1. Sep 16
    Screen Time: Think What, When & Why, Not How Much   Isn’t it odd that a child can read a magazine, color in an activity book, write a letter to Grandma, devour a chapter book, laugh at a comic strip, snuggle through a favorite picture book for the umpteenth time, or do homework … and we never say she’s getting too much “page time?”
Today, electronic devices deliver equally diverse and enriching experiences, but when it comes to “screen time,” some experts still recommend doling it out by volume, not content.
Communication apps enable children to see and talk with distant friends or relatives, even sharing a book or animating a story together, across the miles;
Smartphone cameras help kids capture and relive family outings (and give parents insight into what engaged their child);
eBooks can replicate print versions; deepen insight into non-fiction topics through print, images and films; or invite play within a fantasy world;
Creativity programs provide a bottomless box of blocks, or an art set that never breaks or dries out (or draws on walls); and
Children learn about the world through narrative, and TV and movies offer stories – real and fictional – that engage, inform, educate and inspire, for kids alone or for family co-viewing.
Given this range and depth, I believe screen time is an outdated term, and that parents can — almost always — shelve the timer and look instead at what’s being consumed (or created!).
Context (when, where and why a device is being used) is as important as content. The tablet that is soothing at a doctor’s office may be disruptive in a restaurant. On a third consecutive snow day, parents may be grateful for TV shows they’d deny on a sunny day. The world’s biggest research libraries — Google and YouTube — are invaluable when kids discover a frog in the yard.
 [[MORE]]Still, children must live in balance, and time limits may make sense if electronics overwhelm a child’s other choices. Kids need active gameplay and exercise, social time with friends or siblings, fantasy play, and exploration in the real world.
Digital and physical experiences should supplement, not replace, each other. Kids need first-hand sensory experiences — drawing with real crayons, throwing an actual ball, turning the pages of a paper magazine, cooking with foods they can then eat.
Most important, every family is different, and parents are best equipped to keep their children’s lives in balance and moderation. Whatever screen time they choose to allow should be wisely invested, using their family values and knowledge of their own children’s needs, interests and abilities to define quality in content and context.
David W. Kleeman is PlayCollective’s SVP of Insights Programs and PlayVangelist; previously, he headed the American Center for Children and Media. Strategist, analyst, author and speaker, Kleeman works worldwide to promote best practices in children’s and family media, technology and products.  
Kleeman is advisory board chair to the international children’s TV festival and a Governor of the Television Academy. He was a 2013 Senior Fellow of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media.

    Screen Time: Think What, When & Why, Not How Much

       

    Isn’t it odd that a child can read a magazine, color in an activity book, write a letter to Grandma, devour a chapter book, laugh at a comic strip, snuggle through a favorite picture book for the umpteenth time, or do homework … and we never say she’s getting too much “page time?”

    Today, electronic devices deliver equally diverse and enriching experiences, but when it comes to “screen time,” some experts still recommend doling it out by volume, not content.

    • Communication apps enable children to see and talk with distant friends or relatives, even sharing a book or animating a story together, across the miles;
    • Smartphone cameras help kids capture and relive family outings (and give parents insight into what engaged their child);
    • eBooks can replicate print versions; deepen insight into non-fiction topics through print, images and films; or invite play within a fantasy world;
    • Creativity programs provide a bottomless box of blocks, or an art set that never breaks or dries out (or draws on walls); and
    • Children learn about the world through narrative, and TV and movies offer stories – real and fictional – that engage, inform, educate and inspire, for kids alone or for family co-viewing.

    Given this range and depth, I believe screen time is an outdated term, and that parents can — almost always — shelve the timer and look instead at what’s being consumed (or created!).

    Context (when, where and why a device is being used) is as important as content. The tablet that is soothing at a doctor’s office may be disruptive in a restaurant. On a third consecutive snow day, parents may be grateful for TV shows they’d deny on a sunny day. The world’s biggest research libraries — Google and YouTube — are invaluable when kids discover a frog in the yard.

    Continue Reading →

  2. Sep 12
     Kindergarten: Will She Like It?
Picking up your child during the first week of kindergarten can be nerve-racking. Will she gush with the events of the day or complain that it was terrible? Danielle Herzog’s daughter gave mixed reviews.
46 Birth Photos That Are Worth Having A Baby For
These images prove it.
Bored Kid Visits the White House
In this Oval Office photo taken June 23rd, President Barack Obama visits with a departing United States Secret Service agent and his wife. But where’s his son?
The Apparently Kid Gets a New Favorite Word
He’s over apparently, apparently.
Bilingual Babies Benefit from Learning Faster
The benefits of growing up in a bilingual home start early and are broader than previously thought, new research shows. At just six months old, infants who are exposed to more than one language have an edge over their monolingual peers.

