articles, links and love

IMG_5134Tena koutou, e geek ma.  Here is the sweet cover picture of the latest issue of OHbaby!  I’m proud of the articles in there that I created … one is full of wisdom from my friends/colleagues (i.e., frolleagues) and the other is about play.  YEAH.

Speaking of wisdom: check out this excellent interview from Scientific American about an education system producing “smart fools”.  Robert Sternberg is talking about the situation in the US, but I wonder how different things are here in NZ?  Discuss.

You know what would help?  An emphasis on the li’l kid versions … like promoting social-emotional learning in preschools, as described by this work supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

This link will take you to an account of how infant massage just might have benefits that extend even beyond the all-important mother:baby relationship, and here is a serious set of trauma statistics.  All the more reason for solid relationships: they anchor us when the world gets stormy.  Which it does.  And probably will.

This link is from Zero to Three and has some chilling news about the impact of the most recent US budget on the lives of children, families, and the poor.  Speaking of the T-word, check out this beautiful and horrifying art installation in New York.

Now: from the Chicago Tribune … about the way that smartphones can interfere with relationships EVEN WHEN THEY ARE SWITCHED OFF, and what a surprise, more research about how tech use is interfering with relationships, this from BYU.

Those of use who’ve studied how kids grow & learn won’t be surprised to learn that all this ‘technoference’ points to problematic child behaviour … as described in this study in the journal Child Development.  The study is also reported in a reader-friendly way … right here.   

Join the resistance!  Behold: Time Well Spent.  Check out the work of Sherry Turkle (thanks, Lauren), Anil Dash, and consider a relationship with Common Sense Media.

My husband shared this cynical piece from Slate with me, on Mother’s Day … It’s kinda funny but also a bit depressing, so I will make this my final gem for the day: a link shared with me by my Big Girl, from the beautiful Flow magazine.

highly distracted

Kia Ora friends and gentlegeeks,

This collection of links is brought to you from a public space, some borrowed WiFi, and a store-bought beverage.

I find it hard to concentrate in the hubbub of shared spaces … LORD I would hate to be a student in one of today’s modern learning situations.  (If you followed that previous link, please behold the shocking posture of those poor children).  Meanwhile, that there link just led to this one: which reminds us how challenging the vast classrooms are for a great many kids, like those with auditory processing disorders.  I wonder if I have one?  Is that why I cannot concentrate with distractions?

 

 

fetch wood, carry water.

Geeks!

When it all gets a bit much, I like to try and get back to basics.  And last week I heard the most beautiful summation of this need.  You probably already know it: Fetch wood, carry water.

It cuts through the busy-ness and the monkey mind and reminds us what is needed, here: today.  It also reminds me that sometimes even my calls for simplicity are too complex!  This is my t-shirt slogan of the week.  And it will inform my activities today, firewood being a vital part of my daily routines at this time of the year.

Before I head out and stack wood (*message to self: wear work gloves!  Why flirt with acquiring more splinters in my fingers … I’m currently nursing one on the ring finger of my right hand … OH how painful the o’s!) I will share a bunch of links with my fellow geeks.  Strangely, this serves to simplify my thinking.  It clears my desktops, literally and figuratively.

Here’s a lovely blog post about simplifying … it’s about satisfaction with a mediocre life (which doesn’t actually seem all that mediocre!)

Paradoxically now: some coveting.  Check this out … it’s a marble run that makes music.  Want!

This is a post from the Australian organisation called “baby in mind” and it is a list of books they recommend as relieving parenting anxiety.  LOVE!

Something completely different: a long essay by the amazing Elisa Albert (who wrote the mind-blowing After Birth) and this is about ambition.  It kicked my bum, a wee bit.

Now a reminder from Mothering magazine, that harsh parenting will lead to worse behaviour from kids, later.  Even the picture breaks my heart a wee bit.  And here is a splendid resouce that might break your heart a wee bit, too.  It’s a teaching video from the University of Washington’s iLab, thanks be to Jean Clinton for sharing it.

Here is an open letter to husbands from the Huffington Post – there is a break coming when you’re 67 – and THIS from Scientific American reminds us that most adults are spending more time on their digital devices than they think (want your kids to unplug?  Do it your damn self!!)  Super important, y’all.  Here is an article from the Independent in the UK linking toddler’s poor sleep patterns to touchscreen devices.  Holy ding dong.  What the heck?

This is a gorgeous online magazine made by teen girls for teen girls … Rookie.  Enjoy.

I think that’ll do for now.  Time for some wood stacking.  And gratitude for functional indoor plumbing, so that the second half of the “Fetch Wood Carry Water” mantra is theoretical only.

xxx

 

April? May!

