The Day the Butterflies Went Away

There are certain expected milestones in your child’s life that make you happy, sad, and sometimes a little bit of both. First steps, first words, first days of schools…they’re all pretty much lumped together and spark a flutter of emotions.

But, it’s the unique milestones that really hit you right in the mommy gut. They’re often ones you thought would have no significance at all.

For me, it’s the day the butterflies went away.

When my youngest daughter was born we decorated her nursery in a butterfly theme.  There were butterflies all around her room; purple and pink, everything matched, from the crib sheet to the curtains. The butterflies never seemed to bother her…not like she had a say in the matter anyway.

As my daughter started growing and developing her own little personality, I could immediately tell she wasn’t the purple and pink butterfly kind of girl. She was the one to chase them away, not to admire their beauty.  Nevertheless, the butterflies stayed where they were. It was their home after all. Even as she moved from the crib to a “big girl bed”, the butterflies hung on.

When she turned four and was waist-deep into “My Little Pony”, we changed her bedspread and curtains to match her current obsession.

But, the butterflies remained on the wall. She didn’t seem to care as long as her ponies were around.

From the ponies we added “Shopkins” decals on the walls…next to the butterflies. The “Shopkins”, ponies, and butterflies all seemed to live in perfect harmony, although they had nothing in common except for the fact they shared a room.

Then a couple of months ago, my then 5-year-old daughter said, “Mommy, I want to take the butterflies off. They’re babyish. I’m a big girl.”

What? No more butterflies? What did they ever do to you?

As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I knew she had a point. She was growing up whether I wanted to face it or not. When my older daughter changed her room décor, it didn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I welcomed it. But, when it’s your youngest, it’s just different…at least for me.

Since the butterflies were going bye-bye, I figured we might as well get rid of the ponies too. So I suggested buying new bedding for her sixth birthday. She immediately jumped aboard that train adding, “something for big girls”. I agreed to that. It would be nice to choose a bedding theme that could last the test of time…or at least through her little phases and fads.

She chose a zebra rainbow pattern. I have to admit, it is very nice and is “something for big girls”. While we’re still making the transition and adding decorations here and there, the butterflies are gone.

They have a new home, in her closet, along with toys that aren’t exactly for “big girls” anymore.

While I can’t hold on to the butterflies, I’ll still grab onto those mommy hugs and snuggles whenever I can get them before they fly away.

Can we stop putting labels on parenting?

When I became a parent eight years ago, I knew I would be getting the new title of “Mom” or “Momeeee” as my kids like to scream. I knew there were a lot of responsibilities and expectations that came along with that prestigious name. I was ready to take it on, and that I did, some days better than others, but you get the idea.

What I didn’t know was that there was a chance I would be labeled as a certain type of parent. I thought a parent was a parent and that was that. That’s the way it was for my momma. She was my mom. That was pretty much where it ended.

Fast forward a few decades where parents of my generation have the pleasure to be categorized into certain parent molds. I’m sure by now you’ve heard of them all.

You have the helicopter parents. Those are the ones who apparently are overprotective and take an obsessive role in their kids’ lives.

Then you have the lawnmower parents. Those are the ones who stop at nothing to make sure everything goes smoothly for their kids and there are no obstacles in the way.

Don’t forget the “free-range” parents who let their kids explore the world. I thought only chickens could be “free-range”? Who knew?

On the opposite end is the “tiger” parent who doesn’t let their kids explore anything. They’re pretty strict and lay down the law 24/7.

Then there are the attachment parents. They love, love, love to be with their kids 24/7, some even at bedtime.

The list goes on and on…and on. Am I the only one who finds this type of parenting labeling downright annoying? I’m still confused as to how we got to this point, but I wish it would all go away.

If you’re like me, you take a little chapter out of each of these parenting styles.

Do I tend to hover over my kids at times like those so-called helicopter parents? Sure.

Do I try to make things easy for my kids? Sometimes.

Do I let my kids explore and do their own thing? Absolutely! Especially on days when I’ve heard “mommy” for about the 100th time and my head is ready to explode. Explore all you want my young Dora…explore…and take your sister with you!

Am I strict with my kids? You bet. They call me “mean” at times, but it’s all good. They’ll thank me later. I used to think my parents were mean but now I get it. They’re lucky that all they had to worry about was me wanting “total phone” so I could have a conversation with more than one of my friends at the same time. That was technology at its best in the ’80’s! I think if my parents had to deal with all the pitfalls of cell phones and social media their heads would explode.