    Kindergarten: Will She Like It?

    Picking up your child during the first week of kindergarten can be nerve-racking. Will she gush with the events of the day or complain that it was terrible? Danielle Herzog’s daughter gave mixed reviews.

    46 Birth Photos That Are Worth Having A Baby For

    These images prove it.

    Bored Kid Visits the White House

    In this Oval Office photo taken June 23rd, President Barack Obama visits with a departing United States Secret Service agent and his wife. But where’s his son?

    The Apparently Kid Gets a New Favorite Word

    He’s over apparently, apparently.

    Bilingual Babies Benefit from Learning Faster

    The benefits of growing up in a bilingual home start early and are broader than previously thought, new research shows. At just six months old, infants who are exposed to more than one language have an edge over their monolingual peers.

  3. Sep 5
     Smile and Cry at These 12 Happy-Sad Moments of Parenting

From kindergarten to college, there are moments that make you swell with joy and moments that make you tear up like a baby. And then there are moments when you do both.

Enjoy These Photos of Kids and Their Pets
Children + animals = A whole lot of adorable.
See This Baby Experience Her First Space Shuttle Launch
Prepare yourself for cuteness in 3…2…1…
Learn How to Teach Children Empathy
After the release of a recent report, many parents were surprised to learn that kids value academic achievement and individual happiness over caring for others. Here are five suggestions for developing empathy in children.
Find Out How Babies’ Eating Patterns Affect Their Diets Later On
What infants eat could have a lasting influence on their weight and food preferences throughout childhood, according to a new collection of studies that suggest babies’ eating patterns in their first 12 months of life affect their diet for years to come.

    Smile and Cry at These 12 Happy-Sad Moments of Parenting

    From kindergarten to college, there are moments that make you swell with joy and moments that make you tear up like a baby. And then there are moments when you do both.

    Enjoy These Photos of Kids and Their Pets

    Children + animals = A whole lot of adorable.

    See This Baby Experience Her First Space Shuttle Launch

    Prepare yourself for cuteness in 3…2…1…

    Learn How to Teach Children Empathy

    After the release of a recent report, many parents were surprised to learn that kids value academic achievement and individual happiness over caring for others. Here are five suggestions for developing empathy in children.

    Find Out How Babies’ Eating Patterns Affect Their Diets Later On

    What infants eat could have a lasting influence on their weight and food preferences throughout childhood, according to a new collection of studies that suggest babies’ eating patterns in their first 12 months of life affect their diet for years to come.

  4. Aug 29
     Watch Babies Experiencing Things for the First Time
Tunnels, snow and puppets may not seem that exciting to you and me, but these babies think otherwise.See What Happens When Kids Ditch Smartphones for Outdoor Fun
Electronics and digital communication have their benefits, but so does in-person social interaction.
Laugh at the Hourly Updates Nervous Parents Received from FriendsErica and Hannes do not have a child, so when friends asked them to babysit, they were given an “extensive briefing” on what to do. Then they proceeded to send hourly updates…
Listen to This Adorable Dad and Daughter Duet 
We especially love what happens around the 1:15 mark.Hilarious to Heartwarming: 14 Creative Baby Announcements
What are other great ways for families to share the news that they’re expecting?

    Watch Babies Experiencing Things for the First Time

    Tunnels, snow and puppets may not seem that exciting to you and me, but these babies think otherwise.

    See What Happens When Kids Ditch Smartphones for Outdoor Fun

    Electronics and digital communication have their benefits, but so does in-person social interaction.

    Laugh at the Hourly Updates Nervous Parents Received from Friends
    Erica and Hannes do not have a child, so when friends asked them to babysit, they were given an “extensive briefing” on what to do. Then they proceeded to send hourly updates…

    Listen to This Adorable Dad and Daughter Duet

    We especially love what happens around the 1:15 mark.

    Hilarious to Heartwarming: 14 Creative Baby Announcements

    What are other great ways for families to share the news that they’re expecting?

