We need to see into the future

April 13th, 2015

Television has changed a child from an irresistible force to an immovable object.  ~Author Unknown

A young mom visits family and leaves her one-year-old with her aunt for a few minutes.  She returns to find her child holding an iPhone.  He has no idea what to do with it.  When the mom asks what happened, her aunt replies that her grandchildren, both under two, love playing with her iPhone.

A family goes to dinner with friends, looking forward to spending time connecting with their boys, ages 4 and 7.  The boys arrive with iPads and never look up.

No worries.  Now we have BabyFirstTV, a dedicated TV network for 6-month-olds.

What?!

Let’s ignore the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations that entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

Huh?! People, like real people?!

Ironic that we want our children to emulate Einstein when Einstein himself as a young child talked late and did poorly in school. This is best illustrated by Einstein’s own response to his discovery:

“When I ask myself how it happened that I in particular discovered the Relativity Theory, it seems to lie in the following circumstance. The normal adult never bothers his head of space-time problems. Everything there is to be thought about, in his opinion, has been done in early childhood. I, on the contrary, developed so slowly that I only began to wonder about space and time when I was already grown up. In consequence, I poked deeper into the problem than any ordinary child would.”

Are parents desperately trying to keep up with the stress of a demanding world and compensate by rushing their child’s development?

Dr. Sally Goldberg, author of Baby and Toddler Learning Fun, tells us that reading, singing, and talking to your child provide the best preparation for success in school. This is because the spoken language has an astonishing impact on a young child’s brain development. The number of words an infant hears each day is considered the single most important predicator of later intelligence, school success, and social competence. These words have to come from an active, engaged human being, not radio, TV, DVDs, or computers.

Don’t miss the opportunity to build a relationship with your child. Even worse, by relying on electronic media you’re sending a subliminal message to your child that the television is an approved teacher. Is that the message you really want to send?

Children get it; they like to be read to because of the closeness they feel with the reader. Even with the advances of high definition TV, it is still better for a toddler to walk with you as you talk about the leaves that crunch under your feet, or see a real spider weaving its web. Parents are the perfect educational toy. There is tremendous joy that comes with having children, but the joy comes from spending time with your children.

Teach them how to pay attention by paying attention to them. Think ahead to the future, and raise a person you would want to meet.  You know, one that gives eye contact.

When you become a parent, you don’t get to phone it in.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Can we possibly fix everything through play?

March 20th, 2015

Do not keep children to their studies by compulsion but by play.  Plato, 427–347 BC

The best thing about the arrival of spring is the chance to get out and play.

For years, I’ve written about the transformative power of play and truly believe that play fixes all things.  Through play children learn through how to share, take turns, and negotiate. They learn how teams are supposed to work, and select players because they are the best players because the objective of the game is to win. For children at play it isn’t that they aren’t obeying the rules, it’s just that there aren’t any rules.

Every child should have an opportunity to play.  For this reason, Parental Wisdom® is supporting One World Play Project and a campaign to provide the One World Futbol to the Althea Gibson Early Childhood Academy in New Jersey; when you buy one, another is sent to the school. The ball is ultra-durable, never goes flat, and never needs a pump even when punctured.  Watch this video to learn more.

From the One World Play Project website:

Where Play Happens, Change Happens

Research indicates that play is a biological imperative. Children need to play to learn, grow and be healthy—physically, psychologically and emotionally. Play helps individuals and societies recover from trauma, cope with challenging situations and create bonds that transcend race, culture, gender and ideology.

“From an evolutionary point of view, research suggests that play is a biological necessity. There is evidence that suggests the forces that initiate play lie in the ancient survival centers of the brain–the brain stem–where other anciently preserved survival capacities also reside. In other words, play is a basic biological necessity that has survived through the evolution of the brain. And necessity = importance.” Dr. Stuart Brown, MD Co-Author of Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, 2010.

Please support this campaign which starts today on the very first day of spring.  Remember play is in our DNA.

Have a great week!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®



[1] A mission-driven B Corporation


Aren’t we just big kids?

February 21st, 2015

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. ― Plato

In Feb 2006, Sir Ken Robinson presented a very popular TED Talk.  Seen over 31 million times “How schools kill creativity” suggests that schools treat children’s bodies as if they are only there to support their little heads.  It is a funny and compelling talk, but sadly not much has changed since then.

