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
Here I am enjoying the latest issue of OHbaby! magazine. The story referenced on the cover (“Beyond Compare”) is one I wrote for them, about the Comparison Trap. She’s the thief of joy, etc. I’m proud of this article and it is my sincere hope that it’ll lighten the load for some mamas. Even if just a smidge.
Meanwhile, I am aware of a bunch of really good webinar type online conference sort of situations, and imma share those with you now, lest you have a bit of time, curiosity and flexibility.
Check these out, in no particular order …
This is the Happy Child Summit, I hope I didn’t leave posting too late. Quick, check it out for stress-busting and anxiety-conquering information. Free! Happening RIGHT NOW!
Also free, also a summit, this one featuring my pal Rick Hansen (*not actually a pal, I just dig his work, and I like to think we’d be pals if he turned up at my place to play board games!) here is the Brain Change Summit … looks juicy … starts (American) April 22, runs for 10 days. Free!
This looks awesome, for the educators among us. It’s a webinar called “From Teaching to Thinking” and it’s about fostering a culture of enquiry into ECE (& junior school?) classrooms. It’s on (American) April 17th. Free!
And TODAY (which is yesterday in the US) is the most recent of the webinars from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network. These have been GREAT. Although the name of this campaign is kinda lost in translation (“Wait till 8th” is about getting parents to pledge to wait to give their kids a smartphone until they’re in 8th grade, which is year 9 in NZ, aka 3rd Form to us old timers!) the discussion will be relevant, to be sure. Check it out … also FREE!
Speaking of “Wait till 8th”, their website has a great article co-written by Richard Freed (whose work I also dig!) and it’s called Parent like a Tech Exec. As we keep learning, as the creators of the addictive technologies we’re all using every day (and giving our kids to use …) are becoming parents themselves, there is a staunch movement to keep their kids away from tech. IRONY! My old friend! You’ll NEVER die!
Waiting to give your kids tech is hard, but wise. Soon enough they’ll be all in.
then tell me …
did you assume they were both blokes cos I carefully avoided pronouns back there?
This geek has had a crazy end to summer & beginning of Autumn. A series of blessed distractions and beautiful messes. International family … travellers enriching my life (and borrowing my office space …) so I’ve been busy with tour guiding, housekeeping, translating.
In so doing, I’ve had the great privilege of visiting corners of our lovely island that I had never seen before … like Fiordland, and Lee’s Valley … and many other spots I know and love, like Castle Hill (which is sooooo much busier these days!).
So the joy has been forthcoming, and the gratitude for the miraculous accident of being kiwi born. Hard on the heels of all that joy, however, sits anxiety (“I need to hit my desk!”) and her cousin, guilt (“I should be doing some reading/note taking!”).
For now, I will clear off the tabs on my computer (OH! the things I long to share!) and I’ll ease back into the river … I’ve got 8 weeks to pull together a major bit of work, and then another 8 to pull together a couple more biggies. I’ll aim to avoid the riverbanks of Chaos and Rigidity, and strive to float down the middle, in the Wellbeing flow, where all is Integrated.
I’ll remind myself that I am capable, and that I do actually enjoy this sorta shizz. I’ll also remind my ol’ lady self (just had another birthday, watch me go!) that I AM THE BOSS OF ME … if this work gets the better of me, I have options! I’m not in prison! And if, periodically, it feels like I am … I will remind it’s a prison of my own making!
And I’ll be grateful to share some links with some geeks … first up, I LOVE THIS. It’s from a site called Ethical Research Involving Children, and it highlights a small but massively powerful change in seeking permission … check out this quote:
What is the change? Here is a typical statement in parental consent forms for children of all ages:
“As parent or legal guardian, I authorize (child’s name) to become a participant in the research study described in this form.”
Of course many variations of this wording exist, but the bottom line is that parents are asked to consent for their child to participate in research.
Try and use this instead:
“As parent or legal guardian, I give permission to the research team to approach my child (name of the child) and ask if he/she wishes to participate in your project.”
Right on! A parent provides consent for a researcher to INVITE a child to participate. That is an important distinction.
What else? Here is an amazing article from the deep thinkers at Renegade Inc., this is about education and it is worth a read. More on education, now … Did I share this yet? It’s an episode of the On Being podcast, in which neuroscientist Richard Davidson talks about the need to include kindness and practical love in classroom curricula. Speaking of classrooms, watch out that the youngest kids aren’t disproportionately being labeled as pathologically flawed just cos they’re young (so said research from the University College London), here’s something new to worry about (Wifi and cancer … oh dear) and here is a piece from the New York Times about the digital divide and how it’s not what we expected: these days, affluent parents are keeping kids off screens. Meanwhile, this article, also from NY Times, takes the idea further … Human Contact is Now a Luxury Good).
