Blog logoMatthew Lang

Parenting

A 8 post collection


Growing Up Too Fast?

 •  Filed under Ethan, Technology, Parenting, Posts

I was watching Ethan this morning as he was playing with a friend on the Playstation. A session of Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare was in full play and the boys we're chatting about new video games, golf, going back to school as well as planning their next zombie assault. It got me thinking how different things are for kids today when it comes to media and whether that change is causing kids to mentally age faster.

The biggest difference I see is the prescence of media now. Everywhere we go, we have instant access to the latest news and headlines, trending topics and sometimes things that are just too horrifying to believe have happened.

I remember being the same age as Ethan and growing up in Canada. We had a record player, tape deck and a television. That was the extent of our media devices in the house. Most days my parents would get their fill of news from newspapers that they bought on a daily basis, but I never read those. I don't remember ever watching the news on television but I always watched cartoons like Spiderman and shows like Knightrider and the ice hockey was always on at night. I just don't remember the news at all.

Compare this with Ethan who has his own iPhone and a Playstation. He gets his fill of news from the BBC Newsround website which is news for younger kids. It's good because it explains what's happening in the world without complicating the story. They report most of the events that are in the news and explain why it's happening. We tend not to watch the news on television unless it's something serious but that's thankfully not happened for a while. If we are watching and Ethan sees it, we explain as best we can why it's happening.

As for exposing him to other media, we certainly draw the line on movies and games. Me and Jen use our own judgement when it comes to these but games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto are out until he's older. The same goes for movies. There's ratings on them for a reason.

Most of us have probably played some kind of war based game as kids but when we did we drew on our knowledge from television and movies that we had seen. When we were kids and running about shooting each other we used our experiences from movies to feed our imagination. That has changed and the advancement of technology means that movies and games now have a better sense of realism. Whether it ages your kids mentally though is difficult to measure but I always like to err on the side of caution.

Controlling and curating the media that our kids consume doesn't mean they won't grow up fast, after all I'm sure he's getting an education in the school playground. It just means we're slowing down the rate at which they grow mentally and that's not a bad thing. There's plenty of time to experience what the world has to offer but as a kid you get more from using your own imagination. And I rather see that for as long as I can before they experience the reality of the world.

Make Your Kids Eat Everything

 •  Filed under Parenting, Health

It's certainly not impossible.

You may wonder how we get our kids to eat kale and clams, and here is the answer: we make them (we're warm but firm), and we don't offer choices. Psychologists will tell you that kids respond to consistency and confidence. While I can't say I'm great at this when it comes to bedtime, I never waver at the table. People don't want to hear this because we live in the Age of Coddling but I strongly believe that kids need and actually crave guidance and direction, especially when they're young. And since I also believe that we should eat the same meals as our kids—showing unity and companionship—I don't want to eat boring food, so they're not getting boring food.

Parenting, Lunchmaking, and Hoping Your Kids Will Love Food by Food52 - Amanda Hesser

Our oldest son is more of a challenge in this respect but he's getting there with the different meals we make. Our youngest couldn't be happier though. He loves trying new foods, especially when he opts to just use his fingers!

via Kottke

Kids & Technology

 •  Filed under Parenting, Technology

Last weekend our son came home with the school quarterly bulletin. As always we familiarised ourselves with everything that was coming up in the next few months, asked him what events he would like to go to and made sure there was nothing else that needed our attention. One last thing caught me wife's eye though as she read through the bulletin. The school are looking for volunteers to help re-vamp their school website.

The next day I phoned the school to let them know I would be willing to help out. I got a call back a few minutes later with a date and time to speak to the assistant head teacher at the school who will be handling the website. All good so far.

The school's website is okay as an information portal but it definitely falls short in terms of how it looks. Well, when the site says that the school kids contribute to the look and content of the site, you're not exactly going to be expecting something that wins web design awards. Looking at other web sites in the area, and it's clear that the school web site isn't a primary concern for some schools. There is more an emphasis on getting the school children involved and that's not a bad thing.

Today's school children though are far different in terms of technology exposure than school children have been in the past. In the last ten years, mobile technology has become so engrained in day to day life that homes often have two or more mobile devices with kids often having their own tablet or even smartphone.

It got me wondering about the approach to take in getting the school children involved in the new school website. Is it better for them to know how to edit and update web pages by hand or will the kids be more interested in maintaining the school website through something like Wordpress?

I might be jumping the gun here a bit, but I've been keeping a list of questions like this to ask at my meeting with the school this week.

The main good thing to come out of this though is the chance to do something for an organisation in my local community. Yes, I'll be doing the work for the school for free but with our oldest already a pupil there and our youngest due to start there in a few years, the chance to contribute something to their school can't be a bad thing.

Packed Lunch

 •  Filed under Diet, Parenting

Glad to see I'm not the only one who packs a mean lunch for their kids.

The researchers have clearly not experienced the spread I provide my kids. Only the highest quality peanut butters. Exotic jellies. The finest meats and cheeses in all the land. A surprise ingredient in every submarine sandwich. Figs, dates, grapes, cornichons, chips of potatoes, cakes made by none other than Little Debbie.

Precursor to Nanny State action? by Cultural Offering