Posts tagged with "Parenting"

Back to College by Mina Tocalini for 360 Magazine

Emily Green Reinvents Post-Pandemic Education

The COVID-19 pandemic forced students, teachers, and parents to change their ways of doing things almost overnight as schools closed and learning went online. The situation left everyone scrambling – and often grumbling about the limited learning taking place under this hasty reinvention of how schools operate.

But, despite all the downsides, could this moment of school upheaval also be an opportunity to transform the nation’s education system into something better?

In her new book, School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World, author Emily Greene makes the case for just such a transformation as she shares her experiences with her three children and explores ways to encourage curiosity and creativity to create to a radical change in how we approach teaching and learning.

Greene writes: “It often takes a seismic disruption to change the way things have always been done. Before the pandemic, I jokingly said that it would take a cataclysmic world event, like an alien invasion, to truly disrupt education. While I could have never predicted this worldwide pandemic, its absolute disruption of school will change education forever and be studied in the history books for generations to come.”

In this book, readers will learn:

  • How to unlearn the current education system, setting the stage for replacing its outdated methods with creative new ideas that can work better.
  • Why it’s important to embrace the forgotten wonder of unscheduled time, when children can do what they like free from the constraints of school or outside planned activities.
  • How to cultivate children’s natural curiosity, which can lead to limitless opportunities for learning.
  • Why hands-on activities, such as drawing a picture or baking a pie, are critical supplements to the learning that takes place through reading a book or staring at words on a screen.
  • How to help your children follow their heart and find purpose and passion in the world.

About Emily Greene

Emily Greene is author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World in which she shares her experience educating her children inside and outside of traditional schools. She developed the Kiddovate program, working with hundreds of teachers and students. She also is cofounder of VIVA Creative, where she and her team create live and digital experiences. When the pandemic shut down the event industry, Greene co-led VIVA in rethinking how to bring people together in a global pandemic. In 2020, she received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® award recognizing innovation during adversity.

General Information

Title: School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World

Author: Emily Greene

Genre: Education, Parenting

ISBN-10: 1642252433

ISBN-13: 978-1642252439

Pages: 248                                    

Publisher: Advantage Media Group

remote learning illustration by Kaelen Felix

Remote Learning Tips for Parents

While remote learning can negatively impact motivation, engagement, and curiosity, there are ways to help stressed out students.

Emily Greene suggests 5 things that parents can proactively do at home to help their kids better manage the challenges of the disruption to schooling, and for some, the partial return to in-person learning.

As she writes in her book, “School, Disrupted”, parents can help to uplift and inspire their kids by trying these things, which in turn will also help teachers!

1) Make sure your child has free time/down time every day. This is necessary to activate an important brain network called the Default Mode Network (DMN). Scientists know that the DMN is intricately tied to curiosity, creativity, and imagination which can help boost engagement and motivation in these challenging times.

2) Curate their curiosity. Asking questions stimulates curiosity, which is directly tied to engagement and joy in learning.  Parents can help jostle our children out of the “circle the correct choice” mindset and make way for open-ended questions that are vital to learning. As parents, we can be too quick to provide advice, opinions, and answers. To foster curiosity, try to hold back, ask questions, and listen. In an article for the Harvard Educational Review, Susan Engel of Williams College argues for the promotion of curiosity in schools, calling for a “shift in the way we see the traditional role of a teacher from one who answers questions to one who elicits them.”  Let this be your guiding principle–eliciting questions will uncover a treasure trove of curiosity.

3) Encourage kids to get hands-on. Ask them what they want to create, make, or build. Doing activities that are off the computer and are hands-on engage them in learning in new ways. Other ways to get hands-on are to go outside. Or, take a virtual field trip!

4) As parents, we can also help teachers come up with ideas to integrate more fun and engagement into Zoom-based lessons. Teachers have a tough job right now trying to engage both in-person and remote learners. Sharing Zoom Boosters, (found in Emily’s book) shows that you care and are engaged in being part of the solution.

5) Encourage your child to get creative with their assignments–for example, by self-advocating for choice in projects. If the teacher plans to give a multiple-choice unit test, urge your child to ask if they can make a poster, a brochure, or a podcast covering the subject matter instead. If they are uninspired by the list of writing prompts for a class paper, encourage them to ask the teacher about selecting a personalized prompt that they are more excited to write about. When they are given an assignment, encourage them to ask the teacher, “Can I make a short film for my final? Can I write a short story? Can I put on a play? Can I build a contraption that would demonstrate this principle of physics?” The worst that can happen is the teacher says no—but more often than not, teachers appreciate the initiative because they know it shows a passion for learning during a very tough time due to the pandemic.

