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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Dr. Jack Maypole: Potty Training On The Go!

little-feet-dangling-off-the-potty_t20_yrozr0For that parent in the eternal state of carpooling or attending to the business of life maintenance, the messy of business of potty training a child ‘in the field’ is best done so you are not literally potty training in the field. Here are a few tips, that are more based in pragmatics than in best evidence, however they are spun from the better elements of learning theory and motivation.

For starters, set your expectations low and don’t feel pressured to succeed in potty training when you are a family on the go (no pun intended). Kids are sharp, and will pick up if you are stressed about NOT having an accident. Frankly, if it bothers you overly much, continue your good work at home and talk frankly and reasonably that wearing an ‘about town’ diaper when going to the supermarket is normal. Is a child unhappy about a diaper? Make it a ‘big kid pullup’ and as with all things potty training, maximize praise for compliance and meeting goals (Peeing in the toilet, or letting you know that they need to go…or just went), and avoiding–at all costs–getting upset, freaked out or mad if there is a (well named) accident.

If you are ready to take a chance, and to push the envelope and take a child out (assuming they are progressing well in their home potty training, that they have developmentally appropriate milestones, and are in good health) then I recommend parents begin with short hops (trip to the corner store, nearby playground, or a short dog walk going sans diaper. When one gets home from a trip out of the house without a diaper or pullup, celebrate. Praise. Clapping. Stickers. High fives.

Over days and trips, venture further and consider going without a diaper as long as a child seems engaged and excited about doing well. Don’t fuss over the inevitable setbacks.

And, make a pit stop before you run out the door. And: go light on the beverages as able.

Taken altogether, kids will soon (and eventually) arrive home dry. Celebrate accordingly!

Dr. Maypole, member of The Goddard School’s Educational Advisory Board, is a well-respected pediatrician, associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the Comprehensive Care Program at Boston Medical Center.

Learning through Meal Prepping: Five Benefits of Encouraging Children to Pack Their Own Lunches

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Letting children assist with packing their own lunches can be beneficial. You can teach your children about responsibility and portion control and boost their creativity and decision-making skills by inviting your children into the kitchen with you for a lesson. Here are five benefits of allowing children to help prepare their own lunches.

It emphasizes portion control. Bento-box lunch containers are an easy and exceptionally helpful tool for teaching your child about portion sizes and meal organization. When your children select their lunch items with you, provide them with a bento-box container and explain what healthy meal portions look like. They can use the bento box to pack their lunches, which helps them visualize and be aware of the portion sizes they are packing.

It introduces the importance of nutrition. Your children’s favorite go-to treats, such as fruit snacks and cookies, don’t necessarily make some of the healthiest snacks. When they’re in the kitchen with you, teach them about what the key food groups are and how those food groups keep their minds and bodies well nourished. Provide different vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains and dairy products, and let them choose what to put into their lunch bags. Guide them to pack meals with all the food groups.

It aids in independent learning and decision making. When your children are preparing their lunches with you in the kitchen, give them options for what to pack. Allow them to choose from two or three different things. Do they want a chicken sandwich, a turkey sandwich or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Do they want carrots or cucumbers? Do they want strawberries, apples or grapes? Once they decide, let them gather and pack their choices, and then help them focus on the next food group. Once you establish a routine, they will make quicker decisions. Picking their own meals lets them feel independent and accomplished.

It boosts creativity and introduces the art of cooking.
Getting your children into the kitchen at a young age helps them start cooking and learning the steps it takes to create a meal. Instead of providing them with premade and wrapped turkey sandwiches, let them make some with you. Start by letting them select the bread, get out the condiments and select the meat, cheese and toppings they want on their delicious sandwiches. This shows them how much time, effort, creativity and skill it takes to make a proper lunch.