What’s that? We social mammals need social connection? Ya don’t say!!
A wee bit more tech stuff, this is about how difficult it can be to think straight with the many interruptions of a phone (BTW how do I make my laptop stop telling me when my phone receives an imessage? I don’t want to know!!) and here the good folk at the School of Life tell us how to live more wisely around our tech. Listen, if those of us who are fully grown are struggling with all this, we owe it to the small people to help them stay offline, and sane. As it is, the internet knows you better than your spouse does (so said Scientific American!), instagram makes you miserable, and we are all fighting the tide of Persuasive Design!!
(oooh, in unrelated news … I heard a great quote by Maria Popova about hope, cynicism and critical thinking … don’t you just love Brain Pickings? Check it all out, my friends!)
Home stretch now … This article from the Guardian implores American moms (but they might mean us non-American mums, too?) to stop feeling guilty and start getting mad … and it’s true … there is plenty to be mad about! I”m mad that so much misinformation about child development persists and I’m mad that so many people still casually disrespect children and it even makes me a bit mad that our opportunities in life are still heavily dependent upon where you are born. (Me: born in NZ in the 1970′s = BLESSED!! )
How to avoid stagnating in that mad place? Well, I look for things that crack me up, I look for ways to feel peaceful and move joyfully. I take action, I donate money (when I can) and I look after my gut!
Next time, my friends, we gotta get serious about planning for Screen Free Week, which starts at the end of this month. Till then, take care.
Arohanui, x xx
As is oft the case, my geeky brothers & sisters, a great many of the things I’m about to share with you might not exactly be *enjoyable*. But mate, they are important nonetheless.
So while the clock’s tickin’ and time’s a-wasting, I’ll just commence the link dump, shall I?
First, a really useful piece about being trauma informed in the classroom, and while we’re in the classroom, here is a lovely li’l something about the role of self-compassion in academic performance. Important, because look how harrowing grad school can be.
A few more screen-y links: here is something about the risks of choosing electronic socialisation over the kanohi ki te kanohi, face to face type, and the Guardian reminds parents not to let children take screens into bedrooms.
Here are a couple of research articles to seek out: this one carves a line between screen time and developmental screening scores, (which is problematic: check out THIS from the Independent pointing to how much more time the littles are spending on screens than they did even 15 or so years ago) … and this work points out how screen use during daily routines is contributing to social-emotional delays. As a counter, you might LEAN IN to the routines, thusly.
Reasons to resist, continued! In this interview, Chamath Palihapitiya (a former Facebook exec) says:
”I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works. No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. You are being programmed”
Other stuff now … HERE you will find an article about the ways that early development (specifically behaviour) points to earning power in adulthood, this is a piece from Psychology Today about the spotlight effect (how I love a research project that involves Barry Manilow!) and here is some goodness from Rick Hansen about taking in the good.
Speaking of good, check out this project that keeps people bicycling at all ages, here are five ways to nurture compassion in kids, and this is a slew of treats for the simplifier in your life. This is just about the coolest thing I’ve ever seen – haiku meet the Supreme Court of the US… and a final bit of inspiring reading is to be found here, and it is about self-definition. Yeah!
Kia Ora my friends, colleagues, geeky brothers & sisters
Summer is whipping past with the speed of a nor’west wind and I am finally ready to begin list-writing and the wrangling of ducks into rows as I contemplate my action-packed 2019.
Even as most of NZ has attempted varying degrees of summer holiday, there have been a great many things written, published, and shared. I will pass some along now!
I’ll begin with a link to the most recent webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, and here is a li’l something from The Conversation, of Australia. These are some lessons from people who don’t use social media, and this NY Times piece wonders what we could do with the found hours and energy that would emerge if we put our phones down for a year.
This makes me suspicious: it’s about the gamification of classrooms, and this piece from the BBC speaks to parents’ frustrations at the lack of ‘official’ guidelines for kids’ screen use. (Send the kids outside to play! It’s important for their eye health).
I’ll change gears for a few links now, because I do geek out about a range of stuff, not just the screen dramas. Here is a link from Early Childhood Australia about the value of music in children’s lives, this is a report from Harvard about an amazing study that uses a massive data set to attempt to tease out the impact of nature/nurture (“gene code or zip code”) on various diseases, and THIS! Yes, this is important. From The good folk at A Mighty Girl, about the folly of “he’s mean because he likes you”.
