When we were kids, we likely spent time getting to know grandma by baking cookies with her. Or we went fishing with grandpa, or played a game of Monopoly after Sunday dinner. These bonds are important support for kids.
These days, though, extended families are more likely to be spread out, more than an afternoon’s drive from each other.
The good news is, today’s grands are also more tech-savvy than they were even five years ago. In 2012, 53 percent of American adults over the age of 65 used the Internet and email, according to the Pew Research Center. This is the first time in history that at least half of senior citizens are web fluent.
Those two trends make for the perfect opportunity to try out some of the new sites and apps that grandparents can use to stay close to their grandkids. If your parents live far away, you’re probably already using Skype to keep them in the loop on your kids’ daily lives. Here’s what else is worth a try:
Face Juggler: This new app lets you take photos of multiple people, swap the faces, then share the new portraits via email. It sounds silly, but makes for some addictive fun. My 10-year-old neighbor, Christopher Bein, has tried this out: “Grammy Lois said she hasn’t laughed so hard in a long time!”
Scoot & Doodle: This website is a shareable doodle pad. All you need are Gmail addresses and a mouse. It’s the new drawing-together-at-the-dining-room-table – and the perfect way for grandparents to interact with their grandkids online.
Grandparent Games: Set up a free account to connect your parents and your kids face to face to play interactive activities together. There’s also a mobile app.
Instagram: You and your tween or teen may be using it, yet you probably haven’t thought of encouraging your parents or in-laws to join. But why not? It’s a social network based solely on photo sharing, something most grandparents love. It’s really appealing to seniors who aren’t quite ready for the Facebook scene.
Ancestry app: Researching your family tree is more popular than ever with our parents’ generation. They, in turn, relish sharing their discoveries with their grandchildren. The Ancestry app lets grandparents and their favorite kids build their family tree together. They can learn the history of previous generations and record their findings at the same time.
Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.
- Are You Feeding Your Toddler Right? A New Pediatric Annals Study Provides Healthy Diet Suggestions http://t.co/nTFAw2IjIO 2013-12-08
- Gene therapy scores big wins against blood cancers http://t.co/MWCmUDElcm GREAT news to start off the week! 2013-12-08
- Pediatric Infectious Disease Chief Authors New Vaccination Guideline For Immunocompromised Patients http://t.co/PQUHUnHH4s 2013-12-08
- On Saturday Dec 7th, Frozen – 2D is Sensory Friendly http://t.co/GtL79u7V1z check out AMC & the Autism Society’s Sensory Friendly Films 2013-12-05
- Online Safety, Security, and Privacy: Talking to Kids about the Basics http://t.co/VQTNhlVIFa 2013-12-04
PedSafe Headline of the Week:
Top 30 Sexting and Cyberbullying Acronyms EVERY Parent Should Know http://t.co/2yv03ZYpXS
- Helping Kids Build Media and Digital Literacies http://t.co/FfmnX19uOi 2013-12-04
- Child safety expert’s strategies welcome in my home http://t.co/LiWYwZ3YGp 2013-12-04
- Give Your Child a Healthy Gaming Experience http://t.co/TaBf6gxfKL 2013-12-04
- Teach Kids Healthy Cleaning Survival Skills http://t.co/5BzgKyLgTr 2013-12-04
- Holiday safety tips: How to protect your children during the busy season http://t.co/4HTsSSYthJ 2013-12-03
- Important Life Skills your Child Should Learn http://t.co/WVxDmj0lmk 2013-12-03
- Can You Cure Your Child’s Negativity & Self Doubt? Great case study by Dr Michele Borba http://t.co/AIzqiWuTuE 2013-12-03
- Fewer people in Wales smoking in their cars http://t.co/pVGm0u5T9I good news! 2013-12-02
You probably remember visiting the apartments of college friends who never had to clean up after themselves as a kid (and maybe you were that college kid!). But skipping the housework when you’re young can lead to one icky, unhealthy apartment when you’re grown up. So besides saving you, Mom, time and energy – which we all know are rare commodities – having your kids help clean now teaches them valuable survival skills they’ll one day need when they’re living on their own. But let’s face it: Getting kids to help clean can be hard. So sometimes you’ve just got to get creative.
Our family starts off our chores by playing a “categories” game, where we make a list of tasks that need to be done per room. Each of us, including my husband and me, then chooses the chores we’d prefer to do.
Most of the time, if our kids get to choose something they like (or at least don’t mind), they’re fairly happy to do it. If it comes down to a few chores no one wants to do, sometimes you just have to play parent and allocate – then stick to your guns.