Am I attached to my kids? Of course? Just not at bedtime.

So would that make me an attached helicopter, lawnmower, free-range tiger momma?

If you want to classify yourself as a certain “type” of parent, knock yourself out. I’ll take a time out on that one. There are already so many self-imposed and society pressures on parents these days without throwing parenting labels into the mix. Like I tell my kids, I don’t care what everyone else does, I only care what you do. I just wish we could all make it a little easier on one another.

As parents, I think we’re all constantly trying to figure this thing out and wonder if we’re doing it right so we don’t screw it up. But, what’s right for you may not be right for me and vice versa.

I think if everyone just tries to be the best parent they can, we’ll all be better for it. Let’s leave the helicopters and the lawnmowers out of it.

 

 

10 Signs That It’s Back to School Time

It’s here.

The time kids have dreaded since the middle of June and the time that parents have been counting down since the middle of June.

It’s back to school time people.

In my house, 50% of my children (that would be one), are actually excited about going back to school, while the other 50% (the other child), would be happy if summer vacation was a year round thing.

As for me, I fall somewhat in the middle. At the beginning of their vacation I was ready to poke my eyes out with a spork after one day of hearing them argue which Barbie would get to date the Kristoff doll. Sure he’s cute, but for the love of Elsa, I don’t care!!! Anyway, I digress. Slowly, and I mean like shopping by yourself in Target slowly, I began to embrace the fact they were home. I learned how to get my work done with them home (bribery, lots of bribery!) and we got to spend a lot of time together doing fun things. In the end, a bonus.

Now that it’s their last week of vacation, I admit I’m actually going to miss the little divas, although it will be nice to get back to a schedule that includes a steady wine time, I mean bedtime!

Besides the obvious indicator on the calendar, here are 10 signs that it’s back to school time.

  1. You have enough sunscreen left for one more beach day. There’s no way you’re going to buy another bottle. Why can’t they clearance these things like they do beach chairs in the middle of July? Hmmm…
  2. You see the ads for pumpkin spice everything. Let’s drink a piping hot cup of pumpkin spice coffee at the end of August when you’re still putting deodorant on twice a day because of the humidity. That sounds like fun. By the way, I’m not a big pumpkin spice fan if you couldn’t tell.
  3. Your car has more sand than the beach. No matter how hard you tried, your car is full of sand. It’s time for a deep clean.
  4. You have dreams about shopping at Target…alone. Momma has to get her Target on and doing that with the kids is no fun. Those dollar bins end up being anything but when the kids are around.
  5. Dust bunnies have taken refuge in your home. Let’s face it, cleaning the house takes a back seat during the summer months. When you’re aboard the fun train, there’s no room for the Swiffer. Now, it’s time to get down and dirty.
  6. You’ve memorized the entire order of the Kidz Bop CD & sing it more than your kids. I’m guilty of this one. One day my kids told me to stop. I was apparently embarrassing them while belting out “Hand Clap” when it was just the three of us in the car.
  7. You fall asleep before your kids. Being the head counselor at “Camp Mom” is exhausting. You can’t help but fall asleep by 9…ok 8:30!
  8. You can’t remember the last time you used the words “bed” and “time” in the same breath. Let’s face it no matter how much you love your kids knowing that they’re off to bed in two hours gives you hope that you will get to binge watch some of your shows. Thank-you back to school time!
  9. All of the flips have flopped. The kids lived in their flip flops all summer and they have the broken shoes to show for it. Sure it’s still warm out but there’s no way you’re buying another pair now. That would be silly. That’s why they created duct tape.
  10. Your kids are arguing for the tenth time in one hour & you could care less. As a mother you learn to block things out that other normal humans can’t. With that said,you can also hear your child call your name in the middle of a Bon Jovi concert. It’s a skill. But, there comes a point when hearing your children argue again doesn’t phase you in the least. Quite frankly, you don’t care. The neighbors may be yelling at them to stop but you don’t hear a thing. Not one.

What are your tell-tale signs that it’s time to hop back on the school bus?

Time to raise your glass to another school year! Cheers!