Emily Greene (www.emilygreene.com) is author of School, Disrupted: Rediscovering the Joy of Learning in a Pandemic-Stricken World in which she shares her experience educating her children inside and outside of traditional schools. She developed the Kiddovate program, working with hundreds of teachers and students. She also is cofounder of VIVA Creative, where she and her team create live and digital experiences. When the pandemic shut down the event industry, Greene co-led VIVA in rethinking how to bring people together in a global pandemic. In 2020, she received an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® award recognizing innovation during adversity.

gun violence image for 360 magazine by Kaelen Felix

Motherhood Does Not Drive Support For Gun Control

A recent study has found that moms are not more likely than other women to support gun control efforts. In fact, this new study finds that parenthood doesn’t have a substantial effect on the gun control views of men or women.

“Everybody ‘knows’ that moms are more politically liberal on gun control issues,” says Steven Greene, corresponding author of the study and a professor of political science at North Carolina State University. “We wanted to know if that’s actually true. And, as it turns out, it’s not true – which was surprising.”

To explore the impact of parenthood on people’s gun control views, the researchers drew on data collected by the Pew Center for Research in 2017 as part of Pew’s nationally representative American Trends Panel. The researchers then used statistical models to account for various confounding variables, such as political affiliation, allowing them to focus specifically on the effect that parenthood has on one’s beliefs regarding gun control.

The Pew surveys had examined a range of issues pertaining to gun control. Across the board, men were substantially more politically conservative than women on questions related to gun laws and regulations. In other words, men were more likely to favor fewer regulations and laxer legal requirements when it comes to guns.

On four of the gun control issues, parenthood had no statistical impact at all – meaning that the positions of moms were no different from the positions of women who weren’t parents, and the positions of dads were no different from the positions of men who weren’t parents. Those four issues pertained to: gun ownership, or how permissive gun ownership laws should be; home safety, or laws pertaining to how guns and ammunition are stored or secured in the home; teachers and guns, or whether school personnel should carry firearms; and whether stricter gun laws would reduce mass shootings.

However, parenthood did have a small – but statistically significant – impact on two other gun control issues.

Mothers were actually more politically conservative than other women on the issue of gun strictness – meaning that moms were slightly more likely to support less restrictive gun laws.

And fathers were more politically conservative than other men on the issue of gun prevalence – meaning they were slightly more likely to believe that more people should be allowed to own guns, and guns should be allowed in more places.

“When we talk about political movements and efforts to change laws, it’s important to have a clear, accurate sense of where people stand on the relevant issues,” Greene says. “Using the potent symbolism of motherhood in America in order advance a political agenda, in this case, is actually ignoring the fact that positions on gun control are virtually identical for women across the board. There is some minor variation, but even there, it actually suggests that mothers are less supportive of restrictive gun laws.

“To be clear, most women – including most moms – support more restrictive gun laws. But it’s not because they’re parents.” In conclusion, there is no true correlation between how adults feel about gun laws and if they are a parent.

The paper, “Do moms demand action on guns? Parenthood and gun policy attitudes,” appears in the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties. The paper was co-authored by Melissa Deckman, of Washington College; Laurel Elder, of Hartwick College; and Mary-Kate Lizotte, of Augusta University.

“Do moms demand action on guns? Parenthood and gun policy attitudes”

Authors: Steven Greene, North Carolina State University; Melissa Deckman, Washington College; Laurel Elder, Hartwick College; and Mary-Kate Lizotte, Augusta University

Published: Dec. 28, 2020, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties

DOI: 10.1080/17457289.2020.1862130

Abstract: The idea that motherhood primes women to support stronger gun control policy permeates our contemporary politics. Motherhood shapes views on a variety of issues, but the question remains whether mothers hold distinctive views on gun control policies relative to their non-parent peers. We draw on 2017 Pew Research Center data to explore the ways gender, parenthood, and race intersect to shape attitudes on gun policy in the post-Sandy Hook era when gun violence has become prominently linked with schools and children, and during a time when the Black Lives Matter movement has drawn national attention to the relationship of gun violence and racial inequality. Most notably, we find that contemporary depictions of mothers as a distinctively pro-gun control constituency are largely inaccurate. The very real gender gap in gun policy attitudes appears to be falsely attributed to motherhood, rather than gender. We also find very little impact of parenthood for men. Finally, we generally fail to see much relationship between race, parenthood, and gun attitudes. Overall, despite common belief and media reporting to the contrary, the story is very much one where parenthood seems to play little role in gun policy attitudes.

