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Features... An Independent local publication.
MISSION STATEMENT: The mission of Livingston Parent Journal is to share worthwhile information with area parents by listing family-oriented events, educational opportunities for parents, and by providing feature articles and tips on topics relevant
to raising children of all ages.
Toddlers and Tech
â€” EDITOR/ PUBLISHER â€” Rick & Terri McGarry
â€”WRITERSâ€” Nancy Rose Meg Koenemann Susan Coursey Heather Ibrahim-Leathers Emily Wilson 1000hoursoutside.com
â€”PHOTOSâ€” Cover Photo: Jacob McGarry â€” GRAPHIC DESIGN/LAYOUT â€”
A Love of Reading
The Livingston Parent Journal does not necessarily endorse the views of the authors or the products of the advertisers. Medical and health advice is not intended to replace the care of a physician. Member of
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In every issue... Off The Wall ..................................................................... 9
866.806.1680 ÂŠ December 2012 All rights reserved.
Events......................................................................... 11-14 Giveaways ....................................................................... 22
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To say that I was slightly irritated by my undercaﬁnated and over-jostled condition that wet winter morning in the overcrowded coffee shop would have been an understatement. Working types elbowed aggressively past me, perhaps assuming from my disheveled appearance and whining three year-old toddler in tow, that I somehow had slighter responsibilities than they did. I couldn’t help whispering that age-old curse: “Wait until they have children!” The glacial pace of the coffee line, coupled with the screeching of the barista’s espresso machine and agitated buzz of the packed café’s patrons, was beginning to take its toll on my toddler. As if infected by the frenzy, he was beginning to whine more deliberately. Because it was too early and I was too tired, I offered up a half-hearted song. My toddler got louder. Forcing greater effort, I tried a favorite descriptive game, “This animal has a long neck! Which animal is it?” Decibel level increasing, cue the stroller-writhing. Not good. Dreading the imminent meltdown, I resorted to old trusty “I Spy” for the distraction. Screaming ensued, punctuated with stroller-kicking. Inevitable glances of disdain from my fellow café patrons follow. I reached for a book but it was received with a deﬁnitive twist in the opposite direction. Desperate to alleviate a rapidly deteriorating situation, I handed over the iPad. I leaned over to a suddenly paciﬁed child and delivered some instructions. But he didn’t need them. He managed a half-nod as he expertly swiped and tapped his way to the desired app. Mommy - and patrons - began to feel tensions diminish. A huge, annoying scene had been avoided. I indulge myself in my own contemplations for a moment, or maybe two, before audible grumbling from an older woman behind me interrupted my thoughts.
She blinked and turned silent. It was her turn to speak. She mumbled an apology as her gaze dropped away. As I left the café with my latte and adrenaline high, I realized that the admonishment I had just received might not be unique to moms who resort to the iPad as a temporary paciﬁer. It seems all too easy to pass judgment, to assume that the parent often, or even always, depends on electronics or screen time to pacify their child or to act as a surrogate sitter. Additionally, the conventional assumption is that the screen couldn’t possibly offer any educational value. Maybe this is because the user’s audience does not usually have the beneﬁt of viewing the screen themselves. Maybe it is because the depth and breadth of well-created educational apps is not fully appreciated by an older generation not familiar with the nascent technology. As we headed to the playground, my toddler began to sound out the word “PLAY,” one of the words he had just seen on the iPad, taking time to annunciate each letter perfectly. I congratulated him on his fantastic effort, surprised a bit by his accomplishment. I think of the woman who had just offered her unsolicited criticism and I smile. If resorting to well designed, fun, and stimulating technology to educate and intellectually stimulate my child was an indiscretion, then by all means go ahead and judge me. Make my day.