It teaches responsibility, routines and time management. Whether you pack meals after dinner or after your children get home from school, make sure to schedule a meal-preparation time that works best for your family. Meet in the kitchen at your designated time, and start preparing the lunches. By establishing a routine, such as meeting every night or twice a week at 7 PM, you will be familiarizing your children with following a schedule, helping them plan meals. If you want to make meal preparation more fun, consider getting a small chalkboard or whiteboard to keep in your kitchen. Have your children write out the days of the week and the foods they want in their lunchboxes each day. This can keep you organized, and it encourages your children to start planning meals.

8 Ways to Make a Weekend at Home Feel Like a Family Vacation

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You don’t need to go anywhere to capture the vacation vibe.

Spring and summer school breaks are coming up, and while many of my friends hop on the first plane, train, or rental car outta the city year after year, my family and I have found ourselves stuck at home many times in the past. The thing is: We’re all feeling it, the vacation itch. That’s why I like to bring the vacation vibe to us for special weekends. From decor to activities–and most of all, mindset!–we make weekends at home feel like the best family vacation ever.

Unplug

This is a tough one (at my house, anyway), but at least try. Put your phones, tablets, and computers in a drawer–padlocked if necessary–and spend the weekend like you’re on a desert island, devoid of news updates, texts, and annoying robocalls. You will survive, and maybe even feel refreshed.

Change the Decor

Go nuts with colorful flowers and funky lighting, and hide your regular artwork and rugs to take “your house” out of your house. So maybe you’re not at a fancy hotel in the Swiss Alps, but you’ll barely recognize your digs and will have a blast setting up (and then luxuriating in) this alternate universe.

Eat Exotic Foods

Roll your own pasta (it’s not as hard as it sounds!) and toss in a little Puttanesca sauce to bring the flavors of Naples to your kitchen. If you’d prefer to take a break from cooking, order a lavish Mediterranean meal or a Spanish feast if there’s a tapas restaurant in town, or get something decadent online, like Russian caviar. And don’t stop there. Go the extra mile by bringing in exotic dessert or candy to go with it. After a wedge of Turkish Baklava or a box of Baci (y’know, the delicious Italian chocolates that come with a message inside), you’ll feel like you spent the day anywhere but home.

Switch It Up

Do you usually eat dinner in the dining room? Try a picnic on the bedroom floor. Maybe you’ll get leave some crumbs, but that’s what the vacuum is for. Similarly, skip your queen-sized bed and have a slumber party in the living room or under the kitchen table (maybe vacuum first, in this scenario).

Bring Camping to You

If you have a yard or garden, pitch a tent out there and eat dinner under the stars before cozying up to sleep. Once you’re zipped inside a tent, you really won’t notice if you’re in your yard or atop the Rocky Mountains. This way has some added conveniences in that you can wash your hands after they get covered in s’mores and the beer will stay cold in the fridge.

Have a Rave

Glow sticks: check. Bubbles: check. Techno: Well, my daughter will make sure it’s Selena Gomez–but, check. If you can’t make it to Ibiza this summer, turn out the lights, have a fashion contest to see who can come up with the wildest outfit, and boogie down till sunrise.

Throw a Film Festival

Pick a theme, from beach movies to French thrillers, and hunker down for a lazy weekend of nothin’ but movies. Create a themed cocktail or amuse-bouche for each film and see if you can borrow a projector from a friend to get the full experience. To really build a retro vibe of a drive-in movie experience, serve a classic snack like Entenmanns’s Minis Apple Snack Pies–what’s more of an American staple than apple pie made by a baked goods company founded in 1898?

Make It a Spa Weekend

Go to Sephora and load up on sheet masks, then start lighting scented candles, ripping off rose petals, and running a hot bubble bath. If you really want to feel decadent, find a local masseuse who does house calls and turn those muscles to mush in the comfort of your own home.

*This piece is sponsored by Entenmann’s.

 

This article was written by Alex Richards from Real Simple and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Ways to Make Tough Conversations with Kids Easier

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1. Time it right.

Weekend mornings are preferable because you’re not rushing to get everyone out the door and your kids can return to you—and the topic—if they have more questions or fears later in the day. Many kids (and grownups) are grouchy and exhausted by the evening.

