¬†¬†a lovely guided meditation.

Blessed be the geeks!

Happy Screen Free Week, y’all

Screen Shot 2019-04-29 at 1.03.54 PM¬†Here are Little Girl and I promoting Screen Free Week 2019 in our local paper.¬† The Week’s begun here in NZ, so I’ll make this snappy and save the multitude of awesome new links till next time!¬† Enjoy your week offline, I know I will.¬† Arohanui x x