iChildren

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has just announced new policy recommendations and resources related to children’s media use and screen time. The recommendations include the following:

  • Children younger than 18 months should not use screen media except for video-chatting. These guidelines are different from previously established guidelines recommending that children under 24 months avoid all screen media.
  • Children ages 18-24 months should only be exposed to high-quality, educational programming, such as content by Sesame Street and PBS KIDS. Media exposure for children this age should always be accompanied by an adult who can help them understand the content.
  • Children ages 2 to 5 years should be limited to an hour of screen time involving high-quality programs. Parents should also co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to their own lives.
  • Children ages 6 and older should have clear limits about both the amount of media time and the type of media content they are allowed to use.
    Families should establish “media-free” times and locations, such as during dinner, driving, and in children’s bedrooms.
  • Regardless of children’s age, families should have regular conversations about online safety and etiquette.

It comes as no surprise to me that the key ingredient to the right media diet for our kids hinges on parental involvement. A parents’ role in managing the media diets of our children has never been greater because problems can begin when media use displaces physical activity, hands-on exploration and face-to-face social interaction in the real world. At our house, we have a pretty strict media rules. However, I need to work on ways to teach my children to use media in a more positive way.

If you have a children age zero to five years of age, you may want to check out the AAP policy statement which focuses on infants, toddlers and pre-school children called “Media and Young Minds”. If you have school aged children you can get more helpful information from the AAP policy statement “Media Use in School-Aged Children and Adolescents”.

In addition to these new media use guidelines, the AAP launched an online “Family Media Use Plan” tool that could help parents establish a healthy media diet that is appropriate to your family’s unique needs.

Good luck parents, we all need it!

via ChildrenAndMediaMan

Parent-Friendly Kids Music (For Free!)

This weekend I downloaded this new, and free, children’s album For Kids By Kids: Songs From Iowa Rock City from the Iowa City Public Library. The entire family enjoyed listening to it.

For Kids and By Kids mixes moods and musical styles—from roots music, for which Iowa City is known, to punk, polka, folk, hip-hop, and synth-pop. It not only crosses musical genres, but also generations … Dozens of youths appear on For Kids and By Kids, and we hope that the many more who hear this album will be inspired to pick up an instrument, form their own bands, or do something else creative.

All of the songs are original, spanning all types of genres and moods. The lyrics are not condescending, gratingly repetitive, or infantile. I’m sure we’ll be breaking this one out for listens all summer.

Winter Weekends

Friday I worked a little late into the evening and spent a quiet evening at home. I watched How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days. It was cute, laughable, fodder to wind down my week. I can appreciate an occasional fun chick flick despite how generally contrived and predictable it was.

I was up (relatively) early on Saturday and headed up into the mountains for a day of skiing. I met up with A.P. and his wife and the two kids. We all ate an early lunch together and then went out to the carpet lift to play with the kids and teach them how to ski. The boy popped out before he even got his skis on but the girls were gung ho and couldn’t get enough. It was great getting a four-year old and a six-year old interested in the sport. Both me and A.P. agreed the whole secret to getting the youngsters started is just making sure they stay warm and are having fun. Most of the skills and athletics come later. At first you just have make sure they want to come back. Afterward me and A.P. went to take some turns on our own. We got about four additional hours skiing the ‘S’ lift at Copper Mountain. Traditionally, one of our favorite areas. It snowed most of the afternoon and this made for some good skiing but it also made traffic a bear. It took me two hours to get up to the mountain in the morning and three hours to get back. It was a long day.

I spent most of Sunday running errands, grocery shopping, watching TV, and reading. I was a pleasant weekend for a change.