Kia Ora friends

Sometimes family circumstances chew us up and spit us out.  As I pull rumpled bits of life back together, straighten them out like tin foil, I am grateful when they fit back together but open to the notion of rearranging the whole thing, altogether.

Anyway: what I’m saying is, April slid through my fingers like water.  Much love and big ups to the warm and loving group of early childhood teachers I workshopped with in late April.

A few links that have been on my mind and in my heart:

This is about how we are manipulated as we move around the internet.  It’s written by someone who was a Design Ethicist for Google, and is a magician.  Brilliant.  Important.  Makes me wonder why our children are being allowed internet technologies at school without being given information to allow them to critically think about the ways they’re being toyed with.

Because oh-ho-ho how they are being toyed with.  Did you see this?  About the leaked info demonstrating how cynical and uncaring Facebook are in the way they use information about their users, including (especially?!) vulnerable youth.

Meanwhile: something positive and cool … next Tuesday this event is being held at the Champion Centre, thanks be to IMHAANZ!  Can’t wait to get all up in Prof Jean Clinton’s sphere of influence!

Other goodness: this from Taranaki where their Circle of Security programme is being expanded HURRAH! and in Minnesota there are doulas helping incarcerated mamas.

Gratitude.

Waiau, Lincoln, and in between

If I were a cleverer geek I’d be able to insert a nice graphic from Saturday’s ECE Expo.  Alas, I am supremely human (ie: flawed as can be!) so I’ll ask you to just tolerate one of the ultra uncool, non-web-wonderful posts that are my default setting.

What a time it’s been.  I never reported back on the excellence of a visit to Waiau with the glorious Dr. Jackie and the extraordinary Steph from the Brainwave Trust Aotearoa.  What an amazing opportunity to connect with a warm, authentic, courageous group of families.  I honour the whole darned lot of yiz.

And this weekend was also an utter treat: Libby and her crew organised a professional and enriching day and I greatly cherished being able to present.  The folks in my session were open and engaged and willing … we had some fun, eh?

If you’d like to hear more from Dr. Perry and his profoundly transformative recipe:  ”Regulate, Relate, Reason”, check out this link, which includes a podcast.  Listen while you prep dinner!

And here is a link to the Buddhify app, which is just one of a quadrillion breath/meditation type helpers.  I adore it.  And give Adriene’s “Yoga Quickies” a try, for if you’ve just got a few minutes and need a reboot.  Love her!  Amazing!

(*btw two things I should have referenced on the day: the line “set yourself up for greatness” is one of Adriene’s, and the Imaginary Extra Day activity was inspired by a book called “The Gift of Play: Why Adult Women Stop Playing and How to Start Again”, by author Barbara Brannen. )

Also I referred to the awesomeness of Dr. Rick Hanson, you can find more about him here.  I enjoy all of his writing, including his weekly newsletters, and I subscribe to his podcast, too.  Check out Episode 4 for more of that “noticing that you are already oK” practice.  SO YUMMY AND WISE.

In other news, a couple here from Scientific American, first a graphic look at the impact of poverty on the brain (ugh) and this article expands the ideas represented in the first.

Another one from the “What the HECK?” file, this is a piece from Harvard Medical School about the far reaching benefits and implications of supporting breastfeeding.  American data, but interesting nonetheless.

This episode of the podcast ‘On Being’ blew my mind, and now I’m going to have to check out more from Anil Dash, because he might be the hope for a generation.   The latest episode of On Being has an interview with Bessel Van der Kolk, he of the Body Keeps the Score.  Y’know, I keep trying to get everyone to read it!  Can’t wait to listen to that one.

Another podcast in my queue, recommended by one of my favourite gals, and from one of my favourite ‘casts!  This looks awesome, from Radiolab.

Oh, and did I share this yet?  It’s about parenting teens.  Love them!  Trust them!  Cuddle their big bodies whenever they let you!

I haven’t time for much else this morning.  But look after yourself, please.  And look after your people.  And look after our beautiful land that we love as much as we love our people!

the normal baby geek thang

Kia Ora my friends

Today I’ll quickly do what I usually, traditionally do.  That is: to consolidate a variety of links of interest to today’s nerdy family enthusiast.  A one-stop shop for the modern overthinker.

I’ve been a bit derailed of late, and that is how life goes. Bear with: I will return to the campaign to free children from the tyranny of cellphones, but until then, enjoy some links.  Here they come, no particular order!

What Ho!  We begin with a couple of articles about screens!  Here is information about the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood’s annual screen free week, and won’t you please read this article in which the writer describes being without her smartphone and draws attention to MoodOff Day.  Right on!!!