As a country girl and a lifelong wool fanatic (ain’t lying!) I was STOKED to read about this innovative use of a renewable resource. Oh, listen … full disclosure … I have been enjoying a vegan diet for a couple of months now, but clearly this does not actually make me a vegan. My love for wool is even greater than my love for eating a plant-based diet. SORRY.
Here is a piece from the awesome Evolutionary Parenting website, about why punishment does not work, and I also love the work of Rick Hansen … here is a gift of a piece about letting go of unnecessary burdens. Great timing as I work on a piece for my pals at OHbaby! about the risks of comparison.
This is a reflection from someone who often works with young people (they’re stressed out!) and LO! we have dovetailed back to screen related topics. Click HERE to read a summary of negative effects of excessive screen on children (and what parents can do about it) … you might want to install time-limiting software? Like this.
Meanwhile, GOOD GOLLY I think this is really, really important from Psychology Today … it’s about the dangers associated with ‘technovoidance’, that is, avoiding feeling the feels and instead turning to the distractions of the shiny and pingy. Oh, feel the feels! Please gaze about during wait times! Stare out windows! Be bored!
“Don’t just do something! SIT THERE!”
Here is a sobering piece from Scientific American about the cultural parenting hangover left over from the flippin’ Nazis, and I’ll follow that up with something beautiful, as a palate cleanser. Check out these lovely pictures from “the best shell beach, ever!”.
Kia Ora koutou, hello everybody!It has been a challenge to get to the computer, but I did it … even if just for a moment! To the left is a quote I’m rather proud of – I have an article in the most recent issue of OHbaby! mag, about mother’s bodies and the need to care for ourselves.
My usual annual ban on wintery Christmas songs (White Christmas, Sleigh Ride, etc) is temporarily abated – it almost feels like winter, because the conditions in my kiwi summertime are so spazzy (hail, rain, chilly temperatures). So what the heck, right? I could try being, as my Big Girl would say, “all chill”. Not my natural state!
Quick link dump for my friends, then I’m off to help Little Girl clean her bedroom – how could a person add gifts to chaos in good conscience?
Speaking of gifts, may we begin with this from the LA Times, it’s the advice of pediatricians this Christmas. Just say NO to electronic toys!
Other useful gift ideas: I have made another donation to RAICES, which is an organisation in Texas that gives legal representation to children who have been separated from their parents at the border. Seeking asylum is not a crime! If you can watch that video without crying you’re exempt from donation, I guess (but you may find coal in your stocking on Tuesday).
I supplemented that donation with the purchase of ITMFA gear for those I love. These small acts of resistance make it easier for me to spread kindness and joy, which I will continue to try doing, because the positive vibrations will have genuine impact!
May your festive season be full of family and love and mess and tasty treats. May you play board games, go for slow waddles around the block, and have the opportunity for a nap … but please exercise caution if your nap strategy involves plying children with screens. It is probably oK just that once, but unconscious screen use is a poor long-term solution, especially if the kidlets are super young. And don’t trust the buggers telling you it’s all chill! Even schools have been seduced. Exercise caution, friends. Use critical thinking. Even some cynicism might be useful here.
But before we slide into Grinch-y cynics all the time, here are some lush treats to close. This is Fred Rogers’ Emmy acceptance speech from 1997 (LOVE HIM), here is a link to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley, and this is a TED talk from Ilona Stengel about the role of emotion in science (big emotions here: I’m still tearing up from rewatching the Mr Rogers bit!).
Speaking of awesome advocates and wise folk no longer with us, I await the film about the late, great Celia Lashlie with bated breath and I send extra greetings to her whānau at this poignant time of the year.
Finally: if you are involved in early education in New Zealand in any capacity, please take some time this summer to have a jolly good look at the info about the ECE strategic plan, and make your voice heard!
Arohanui, y’all x x x x
when I’m at my sink or at my desk I have views to different bits of lawn. I can hear (I always hear them first cos they are LOUD) and see fledgling birds following their mothers around, and yelling for food.
It’s all I can do to not run out and give the fledglings a lecture. They could find a sweeter tone when they call out, surely. And then I’ll turn to the mother starling and insist she set some clear limits and encourage fledgling to develop the set of skills that will enable him to fend for himself, some day.
