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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Goal-setting charts for young kids

Goal Setting for Kids

The following post is from the SK archives and was written by Amy Anderson of Let’s Explore.

Setting goals is not just for grown-ups. Even our littles can benefit from the confidence-boost that comes from setting a goal, working towards it, and achieving it.

Goal-setting with young children should be simple and straightforward:

  • Involve your child as much as possible in choosing an appropriate goal.
  • Listen for times when your little one says, “I wish I could…” and think about ways to turn that wish into a specific goal.
  • First-time goals should be achievable in a day or two.
  • Decide on a great way to celebrate your child’s success.

No matter what the goal, kids (and grown-ups, too) will benefit from a visual way to track progress.  With some basic supplies, you and your child can create some fun and effective goal-setting charts. Here are some of the charts we have enjoyed using over the years. Let’s set some goals!
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Monday mission: be an example of thankfulness

Monday Mission: be thankful - SimpleKids.net

Last week I shared with you the personal mission I gave myself to let something go during the holiday season.  I invited you to join in and accept the Monday Mission challenge if you wanted to and it sounds like quite a few of you found some task or event that you were going to let go of this year for the holidays.  I think we’re all going to be a little happier for it.

This week, building on that momentum, I’m giving myself another Monday Mission:  to be an example of thankfulness.

I know, I know, that is an often used phrase during the month of November, being thankful, but let me ask you this:  if someone asked your kids what you were thankful for, what would they give as an answer?

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The Friday Five: 5 Cool Things about Travel With Kids

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Note:  there are affiliate links in this post.  Thanks!

What a month!  Earlier we were in California and today I’m saying hello there from gorgeous South Carolina! We’ve been on airplanes and behind the wheel on the open road in October and  it has been spectacular.

My family and I are on the road this week so that I can attend Allume and on the way home we will be exploring some parts of the country we don’t often get to see. We’re turning this week into a mini family road trip, hopefully one that will lead to longer journeys next year and beyond.

So, since I’m blogging from the road for this week’s Friday Five I thought it might be kind of fun to share 5 cool things about traveling with kids.

5 Cool Things about Travel with Kids

1. Traveling with your kids lets you see them in a whole new light.  Earlier this month I was so impressed with the way my eleven year old carried herself and the ease with which she moves through the world (certainly more poised than I was as an eleven year old) and I’m not sure I would have known that about her if I didn’t have a chance to see it in action.   It was neat to see her in an environment we aren’t normally in.

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