10 Supersmart Superfoods Your Kids Will Love

Having trouble getting your kids to eat healthy? When you package these superfood hits into a child’s menu you can be sure it’s a surefire way of giving them the nutrients they need and show them great nutrition is just around the corner!

Basil

This superfood packs in vitamins A, C and K, iron, potassium and calcium kids can grow their own basil at home. toss it on pasta sauces or pizza! It’s rich in plant chemicals, chlorophyll and other happy mood plant compounds.

Cocoa

Add cocoa powder and honey to kefir for a healthy quick breakfast for kids who won’t sit still to eat a meal. Or a cup of hot cocoa (at least 70 percent pure cocoa) promotes oral health and helps to protect delicate skin from sun damage over time. You can also sprinkle cocoa powder on fruit, snacks and desserts for a healthy punch of flavor. Plant chemicals and antioxidants increase concentration and decrease inflammation!

Black Beans

Adults aren’t the only ones who suffer from high cholesterol, they just get checked more often than kids. Black beans help kids keep cholesterol levels down and provide plenty of calcium and protein to boot. Make a tasty black bean dip with some fresh veggies for a fun snack.

 Cinnamon

This superfood is great sprinkled on breakfast foods. it regulates blood sugar, which will keep energy from crashing after breakfast in the middle of a school day, tastes great and is so easy to use. Its natural sweetness is a plus and goes with so many foods and beverages!

Avocado

Avocados are full of good fat. Kids need a daily diet of 30% monosaturated fat and a little avocado a day provides more than enough. Use it like ordinary mayo for a great mix-in to creamy dips and sauces or sliced fresh for an afternoon snack. Guacamole is a no brainer for kids!

Tomato

Here’s a switch, a tomato a day can keep cancer away. That’s right, the plant version of vitamin A can best fight off all kinds of stressors and the potassium they contain helps to boost energy and stabilize hydration. In-season tomatoes are amazing with basil and olive oil or lightly sautee for a very tasty sauce for pasta, fish or veggies!

Fruit

A sweet spot you don’t want to ignore, kids have a natural liking for fruit and its energy-boosting plus. Encouraging eating fruit curbs drinking sugary beverages and snacks. Go for seasonal fun and plan a harvesting trip to a local orchard or bring your kiddies to the local green grocers to pick out what they want. A variety of colors provides kids with essential vitamins and minerals they need to grow and fiber to keep their bodies healthy. Introduce your kids to a daily fruit plate at a young age and they will probably continue the habit into adulthood.

Sweet Potatoes

These orange tubers are high in Vitamin A which helps kids develop healthy vision and eyes. And they’re delicious roasted, mashed or baked. For an amazing marshmallow flavor, use vanilla extract and honey for a not to be missed sweet treat.

Flaxseed

Flaxseed is bursting with Omega-3 fatty acids that little guys need to grow their brains to their full potential. Buy it ground and sprinkle it over their cereal or add 1/4 cup to their favorite baked-good recipe. They’ll get better nutrition without even knowing it.

Oatmeal

Kids who start their day with oatmeal concentrate better in school all day. oatmeal breaks down slowly to give continual bursts of energy over a long period of time. Add honey, nuts or chocolate chips to make it more kid-friendly, for a great way to use oatmeal be sure to check out the recipe section for a granola recipe the whole family will love.

About Nicolette M. Pace MS, RDN, CDE, CBC,CDN, CFCS ,FAND

Nicolette founded NutriSource Inc. ( www.nutrisource.org )  in 2002 to provide high quality education, counseling and nutrition services for a diverse community population. Prior to founding NutriSource Inc, she served as Director of Clinical Nutrition at the NYHQ/Silvercrest Center where she provided both administrative and direct care for sub-acute and chronically ill patients. Nicolette was a key member of performance improvement projects and as Chair of the Nutrition Committee; significant positive changes were made in the standard of care. 