Our First Summer Camp Experience

I’ll admit, I was never a big fan of summer camps. I didn’t go to one as a kid because my grandmother watched me while my parents worked. As a parent myself, I’ve always been around during the summer so I didn’t necessarily need a camp for childcare. I work from home, so in the summer I can usually manage things enough to get my jobs done…usually. My solution is waiting for my kids to go to sleep to get things done, kind of like right now as I’m writing this.

But, this summer, a one-week soccer camp peaked our interest. Well, really my interest and that of my 5-year-old. My 7-year-old wanted no part of it. She was “Camp Mom” all the way and let everyone know it. But, I could tell the idea intrigued my little one because she truly loves the game. Quite frankly, she’s pretty darn good at it for a 5-year-old. But, she wanted her big sister to go along with her. I could tell that wasn’t going to happen.

I sat on the whole camp idea the weeks leading up to the registration. When it came down to saving a few bucks to register early, I needed a final answer. Momma doesn’t play around when there’s money to be saved! My older daughter still wasn’t budging, but my little soccer beast was all in! I was also curious to know more about this camp thing that everyone raves about all the time.

It was all soccer goals and smiles until the first morning. The idea of getting up like it was a school day was anything less than exciting. The fact that it was only for five mornings was my biggest motivator. During the drive there, I could smell hesitation in the air when my little asked her sister if she was sure she didn’t want to come. After a definite “no”, my little knew she was on her own. When we got there she didn’t leave my side for the first few minutes but when I told her I couldn’t stay and would be back in three short hours, she ran off and started to play with the familiar faces she saw.

When those three short hours were over (and I mean short, there’s no way you can get anything done in that time) she as all smiles at pick-up time. During the drive home when I asked her what she did, she gave me a complete rundown of all the skills she learned and the scrimmage that was played. It felt like a win-win all around until she admitted she cried. When she told me it was because she missed me, my heart sank. Did I do the right thing sending her? Should I have kept her home? As much as I felt like the world’s worst mom, I got over it quick! I knew deep down that this was good for her. Besides learning soccer skills, she was also learning how to manage on her own without relying on her big sister. Did I mention the fact that she was pooped everyday and slept like a rock star each night?

As the week progressed, the wake-ups didn’t get any easier, but the drop-offs and pick-ups did. She was having fun and learning new things and meeting new kids. I guess that’s what this camp thing is all about, right? As much as I was a camp skeptic, I can see now why so many kids and parents love it. It sure does keep the kids busy and is a lifesaver during the summer for many working parents.

Who knows, in the future we may trying out different summer camps, but for now it’s still “Camp Mom” for most of the time, and truthfully I’m okay with that!

End of the School Year Checklist for Moms

It’s the end of the school year. You knew it was coming sooner or later. Whether you’re getting ready to send your kids off to camp or preparing “Camp Mom” for the troops there are a few things that need to get done before summer vacation kicks in.

  • End of the Year Teacher Gifts. You may look forward to this as much as teachers look forward to expanding their “best teacher” mug collection. I’ll admit I’ve given a few mugs in my day…and candles, and lotions, and coffee gift cards. It gets boring. As much as every ounce of creativity may have been sucked out of you by all of the projects you’ve helped your kids with this year, try to at least put in a “C” effort for the teacher’s gift. They deserve it for all they put up with through the year. I’ve actually come up with a semi-creative idea that I’m excited about. I’ll share it with you…after I give it!
  • Plan to Keep in Touch with Your Kids’ School Friends…Some of Them. My daughter’s birthday is in the summer. She wants me to start planning her birthday party now so that she can hand out invitations the last day of school. She must have used too many glue sticks this year if she thinks that’s going to happen. I explained to her that’s the joy of having a summer birthday. You don’t have to invite the whole class. That rule goes out the window once the end of June rolls around. I did tell her to get the info of a couple of friends she’d like to invite. We’ll see how that goes. If there are friends your kids want to hang out with over the summer (that you approve of) make an effort to get their info. You never know when you may need to phone a friend.
  • Check out Free Events. If it’s free, it’s for me. That’s my motto. Check out what free events are available for the summer. Many local libraries offer free passes to museums and zoos. Take advantage of these. Make a list and take it out for those days when you hear “Mom, I’m bored”, because you know they’re coming.
  • Pre-summer Cleaning. If you didn’t get around to actual spring cleaning (like me), try some pre-summer cleaning. It’s really the same thing if you think about it. With the kids home, you know your house is going to look like a bomb exploded all summer long. The chances of you giving it a deep clean when the kids are around 24/7 are about as good as you getting front row tickets at a Bon Jovi concert. So clean now, have fun later.
  • Make Your Last Solo Target Run. Moms you know what I’m talking about. Shopping alone at Target has a certain charm to it that you can’t explain unless you’re a mom who’s had to shop at Target with your kids. Those $1 bins turn into $5 bins when you take your kids. It’s inevitable. But, when you shop alone you can look around at all the stuff you really don’t need but end up buying anyway for some reason. It’s a beautiful thing.
  • Pencil in Some Me Time. Let’s face it, summer is wonderful but finding time just for yourself without having the kids around can be a challenge. Before the final school bell rings, try to schedule a mani/pedi or whatever you like to relax. This will help set the tone for the summer. If you can’t tell, this is definitely on my “to-do” list over the next week and a half. That and maybe a massage! If you really want to go crazy, take yourself shopping too! You needed a new pair of sandals, right?
  • Make a Liquor Store Run. Yep, I said it. There are only so many amusement parks, zoos, and playdates you can take over the summer. Momma will need a break so plan ahead. Once the kids finally conk out for the night, you may want to treat yourself to a nice glass of wine. Better yet, send the kids off to grandma’s house and have some friends over for grown-up beverages!

