link slam

Here we go … cos I’ve gotta go meet the school bus in a jiff, but I’ve also gotta share links with my geeky pals.

Nice article here about treating children with respect, and now won’t you behold this splendid long read from the Guardian about the diabolical genius of the baby advice industry.  (hehe)

This is an interesting paper about education and the 4th industrial revolution (ie tech) and I simply love the pushback against neoliberalism.  Says the woman who had to pay for fees at university when her parents’ generation did not.

Here is a summary of the AAP’s screen time recommendations for children under 6, and it sure as heck does not include social media for kids.  Tim Cook from Apple gets it, while Mark Zuckerberg clearly does not.  Please sign this petition  to tell him that you reckon Facebook for 5 year olds is a crap idea.   In fact, if you wanna, you could go ahead and use this awesome resource for creating a family screen time action plan.

Some cool stuff now: a post about the joy of making do (OH!  I get this! Love!), here is an awesome paper about doing good to feel good, and now from the NY Times, a piece about the benefits of having a purpose in life.  

How about some amazing birth photos?  Thanks OHbaby.  Last one, cos little girl is home and we need to hang out.  This is a crazy article from our hot NZ summer about how parents are so distracted by their flippin cell phones that kids are drowning.  For the love of everything that’s holy.  Turn the sucker off when poolside!

new year, new links

Image result for felt nz bubbles

Highlight of the summer thus far: giant bubbles.  (thanks, Bubbleon)

Sisters!  Brothers!  Geeks of all breadths and hues … welcome.

This geek has been attempting something akin to a holiday … a staycation, in the modern vernacular.  I’d like to pretend it’s been all drinks-with-umbrellas and joyful laughter, but the truth is much crunchier than that.  I’d love to be a fly on the wall of other homes, to see what happens when nobody’s watching.  Are other mothers as grouchy as I?  Do other husbands retreat to their devices as quickly as mine?  Are other 5 year olds as swift to dissolve into rage as my daughter is?  And what of the other teens?  Are their eyerolls as accomplished?

I do believe that it’s too easy for us to imagine the best of others and the worst of ourselves, when the more useful thing would be to offer the same compassion to ourselves (and our spouses, our children, heck … even our slow-to-mature potato plants!) that we routinely offer to others.

You know what helps me?  Yoga.  January means 30 days of yoga with Adriene.  I’ve done 3 of these challenges before, and they are DIVINE.  This year is no exception.  Check ‘er out here. LOVE YOU, ADRIENE kiss kiss x x x   I’m up to day 12 and finding such joy.

Anyway, alongside my attempts at holidaying, the year thus far has been a time to work on getting ducks in a row for the new year.  I have study in my future, research to do, issues that I’d like to sit and stare at.  I need to think deeply for weeks at a time.  The trickiness emerges when us mamas have hopes for our lives beyond parenting (be it work, advocacy, study, training of one kind or another) and then parenting rises up – daily, repeatedly, at least a half dozen times already during this itty bitty post.

The constancy of interruption in my life is one of the consistencies thereof.  Irony!  Hi!  How’s it going?

And listen: the fight for our own attention is one of the reasons I continue to oxygenate the battle against the dominance of the screens, especially with regards to our kids.  Please: behold this webinar “Screen Time & Family Relationships“, brought to you by the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, and starring Dr. Richard Freed.   I watched it live (ok, I put some laundry away as well …I’m still working to break the multitasking habit, oK?) but watch it NOW!  And join the Network, it’s free.

Other links, then I’m off down the river with my peeps.

The same beautiful peeps who challenge and berate and INTERRUPT me.  I will try to find something new in each of them, today.  Esther Perel  would insist!

This is from Zero to Three, and it’s some sobering data about how little most people report to know about early brain development.  Still got work to do, homies.  Speaking of work to do, this is one take on the early childhood education scene in NZ at the mo.  Factory Farms.  Sigh.

Here is a link from Mothering, describing Pope Francis and his healthy attitude to breastfeeding.  And this is a link to an article I wrote for OHbaby! a while back.   Did I tell yiz about the most recent issue and the work I did in there?  Might have to share that laters.  That is a special magazine, y’know.  The calibre of editors is second to none!

As we put the final shovels of earth onto the grave of 2017, I must acknowledge the beauty of this writing by Emily Writes for the Spinoff (so good) on the subject of parenting at Christmas time.  I tried to create a similar type of comradery the previous Christmas, just with different words y’know.  And as January chugs along, I once again wish to raise a toast to the kin keepers, because we are sorting school uniforms, assessing the state of the 1B4′s (how many can be reused?  How many must be bought?) and sniffing lunchboxes.  Repairing zips on backpacks, stocking up on socks.  Unseen.  Undervalued.