 Nicolette has been featured in CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox News, the New York Times, Seventeen, Fitness, Men’s Journal, More, Dr. Oz, Everyday Health, AOL, IVillage, Health, Shape and other magazines. She is also a contributing writer for Minerva Place, as well as an adjunct professor of Nutrition at CUNY and Touro Colleges. She believes in emphasizing a holistic approach toward food, nutrition and preventative healthcare.

Nicolette Pace Demo Reel watch HERE.

 

Parenting Tips During COVID-19

While this summer may look different than you and your family imagined, it can still be a happy, healthy time for growth and positive development. The Children and Screens network of experts is here to help you have the best summer possible with tips for managing summertime with your children and tweens on- and off-screens.

Read on for details, and be sure to tune in to the next “Ask The Experts” interactive webinar series brought to you by Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development this coming Friday, June 5th, at noon EDT, when an esteemed panel of experts will talk about how to navigate this unique summer with your school-aged children and teens and answer your questions via Zoom. RSVP here.

The workshop will be moderated by Dr. David Hill, a national authority on Child Development, Hospital Pediatrician at Goldsboro Pediatrics, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UNC School of Medicine, and the author of the new book Co-parenting Through Separation and Divorce.

  • FIND A BALANCE
    Kids thrive in environments that help regulate their sensory systems—sight, sound, touch, hearing, taste, smell, vestibular, and proprioceptive, among others—because it makes them feel calm and ready to learn. Understand that kids may be using media devices to help regulate sensation when ordinary supports like playgrounds and resource rooms are unavailable. Instead of viewing media use as inherently problematic, work with your child to explore other environments, inside and out, that support their sensory regulation so that media use is just one of many options available to them.         

 -Kristen Harrison, Professor of Communication and Media, University of Michigan

  • KIDS PITCH IN
    Parents need help around the house, and children need variety, so take this summer as an opportunity to show your kids how to pitch in. Cooking, cleaning the car, watering the plants – these all give your child a sense of purpose and new skills they’ll need as they grow up. Plus, it provides a welcome hand for overburdened parents and guardians!                                                                                                           

-Susan Tapert, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Director, Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, UC San Diego.

  • KEEP IN TOUCH
    As your child progresses from early to middle childhood, peer interactions become even more important. Peer relationships help children develop important skills like cooperation, conflict resolution, emotional management, perspective taking, creativity, and identity presentation. Even if your family is social distancing, encourage your child to engage with other kids. This can be through video chat (e.g., Zoom, FaceTime, Skype), online games (e.g., Minecraft, Roblox), walkie-talkies, or even talking across fences or through windows. Children need social interactions, and peers are important social partners. Even if parks and camps are limited or closed, social interactions should still be encouraged, and the thoughtful use of technology can help facilitate them.                       

 -Stephanie M. Reich, Associate Professor of Education, University of California, Irvine.

  • GO OUTSIDE
    Strangely enough, stay-at-home orders seem to have reminded people how important it is to get outdoors. Being outside is generally regarded as safe, so long as basic public health guidelines are still observed. Playing in nature promotes curiosity, initiative, and creativity, and it’s a great way to take a break from the screen. The Children in Nature Network (CINN) provides resources for parents and guardians who want to promote exploration and unstructured play in backyards, parks, and other wild spaces during the pandemic. With many local and state parks starting to open back up, families can take advantage of this opportunity to instill a lifelong interest in nature.           

-Jayson Seaman, Associate Professor of Outdoor Leadership and Management, University of
New Hampshire.

  • ENCOURAGE EXPLORATION
    It is important to remember that learning happens through interaction with our environment. We learn through what we do. Letting children come up with ideas important to them, avoiding prescribed activities, taking time, and being patient provides space for creativity to emerge. Whatever the activity – whether a walk in the woods, drawing a picture, experimenting with a recipe or what might seem like just fooling around- letting kids, particularly young ones explore in unstructured ways helps them understand their world and cultivate deeper interest.                 