Amid all the camps, playdates, and cotton candy induced carnivals, try to have fun with your kids this summer. As much as we may complain about our kids, we all know they grow up too fast!

Finding Gratitude & Positivity in Pork Chops

“I can’t.”

When I hear my girls say this, my heart immediately sinks and I respond, “Yes, you can.”

Usually this is followed by another attempt to do something that “couldn’t” be done minutes ago. Some attempts are more successful than others, but many times the thing that couldn’t be accomplished is.

Is it a miracle?

No, I don’t think so.

I think it has to do with positive thinking. If you think you can’t do something then you won’t even if you are truly capable. Why? I like to think it’s because you’re thinking negatively and that only attracts negative thoughts and actions. It’s like a case of bad vibes. If someone gives you a bad vibe, there is nothing good that’s going to come out of a situation.

Here’s a fun fact about me…I read a lot of books about the power of positivity and the laws of attraction. While some people may think they’re nonsense, I truly believe in their message. I think there is some validity in the fact that positivity nets positivity. That’s why I try to teach my girls to think positively, even in the most negative situations.

A big slice of the positivity pie is gratefulness. If you count your blessings and are grateful, those positive thoughts will bring more good things. That’s one of the reasons I have my girls say their prayers at night. Even when they’re thankful for something as small as the yummy pork chops I made for dinner, the fact that they’re grateful for something is what’s important. They’re not only learning to be thankful for the little things, but are also sending out positive vibes. Hopefully those positive vibes will make their way back into their little lives.

After my kids say their prayers, I say mine too so they can hear what I’m grateful for. Sometimes mine are “silly” like being thankful that I survived my boot camp class without collapsing. I get a few giggles and smiles. The point is that my kids are seeing me express gratitude as well. It really is a fact of “practice what you preach”. I think it would be unfair of me to expect them to express what they’re thankful for each night while I “peace out” and just say good night. It’s all part of teaching them to be positive.

Trust me, everything is not rainbows and unicorns at my house. There are plenty of rain clouds. There’s yelling and crying just like at everyone else’s house. But, I hope the seeds of positivity and gratitude over shadow all of that. I hope in the end my girls realize there’s no such thing as “I can’t”. There’s always “I’ll try”. There’s no such thing as finding nothing to be grateful for because we know there’s always something. You can find gratitude and positivity,  even if it is in pork chops.

The Woman, The Myth, The Legend…The Tooth Fairy

Out of all the mythical creatures out there, the Tooth Fairy is one that completely baffles me. It also blows my mind that kids actually buy it time and time again.

Think about it, we get our kids all psyched up to lose their teeth to get a reward. Okay, I can buy that. But then, we tell them that this person called The Tooth Fairy is going to magically break into their house at night, which is totally fine, know exactly where their room is and exchange a tooth hiding under their pillow for money (usually). Then the tooth fairy magically disappears until the next time a tooth falls out.