“And even if your kids seem to be in a great mood, a drowsy brain can’t take in information as well, and any tears or anxious questions make it hard to wind down for sleep,” says Dawn Huebner, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of the self-help children’s book

2. Rehearse beforehand.

If the situation is emotional for you—for example, your pet needs to be put down or someone in your family is sick—take time to practice what you’re going to say, either in front of a mirror or with your partner or a close friend. That will help you keep your composure and deliver the news in the way that you want, says Dr. Huebner. “It’s okay for kids to see that their parents are sad, but the initial conversation sets the tone, and if you’re sobbing or stumbling over your words, your children may feel frightened.”

3. Speak on their level.

Complex concepts such as moving, divorce, or death are difficult for children to comprehend, says Paige Greytok, a family psychotherapist in Greenwich, Connecticut. If you flood your kids with all the nitty-gritty details, they may get overwhelmed or shut down. Instead, use short and straightforward sentences with age-appropriate explanations.

4. Validate in the moment.

Labeling emotions can help your young child put words to whatever feelings bubble up. For instance, you can say, “It sounds like that makes you sad” or “Is that scary?” But resist the urge to jump into fix-it mode. “It’s tempting to minimize feelings by saying something like ‘Don’t be afraid,’ but remember, whatever your child is feeling is real and valid to her,” says Dr. Huebner. “Children need to ‘feel felt’ before they can move on to things like processing and problem solving.”

5. Check back in.

The conversation isn’t over when it ends, points out Greytok. With a hard topic, kids will have further questions, so make it clear that you’re always available to discuss this again and that they can come to you with any questions or worries, big or small.

 

This article was written by Kate Rockwood from Parents and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

How to Set Up a Playdate for Your Kid When You Don’t Know Where to Start

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Recently, I was lamenting to my friend (a kindergarten teacher) that I wanted my son to have more playdates but didn’t know where to begin. I’m not super close with the other parents, and the idea of calling up a near stranger and asking her to come over with her child at 11 a.m. on a Saturday felt, well, daunting. More to the point, I actually didn’t even know whom to approach, since my son’s narration of his life at preschool is suspect, to say the least. (Oh really? Your best buddy is Marshall from Paw Patrol?) 

My friend (never one to let me wallow) had a genius idea: Ask his teachers who he plays with.

Emboldened, I texted the head teacher, Diane, letting her know that I was looking to set up some weekend playdates and wanted her advice for who to invite. Within 30 seconds, she had responded: Caroline, Jake, Asher and Rosie.*

I then dug up the preschool listserve and emailed the moms one by one. “Hey! I was chatting with Diane the other day, and she mentioned that our kids have been playing together really well. We’d love to host a playdate so they could see each other on the weekend some time.”

The response was overwhelming. As it turns out, everyone was feeling the same way—wanting to plan social get-togethers but nervous to make the first move. And, because I was inviting kids we knew he got along with, the playdates have, for the most part, gone really well. (What’s a pee accident or two among friends?) 

The takeaway: Your child’s teachers are angels from heaven. Ask them for help. And give them really nice Christmas gifts.

*Names have been changed to protect the non-toy-sharers

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

What Is Authoritative Parenting and Should You Try It?

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While The Goddard School does not endorse the use of time-outs to discipline children, we do understand that parents have their own philosophies on parenting, so we present this article in its entirety.

You know what they say: Raising a kid doesn’t come with instructions. Fortunately, there are a few helpful tools at your disposal, including a tried-and-true parenting technique called “authoritative parenting.” Here’s what you need to know.

What is it? Coined by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind in the 1960s, authoritative parenting is a style of child-rearing characterized by setting high expectations for your kids but giving them the resources and emotional support they need to succeed. It’s considered to be the happy medium between authoritarian parenting (where the focus is on obedience and punishment) and permissive parenting (a style with a lot of warmth but few rules). In other words? It’s all about balance. Experts agree that authoritative parenting leads to happier and healthier children who are well-equipped to handle future challenges.