  5. Aug 27
    Doing Well in School Matters…So Does Good Character   When I was in elementary school—way back when—my parents would give me a dollar if I received an A in “Behavior” on our quarterly report cards. They didn’t pay for good academic grades—although it was clear that they expected my very best effort. If that best effort resulted in a B instead of an A in a particular subject, that was OK. But anything less than an A in Behavior was inexcusable.
When I became a parent, I thought about this practice a lot, particularly around the arrival of my kids’ report cards. Never completely understanding my parents’ rationale and feeling funny about rewarding good behavior with cash, I decided not to pay my kids for good conduct—or for good academic grades, for that matter. But results of a recent study from the Harvard Graduate School of Education made me think harder about what, exactly, my parents may have been trying to accomplish.
The startling take-away is that more than 80% of the 10,000 students surveyed ranked achievement or personal happiness over kindness. Yet, in the same study, 96% of parents indicated that it’s important for their children to have a strong moral compass.
The researchers in this study call this a rhetoric/reality gap—a gap between what adults say and what they do. And it sends, at the very least, a mixed message to kids about our core values.
How have we arrived at this place? Is the emphasis on high-stakes causing us to overly focus on scholastic achievement? Are we so intent on trying to ensure that our kids are “happy” that we forget to remind them to be kind—that we forget to talk about (and demonstrate!) that sometimes we must set aside our self-interests for the common good or the good of another?  
Kindness matters. It matters globally, as a healthy society needs people who care about the needs of others as well as their personal happiness.
And it matters to each of us personally. To raise happy children, we must cultivate kindness in them. People can’t be truly happy if cruelty and insensitivity are part of their make-up. To raise successful children, we must cultivate kindness. Kindness and empathy are components of a strong social-emotional IQ, which other research shows, is as critical to success in life as is intellectual IQ.
So how can we let kids know that, yes, doing well in school matters—but so does being a person of good character?  I think that’s what my parents were trying to help me understand. My report card probably had a dozen letter grades measuring scholastic achievement—but only one for conduct. Pulling a dollar out of his wallet every grading period may have been my father’s way of balancing the scale—making sure that the one important grade buried on the back of the report got its due. Playing well with others, respecting authority, being helpful—these things, like math and reading, must be learned.
A friend’s son was recently recognized at 8th-grade graduation with an award for showing leadership in tolerance and kindness. His mother was happy and proud—but also conflicted about how much fuss to make over it. Would a celebration or reward suggest that he went above and beyond, when really he had behaved exactly the way he’d been taught? I think a little fanfare underscores the message that we value being nice as much as we value accomplishment.
Intentionally giving kids opportunities to practice kindness surely helps as well. One parent I know helps her kids organize a charity toy drive now and then, urging them to donate the toys they no longer use. Another parent took her daughter to a free community luncheon to help serve. Another family regularly assists elderly neighbors, who repeatedly try to pay the children for their efforts. But the firm family rule is “no payment,” and the kids learn the difference between a job and service to others.
Of course, the message that speaks the loudest is we adults rolemodeling the behaviors and mindsets we want kids to adopt. When we parents illustrate our words with our own actions, the message is least likely to be misunderstood. Let’s try in every way to say to our kids, “Yes, we want you to be good students, but we also want you to be good people.”
  Posted By Christine F. Cully

    Doing Well in School Matters…So Does Good Character

       

    When I was in elementary school—way back when—my parents would give me a dollar if I received an A in “Behavior” on our quarterly report cards. They didn’t pay for good academic grades—although it was clear that they expected my very best effort. If that best effort resulted in a B instead of an A in a particular subject, that was OK. But anything less than an A in Behavior was inexcusable.

    When I became a parent, I thought about this practice a lot, particularly around the arrival of my kids’ report cards. Never completely understanding my parents’ rationale and feeling funny about rewarding good behavior with cash, I decided not to pay my kids for good conduct—or for good academic grades, for that matter. But results of a recent study from the Harvard Graduate School of Education made me think harder about what, exactly, my parents may have been trying to accomplish.

    The startling take-away is that more than 80% of the 10,000 students surveyed ranked achievement or personal happiness over kindness. Yet, in the same study, 96% of parents indicated that it’s important for their children to have a strong moral compass.

    The researchers in this study call this a rhetoric/reality gap—a gap between what adults say and what they do. And it sends, at the very least, a mixed message to kids about our core values.

    How have we arrived at this place? Is the emphasis on high-stakes causing us to overly focus on scholastic achievement? Are we so intent on trying to ensure that our kids are “happy” that we forget to remind them to be kind—that we forget to talk about (and demonstrate!) that sometimes we must set aside our self-interests for the common good or the good of another?  

    Kindness matters. It matters globally, as a healthy society needs people who care about the needs of others as well as their personal happiness.