No doubt: tech may have benefits but there are oh-so many ways she oversteps her bounds in the lives of families.  Check out this story from Germany.

Next up: an article to file under “I cannot believe this is a concept that needs defending” – it’s about the need to protect what Americans call recess.  We’d call it playtime.  Anyway – the article is from the Atlantic and here it is.   Speaking of Americans, one of my favourite gals on the globe shared this link with me this morn.  It’s the 5 Phrases that can Change Your Child’s Life.  Love it!  Thanks, MInne. x

Here is a very useful summary of Attachment Theory, in an article from the New York Times, and WHAT THE WHAT?  Trees talk to each other and recognise their offspring.  Science said so!

Two more: this is a super cool PDF about Play from the Alliance for Childhood (the book on their homepage looks wicked cool) and this is about marketing food to children (as in, let’s not).  

That’s all for now my geeky friends.  It’s AUTUMNAL out there, and I wanna be in it.

grief! you again.

So sad today, my friends.

a mate has been helping us rebuild our deck.  He has been bringing his buddy & neighbour, day after day for what feels like all summer.  This buddy has demonstrated himself to be a kind, authentic, funny dude.  A warm and gentle guy who happens to kick ass on the drums when he’s not working hard and making great suggestions with the deck.

He was here on Friday and was due back on Monday morn.

This morning, unexpectedly, he died.  30 years old.  Leaving behind a bewildered woman, and two little kids, all of whom he spoke about with such pride and love it was visible in his face.

I’m reeling.  So, so sad.

reluctant radicalism – cell phones at school. The new smoking. Ugh.

My big girl is thirteen, she’s just started high school.  And she is one of very, very few children whose parents have not put a cellphone into her hands.

I’m hearing of subtle and insidious ways that the staff’s behaviour (interval/morning tea time is announced with “OK, phone time!”) and policies (“take a photo of the school notice with your phones”, “we will text you if there’s a change”) seem to blindly assume that more tech is better.

I’ve yet to find a representation of an opposing view, questioning or critical thinking.  I have not seen evidence of an awareness for the need for a balanced approach.  There have yet to be conversations about responsible use of the tool, or the risks associated with it.

Risks, you say?  Ummm … yup.

Let’s review a handful of studies dealing with cell phones and adolescents, shall we?

Intensive cell phone use was associated with female sex, rural school location, good family economy, smoking tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, depression, cell phone dependence, and school failure. More health education is needed to promote correct and effective cell phone use among adolescents. Factors associated with intensive use and dependence should be considered for possible intervention activities.

 

With apologies for the random and non-APA status of my references, a citation for that is here: Mercedes Sánchez-Martínez and Angel Otero. CyberPsychology & Behavior. April 2009, 12(2): 131-137. doi:10.1089/cpb.2008.0164.

Or check this out, from the journal of BMC Public Health, in 2011:

High frequency of mobile phone use at baseline was a risk factor for mental health outcomes at 1-year follow-up among the young adults. The risk for reporting mental health symptoms at follow-up was greatest among those who had perceived accessibility via mobile phones to be stressful. Public health prevention strategies focusing on attitudes could include information and advice, helping young adults to set limits for their own and others’ accessibility.

 

Here are some findings from another paper dealing with the mental health issues:

Measured cell phone use (CPUse) to include the device’s complete range of functions.

 

CPUse was negatively related to students’ actual Grade Point Average (GPA).

 

CPUse was positively related to anxiety (as measured by Beck’s Anxiety Inventory).

 

GPA was positively and anxiety was negatively related to Satisfaction with Life (SWL).

 

Path analysis showed CPUse is related to SWL as mediated by GPA and anxiety.

 

You can find that here: Computers in Human Behavior  Volume 31, February 2014, Pages 343–350

There are risks to the mental health of our children.  That’s not all:

There are many academic papers dealing with the development of scales to measure cell phone addiction in adolescents, (because this is a universal problem!) (eg: Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing . Dec2009, Vol. 39 Issue 6, p818-828).  We don’t even know the longterm effects on our eyesight, posture, and fine motor functioning.  There is some evidence to suggest there are negative impacts on our reproductive health (and to be clear: I really want grandchildren some day!)

This is a bit like our attitude to tobacco a century ago!  Everybody’s doing it, let’s hope for the best!!

School is where our kids are supposed to become smarter, and yet the use of smartphones has been proven to dumb us down;  OBSERVE:

Lower analytic thinking associates with increased Smartphone use.

 

Results suggest that people offload thinking to the device.

 

Supports conceptualization of Smartphone use as a type of cognitive miserliness.

That’s from the journal Computers in Human Behavior, Volume 48, July 2015, Pages 473–480, a paper called The brain in your pocket: Evidence that Smartphones are used to supplant thinking.  