Since children aren’t in a position to change the situation, we must.  The challenge is that we are in the same boat.  While we would love to rescue children from constant preparation for tests, the stress associated with constant test taking, and disappearance of childhood, we are too busy working harder with less.

The answer is play.  Play is in our DNA.  If we understand the need for children to have recess, aren’t we just big kids with the same needs?

The airlines tell us to put on our oxygen masks before we do the same for our children.  Let’s get those masks on now.

Do less and you will do more.

  • Less email and more in person conversations.
  • Less meetings and spending more time walking around and building relationships.
  • Less heads down in work, and more time making sure we are doing the right things.

Give yourself recess and time to play.  The result will be a clear head and the happiness that comes from simply having fun.

With that, there’s no telling what you can do – perhaps even teach your kids a game or two.

Have a great week!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Ever wonder why we want to spread democracy?

January 31st, 2015

I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it.  -Maya Angelou

In August 1876, Alexander Graham Bell was able to conduct a demonstration of his telephone by using two telegraph offices that were five miles apart. Using only the existing telegraph lines, Bell was able to conduct the world’s first phone call in front of an audience of amazed onlookers. Later that year, Bell and his financial backers offered to sell the patent for the telephone to Western Union, but Western Union dismissed the telephone as a useless toy that would never amount to anything.[1]

Ideas and inventions are often developed before their use is fully realized or understood.

Social Media is yet another example. 

This modern day soapbox allows us to have meaningful conversations.  With social media we can really listen, gain empathy and understanding, which could eventually lead to us meet in the middle.

But instead, we use social forums to air public and private disagreements, instantaneously taking a stand and a side.  We use social media to speak, not listen so we don’t fully realize the benefit of Mr. Bell’s invention, a device that allows for long distance conversations.

A recent example of such a disagreement is the movie American Sniper. The irony is the very freedom our military provides gives us the right to disagree.  If we stopped to think about why we want to spread democracy; it’s because a truly democratic society would never vote to send their children to war.

When the phone was first invented, there were literal connections of wire to conversations.  Today we are virtually connected to almost everyone on earth.  Why not take the good intention of social media and really listen to each to create much needed social change?

Ask your children how they might use social media to help society.

Have a great week!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®



And today we are here

January 4th, 2015

 

 

Where have you gone my little boy, little boy where have you gone my sonny my own
Turn around you’re two, turn around then you’re four
Turn around you’re a young man going out of the door.

It sounds like a cliche you’ve heard before…your children grow up quickly.  Be present and enjoy the moments.

On January 1st I danced with my son, the groom, and it was wonderful.

I didn’t worry about taking a picture; family was around to make sure of that.  I was present.

Don’t rush the moments wishing your babies can walk, or talk or use the potty (well, this one you may want to wish for) or grow up too quickly, because they will.

Every day, when you tuck them in, kiss them on the forehead and tell them something wonderful about that day. It might be something new they learned, or how they made you feel, or to tell them how much they are loved.  You will always find something positive to say.

Take advantage of each day that you can do that.  Sounds like a nice bedtime tradition you can begin now.

Have a wonderful week.

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

 

Peace on Earth is possible

December 21st, 2014

“Peace cannot be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding”- Albert Einstein

One hundred years ago, December 1914, there was a remarkable Christmas Eve truce between German and British soldiers during WWI.

Called “The Christmas Truce” soldiers held joint burials for the dead, shared dinner, exchanged gifts, caroled and even played matches with improvised soccer balls.

Here is a dramatization of the event by the Sainsbury supermarket.

The interesting thing is that it was possible because the soldiers had the opportunity to meet each other face to face. Our lesson was that face to face meetings and interaction are the best way possible to achieve peace in all areas of our life.

When peace seems insurmountable, know that it is possible.  But it requires effort, understanding and time.

One hundred years ago, in a place that was hell on earth, soldiers found a way to find peace on earth.  Even if that for a short while.

Imagine what we could do if we concentrated on it.

Wishing you peace this Christmas.

Sincerely,

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

What could you do if you had $1 million dollars?

November 9th, 2014

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

—Leo Buscaglia

What could you do if you had $1 million dollars? What could you do if you had a single dollar?