What does she do with all of those teeth? Is she part of some strange teeth collecting cult? Is she a frustrated dentist? What about the money she leaves? Where did she get it? Inquiring moms want to know!

Thank goodness many kids just take the Tooth Fairy at face value and don’t want to interrogate her like I do. All of my curiosity got me to do some digging…okay actually some googling.

There are so many different reference points but the consensus seems to be that the concept of the Tooth Fairy originated in early Europe where it was a tradition to bury kids’ teeth when they fell out. From there, it gets a little fuzzy as to how the Tooth Fairy was born.

The earliest mention of the Tooth Fairy as we know her (or him, depending on what you believe) dates back to 1908. That’s when an article in the “Chicago Daily Tribune” mentioned that mothers should buy something at the five cent store to replace a child’s tooth that’s left under the pillow. Some say from there, kids started asking where their teeth went and stories of the mythical creature were created.

Fast forward to 2017 where the Tooth Fairy is still alive and well, at least in my house. My 7-year-old sometimes asks how she gets in. I tell her it’s magic and she still believes.

It always boggles my mind how we can be so hypocritical as parents to get our kids to believe in something. We teach our kids all about stranger danger, yet we tell them that it’s perfectly fine that some lady with wings come into the house every now and again to steal their teeth. But she leaves cash, so it’s cool. Then we tell them it’s okay to ring doorbells of people we don’t know and to accept treats at Halloween. Don’t forget the gran daddy of them all…it’s okay to sit on an old guy’s lap and tell him what you want for Christmas. Just like the Tooth Fairy he’ll break into your house. He won’t take anything though; he just leaves you what you asked for.

Ahh…the joys of parenting! But it comes with the territory.

If you sometimes put your fairy wings on to transform into your Tooth Fairy alter ego, what do you do with all the teeth?  While I don’t bury my kids’ teeth like they did back in the day. I do keep them. Is that weird? I have little baggies of teeth. So far there are seven. I feel bad throwing them away for some reason. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with them. I’ll probably show them to my kids one day once the mystery is revealed. Maybe we’ll make some strange art deco collage out of teeth, who knows?

For now, I’ll continue to tip toe in the darkest of night, cash in hand, and swipe teeth like a ninja in hopes my daughter doesn’t wake up. I’ll add to my strange teeth collection and pray the kids don’t find it. I don’t know how I would talk myself out of that one! Viva La Tooth Fairy…the woman, the myth, the legend!

 

 

 

Everyone Loves a Fairy Tale Ending

Over the past weekend, we took the girls to see “Beauty and the Beast”. They were driving us nuts to go see it at the theater even though I warned them it was a two-hour movie. Honestly I didn’t know if I could handle sitting there for two hours with them. I was leaning towards waiting until it appeared in the Redbox, but, like good parents, we took them.

The packed audience included moms and dads, like us, with their kids. But that wasn’t all.

What I didn’t expect to see were people, young and old, without any kids. I questioned why they would want to see a “kid movie” if they didn’t have to? After the movie started, I began to see why. It’s not a “kid movie” by popular definition. Not at all.

Not only were the acting, music and costumes incredible, but the story itself is one I think everyone longs for deep down…a love story with a fairy tale ending.

Think about it. Everywhere we look there seems to be negativity. Whether it’s on the news or in our daily lives, it seems everyone has issues. It can be a real soul drainer. In real life, we hardly ever get a fairy tale ending. But, in the movies the possibility exists. For two hours we can escape and get sucked into a story and a world that has a fairy tale ending.  I did. I honestly would not have been aware of the length of the movie if one of my kids didn’t ask me when it was going to be over. I was so invested in the story. Ironically, I ended up enjoying it more than they did. My husband even admitted he liked it. Go figure!

As much as we would like, we can’t always create an imaginary world with a fairy tale ending, like our children. So, as I looked around the audience during “Beauty and the Beast” I couldn’t help but think and even hope that everyone was there because we all love that fairy tale ending.

 

Can We Make Girls’ Bathing Suits Less Sexy Please?

Last week I took my girls bathing suit shopping because they had an indoor pool party coming up.

Perfect! They’ll be plenty of bathing suits to choose from because it’s so early in the season. We shouldn’t have a problem.