More dumbing down happens with excessive use of social media:

There was significant relationship between Facebook use and anxiety, while cell phone owners perceived themselves as more outgoing, cheerful, and sensitive. A significant proportion of teenagers indicated that their cell phone was inextricably wrapped with their identity and even their sense of self-worth. Results from the survey suggested a statistically significant, negative relationship between Facebook activity and math grades of the respondents.

 

That’s from a paper called: Facebook Use and Texting Among African American and Hispanic Teenagers.  An Implication for Academic Performance  It was written by E. Bun Lee and published in 2014.

This paper (Adolescent in-school cellphone habits: A census of rules, survey of their effectiveness, and fertility implications, it’s from the journal called Reproductive Toxicology, Volume 32, Issue 3, November 2011, Pages 354–359) looked at school policies, check out their recommendation at the end:

All schools banned private use of cellphones in class. However, 43% of student participants admitted breaking this rule. A high-exposure group of risk-takers was identified for whom prohibited in-school use was positively associated with high texting rates, carrying the phone switched-on >10 h/day, and in-pocket use.

The fertility literature is inconclusive, but increasingly points towards significant time- and dose-dependent deleterious effects from cellphone exposure on sperm. Genotoxic effects have been demonstrated from ‘non-thermal’ exposures, but not consistently.

There is sufficient evidence and expert opinion to warrant an enforced school policy removing cellphones from students during the day.

 

We clearly need debate, discussion, calm heads and reasonable policies that have been designed by adults (those of us with the fully formed cortexes) to protect children.

This is lunacy.  A device that is associated with a host of negative health outcomes is having its use encouraged without question.

Kids: it’s morning tea time.  Get your tobacco out.  Have at it.

 

The Centre of Champions

Kia Ora friends,

I had a lovely morning with the dedicated and delightful crew of the Champion Centre earlier this week.  We buzzed out about the work of The Child Trauma Academy, specifically the gems from last year’s International Symposium on the Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics.  I wonder which keen Kiwis will attend next time?

Hey: remember how I referred to the existence of Brain Maps but I didn’t really teach about them because I’m not qualified in the appropriate ways?  Well, here is some more info about them … perhaps you’re thinking of becoming NMT certified and nek minnit, I dunno, completing your PhD …?

In no particular order, I said I’d share various things … the book I recommended so highly (*don’t just order it, actually read it!!) is The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.  Mind Blowing stuff.  Here is a link to a lecture he gave … thanks YouTube.  Y’all are great.

So great!  Here is another YouTube link: this one to a talk by Stuart Ablon – he of the “Kids Do Well if they Can” mantra.  Dig this.  I reckon this fulla is the business.

And in conversation with Marie, her beautiful daughter and dreamy grandbaby, I referred to the beautiful work that the Brainwave Trust had done in carefully & rationally reviewing all the info about the impact of group care on babies.  Check out a short, long, and aural version here.  

Such a joy to work with such dedicated, giving professionals.  Arohanui x x x

Kia Ora, 2017

220px-Daisy_chainAren’t you a tantalising new year then, eh?  Unfolding provocatively, with your opportunities and stressors, joys and delights!  I welcome you!

Quick few links to share, then I’m gonna crack on with my yoga practice – 31 day challenge, love you Adriene!

First up, please join me in celebrating the values of scheduling fewer activities for our children.  This term we have Big Girl about to start high school and Little Girl gearing up for primary school … I have hit ‘pause’ on ALL activities.  Swimming, piano: PAUSE.  We’ll pick ‘em back up term two.  Let’s all catch our breath with a new system, first.

Here is an article from the NY Times about a loving librarian (dreamy … the moral of the story is TURN UP for what you believe is important) and on the subject of books, check out these wee beauties, from Japan.  COVET!

From reading to writing: those of us with children and things to say will appreciate this article, from the Guardian.  I have not shared with my Geeky brothers and sisters yet, but OH MY CRIKEY GOODNESS look at this amazing project I’m getting to work on just now. Careful what you wish for!

Here is an article from Scientific American about the changes to our brains after pregnancy (just as well, really) and from the Atlantic, an article about the amazingness of babies.  It blows my mind how many people still think that infants are ‘blank slates’ and still haven’t received the memo of their magnificence!!

This is interesting: an examination of the skills that job seekers need to thrive … of course we all know that the best time to influence job seekers is DURING THEIR INFANCY!  Thanks, Professor Heckman!  For realz, how long has it been since you brushed up on The Heckman Equation?

Time to crack on.  My yoga mat, she calls to me.  And my kids will awaken at any moment! x x x