How do I do it? Authoritative parents are warm and nurturing, making sure to listen to children and validate their feelings. But they also let them know that there are consequences for bad behavior and consistently enforce these boundaries. Unlike authoritarian parents, however, they don’t expect their kids to obey blindly—they take the time to explain why and work with their child to turn mistakes into learning opportunities. Here’s how an authoritative parent might handle their kid hitting another child.

Child: Charlie took my toy away!

You: It’s all right that you’re angry right now.

Child: I want my toy back.

You: I understand that you wanted to get your toy back. But hitting someone is not OK and when you do that, you get a time-out. 

Child: I don’t want a time-out.

You: Hitting is not nice. When you hit someone, it hurts them and it could be dangerous. Can you think of something else you could do the next time someone takes your toy away instead of hitting?

Child: Get a grown-up? 

You: That’s a really good idea. After your time-out, let’s think about some more things you can do when you get upset so that you don’t hit.

The important thing here is to follow through (don’t forgo the time-out just because your kid looks miserable and it was kind of Charlie’s fault) and to let your kid know that you’re here to help them learn how to navigate the conflict.

How does it work? Authoritative parenting fosters independence, teaching kids how to be responsible and make good decisions on their own. Consistent rules also help kids know what to expect, ensuring they’re not anxious or confused about who’s in charge. (That’s you, obviously.) Sure, it’s more work than authoritarian or permissive parenting, but like most things in life, the extra effort is so worth it.

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

8 Parenting Trends That Will Be Huge in 2019

Parenting is all about personal style: Maybe you’re relaxed and free-range, maybe you’re a total worrywart. That said, parenting trends do come and go. (Remember the rise and fall of the Tiger Mom?). Here’s what’s hot in the kid-rearing world for 2019. (Take from it what you will.)

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Authoritative Parenting

This trend is a bit like Goldilocks: As a mom (or dad), you’re not too strict/rigid, but you’re also not a total pushover. Authoritative parents (a term coined by developmental psychologist Diana Baumrind) are flexible and more democratic, a balance-focused approach that’s picking up steam going into 2019. A few common traits of the authoritative style: Having expectations for kids, but providing them with the resources and emotional support they need to succeed; listening to your children and pivoting based on their opinions; placing limits on their behavior and fair and consistent discipline when rules are broken.

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Raindrop Baby Names

If you’ve noticed a lot of Liams, Arias, or Emmas in your kid’s class, you’re not alone. So-called “raindrop” names pack two or more syllables into four (or fewer) letters. They also include soft consonants only—think M, N, L, R or Y. And while they’ve been climbing the charts for years, we expect them to blow up, come 2019.

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No More Gender Reveals

After *this* gender reveal gone (very) wrong, it’s safe to say that hosting a Pinterest-inspired party just to announce the sex of your baby is kinda passé. Don’t get us wrong: It’s great to be excited and celebratory about the arrival of your kid, but forcing your closest pals to show up and toast a yet-to-be-born baby at a party that’s either all pink or all blue is a bit over the top. It also forces your newborn to subscribe to gender norms while they’re still in utero, a concept not all parents are into.

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Subscription Everything

No, we’re not just talking about Amazon Prime. We’re talking subscription baby food, toy kits, diapers and more. In fact, there’s even a subscription service that helps with postpartum recovery items. Because apparently you can never have too many sitz baths.

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Grandparents-Only Photo Sharing

In 2018, locking down an Instagram handle for your baby before they were born was all the rage. But going into 2019, parents are opting to be a bit more intimate (and targeted) with their photo updates. Case in point: Tiny Beans. The photo sharing app allows you to add specific people and post a pic a day (plus a caption) into a calendar-like grid. Grandparents near and far get an email alert that a new photo has been uploaded…and you’re spared the internal dialogue as you decide whether or not it’s kosher to post a bathtime shot.