    And it matters to each of us personally. To raise happy children, we must cultivate kindness in them. People can’t be truly happy if cruelty and insensitivity are part of their make-up. To raise successful children, we must cultivate kindness. Kindness and empathy are components of a strong social-emotional IQ, which other research shows, is as critical to success in life as is intellectual IQ.

    So how can we let kids know that, yes, doing well in school matters—but so does being a person of good character?  I think that’s what my parents were trying to help me understand. My report card probably had a dozen letter grades measuring scholastic achievement—but only one for conduct. Pulling a dollar out of his wallet every grading period may have been my father’s way of balancing the scale—making sure that the one important grade buried on the back of the report got its due. Playing well with others, respecting authority, being helpful—these things, like math and reading, must be learned.

    A friend’s son was recently recognized at 8th-grade graduation with an award for showing leadership in tolerance and kindness. His mother was happy and proud—but also conflicted about how much fuss to make over it. Would a celebration or reward suggest that he went above and beyond, when really he had behaved exactly the way he’d been taught? I think a little fanfare underscores the message that we value being nice as much as we value accomplishment.

    Intentionally giving kids opportunities to practice kindness surely helps as well. One parent I know helps her kids organize a charity toy drive now and then, urging them to donate the toys they no longer use. Another parent took her daughter to a free community luncheon to help serve. Another family regularly assists elderly neighbors, who repeatedly try to pay the children for their efforts. But the firm family rule is “no payment,” and the kids learn the difference between a job and service to others.

    Of course, the message that speaks the loudest is we adults rolemodeling the behaviors and mindsets we want kids to adopt. When we parents illustrate our words with our own actions, the message is least likely to be misunderstood. Let’s try in every way to say to our kids, “Yes, we want you to be good students, but we also want you to be good people.”

    Posted By Christine F. Cully
  6. Aug 22
     Mother Finds Beautiful Way to Better Represent Disabilities in Advertising
Instead of voicing her thoughts on the soapbox of social media, this mom of six took a more proactive approach.
Watch This Teacher’s Reaction to Her Surprise Retirement Party
After 41 years of teaching and on her final day of school, Mrs. Flexer is in for a surprise of her life.
Read Little Girl’s Bedtime Ultimatum to Mom and Dad
After Chloe was told she couldn’t watch a second episode of “Cosmos” – and could instead read a book in her room – she took to pen and paper to explain her feelings.
Hear What These Kids Think Adult Life Is Like
If you guessed their responses included elephant rides, potion making, and doing whatever you want, then you’re correct.
Doing Well in School Matters… So Does Good Character
Playing well with others, respecting authority, being helpful — these things, like math and reading, must be learned.

    Mother Finds Beautiful Way to Better Represent Disabilities in Advertising

    Instead of voicing her thoughts on the soapbox of social media, this mom of six took a more proactive approach.

    Watch This Teacher’s Reaction to Her Surprise Retirement Party

    After 41 years of teaching and on her final day of school, Mrs. Flexer is in for a surprise of her life.

    Read Little Girl’s Bedtime Ultimatum to Mom and Dad

    After Chloe was told she couldn’t watch a second episode of “Cosmos” – and could instead read a book in her room – she took to pen and paper to explain her feelings.

    Hear What These Kids Think Adult Life Is Like

    If you guessed their responses included elephant rides, potion making, and doing whatever you want, then you’re correct.

    Doing Well in School Matters… So Does Good Character

    Playing well with others, respecting authority, being helpful — these things, like math and reading, must be learned.

  7. Aug 15
     The “Apparently Kid” Is Back
On Aug. 4, Noah Ritter, aka “Apparently Kid,” stole the show during an interview at the Wayne County Fair in Pennsylvania. Well, now he’s back for his second interview, and it’s just as great as his first.
Little Kid Leaves Cutest Receipt Ever
Jewel Cowart deals with credit card receipts all day in her job as a cashier at Domino’s Pizza, but one customer’s signature last week managed to melt her heart.
Music Training Can Strengthen Kids’ Learning Ability
New research shows that musical training can help offset some academic achievement gaps for disadvantaged kids.In Their Own Time
Have you ever compared your kids’ skill sets to those of their peers and either 1) worry that your kid was “behind” or 2) feel relieved that your kid was further along? You’re not alone.
Baby Has Been Waiting All Day to Watch Cartoons
Give this baby the remote control already, because he’s obviously dying to watch cartoons.

 

    The “Apparently Kid” Is Back

    On Aug. 4, Noah Ritter, aka “Apparently Kid,” stole the show during an interview at the Wayne County Fair in Pennsylvania. Well, now he’s back for his second interview, and it’s just as great as his first.

