Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cute Babies Dancing Together

An adorable video shared by one of our users. Notice how the babies look at each to dance in sync!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

School Bell's Ringing

The first day of school is just around the corner. I haven't had kids in school for a long time, but now that my grandson is starting Grade 1, I can feel the familiar tingling pleasantly crawling up my body. Numerous warm flashbacks made me realize I have learned a few things over the years.

First day of school! So much excitement for both kids and parents. Some kids are happy and can't wait to go,others may feel reluctant or even scared from the unknown new experience. Parents react differently too - some are overprotective and overcautious, others can be too strict, the odd ones can be too calm. No matter what our emotions are this is a most important day and a threshold in a child's life and there a few important things to remember, especially by parents of pre-schoolers and first-graders.

  • Emphasize how important social skills are and use every opportunity you get to increase the amount of time your child spends with other kids. Use playful terms, make it fun. The more attention you pay to this before school starts, the easier it will be for your child to adapt and function in his new environment.
  • School life has a certain routine, so the sooner you start to introduce your child to routine and teach him to follow it, the easier it will be for everybody, including you.
  • Teach your child about personal hygiene. You don't need to make him germ-phobic, but he has to know how to take care of his needs and when it is mandatory to wash hands.
  • Give your child some ownership into starting school. Go together to shop for school clothes and supplies, allow him to make choices when possible.
  • Last, but not least: if your child shows anxiety or fear, don't just dismiss these. Talk to him, understand his feelings and do what's necessary to make the transition to his new life easier. If your child has some bad habits like picking his nose or biting his nails, work on changing these. You don't want your child to be singled out because of something that could have so easily been prevented.

And never forget: The first year or two of school shapes to a great extent your child's attitude towards education. Attitude is the basis for success. You want your child to be not only successful student, but a life-time learner too.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Well, it was bound to happen. Kytephone has been cloned by someone in China. It's a visual clone of Kytephone's old interface without the secure sandbox (you can still access other apps & the Android system in their app) or the realtime parental controls.

While it's nice to be copied, parents please make sure you download the real Kytephone app to give your children a safe smartphone experience.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Stranger Danger

My grandson is almost 6 years old and he is a smart little boy. I spend a lot of time with him, but of course, being his grandma, it's not all day long all the time, so I have developed a habit to “utilize” my time with him to the maximum. This always includes some serious talk in between the joking and the childish talk.

Recently, as we were walking in the park, we met a nice young woman and her dog. Both were very friendly and my grandson immediately felt at ease, started talking to the woman and playing with the dog. In a short while we exchanged a few pleasantries and we all went our separate ways. Some time later I said:

“That lady was very nice and her dog was so cute.”

“Yes,” he agreed right away. “I'll do anything for a dog like that.”

“What would you do if someone as nice as this lady asks you to go with her and see a cute little puppy?”

“But I'll go see the dog, of course,” he answered immediately..

“You know you must not talk to strangers”.

There was a long and heavy silence. A serious reminder was in place. As I went on and on with my tirade, my mind kept racing. How innocent children are and how easy it is to harm them! Being smart doesn't make them “street-wise”. This requires effort on our part.

One of the biggest fears parents have, and rightfully so, is the interaction their kids may have with dangerous strangers. In only one year 797,500 children have been reported missing in the US alone; that is 2,185 children a day! Talking openly to our children about the dangers outside their home is a most powerful tool in keeping them safe. It is also a perfect way of teaching them how to be “street wise”. It is a must to constantly remind our children NOT to:
  • Talk to strangers
  • Open the door when someone is knocking/ringing the bell
  • Leave mom's side when outside
  • Go out alone
  • Go with a stranger who asks for their help, wants to give or show them something
  • Approach a stranger even if they know their name
We must introduce to our kids safe people and make it clear they can always approach these people if they get lost or need any kind of help. Some easy recognizable safe people are:
  • Safety officers - security guards, police officers, firemen
  • Store personnel
  • Teachers
  • Mail carriers
  • Mothers with children

In doing all this we should always be very careful to not build our education on fear. No parent wants their children to live in constant fear, which can make them unsociable and damage them for life. We only want them to fully understand that stranger=danger and to realize that even if they are small they are not helpless and can protect themselves.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Children And Cell Phones

Nowadays cell phones are considered a necessity. And the users keep getting younger and younger. A recent study conducted at Bridgewater University and involving 20,766 students shows that 20% of third-graders, whose average age is 8 years, own cell phones.

Furthermore, the study has found that:
  • Not only younger children use cell phones, but more than 90% are online by grade 3.
  • By Middle School over 90% of the children use their cell phones to text messages and access the Internet.
  • About 40% of children in elementary school report being targets of bullying; in middle and high school this percentage increases to 55%.

It has also clearly been shown that teens lead in texting. While the average adult sends and receives 10 text messages per day, the average teen sends and receives 50! The graph below shows the perc of people averaging 200 text messages per day within different age groups:

Apparently in our age of technology it is parent's responsibility not only to equip their children with the proper cell phone, but to continuously teach them good and safe cell phone and online behaviour.

(data referenced from CNET: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57411576-93/one-fifth-of-third-graders-own-cell-phones/)

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