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Audio Books vs. Screen Time

According to Pinterest, searches for “audio storytellers” are up 126 percent going into the new year. What does this mean? For parents, audio books are the ultimate screen time work-around. It gives parents a distraction mechanism for kids resisting bedtime (hey, it’s not a screen, but it has the impact of a screen) and helps them calm down and settle in at the end of a rowdy day. Where to start? Check out Epic!, which features a range of audio versions for best-selling titles, like Giraffes Can’t Dance or Goosebumps.

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Lawnmower Parents

Brace yourself, this term was actually created by a real live teacher dealing with this parenting style in her classroom…and it’s not pretty. In a nutshell, a lawnmower parent acts in a way that cuts down any problem that dare cross their child’s path. “Instead of preparing children for challenges,” the teacher describes, “they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place.” The problem with a lawnmower parenting approach is that your child never has to struggle or fail as they go through their early life. (And you thought being a helicopter parent was bad.)

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Hands-Free Breast Pumps

It’s yet another Pinterest reveal: Moms are on the hunt for wireless breast pumps. (Search for the term is up 114 percent.) If you haven’t heard of the Willow Breast Pump (or the Freemie), familiarize yourselves. This fairly recent technological wonder slips underneath your bra and doesn’t need to be hooked up to an outlet, meaning you can do housework, your makeup, run a meeting…you get the idea.  (Now, if only they could figure out how to spill-proof the bottles…but that’s a problem for 2020.)

 

This article was from PureWow and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Why you shouldn’t sneak away from your kids when you leave the house (even if they cry)

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Even though this article was originally written with working mothers in mind, this is great information for all parents!

It’s very normal for babies and young children to be attached to their mother. Children want to feel protected, and the closer they are to their parents, the safer they feel. So it’s understandable for a child to start crying if their mother suddenly disappears from sight. To avoid this automatic crying fit, moms will try to sneak out of the house when someone else is watching the kids, but it’s better if your children see you leave.

Why should children see us when we leave home?

Before parting, it’s best to tell your kid where you’re going and that you’ll be back soon. Although it is painful to see them cry, it’s the healthiest thing to do. As they get older, they’ll understand that you always return after you leave.

It took me a while to understand this. With my youngest son, I often left the house unannounced and disappeared from his sight when he was distracted. He spent a lot of time running around the house looking for me after I left. Because of my pattern of sneaking away when going out, he sometimes got scared and thought I had left him when I was just in another room of the house.

To help reduce his anxiety, I began to look at things from his point of view and react accordingly. When I had to leave the house, I explained that I would only leave for a few minutes and then return. I also would explain that I was still at home (even when he couldn’t see me) I was just in the bedroom. I now could let my son happily play with his father in the kitchen because he knew I wouldn’t leave for the market without saying goodbye.

But won’t they suffer more if they see me go?

Depending on the child’s age and relationship with their parents, their reaction when their mother leaves may vary. However, it is always better to say goodbye when you leave so your child can start handling their emotions when mother and child separate.

It’s also important to explain to your child that you’ll leave but will return, or else even a five-minute absence can cause children to panic. In early childhood stages, 10 minutes feels much longer for your child than it does for you. Over time, the child will understand that Mom comes back after all, and their crying fits will lessen in time and frequency.

Will they every stop crying when I leave?

The crying won’t stop immediately, and maybe not even soon. But just because you don’t hear them cry when you leave doesn’t mean the babysitter doesn’t have to handle their tears when you leave. However, it’s not the end of the world if they cry. Always allowing your child to say goodbye even when he cries will allow him to get used to the pattern and thus eventually balance out his emotions.

Disappearing from your child’s sight without warning can generate feelings of insecurity and lack of protection. Never leave home without saying goodbye to your child. Remember that good communication and emotional bonds (even when they are young) generate an emotional support in your child that will affect them for their whole life.

 

This article was written by Fernanda Gonzalez Casafús from Family Share and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

One-Minute Ways to Calm Down During the 5 Most Chaotic Moments of Your Day

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Keep your cool, even when you’re feeling hot.

