Even before we gave Harley her own tablet, we were looking for video content for her. The reality is that screen time isn’t evil, and honestly, sometimes we all need time to zone out – her in front of a video and me without a little one demanding my complete attention. That said, I still like to encourage her to watch things that expand her mind, teach her something, or are generally worthwhile. I’ve found a bunch of awesome shows for kids, and I thought I’d share them with you. This time, it’s Team Umizoomi.
Apologies in advance if this ends up sounding like a bit of a rant. I’m just fed up. I’m tired of people sharing crap on social media without thinking. I’m tired of couch researching moms deciding that debunked documentaries about vaccines are right or that the radiation from phones will disrupt your kid’s brain development. So, the next time someone shares something about how screen time is evil, I figure this blog will serve as a way for me to give a rebuttal without leaving essay-length Facebook comments.
To be clear, I am not saying that ANYONE should consume content all day. We all need multiple stimuli throughout the day, and kids in particular have specific needs to help them develop and grow. You can check out my child development posts to read more about ways that you can help your kid grow, become a genius and generally just be awesome. But some people enjoy unwinding with video or interactive media. And to somehow make gamers, Netflix bingers and Pinterest scrollers into lesser people because of screen time use is irresponsible and untrue.
I have a list of blog posts I plan to write one day. When ideas pop in my head, I try to write them down. Sometimes I brainstorm blogs to write for the month. Either way, there’s a blog post that has been on my list forever. It was titled “How I potty trained my kid”. In some versions of the proposed title, I combined it with my interest in early childhood development, “How I potty trained my kid, and helped her learn to read” or “Additional skills learned while potty training”. Other times, I thought I could help other moms with titles like “I potty trained my kid and you can too” or “The no-stress way I potty trained my kid”. But the reality is, I hate potty training and it’s awful.
Every kid is different. I say this as a reminder to me and to you. The kid who is an amazing sleeper might refuse to eat anything other than mac and cheese or breadsticks. A great eater might decide not to walk until 18 months. The fabulous running, walking, talking kid might take forever to potty train. In the end, they all get there, but your life as a parent will vary quite a bit depending on which elements end up being a hurdle for your kid.
(Photo credit: Lauren Iwen with Lauren Iwen Photography // @LaurenIwen)
The benefits of reading to your kid for 10+ minutes every day abound. There’s been a ton of research into this topic, but one of the clearest indicators for me was this study into kids read to between ages 4-5. When parents read to these kids for 3-5 days per week it was equivalent to the child being 6 months older in development, and reading to them 6-7 days a week pushed that to being a year ahead in development. Children are more likely to succeed in school, be able to spell their names sooner and even count to 20 earlier. But, only a little over half of the population reads to their kids every day.
I know that we all set out with the best intentions. We want to give our kids the best chances in life, but sometimes it’s hard to know the best way to do that. Reading to your kid is guaranteed to help them, but how do you even start? Here are my top 3 tips for reading to your kid, but you can get even more advice with more detail for any age by signing up for my newsletter – you’ll get a free printable with more information and advice for reading to your kid at any age.
2.5 years ago, Harley came into the world in truly dramatic fashion. I was 32 weeks pregnant when I had seizures brought on by full-blown eclampsia. LIke, the thing after preeclampsia. An emergency c-section later, Harley was born, eight weeks premature.
I had never imagined that I would have a premature baby, and I knew absolutely nothing about it. A first-time mom, I was terrified of everything it could or would mean. I read all about possible complications, developmental hurdles or other issues. I wanted to be prepared.
It was terrifying. Eventually, I had to stop reading because I was so worried, upset and afraid of what the future MIGHT hold for Harley. Instead, I focused on doing what I could to get her through the time in the hospital. And then just surviving our early days and weeks.
Now, 2.5 years later, Harley is amazing, and you would never guess she was a prem baby. I thought I would share a bit about her, how she has surpassed all expectations and where she falls on her milestones. So, if you are just taking things day by day with your prem baby, I hope this helps you imagine a less terrifying version of what the future might hold with your preemie baby’s development.