-Stephen Uzzo, Chief Scientist, New York Hall of Science and Adjunct Professor, Teaching and Learning, New York Institute of Technology Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

  • EXPECT AN ADJUSTMENT PERIOD
    Your child has been using screens to fend off boredom, but that’s not all. Screens are an easy way to distract ourselves from all those uncomfortable feelings during a pandemic: Disappointment. Sadness. Anxiety. Fear. Annoyance. Anger. So be sure to build in antidotes, like daily roughhousing, to help kids work through emotions. And you can expect a certain amount of volatility from your child as they begin spending less time with screens, so ratchet up your patience level. But after this transitional time period, you’ll see your child becoming less irritable and aggressive. You’ll notice more initiative, self-discipline and focus when they play. And best of all, you’ll see your child developing their inner life and discovering who they are by playing, learning and engaging with the world, instead of losing themselves to a screen.             

-Laura Markham, Editor of Ahaparenting.com, Author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start  Connecting and Peaceful Parent, Happy Siblings: How to Stop the Fighting and Raise Friends for Life

  • USE YOUR TOOLS
    Families can find a great tool to help them have a screen-use discussion with their kids by checking out the interactive Family Media Use Plan
    at HealthyChildren.org. Not sure how much time your kids really have? Would it help to have some visuals? It’s all there!   

-David L Hill, Hospital Pediatrician at Goldsboro Pediatrics, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UNC School of Medicine, and the author of the new book Co-parenting Through Separation and Divorce.

  • DETOX FROM SCREENS
    Consider setting aside a full day (perhaps Saturday or Sunday) as screen-free time. If you can’t commit to a day, at least try a designated evening. This regular break allows children to do a “screen detox” and creates a void to be filled with other activities. Not a bad routine for the whole family to do together.   

-Daniel G. Shapiro, M.D., Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics

  • FAMILY FUN WITH MEDIA
    When you do watch media, make it a family affair. We know from research that when children and caregivers watch screens together, children are more likely to learn from what they are viewing. So, bring out the popcorn and have a special movie night, or designate some time during the day when you can sit down and watch educational media together to help make it a positive experience for kids. Children are more likely to learn from what they are viewing if you direct them to specific content (“Elmo is red”) and make it relatable (“that car is blue, we have a blue car too!”).  For older children, you can get them talking or thinking about what’s on the screen by asking engaging, open ended questions (“The dragon seems upset, why do you think that is?”). When family screen time is over, try to engage children in offline activities that get them playing or moving, to help keep their brains and bodies healthy.             

-Sheri Madigan, PhD, Clinical Psychologist, Canada Research Chair in Determinants of Child Development, Associate Professor, University of Calgary and Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute

“Just as resources have been recently prioritized to the transition from work to home,” says Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra, President and Founder of Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development, “for the foreseeable future, parents need to explore new avenues and adapt their child-rearing techniques to best serve their children’s needs in an uncertain and challenging milieu. It is a lot of ask, especially with fewer outside resources, less time, near constant change, circumscribed opportunities and, on top of it, the constant allure of screen time for everyone, but the payoff is worth the extra effort. We are here to support parents in coping with the new reality.”

Parenting Tips

Summer is fast approaching, and while that usually means barbecues, beach days, and family vacations, this summer promises to be very different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. States around the country are slowly beginning to open back up, but everyday life is still far from being back to normal, which means parents will need to get more creative than ever to keep their young children healthy, happy, and mentally stimulated in the days and months ahead.

As part of our ongoing series aimed at helping parents navigate these uncertain times, Children and Screens teamed up once again with some of the top experts in the fields of parenting, education, and child psychology to bring you some new tips for the summer season that will help you make the most of this critical time in your child’s development. Read on for details, and be sure to tune in to the next installment of Children and Screens “Ask The Experts” interactive webinar series this coming Wednesday, June 3rd, at noon EDT, when an esteemed panel of experts will talk about how to navigate summer with your toddler while observing social distancing and answer your questions via Zoom. Moderated by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, PhD, Director of Temple University’s Infant Language Laboratory and Professor of Psychology.