    Little Kid Leaves Cutest Receipt Ever

    Jewel Cowart deals with credit card receipts all day in her job as a cashier at Domino’s Pizza, but one customer’s signature last week managed to melt her heart.

    Music Training Can Strengthen Kids’ Learning Ability

    New research shows that musical training can help offset some academic achievement gaps for disadvantaged kids.

    In Their Own Time

    Have you ever compared your kids’ skill sets to those of their peers and either 1) worry that your kid was “behind” or 2) feel relieved that your kid was further along? You’re not alone.

    Baby Has Been Waiting All Day to Watch Cartoons

    Give this baby the remote control already, because he’s obviously dying to watch cartoons.

     

  8. Aug 8
    Watch this Kid Steal the Show
Believe it or not, this kid has “never been on live television before”.Scientists Say Child’s Play Helps Build a Better Brain
When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground.That’s One Way to Soothe a Fussy Baby
Need to comfort a wailing baby? This method may be worth a try.6-Year-Old Draws Bracket in Search of the Perfect Meal
How do you solve an everyday dilemma? With a bracket, of course.Baby Selfies
Need we say more?

    Watch this Kid Steal the Show

    Believe it or not, this kid has “never been on live television before”.

    Scientists Say Child’s Play Helps Build a Better Brain

    When it comes to brain development, time in the classroom may be less important than time on the playground.

    That’s One Way to Soothe a Fussy Baby

    Need to comfort a wailing baby? This method may be worth a try.

    6-Year-Old Draws Bracket in Search of the Perfect Meal

    How do you solve an everyday dilemma? With a bracket, of course.

    Baby Selfies

    Need we say more?

  9. Aug 1
    Watch this Baby’s Reaction to Getting a Shot
Who needs a lollipop to recover from a shot when this guys your pediatrician?Can Babies Learn Nursery Rhymes in the Womb?
Even before they are born, babies are learning from experience, especially if it’s directly related to their moms, new research is shows.This Baby and Puppy Duo Are the Cutest Thing You’ll See Today
Through the thick and thin, these two never leave each other’s side.See This 15 Month Old Lead a Crowd of 500 Boys
Leading a crowd of 500 may make some people nervous, but this little boy can’t get enough.The Kids Who Beat Autism
Is it really possible to “recover” from autism?

    Watch this Baby’s Reaction to Getting a Shot

    Who needs a lollipop to recover from a shot when this guys your pediatrician?

    Can Babies Learn Nursery Rhymes in the Womb?

    Even before they are born, babies are learning from experience, especially if it’s directly related to their moms, new research is shows.

    This Baby and Puppy Duo Are the Cutest Thing You’ll See Today

    Through the thick and thin, these two never leave each other’s side.

    See This 15 Month Old Lead a Crowd of 500 Boys

    Leading a crowd of 500 may make some people nervous, but this little boy can’t get enough.

    The Kids Who Beat Autism

    Is it really possible to “recover” from autism?

  10. Jul 25
    See What Hasn’t Changed about Motherhood in 50 Years
Buried treasure doesn’t always have to be underground. As photographer Ken Heyman discovered, forgotten storage boxes can yield treasure, too.Watch This Dog Apologize for Stealing Baby’s Toy
Humans aren’t the only ones that understand the importance of sharing.This May Be the Cutest Newscast Ever
In this unprompted and unscripted news report, these young girls bring you the latest on the weather, tornados and Canada.Learn How Babies Practice Words in Their Minds
A baby’s first words may seem spur of the moment, but really, the little ones have practiced their “Mamas” and “Dadas” for months in their minds.Babies Have Their Cakes and Wear Them Too
Turning one means it’s time to “smash the cake”.

    See What Hasn’t Changed about Motherhood in 50 Years

    Buried treasure doesn’t always have to be underground. As photographer Ken Heyman discovered, forgotten storage boxes can yield treasure, too.

    Watch This Dog Apologize for Stealing Baby’s Toy

    Humans aren’t the only ones that understand the importance of sharing.

    This May Be the Cutest Newscast Ever

    In this unprompted and unscripted news report, these young girls bring you the latest on the weather, tornados and Canada.

    Learn How Babies Practice Words in Their Minds

    A baby’s first words may seem spur of the moment, but really, the little ones have practiced their “Mamas” and “Dadas” for months in their minds.

    Babies Have Their Cakes and Wear Them Too

    Turning one means it’s time to “smash the cake”.