There are many excellent educational apps that have been professionally developed to cater to the learning styles of toddlers. Additionally, the nature of the technology itself allows for virtually unlimited repetition and reward, both critical components of successful learning. The onus is on the parent to balance screen learning with real-life experiences in order to further the toddler’s physical, emotional, and social development. This is what I, along with many parents, know from experience. Heather Ibrahim-Leathers is extensively published and her award-winning research has been translated into several different languages. She earned her bachelor’s in economics from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and is a Chartered Financial Analyst. She holds an impressive resume of analyzing ﬁnancial, technology, gaming, and retail companies for $10 billion worth of ﬁxed income investments and is the president and founder of the Global Fund for Widows. Leathers is co-author of Toddlers ON Technology. Look for more from Heather about toddlers and technology at LivingstonParentJournal.com
“What kind of parenting is that?” she criticized loudly. I blink. “Don’t you think you should be reading to him?” the denunciation continued. “I’m sorry?” Incredulous, I could ﬁnd only those words. “Don’t you think you should be teaching him how to read, or count, or something?” she condemned, with much contempt. Angered by her interjection, but empowered by her folly, I smiled. “I am teaching him how to read, actually,” I said, grinning conﬁdently to her. “He’s playing a spelling app. He is learning how to read by viewing the picture associated with a word, listening to the word, and then selecting the letter that completes the word. He’s practicing his letters and phonics. The repetition of the game encourages his familiarity with simple sight words. Plus, he is working at his own pace, without the pressure of trying to please a hovering mommy. Best of all, he thinks he is playing a game and is having a blast doing it!”
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AdcZan Bdb h Keys jingle at the front door, barely audible over the sound of our dogâ€™s padded feet, the thump-thump of a toddler and the pitter-patter of a preschooler down the hallway. I am not far behind. The dog and the children are eager for a hug and a kiss from daddy. I am eager for conversation that doesnâ€™t revolve around diaper changes and Sesame Street. My years as a young, stay-at-home mom were ďŹ lled with play dates, motherâ€™s groups, bible studies, and neighborhood friends. There wasnâ€™t a shortage of female companionship. We shared parenting tips, marital support and even helped each other ďŹ nd time for ourselves by being a part of a kid swap. When my ďŹ rst child started school, I welcomed the opportunity to enjoy undivided moments with my youngest. It also gave me the added beneďŹ t of meeting preschool moms and eventually making connections with kindergarten moms. My childrenâ€™s friends were the children of my friends. Fast forward 8 years, to when I have a daughter in middle school and a daughter in elementary. There are no more play-dates or motherâ€™s groups. Most of my friends have either gone back to work, gone back to school or moved. My children make their own friends. I realize that the last twelve years had been spent taking care of children that now spend more hours of the day with teachers then with me, and I am overwhelmed. I feel left behind, isolated and emotionally needy. Everyone else in the house seemed to have a purpose - school and work - while I, on the other hand, have toilets to clean. I am lonely. Many times I had seen friends get themselves into ďŹ nancial straits or jeopardize their marriages by letting loneliness push them into the malls or other relationships. Now I was allowing my own loneliness to escalate into depression. It became harder and harder to get out of my pajamas or take a shower, housework piled up, and dinners were prepared haphazardly because my mantra became â€œitâ€™ll still be there tomorrowâ€?. Days went by when the only creature I had a conversation with was the dog.
Emily Wilson is passionate about helping women to see themselves as strong, independent, smart and beautiful people no matter what their religion, cultural background, lifestyle or social standing. She blogs at mypajamadays.com
My prescription to combat my loneliness is unique to me. It includes playing oboe in community groups, joining Jazzercise and a writing group, volunteering for an afterschool program and working from home. Every womanâ€™s needs are different; their passions ďŹ‚ow from their own individual talents and desires. But the most important antidote to loneliness is to do something. Find a part-time day job or volunteer program, join a book club through the public library, take an exercise class, learn a new skill through continuing education or create your own group through meetup.com.
One day I was stunned to see a disheveled, stinky and unorganized woman looking at me from the mirror. The bubbly young mom I had been once was gone. The mom that volunteered on leadership committees and hosted play dates or meal swaps had been replaced by a whiny, unmotivated imposter. Was this the kind of role model I wanted for my children? I knew I needed to put my big girl panties on and snap out of this funk. At ďŹ rst it was a struggle to take a shower and wear something other than sweatpants, but each day got easier. Volunteering in my childâ€™s classroom was great, but it didnâ€™t introduce me to other available women, so I started volunteering in programs outside of school. I also thought long and hard about what things I was passionate about, and had a heart-to-heart talk with my husband about what my needs were to be a better wife and mother, and a better me.
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