STOP, DROP, AND PLAY

Parents are the first and most influential teachers a child will ever have, but more than that, they’re also first responders during this pandemic. Play is medicine for young children, so be sure to stop and drop what you’re doing regularly for short bouts of play. – Mary Gordon, Founder/President, Roots of Empathy

TELL ME A STORY

With some prompting and support, you can help your child develop their language and storytelling skills while spending quality time together. Take photos and videos next time your child is playing with puppets or stuffed animals, building with blocks, or drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. Later, you can review the photos or videos together and invite your child to tell a story about what was happening in the town they built with their blocks, or what they drew with the chalk, or how they used the hose to fill up the plastic pool. – Katie Paciga, Associate Professor of Education, Columbia College Chicago

FLIGHTS OF FANTASY

Most children delight in letting their imagination run wild. Give them the ‘driving seat” and belt up for a pretend adventure to the jungle, the Egyptian desert, the North Pole, or even the moon. Turn a room upside-down to create “caves” and let the fun begin! – Claire Hughes, Professor of Psychology and Deputy Director of the Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge

GET CREATIVE

Kids get the most out of play when they can use materials like sand, water, paint, playdough, dress-ups, markers and paper, generic animals and people, and building materials like blocks. That’s because these items encourage children to tell their own stories and invite them to incorporate their own feelings, imaginations, and experiences as they play. Media-based and defined toys overly influence how children play, which edges out kids’ needs and ideas, dampens their creativity, and minimizes the benefits of high quality play. – Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Ed.D., Professor Emerita Lesley University, co-founder Defending the Early Years

MAKE THE MOST OF MEALTIME

Children who engage in more conversations at home are better at processing language, which is essential for learning. Mealtimes are an excellent opportunity to talk with your kids, so try to put all devices aside at the table and focus on conversation. You can talk about something fun you did together recently, discuss plans for a future event, ask your child questions about how they’re feeling, share interesting facts you recently learned, or see if they have any questions for you. – Meredith Rowe, Saul Zaentz Professor of Early Learning and Development, Harvard University Graduate School ofEducation

FRESH AIR & FACETIME

We all need fresh air, and kids especially need to run and jump and build those bones. If you have children who are reluctant to go outside, tell them you’re going to make a video together to send to a family member who’s far away. Ask them to tell you about what they’re doing and get them talking. Using this medium to solicit language from children accomplishes three things: it gets them outside and exercising, it invites them to narrate their activities, and it makes a far-away grandparent, aunt, or uncle very happy! When your children talk about what they’re doing, they’re improving their language development, especially when you ask them to clarify what they mean. – Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Education at the University of Delaware

NURTURE IN NATURE

Outdoor time is great for parents and kids alike. The evidence is clear that nature-based experiences contribute to relaxation, reduced stress, and overall health and well-being. Playing outdoors stimulates children’s creativity, self-confidence, and resilience. Time together in nature also helps make shared memories and strengthens family ties. Wherever you live, look for ways to get outside with your children in order to learn, play, explore, and adventure. From birdwatching to growing a garden, making mud pies to having a picnic, nearby nature isan endless source of healthy and healing connections. – Cheryl Charles, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CEO Emerita, Children & Nature Network

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Parenting Kids During Covid-19

12 TIPS FOR PARENTING YOUNG KIDS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

After the overwhelming response to our recent newsletter about at-home learning amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Children and Screens has teamed up with some of the top experts in the fields of parenting, education, and child psychology to bring you a new series of helpful hints and common-sense suggestions for navigating the uncertain days and weeks ahead. Raising young kids can be tricky, even under the best of circumstances, but as our experts share here, adaptability, patience, and understanding are the keys to ensuring healthy growth and relationship building during this crucial time in your child’s development.

Check out these 12 tips for parents of young children below, and be sure to tune in to the first installment of our upcoming interactive webinar series on April 27, when our panel of experts will chat about healthy screen habits for kids ages 5 and under and answer your questions via Zoom. RSVP here.

DON’T FEEL GUILTY
We know you’re stretched thin and doing your best to manage a whole host of issues, so please don’t feel guilty if your kids are engaging in more screen time than you’d typically allow. There are so many wonderful educational resources out there, even for very young children, and we recommend making the most of them (and getting other family members involved where possible). The use of video chat on a regular basis is also highly recommended to maintain social ties with friends and family members. – Dr. Sarah M. Coyne, PhD, Professor Associate Director, School of Family Life Brigham Young University

ROLE WITH IT
Both you and your children will need time to adjust to your new roles. In one fell swoop, you’ve become a stay-at-home parent, a teacher, and a frontline responder (aka superhero). Be patient with this transition. It may be rocky at first, but children are adaptable and will thrive with well-intentioned efforts. – Kara Bagot, MD, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Department of Psychiatry

REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE
With social distancing in full effect, it’s impossible for toddlers to get the kind of in-person attention they’d normally receive from friends and family. In order to maintain those tactile connections, it can be helpful to serve as the “hands and heart” for your loved ones while video chatting. For instance, if Grandpa motions to “tickle” your baby’s tummy, give your child’s tummy a tickle. If Grandma leans toward the screen for a kiss, give your toddler a kiss on the cheek. By taking on this role, you can help nurture the relationship between the child and their loved ones on screen. – Rachel Barr, Georgetown University; Rebecca Palarkain, ZeroToThree; Elisabeth McClure, Lego Foundation

GAME ON
When video chatting with young children, try rhymes, songs, dancing, finger plays, and games like peek-a-boo and hide-and-seek. The more toddlers can participate in screen time, the more they’ll get out of it. – Rachel Barr, Georgetown University; Rebecca Palarkain, ZeroToThree; Elisabeth McClure, Lego Foundation

TALK TALK TALK
Be a part of your young child’s screen time. Sitting with them, holding them, and, most importantly, talking to them are all important ways to help children learn and feel safe. Make a game out of describing what different characters on the screen are doing. Point and label the objects and people that appear in the videos you watch. Sharing screen time can be an excellent opportunity to talk with and engage your toddler. – Ellen Wartella, Director of the Center on Media and Human Development, Northwestern University

ONE MORE TIME!
It’s OK if your child wants to watch the same show or series over and over again. Children learn more with each repetition of a book or a song, and the same goes for screen media. The more children watch the same show or play the same game, the more they understand the storyline and educational content. – Alexis R. Lauricella, Associate Professor and Director of the Technology in Early Childhood (TEC) Center, Erikson Institute

PAJAMA DAY (ONLY 1X/WEEK)
In anxious times, kids benefit from predictability and daily structure. As best as you can, maintain a basic schedule for things like meals, self-care, schoolwork, and screen time. Invite them to help you make and decorate a weekly schedule, and be sure to include some fun ideas for joint parent/kid break times. – Meredith Gansner, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Cambridge Health Alliance

READY, SET, PLAY!
It’s a good time for all of us, kids and adults to like, to PLAY. Put on music and dance! Work on a puzzle, break out a board game! Grab those Legos and build a castle! Don’t forget how to have fun with your little ones. – Elizabeth K. Englander, PhD Director, Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, Bridgewater State University

ONE SIZE DOESN’T FIT ALL
Understand that there are developmental differences between children of different ages. Homeschooling a kindergartener will be very different than homeschooling a seventh grader. While younger children may need you to keep a closer eye on them, older and more independent kids can set goals and check in with you on their progress. – Colleen Kraft, MD

STAY CONNECTED
Physical objects and activities can help bridge the gaps presented by social distancing. When video chatting, encourage your child’s screen partner to read a favorite book while the child follows along with his or her own copy. Invite the video partner to play with a toy car while your child rolls around in their own. Puppets and stuffed animals are great props for playing together virtually, and sharing a snack together is always a favorite for young children. Joint activities will help your kids stay connected with their on-screen partners. – Rachel Barr, Georgetown University; Rebecca Palarkain, ZeroToThree; Elisabeth McClure, Lego Foundation

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE INTERACTIVE
Screen time isn’t inherently good or bad; what matters is how we choose to use it. Screens can take us to the zoo, guide us through the great museums of the world, and keep us fit with healthy movement games. Make the most of the current situation by finding active, engaging, meaningful, fun, and socially interactive choices to invest in. – Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D Temple University, senior fellow Brookings Institution; author Becoming Brilliant

BORED IN THE USA
Not only is it OK to be bored, it’s beneficial! These days, we’re all so constantly bombarded with stimulation and entertainment that we’re left with little time to explore our own thoughts and dreams. Let’s use this time to develop that important skill, and to appreciate the healthy power of boredom. – Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D Temple University, senior fellow Brookings Institution; author Becoming Brilliant

At the end of the day, nothing is more important than making sure your child feels safe, nourished, and loved. It won’t always be easy, but we hope parents can incorporate these 12 tips, along with a little extra kindness and creativity, as they adjust to their new roles and make the most out of the unexpected.

For more tips, and to have your questions answered by experts, don’t forget to register for our virtual workshop here.

About Children and Screens
Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development is a 501C(3) national non-profit organization founded by Dr. Pamela Hurst-Della Pietra. Children and Screens advances interdisciplinary research, supports human capital in the field, informs and educates the public, and advocates for sound public policy for child health and wellness.