Is it any wonder we can get a bit worn down and cynical, hmmm?

If you ain’t feeling the new year, check out these 5 ways to get motivated.  If you can muster the enthusiasm to click the link, that is.

Tuesday cruiseday

I’ve been working on a collaborative writing project, but today I’ve been stood up by my writing partner!

Instead of fretting, I’m embracing.  Feels like an unexpected day off, to catch up on stuff like updating the ol’ bloggity blog (Kia Ora!) and I just might fold some washing and do a bit more work on an article I’ve been slogging away at.

Oooooh … or I could unroll my mat and indulge some sneaky online practice: Yoga with Adriene, I love you.    What would you do with some unexpected hours to yourself?

First, please enjoy some links from your geeky friend (that’s me).

First, another angle on the importance of relationship.  This is from the folks at Harvard Medical School and it touches on the value of existing relationships between patients and doctors.  You don’t say … !

Here is a link to a piece by the Scientific American summarising some interesting findings from (their descriptor, not mine!) a Giant Brain Fest.   And even though they shouldn’t have to, here is some info about the ways that the American Academy of Pediatrics is advocating for children to have access to recess (we’d call it ‘playtime’).

Here is a li’l something from Mothering mag, about the ways that loving touch can alter an infant’s DNA,  and HERE is a piece from the Atlantic about Tristan Harris, who I love.  He founded the “Time Well Spent” movement, and he is like Jamie Oliver promoting healthy eating to fast food lovers … except the fast food is addictive technology, and his name is Tristan, not Jamie.  But still … you get my analogy, eh?

I love how they use WMD – not as “Weapons of Mass Destruction” as that abbreviation has historically been used, but as “Wireless Mobile Devices”, with the destructive potential implied.

Also, same but different, this from the Guardian … a piece about a rehab in Washington State for those addicted to tech.

Finally, a sweet video from the lovely outgoing editor of OHbaby! mag, Ellie.  Enjoy x x x

things I get to do …

Alrighty … so the power of language is well documented (*never more enjoyably than in THIS EPISODE of the podcast “On Being”) and just lately I’ve been playing with “get to” instead of “have to”, or “should”.

I have to feed the calf.  I have to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I should weed my veggie garden.  I should write that essay.

I get to feed the calf.  I get to organise an early dinner for my kids tonight, so we can go out.  I get to weed my veggie garden.  I get to write that essay.

Reminds me to have gratitude for the blessings that are wrapped up in those sentences.  Reminds me to look for the blessings.

Quick link dump, then.

Fab article here about the many and unexpected benefits of teaching kids philosophy in schools (YUM!!)  Even pro-business publications are making the case for it!

Parents want some life skills in schools, too, apparently.  Could we categorise philosophising as a life skill?  Man, teachers are going to be busy.

Good paper here, balanced and calm writing about adolescents and tech.  FLIP.   We gotta set some limits.

(OH MY GOODNESS it works here too.  Instead of “We have to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use …We get to set limits on our kids’ and our own tech use.  Empowering.  Yeah!)

Anyway, This is a quote from that aforementioned paper:

The Pew Internet and American Life Project Foundation synthesized results from their survey of over 1000 technology stakeholders and critics in a report with the less-than-decisive, but I think ultimately accurate, title of “Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives”


Here is a list of scary things about the internet (with an outdated Halloween theme.  Sorry.)  And here is an article by a doctor from Harvard about what parents need to know (*Get to know!!) about children and mobile digital devices.  Kids and cellphones.  Y’know.

I read this some years ago, but it’s still great … and for some reason, this week it recrossed my path so, SHARE I shall.  Wild Play.  God, I loved the book Savage Park.

In other news, I was super proud of the kiwi doctor who has had self care put in the medical oath.  Is it called Hippocratic?

Finally, for joy’s sake:

Flower beards: I love them SO MUCH.

deep breaths and crossed eyes

oh babyat last … I’ve made it out into my glorious office and photographed the OHbaby! mag which houses my article about Technoference.  Oh, friends and gentlegeeks, if money (and courage!) were limitless I’d rush off to Rome for the World Infant Mental Health Congress in May next year.  Just to hear Jenny Radesky and her “Digital Media in the Dyad” prez.  Swoon!

But alas … I’m neither rich enough NOR am I sufficiently brave.  Travel often feels pretty daunting.  I managed a trip to Canada last year, communing with other disciples of the Gospel according to Bruce. 