Though your answers would be quite different, the sentiment might be quite similar.  If you think about it, waiting until we had a very large sum of money to do good stops us from doing what we can, with what we have, right now.

November 10th to the 14th is World Kindness Week

That is the approach that Alex Radelch took when he posed the question from his college dorm at Purdue University in December of 2012. He created this video and within the first 24 hours of recording the video, he was contacted by people in countries all over the world.

Alex then sold some personal belongings, order some ARK (Acts of Random Kindness) cards, and started a website aimed at creating a community of people dedicated to spreading kindness. As all of this was happening, a team began to form. A team of four close friends bent on impacting the world through kindness. And, just like that, ARK Project Now was born.

If you are one of the many people posting notes of gratitude, then you know how blessed you are.  How about we sign up for acts of random kindness?  I just signed up and committed to once a week.  Sounds only OK, but getting ramped up may be half the fun.

Enjoy your week!

 

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

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Attitude of Gratitude

October 26th, 2014

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I am encouraged by the year-round attention to being grateful.  We no longer wait for Thanksgiving to give thanks!  With all the benefits of being grateful, the best in my opinion, is how your own problems become smaller.

 If all our misfortunes were laid in one common heap, whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be content to take their own and depart.

- Socrates

How to keep the gratitude momentum going:

  1. Keep a journal and take a few minutes each day to write down something to be thankful for.
  2. Whenever you can, express your gratitude in person.
  3. Treat others with the same level of attention and respect you expect.
  4. Don’t complain when things happen.  Brush it off and don’t give it any more attention.
  5. Do ‘good’ for others.  That always makes you feel better.

More helpful reading:

6 Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

50 Ways to Show Gratitude for the People in Your Life

Our journey begins with a single step.  Being grateful is the first step to being happy, and isn’t raising happy children our job?

Thank you for reading!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

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He was carefully taught

September 21st, 2014

If I had one hour to save the world, I would spend the first 55 minutes understanding the problem, and the last five minutes solving it.  

Albert Einstein

BC (before children)

The most important job in the world is also the one we are least prepared for.  It’s thrilling the first time we hear we are about to become parents, and prepare by learning as much as we can before the baby’s arrival.

AC (after children)

Because Kids Don’t Come with Manuals® we quickly understand training is on the job; very much like a reading the recipe as the pot boils over on the stove.

There is little preparation for the on the spot decisions you have to make.  The most comfortable path is to do what you know, what your parents did, because after all you turned out ok.

The national news surrounding the Adrian Peterson event moved him from anointed celebrity to condemned criminal.  Companies such as Nike and Castrol pulled major endorsement deals. The NFL was paralyzed in forming a response.

How parents should parent was a topic on news programs, along with culture, geography, and religion. It’s easy to (pardon the pun) be a Monday morning quarterback and judge the way others parent.

At the same time, there was an interesting article this week in the WSJ about a non-profit program called Parent-Child-Home which got a boost from the Robin Hood Foundation.  Funds sent literacy specialists to visit families of young children in low income areas encouraging them to read to their children and not talk ‘babyese’.

Both situations, although dramatically different, are similar in the sense that parents simply do what they learned from their own parents.

It is important to begin a national conversation on parenting.

  1. Take the time to really understand the problem rather than talking in sound bites
  2. Share research on long term impact, whether it is reading to children or corporal punishment.
    Basically educate, don’t legislate.
  3. Help parents understand they don’t have to do what has always been done, but can make choices how to parent based on their own values.

Perhaps Nike and Castrol can move the money kept back for endorsements, and in its place fund this important dialog.

In parenting, there is more than one right answer.  The advisors at Parental Wisdom® would be happy to start the conversation.

We believe in this so strongly, we patented it.

 

Thoughts?

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®

Our reality should not be their reality

September 9th, 2014

The anniversary of 9/11 is again upon us.  We will replay the horror we witnessed and feel the sadness and loss the victims’ families experience every day.

The scenes of the original attack were aired so many times that the news outlets were asked to stop because children thought the attacks were repetitive.

The news is never meant for young children. 

Recent stories include the beheading of American journalists, war and natural disasters.  Today information is always available, but we have to protect our young children from harsh reality and let them be children as long as we can.

You may want to just play Raffi while you’re in the car!

Tina Nocera, Founder

Parental Wisdom®