This cover stirs up mixed emotions. Firstly it seems so cute, but it also makes me a little sad.
My children are all adults now 19, 23, and almost 25, and so we didn't have to deal with most of the handheld devices parents have to today.
The cell phone was the only thing we struggled with and we kept our ground and made them wait till they were in the 12th grade before they got their own. I can't imagine how distracting it would have been to have all these devices when they were young children. We fought enough about how much texting was going on when they were 17! : )
This book will be a great help to many parents on how to navigate the use of electronic devices in the home, but more importantly it gives great advice on the family.
Here is the table of contents:
Introduction: Taking Back Your Home
1. Screen Time: Too Much, Too Soon?
2. The A+ Method for Relational Kids
3. The A+ Skill of Affection
4. The A+ Skill of Appreciation,
5. The A+ Skill of Anger Management
6. The A+ Skill of Apology
7. The A+ Skill of Attention
8. Screen Time and Shyness
9. Screen Time and the Brain
10. Screen Time and the Love Languages
11. Screen Time and Security
12. Screen Time and Parental Authority
13. Screen Time and the Single Parent
14. Screen Time and You
Conclusion: A Tale of Two Homes
I loved how the authors connected everyday things we want for our children, such as teaching them to apologize, showing affection and controlling their anger, with the use of social media and electronic devices.
Several things stood out to me in this book.
Firstly that we as parents only owe our children one thing and that is our unconditional love. In the chapter on appreciation its says here:
"Children who make their parents feel guilty or like they are bad parents because they don't give them certain things must be challenged early on. Most of us recognize that the younger generation has a strong entitlement mentality. 'I deserve that' and 'You owe that to me' are attitudes kids can easily pick up. But the only thing a child is really entitled to is his parent's love."
I can't tell you how many times I heard my kids through the years say, 'so and so gets this or so and so's parents pays for that!' We weren't perfect parents, but we rarely gave into this. And I think it payed off. They are generous and loving adults today.
Secondly, I loved what they had to say about reading. : )
"Reading is a foundational and multisensory experience for every child. He touches the page while his mind processes what he is reading. At times he must force himself to stay focused on the written words. During reading time, things aren't changing every five seconds. He's following a story line and engaging in a thought process. While reading, children are learning to stay with one topic and absorb something deeply. Print reading especially strengthens attention-span muscles."
How much do I love this! I struggled with reading and comprehension as a child. I don't think I could actually read until the 4th grade! I can't imagine if I had had so many distractions with electronic devices, I may never have grown to love the written word.
My small bit of advice to parents is to read to your children. Let them touch the pages, study the pictures, learn the words and comprehend the story. Talk to them in between pages and discuss what you are reading. They will love and benefit from the time you put in.
Here are 5 ways from the book, to foster a love of reading in your child:
1. Read aloud to your child
2. Visit the library regularly
3. Reading time for screen time
4. Find books that interest your child
5. Let then catch you reading
Thirdly, was what they had to say about multitasking. I loved this because I can not multitask for the life of me. If you try to have a conversation with me while I'm cooking I will probably burn dinner!
They say here:
"Multitasking used to be a badge of success, a shiny word to put on your resume to show your ability to manage many tasks at once. But recently, many warnings about the pitfalls of a multitasking culture are on the rise."
They then give 4 ways multitasking can be harmful:
1. Multitasking reduces the quality of your work
2. Multitasking changes the way you learn
3. Multitasking creates skimmers
4. Multitasking wastes time
They elaborate on these points and I found them very informative.
Fourthly, is the benefits of the outdoors.
They say here:
"Being outdoors is especially rejuvenating for the minds of children and adults. A series of psychological studies revealed that after spending time close to nature in a rural setting, people exhibited greater attentiveness, stronger memory, and generally improved cognition. Their brains were calmer and sharper."
Fifthly, on a more serious note are the affects of video game play.
This is one of my greatest regrets as a mom. To allow video games in our home. They only produced wasted time and energy.
In the chapter 'screen time and the brain' it says:
"It's estimated that 95 to 97 percent of American youth are playing video games of one type of another. The important questions to ask are 'how long does your child play?' and 'what type of games is he playing?' Many psychologists are concerned that extensive computer game playing in children may lead to long-term changes in the brain's circuitry that resemble the effects of substance-dependence. Kids addicted to gaming can't resist the urge to play, even if it interrupts basic hygiene, eating, sleeping, homework, and relating to family or friends."
I would even go further and not even ask those questions of how long and what type, but just advise to keep video games away from your children all together. An innocent video game of hockey or basketball will eventually bore them and they will move on to more inappropriate games online. You just don't know what child will become addicted.
Lastly, was the most moving for me. It was the love languages of children.
It says here:
"Your child's need for love is the foundation of meaningful conversation. If your child does not feel loved by you, not only will your child experience greater anger but all your efforts to teach your child are likely to be rejected...
...Children who feel the security of parental love are much more likely to make wise choices; and when they do make poor choices, they are far more likely to learn form their mistakes and correct future behavior. Nothing is more fundamental in teaching a child to handle anger than giving the child unconditional love."
There are 5 love languages:
1. Physical Touch
2. Word of Affirmation
3. Quality Time
5. Acts of Service
Chapter 10 discusses these 5 love languages and explains each one. It was an eye opener for me. I talked to my older daughter about it and she told me about an online test she took at university where you can determine your or your child's love language.
Here is the link to that test: Love Language Test
When you have the tools of what makes your child feel loved, I think it will make a huge difference in your life and the life of your child.
I'll leave you with this encouraging quote:
"Your goal as a parent isn't to make your child feel good; your goal is to make him be a good person."
"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."Proverbs 22:6
Buy it HERE on Amazon