How to create balanced screen time in your home

Hello from the super snowy midwest!  Just in case the power goes out as this storm rages, I thought it might be smart to schedule a few reruns of some of my favorite posts from the SK archives.  While we’re digging ourselves out from under all this ice and show, enjoy this guest post by Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book.

Over the past few years I’ve watched the screen debate evolve as families choose between having a “screen-free” or a “screen-filled” home. In our family we’ve carefully chosen what is watched on TV, what Internet sites can be accessed, and enforced a strict “no cellphone until you can drive” policy. Of course, every on-line safety precaution has been taken as well as placing a time-tracker on the family computer.

All of this is fine and good until schools and society started encroaching on my little domestic bubble. Our schools have chosen to embrace technology in a variety of ways from turning in term papers, taking tests, research, and in-school discussions forums.

Our children’s visiting friends come over to our house with a collection of electronic gadgets, and with them come their own rules. My first reaction was to say, “my house, my rules,” but then it dawned on me that the conversation that was not being had was the one about balance.

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The Sibling Relationship: Challenging but Powerful

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This post from the SK archives was written by Angelica Perez-Litwin of Modern Familia. The images are from my family’s albums.  I think you guys will really enjoy this post on siblings and I’d love to hear what you think, so please leave a comment.  Thanks! – Kara

The power of the sibling relationship is often over-shadowed by the value we place on building good parent-child relationships, friendships and marital relationships.  The fact is that no bond is typically longer, stronger or more comforting than that between siblings.

As parents, it is easy to focus on the day-to-day bickering, conflict or rivalry, and loose sight of the tremendous long-lasting impact that sibling relationships have on our children.  Here are a few reminders (based on research) why we should continue to honor and foster loving relationships between our children:

The Role of Sibling Relationships on Development

Because brothers and sisters typically spend a lot of time together, they are one another’s first playmates and companions.  As a result, sibling relationships influence both social and cognitive learning:

::  Older children serve as effective role models and teachers: Older children, despite the age difference, always serve as role models and teachers in a variety of pro-social skills, such as helping, sharing, and cooperation.  Language development and communication is also influenced by the presence of older siblings.

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