Life demands more from us every day, thanks to everything from a nasty political climate and natural disasters to cranky kids. Moms need ways to deal with stress swiftly and with ease. Life can feel overwhelming and exhausting much of the time, which is why we need simple and effective techniques to help us come back to center when life gets tricky. It only takes one minute for all hell to break loose at work or at home, so we need tools to center us that work just as fast! Here are some tips that will help you go from chaos to calm in one minute or less:

1. How to Stay Calm During the Morning Rush

Each new breath we take is another opportunity to decide how the next moment will unfold. If our morning starts to go a tad haywire with kids who don’t want to get out of bed, or we realize we never picked up the cleaning and have nothing to wear, it doesn’t mean we can’t regroup and move forward in a way that feels better to us and our family.

In these moments where we are one step away from losing it, it feels helpful to find an anchor point. Pause for just a moment and notice where you feel your breath the strongest. Is it moving in and out of your nose? Is it your ribcage expanding and contracting, or your belly rising and falling? Wherever it is, spend a few moments breathing and focusing on your anchor point. You will be calming your nervous system so you can respond to each part of your morning thoughtfully instead of simply reacting and usually having regrets about how that went. Return to this anchor point anytime during the day as you need to.

2. How to Stay Calm When Your Kids are Fighting in the Back Seat

There were days during the “hot mess” phase of my life when my kids would fight in the back seat on the way to school. I’d be yelling and inevitably someone would get out of the car crying, and I’d feel remorseful all day for allowing their day to begin like that. It felt terrible!

I began implementing “morning mindfulness” into our car ride routine and now everyone gets out of the car feeling great and excited for their day. We started years ago, and even now at 13 and 11 my kids still want to do it, and so do the friends we carpool with. They love it!

Here’s what to do:

  1. Have everyone close their eyes and take 3-5 deep breaths, really feeling their belly rise and fall. I suggest having them imagine they are blowing up a balloon in their belly on the inhale, and then letting all the air out on the exhale. You can join them, just keep your eyes open while you drive!
  2. Have each child think of three things they are grateful for. They can be big or small, and they can decide if they want to share. If the kids are under seven, they can think of one thing.
  3. Everyone shares out loud why today is going to be awesome.

If you don’t drive your kids to school, this can be done waiting for the school bus or at the breakfast table.

3. How to Stay Calm When You are Exhausted

When you are exhausted, you need a little extra TLC. I find that creating a mindful pause with a cup of tea always does the trick to soothe my soul.

When making your tea really pay attention to your senses. What does the warm mug feel like in your hands? What does your tea smell like and taste like? Find three descriptive words for each. Using your senses is a wonderful way to be present in the moment, and who doesn’t love a cup of chai with a bit of almond milk and honey?

4. How to Stay Calm When Your Calendar is so Full It May Burst

When I feel overwhelmed, I use my favorite affirmation. I repeat “I get everything done with ease and grace” to myself until I feel calm and centered. It reminds me to take my day one step at a time, and to mindfully make my way through each task.

5. How to Stay Calm When You Walk in From Work and Get Hit With Everything At Once

The trick to this one is actually acting before you walk in the door. Spend an extra minute in your car before you get out to give yourself a minute come back to center and recalibrate. You want to walk in your door feeling like the best version of you, so take a moment to decompress and release any stress you are still holding from the day. While sitting in your car you can do a quick body scan. Relax your body from head to toe, hitting all of the major areas of the face, neck, shoulders, chest, belly, hips and legs. You will be amazed at how much tension you are holding in your body.


Ali Katz is a certified meditation teacher, and creator of the Hot Mess to Mindful Mom brand. She has been featured on ABC, NBC, FOX News and many other outlets. Find out more about Ali, her work, and her books at www.hotmesstomindfulmom.com. You can find many more tips and tools like these in the latest book in her series One Minute to Zen: How to go From Hot Mess to Mindful Mom in One Minute or Less available on Nov. 6, 2018.