Set a Timer (and Reward!)
Once the jobs are assigned, I set a timer and offer a small reward for the first one finished – as long as they’ve done a good job. I’m a firm believer in rewards. As adults, we work much harder when we get paid or rewarded in some way, and so do our children. Sometimes I don’t offer money at all; I might give my kids a special privilege instead, like staying up later, going to a friend’s house, etc.
One good thing about a timer: If your children are small, you can set it for a short time and give them very small chores. Once they see how easy it is to complete a task, they’ll be more willing to help in the future.
If All Else Fails: Allowance Rules
If the categories game doesn’t work at your house, you can also allocate a weekly set of chores for each child and offer them a set amount of money for completing their cleaning. Think of it as an allowance; if it’s work well done, it’s money well deserved.
Each day we use Twitter to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues who are not on Twitter (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 20 events & stories.
- 6 ways daycare is healthy for kids – and moms too http://t.co/8ifkqNqjet 2013-12-01
- Tips to teach gratitude and empathy in kids – important skills to learn even if brain development makes it hard. http://t.co/9NSeiSgjZ3 2013-12-01
- E-Venge: Selfies, Revenge Porn, Teens and Cyberbullying | Sue Scheff http://t.co/kN0F6Cp46X GREAT post Sue! 2013-11-29
- What does a safe online experience mean for your child? http://t.co/imld7tudEQ 2013-11-29
- 6 Reasons Why Bystanders Choose Not to Intervene to Stop Bullying http://t.co/ZC631uSTLq 2013-11-29
PedSafe Headline of the Week:
Help with gift-buying for special needs kids is now available via the Toys R Us
“Differently-abled Kids Gift Guide” http://t.co/M0A7RZVjlK
- How to Set Up PlayStation 4 Parental Controls : Yoursphere for Parents http://t.co/D2WZ3Kpyuk 2013-11-29
- Give the Gift of Digital Presence | A Platform for Good http://t.co/m3Xyavvps1 2013-11-28
- Gifts to help special needs kids play their way to a healthier brain http://t.co/JrXfX7NIFH 2013-11-28
- Safety Commission Recalls Baby Monitors – http://t.co/pQt0k7g0hx 2013-11-28
- When having a dilemma with your child, consult ‘The Doctor’ – an interesting approach http://t.co/rkLSsZt7Be 2013-11-28
- The Key to Boosting Your Child’s Health and IQ: Your Time | Dr. Gail Gross http://t.co/A2TaoCyLX9 2013-11-28
- Kids Hospitalized for Flu Need Antiviral Meds Right Away: New Study http://t.co/32e2AQThWI 2013-11-28
- Experts optimistic about Affordable Care’s benefits for children and young adults – http://t.co/r78sdY4xWq 2013-11-27
- Proton therapy is a cost-effective treatment for pediatric brain tumor patients – The Almagest http://t.co/NZESOlj9s7 2013-11-27
- UTMB researchers find ear infections down, thanks to vaccine | Science Codex http://t.co/LB5PgChral 2013-11-27
- China Pushing Child Safety Seats to Reduce Accident Toll in Cars – Bloomberg http://t.co/UIVnKc7P97 2013-11-27
- Screening children for mental health issues may not guarantee care – The Boston Globe http://t.co/DFzsb3J0hF 2013-11-27
- Quick Feel-Good Cold Remedies for Kids http://t.co/TGEljnmIOf 2013-11-27
Children with poor self-beliefs often have bombarded themselves for so long with a steady stream of derogatory messages. Their potential for success is greatly limited, because they don’t believe in their capabilities.
Self-talk is a critical part of how children acquire beliefs about themselves. One of the most powerful ways to help your youngster develop a firm belief in himself is to teach him to practice positive self-talk. If he learns the skill now, he’ll use it forever.
But what if you have a child who is a pessimistic thinker or has gotten into the habit of saying negative self-statements? Don’t despair, there are strategies you can use to turn negativity around.
Here is an example of how I helped a mom and dad turn their child’s negative thinking around and develop more positive inner dialogues.
FROM MY FILES: Meet Jose, His Parents, & How We Turned Negative Thinking Around
Six months after Jose appeared to adjust to his new school, the eight-year-old suddenly began protesting he didn’t want to go to school and complaining he had no friends. His mom noticed how often he reacted to situations by saying, “I can’t,” or “why bother?”, as though he assumed he’d fail.
Jose’s teacher confirmed he was using the same negative self-talk at school. His teacher and parents agreed that Jose’s new pessimistic attitude would be disastrous to his self-beliefs as well as to his learning, behavior and social competence.