So I’ve been thinking about big ol’ fledglings, almost the same size as the parent but so clearly in need of their parents protection. And then LO! and behold I went to a delicious and delightful book launch last night, for a lovely book called EARLYBIRD, by Julie Burgess-Manning with illustrations by Jenny Cooper. You can order your copy HERE.
Anyway, it is a beautiful picture book for children and families about a Pukeko family whose new egg hatches too soon, the care that egg must receive and the ways that the li’l Pukeko can (and does) flourish. It will be such a gift for families to support understanding and hope during a really tricky time of life. More and more babies are born prematurely, so lots of families could use a bit of extra support and let’s just say access to such support is patchy. This book will help. All hail, Champion Centre!
Other things that have been happening include a busy week of presenting and a final date for university work, and I foolishly had an expectation of kicking back thereafter. Instead it’s catching up on appointments, tending to spring time garden, commitments with the kids, family stuff. Which is all a blessing, to be sure, but sometimes I long to switch lives with my 11 year old nephew. Muck around with a ball, eat, make fart jokes, do the occasional chore, eat, read, and sleep. Oh, and hang out with your mates.
Sounds AMAZING. That pretty much sounds like my dream holiday. Throw in a lounger, some yoga, and cocktail hour, and I am on vay-cay!
But I’m the Auntie, not the nephew, so I’d better make the most of it.
Nerding out is one way I do that, so please do join me in a quick link dump before I go make dins for my peeps.
Alright: first up … I saw another awesome webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, this one features Nancy Carlsson Paige and her content is so good … well, all of them have been good. Check out the archives HERE. Annnnnnnnd, that webinar also served as an announcement for the release of this piece of goodness, it’s Dr Carlsson Paige’s Parent’s Guide to Young Children in the Digital Age: it is both free and wonderful.
Hey: I learned about this event “Roaring on Aotearoa” .. TOO LATE! I have not read this book or heard of this movement but it looks like my cup of tea, 100%. Fingers crossed Santa could get that book for me. Did any of y’all get to go? Was it awesome? I did manage to get tickets for this, though … turns out I’m a sucker for slapstick British comedy. Blame my upbringing – big brothers = the Young Ones, etc.
Meanwhile, I thought this local bit about young leaders was both depressing and inspiring, and MATE our young people could use some back up, too … I ain’t lying about the need for caution around the tech and education for folks about the ways we’re being manipulated … in the meantime, we could all use the tech to look up loveliness like this recipe for simpler holidays from New Dream, then jot our favourite ideas onto a bit of paper and power down. Just for a couple of hours. GO ON.
Kia Ora ladies and gentlegeeks,
Many links to share, today, and school bus soon to arrive. So let’s GO …
First up, Scientific American wonders if it is possible to quantify awe. Well, is it? If so, you might give this site “a lazy girl goes green” a passing grade for awesomeness.
This is an abstract to a piece of research dealing with the fine line between advertising and content in apps designed for children, and here you will find a write up of that research by the Washington Post.
This is a toolkit for educator and student privacy from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network (specifically their “Badass Teacher” subset) and speaking of teachers, this is a piece about how many of them are observing poor fine motor skills in school starters. Perhaps they ought to become craftivists?
Here is a piece about early childhood education here in NZ, written by a visiting ECE teacher from the US, and (poor segue, but hey!) speaking of early, this is an article about the toll that early exposure to cortisol takes on our thinking abilities, and here is one of my fave dudes Dr Bruce Perry talking about such things on the telly. Speaking of trauma, this is an article about the ways that such things interfere with formal learning.
You have GOT to read these two articles about the tech execs in Silicon Valley who are now becoming parents themselves … guess what decisions they make for their own kids? (“I am convinced the devil lives in our phones”). And read the second article from the NY times HERE.
A couple of nerdy links for the students among us (whoop! whoop!) this one is about statistical procedures and p-values (still learnin’) and this is a glorious method for organising notes, from the awesome (quantifiably so!) Thesis Whisperer website.
oh, self discipline. I love how you’re getting me to stay at my desk and burn through my work, but it saddens me how this leaves us less time for joyful exercise! And when we are getting our workout groove on, the desk work feels utterly protracted! What to do?
Questions for the ages.
Here are some links for my pals …first … a link sourced from today’s webinar by the Children’s Screen Time Action Network (thanks, friends!) … please read this from the Atlantic … an article about distracted parenting. This is what my research is about, and it is reeeeeeeally real. We watched a short version of this documentary, and I defo want more. The session also reminded me of this excellent article by Richard Freed, which we’ve linked to before but WHAT THE HECK, here it is again. Digital detox, you say? Here is a how-to.