But a foreign language, another whole continent away?  For a New Zealander to even think about Rome you’d have to pad it with ages either side, to justify the costs.  Both the monetary expense and the time.  Uproot the whole family for a good month.  Spend as much as it’s going to cost to fix the laundry/kitchen conundrum.

Too much, too soon for this geek.

Ah … a wise local recently reminded me: for everything there is a season, etc.

For today, I’ll stay home with an ailing teen and tend to some office time.

First … may I share some links?

I’ll start with some light reading for the nerdily inclined … a paper published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  It’s by Jenny Radesky and others, and then an awesome longread article by the Guardian about smartphone addiction … the dude who invented the “Like” button and his peers all send their kids to schools without screens.

Mark my bloody words:  To learn to think creatively enough to be able to build such immensely complex and innovative things as iPads and apps and pull-down refresh functions. … you gotta have a childhood full of relational richness and hands-on play.  Nature and sunshine and eye contact.  Opportunities to lose yourself in discovery and enjoyment.

Meanwhile … what are we like?

What are we actually like?

Honestly, I could go on all day.

Between the angsting about technoference (think of the children!  And not just to sell stuff to them!)  and the all the coveting I’ve been doing (WANT and WANT) I’ve barely had time for much else.  School holidays are over, of course, which changes things a bit.

Speaking of schools, there’s been another conversation about teaching values/life skills (dare I say it!  Social and emotional intelligence stuff!) in the classroom.  I’m kinda all for it, but remind us all that amazing things like Roots of Empathy, and the Nurture Groups, and other cool things exist.  We can call on existing ideas with evidence based results.  We can do better than dodgy posture and other forms of self harm.   We can find ways to heal.

We bloody well ought to.  Digital focus, my eye.

Life, eh!   What, ho!  What a ride.


quick … while the room is empty

you know, one of the more challenging bits of being outspoken about the dangers of tech overuse … my kids have zero tolerance for a hypocritical mother.  (Yummy blog post HERE from the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood about the Camp Grounded experience).  So school hols are a difficult time to get to my computer and do even the bare minimum.

But OH!  The links I have to share!

Here come a flurry thereof: First, from the Washington Post, this is AMAZING on so many levels!  This is your brain on Art … enjoy.  Next, further evidence, it seems, of our profound interrelatedness.  This is a snippet about some research done at Penn State, demonstrating how a mother’s relational wellbeing with her partner may have implications for her baby’s state.

Speaking of research: this is PROFOUND … it’s from MIT.  Behold the poetry of the academic abstract!  Wade through for useful insights.  Shared meals, touch.  Yup.

OH MY GODDESS I just loved this, from, about Mother Culture.  Sign me up.  I reckon Podcasts go a long way toward filling my head with juicy content.

Here is a small local piece of news (I think it’s from Rhode Island?) where students are requesting screen-free time in classrooms.   Poor buggers.  And it’s so modest, what they’re asking for.  Meanwhile check this out … an organisation called Protect Young Eyes, who are all about digital safety for kids.  As am I.

For the Halloween inclined, this is a list of costumes for girls … non-slutty costumes, non-princess-dependent costumes, thanks to the awesome “Mighty Girl” website.  In a totally different direction, here is a sheet for teachers … what you oughta know about adoption.  

This is a link to an odd and cool take on the relationship between sleep and brains (oooh!  Jellyfish!) and another conversation about brains and other creatures … what the heck, pusscats, poop, and brain parasites.  YOWZER.    Finally, and this is from Mothering as well, an article about what Self Care looks like when Mama is depressed.  Thank you.

Anyway, I have to share a pic of the most recent OhBaby, which has an article I wrote about Technoference … but the rain is relentless and my office (in a separate building, albeit on the same property!) seems a long way away.  So bear with, K?

letters to editor

letter editor tallKia Ora friendly geeks,

This picture is one I just snapped from the Letters to the Editor page of the latest Tots to Teens magazine.  I am delighted to report that the article those readers found useful was one that I created.  You can read it here.  It’s a phenomenon I thought others would recognise, and LO!  IT is SO!

We are more alike than we know.  The ways we are the same are so many more than the ways we differ.  Important to consider this week, as we slide toward election day in NZ.  It is no secret that I am a left-leaning, progressive liberal and this is the way I will vote.  No matter your politics, I just hope everyone who can vote, does.  Especially the women!

A couple of links now … this is more of the stuff I’ve been sharing plenty of, it’s about the benefits of hand writing notes.  Laptops away!

And PRAISE BE for this wisdom … I love you Golden Bay!!!  It is wise for schools to switch off WiFi at lunchtime.  People need to practice being the ADULTS to their teens.  Wiser, and Kind.  Because without intervention, young people may wind up like THIS!  Thanks, Harvard Business Review, for highlighting the impending epidemic that is the inability relate to other humans!  JEEZ, LOUISE!!   Anyone else worried?? 