But what could they do?
Jose’s teacher suggested that the parents call me for a visit and we arranged a time. I observed Jose, talked with his teacher’s and then chatted with his parents. It was obvious that Jose’s self-esteem was taking a steep decline due to his negative self-talk and beliefs. I explained to his parents the importance of children’s positive self-talk, and its potential to enhance self-confidence. I then offered six ideas that would help switch Jose’s negative thinking into more positive self-statements. I stressed that change takes time, but if they were consistent and encouraged Jose, change would happen.
We spent time reviewing each strategy. His parents decided to try the ideas, even though they knew it would take time and hard work. I stressed that they should try only one new idea at a time and provide many opportunities for Jose to practice the strategy so it would become a habit and he would finally be able to use it without their reminders.
A few weeks later, when Jose’s teacher called to say he seemed so much happier, was trying harder, and even making friends, the parents realized their efforts had actually paid off. Jose’s new behavior meant one thing: he was developing a more positive picture of himself. But the real golden moment came when I met with the family. Jose was the one who admitted the change, “No more stinkin’ thinkin’,” he said. “Now I catch myself!” Believe me, all four of us were wearing big smiles that day.
6 Ways to Turn “Cant’s” Into “Cans”
Helping a child break the habit of using negative self-talk is not easy. Like trying to break any habit, you’ll need to be consistent in your efforts to help change your child’s behavior usually for a minimum of three weeks.
Here are the six ideas I suggested Jose’s parents use to help their son develop a more positive self picture and reduce his negative self talk.
1. Model Positive Self-Talk
Recognizing that kids learn much of their self-talk from listening to others, Jose’s parents deliberately began saying more positive messages out loud so Jose would overhear them. One day his mom said, “I love the recipe I used today. I’m really liking how it turned out.” The same day his dad’s said: “I like how I really stuck to my ‘To Do’ list today and finished everything I’d planned.” At first they felt strange affirming themselves, but when they noticed their son praising himself more, they overcame their hesitancies.
2. Develop a Family “I Can” Slogan
Whenever someone in the family said, “I can’t,” they learned to say to the person: “Success comes in cans, not in cannots.” The simple little slogan became an effective way of encouraging family members to think more positively.
3. Point Out Stinkin’ Thinkin’
To remind Jose negative talk was not allowed, they created a private signal of pulling on their ear whenever he said a negative comment in public.
4. Confront Negative Voices
The boys’ parents gently encouraged him to talk back to his negative voice. They began by explaining how they confront their inner negative talk. His dad said,
“I remember when I was in school. Sometimes right before I’d take a test I’d hear a voice inside me say, ‘This stuff is hard. You’re not going to do well on this test.” I used to hate that voice, because it would take my confidence away. I learned to talk back to it, so I’d just say, ‘I’m a good learner. I’m going to try my best. If I try my best, I’ll do okay.’”
5. Turn Negatives Into Positives
The family developed a rule to combat negativity they called: “1 Negative = 1 Positive”. Whenever a family member said a negative comment, the sender must turn it into something positive.
If Jose said, “I’m so stupid.” His parents encouraged him to say something positive: “I’m pretty good at spelling.” Consistently enforcing the rule gradually diminished Jose’s use of negative statements.
They also taught Jose to reduce his self-defeating talk by helping him learn to say positive phrases instead. It’s best to help your child choose only one phase and help him practice saying the same phrase five or six times a day until he learns it.
Here are a few: • I know I can do it. • I can handle this. • I have confidence in me. • I’ll just do my best.
6. Send Positive Self-Statement Reminders
Their final step was to privately remind him to praise himself inside his head when deserved. The day he brought home a good spelling test, his mom said:
“Jose, you did a great job on your spelling test today. Did you remember to tell yourself inside your head what a super job you did?” After his soccer game, his dad said, “Jose, that was a great side kick you used today. I hope you praised yourself, because you sure deserved it.”
The technique took awhile for Jose to feel comfortable using, but gradually his comfort level increased as he slowly erased his negative thinking patterns.
Remember, change is possible but it takes consistent effort and a good plan.
Don’t give up!
Dr Borba’s book The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries, is one of the most comprehensive parenting book for kids 3 to 13. This down-to-earth guide offers advice for dealing with children’s difficult behavior and hot button issues including biting, tantrums, cheating, bad friends, inappropriate clothing, sex, drugs, peer pressure and much more. Each of the 101 challenging parenting issues includes specific step-by-step solutions and practical advice that is age appropriate based on the latest research. The Big Book of Parenting Solutions is available at amazon.com.