Now, here is a link to the site of a group called Defending the Early Years (sheesh, someone’s got to …) and OH here is another article from the Atlantic, this one about whether we should trust Alexa (which I think of as beginner AI … so the answer to the trust question is: of course not!). Even so-called safe education based platforms wind up exposing inappropriate stuff to kids
If you are not already subscribed to the excellent Evolutionary Parenting newsletter, check out some of their juicy goodness here and this is a chirpy little article about sexism in childcare (what comes first? The undervaluing of children, the mostly female workforce, or the low wages and status?)
If you’ve the strength, read this article from Scientific American, it’s about downplaying competition and upholding growth mindsets in education, and finally, here is an article I wrote a few years back for OHbaby! It’s humbling, because I have taken on more extra-curriculars than I had on my plate even then, so I reckon I am super un-fun-mum most of the times these days. Join me in a deep sigh, will ya?
What else? Some brain stuff: here is a gorgeous website, Knowing Neurons, and this is a nice li’l cellular research update from the good folk at Harvard Check ‘er out!
And tech stuff … an article about the ways children’s social interactions are being warped, and this is an article about the case against teaching kids to be polite to AI. The number of homes in the USA using devices like Alexa is staggering. This is a worry: Canadian parents wanting to opt out from having their kids participate in the google-ification of classrooms are finding it difficult to do so. Here is a report going deeper into the the ways that tech companies discourage us from exercising our rights to privacy. Deceived by design!
AND THIS!!! A report about the impact of persuasive design on childhood. Crikey.
Don’t wait till next year’s screen free week: reclaim your weekend right now! (and you might wanna register for the next free webinar from the Children’s Screen Time Action Network). Irony of connection via a screen is acknowledged!!
More goodness here: I love the TRUCE toy guides, and this is one especially for infants and toddlers, this is a newsletter with an adolescent focus from our pals at Brainwave, and I flippin love these images of working archeologists doing their thing with their pregnant bellies along for the ride!
Here is a cool book to encourage confidence in our girls, this is an episode of the NPR show Planet Money with a focus on female computer coders (where’d they all go?) and here is a report from Ohio about a concept I used to dream about: our young folk and our older folk all together.
Home stretch: a resource from the Center for the Developing Child about the impact of early adversity on child development, an article for dads of daughters, and I love this piece from by Lauren Porter published in Natural Parent Magazine, about infant sleep.
Finally: hooray to Jacinda at the UN. Kei te whakakake matou ki a koe!! We are so proud of you.
(and Clarke … Hi, it’s me. Your cool auntie. The one who has been reading & thinking & learning about babies for decades. I only say this because I love you, and I want what’s best for Neve and therefore her parents and therefore the ever-outward-rippling circles of humanity … it’s cute to quip intimate moments of family life as a contrast to the formality of moving in diplomatic circles, but honey, what you did there with your whole “cute alert: busted watching late-night TV” thing is make a joke about the equivalent of blowing second hand smoke in baby Neve’s face.
And I know you don’t mean to do that, and you kinda get a pass because you’re bearing the brunt of being the cocoon to this precious infant in strange places with uncanny time zones and YOU GO, you’re doing great. But honey, remind me when I see you, we need to talk about infant regulation.
People are going to be looking to you, Clarke, as first Dad of Aotearoa, and it’s not cool to make light of the casual saturation of babies into a digital world which held no regard for their wellbeing, in design nor implementation.
You get a pass, you’re traveling. I’ve done that, with babes. It’s tough. Look, we all make comprimises between what we want/need and what our baby wants/needs, but if you’d read what I’ve been reading about the scale and extent of the potential harm done when parents don’t limit their digital use in the presence of their children – especially their babies – you would keep this joke among your close friends, and you’d model skilful behaviour for the benefit of the watching public.
New parents have to amend their digital habits. We don’t smoke inside the house, and we don’t consume digital media like we did before this baby arrived. Cool auntie says: Not in our family. We are world leaders now, Jacinda has made it so. And, Clarke! You are the first Dad of Aotearoa! So let’s be a bit more careful how we talk about a habit, in this case the casual consumption of entertainment media, that will be come to be thought of, if not like tobacco, like alcohol.
My grandad was given whiskey when he was an infant, he survived. Neve will survive this too! I’m not giving you a hard time, Clarke. I’m telling you cos I love yiz. Just come over and stay and we can talk all about it. But wait till my dining room repaint is finished, K? xx