This is an important article about a worrying trend in early childhood education – the size of these centres is downright alarming and not conducive to quality!!  Interesting to juxtapose that article with this one, about school readiness.  Or not-readiness, as the case may be.

This is an awesome article from the Girl Scouts of America, about one of the ways that girlhood is sexualised prematurely and unnecessarily.  Catcalling. Ugh.  I remember that happening to me when I was ridiculously young, and the shame I felt … even though I’d done nothing wrong … UGH!  I’d have been sub-11.  UGH!!!

a few links on a Thursday

Kia Ora te whānau

What a week!  Had a beautiful workshop with teachers on Tuesday arvo, I’ll be back to work with the parents of the self-same preschool on Tuesday night.  Groovester.  Meanwhile, tomorrow I’m teaching a coupla workshops (play as springboard to classroom curriculum, yes, even in primary school!) and delivering a keynote (technoference-ish stuff).  Big!  Busy!

Irony not lost – perfect late-winter weather out there, and what am I doing?  Tapping away indoors, encouraging less engagement with screens by … what, what! … engaging with my screen.

Anyway, let’s share a few links, shall we?  First, from the Atlantic, an excellent piece about the free preschools of Boston.  Play, you say?  Well supported & educated teachers?  Radical!  (not)  Now, from the Guardian, enjoy this write up about the rise of low-tech schools in high-tech regions.

It’s been a wee while since I shared the excellent organisation known as TRUCE (teachers resisting unhealthy children’s entertainment) … their ideas are excellent and their toy guides are worth downloading/sharing.  Speaking of unhealthy entertainment, this is a link to a v good episode of the EXCELLENT ‘Hidden Brain’ podcast, from NPR.  This episode deals with the tomfoolery that exists within social media.  

Essential reading, now … This is an article from Psychology Today that just made my heart bounce with recognition. YES!  We know what works, evolutionarily.  We deviate at our peril!

All this stuff is worth paying attention to … apparently rates of empathy are on the decline, and as Dr Bruce Perry would say, empathy is both endangered and ESSENTIAL.

Finally, Life is Fine xxx


All hail the Amberley Medical Centre!

Kia Ora friends and geeks,

It was almost a week ago that a group of noble parents (and this geek) gathered together in Los Amberleys to discuss Technoference.

Even since that night, more extraordinary stuff has crossed my desk.  Both are long-form articles from the Atlantic, and both are worth a read.  This one asks whether Smartphones have destroyed an entire generation, (answer: possibly) and this explores even more deeply the ways that our phones can distract even when they’re turned off.

This is a TED talk by Tristan Harris, one of the founders of the Time Well Spent movement, and here is his article.  Share it with your kids!

Another awesome TED talk that I’ve shared previously (but I’m consolidating a bunch of stuff for my new Technoference buddies, so bear with!) is THIS, by Sherry Turkle, and I urge you to listen to this outstanding interview from the Podcast “On Being”, with Anil Dash, about Tech’s Moral Reckoning.  AMAZING.

If I’d promised you more, please let me know, and I will share it.  For now, I’m going to get away from this screen.

x x xx

many things, much stuff

Kia Ora dear friends and lovely geeks

I’m just gonna dive into some link sharing, sans preamble.  Tons, today:

First, a link to a report about some research that reminds us to hold our babies, A LOT.  There is no such thing as too much!  (*unless your arms are sore, in which case you gotta get a sling).  And THIS is from the London School of Economics, about the role of money in children’s lives (spoiler that is not really a spoiler: inequality is not our friend).

Here is an interesting wee article from Mothering mag, it’s about breastfeeding practices all over the world.  Go, Mongolia, go!  And here is the Washington Post, reporting on research about fathers’ differing habits with their girl- or boy-babies.  Meanwhile, this is a li’l something from Harvard Medical School about the evolution of our brains.

So this weird thing happens now and then where the people raising a ruckus about the stuff I care about are those who seemingly sit on the opposite (i.e. Right!) of the political spectrum to me and my lefty ways.  It is true here, where a group of concerned New Zealanders are questioning the amount of screen time in schools.  Yeah, I’m worried too! On a similar subject: check out THIS from Scientific American, about the ways that students are better off WITHOUT a laptop in the classroom.   And one for good luck, research from Penn State about how texting is just too tempting for students.

Finally, cos I gotta sort domestic stuff before school is over and my kids need their mama, this is a link to a page from the excellent Conversation about parental involvement in education.  Irony!  Hello!  You’re never far away, are you?