 

This article was written by Ali Katz from Working Mother and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

5 Real Moms (and 1 Dad) on Their Social Media Strategies for Their Kids

 

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You want your kids to be current, but you also want to protect them from the big bad digital world, which makes navigating whether or not to give them social media access a tricky decision. The pros of social media access, in particular for pre-teens and teens? It can strengthen friendships, provide a sense of belonging when they’re grappling with something tough, and help them learn how to express themselves, according to studies. The cons? They’re mostly the ones we’re familiar with (sleep deprivation, anxiety and depression), plus a new biggie: Social media use for teens can become addictive and cause them to live in a world that’s activated by likes, says a recent study out of UCLA. We checked in with five moms—and one dad—to hear more about their approach. 

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Nope, Not Even a Little

“My daughter is nine years old and we don’t allow social media at all. She has a Kindle with a couple of game apps on it and the only online game she has access to is Prodigy, a math game she plays in class at school. Apparently, my husband and I are really old-school. ‘Social’ anything for her right now is face to face or on the phone, period. She does, however, have an email account that she uses to keep in touch with out of state family and friends. She hops on one day a week to check it and return emails. (I monitor her incoming and outgoing messages.) We told her that when she turns 13, we’ll revisit our decision on her social media use.” — Katie, MA

Yes, But Only Snapchat

“I have two boys, ages 8 and 12. My eight-year-old is too young and doesn’t care about social media at this point, but my 12-year-old is in the seventh grade and wants to interact with his peers. I agreed to let him have Snapchat, which I also have access to, but he’s never on it. That said, he’s a gamer and loves YouTube. This will probably become a heated debate when he turns 13. He’s a good kid—respectful and trustworthy—but I know what’s out there. I’ll likely give in and allow him to start his own channel…and then monitor it like a madwoman.” — Ayana, MI

We’re All About Monitoring Access

“My son will be 12 just before Christmas and has a Facebook account and an email address. He is *only* allowed to use Facebook to message me, his dad and his nana and papa—not for posting. And the email is for logging into certain games and YouTube, all of which we monitor his activity on. He uses pretty good judgment about what’s appropriate and what’s not, but I check his web history once a week and log into his email account and YouTube accounts weekly as well. In my opinion, communicating with him daily about what he’s doing is most important, but also trying to keep up with all the new apps and trends kids use to hide their app use is helpful, too. The only thing I struggle with: Minecraft, where they can basically be talking with anyone.” — Kate, SC

It’s Not Even Up for Discussion

“My daughter is 11 and is not allowed on social media, but many of her friends have Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. She has asked to join several times, but she knows the rules are set. I have had consistent rules with social media and restrictions on internet usage her whole life, so there aren’t too many arguments. She does have an email account, but only for school work. Her cell phone screen time is restricted to three hours and I need to authorize downloading any apps.” — Matt, MA

Snapchat is Allowed…But Only On Our Phone

“My 11-year-old daughter is not allowed to have any social media accounts. She is allowed to Snapchat with her teammates from my phone under my account. She understands the rules and regularly informs me that ‘only old people use Facebook.’ So I am old.” — Lara, CA

Yes, Every Single Platform

“My 15-year-old son is on Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. He’s been on social media for a while. I don’t believe it’s realistic to keep teens away from social media. Plus, in high school, they’re using Facebook groups and chats as virtual study accounts, where one is for the parents to see and the other is for their friends. What I do instead of monitoring is make sure he knows that anything he posts could wind up public at any point. There’s no such thing as privacy on social media. Also, since he was in elementary school, I’ve talked to him about how things can come across differently on text or social media than in a personal interaction. I took this approach to help him understand that if you’re joking with someone on text or social media, it might be offensive and it’s much harder to register that—and offer a sincere apology—when you’re missing a personal dynamic.

Though I know a lot of parents who have their kids’ passwords for social accounts, I don’t. I’ve always worked on a trusting relationship and allowing some personal space. If I sensed he was in trouble or participating in something upsetting, I’d pursue that route, but as long as his grades are good, he’s engaged with school and activities, and he’s not showing any signs of emotional problems, I’m OK with giving him some privacy online.” — Sam, NY

 

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