Boy was I wrong. Who knew shopping for a bathing suit for a seven-year-old girl (not so much my 5-year-old) could be so tedious and disturbing at the same time?

As we looked through the racks, I couldn’t help but notice the lack of one-piece bathing suits available for my daughters.

Hmmm. Okay, perhaps a tankini? I’m a fan of those myself.

Hmmm.  A few of those out there.

As I continued to survey our options, one disturbing animal print bikini after another, my daughter chimed in that she found one.

Great! I thought. Boy was I wrong.

She proceeded to show me a teeny weeny bikini, made just for her size. When I immediately said no and was questioned why I wouldn’t be buying that so-called bathing suit. I told my daughter, “There’s no reason for a 7-year-old girl to wear something like that.”

Meanwhile, my 5-year-old went straight for the Shopkins one-piece bathing suit and said she wanted that one.

Sold! That one was easy.

Back to the 7-year-old who has now picked up a crocheted number, bikini-style of course. I just looked at her and shook my head. This cycle went on for a few more suits through some ruffles and leopard prints until we found and agreed on an appropriate tankini set that even came with a matching skirt. It covered everything and was cute at the same time.

Sold!

By this time I was mentally exhausted. I thought the days of difficult bathing suit shopping were still at least another six years ahead of us. Boy was I wrong.

Here’s the thing I have an issue with…when it comes to bathing suits for little girls, why are manufacturers producing such sexy numbers? Is there anyone on the decision-making team who has children and who may think that it’s inappropriate? Or is it a case of “anything goes” much like a lot of things these days?

When little girls see these bathing suits out there made in their size, of course they’re going to want them. Of course they’re going to think it’s okay to wear them. Call me a prude, but I have a problem with that. I think we’re just feeding into a culture that is making it too easy for our kids to grow up too fast. All the innocence that existed when I was a kid is long gone. As a parent that’s downright scary.

Some may say to lighten up, it’s just a bathing suit. But, it’s really not. It’s troublesome that these teeny bikinis are more the norm rather than the exception. If you thought they didn’t exist for my five-year-old too, think again. There were plenty of bikinis for her, but she was blinded by Shopkins as usual. If parents weren’t buying those suits, clothing makers wouldn’t still be putting them out there. That tells me that many parents don’t find issue with this.

As a mother, it’s not easy to explain to your daughter why she can’t wear something that everyone else seems to be wearing. I constantly tell her I don’t care what others kids do and to be her own person when it comes to bathing suits and everything else in life. That’s the best I can do as a parent…that and write blogs like this to express my frustration!

Would it be so bad to provide clothes and bathing suits that show less of our young daughters’ skin? You don’t need a bikini to swim or make sand castles at age seven or any other age for that matter. Clothing makers, can you hear me? Can you help a momma out?

 

 

 

Is it Too Late to Unplug Our Kids?

Kids and technology. It seems to be a love-hate relationship for parents. For me these days it’s more of a hate relationship. Everywhere I go I am seeing more kids plugged into technology, glued to a screen, walking around like zombies. This frustrates me and makes me sad at the same time.

I wish we could rewind to the days when Atari was considered ground-breaking technology and the thought of having a cell phone seemed like something only the Jetsons could achieve. But, the reality is many kids are obsessed with their various devices to the point they don’t know how to have a conversation or use their imagination.

Market research found that children ages five to sixteen spend six and a half hours in front of a screen everyday! If you take into consideration the fact that they sleep for at least eight hours if not more, that means there’s less than ten hours left in the day. When you factor in school and activities, there’s hardly anytime left to have a simple conversation. Is it too late to unplug our kids or have we lost them to technology forever? I guess it depends what side of the screen you’re on.

Have you ever watched a child while they’re on a device? It’s like they’re in a trance. It totally consumes them. Part of me thinks that’s why so many parents let their kids spend so much time on them. It acts like a free babysitter. No parenting required. No interaction needed. Sad isn’t it?

Before you think I’m a technology hating mother who only lets my kids play with pen and paper, I will tell you my kids do play games on my iPad and my phone. But, they do not have their own devices. Why do a 7 and 5 year-old need their own iPads or tablets or kindles? I’m sure many people have their reasons, but they’re not enough for me to take out my credit card.

I am fully aware that kids need to understand and work technology to exist these days and to compete with the rest of the world. I know there are a lot of educational apps and games and books to read. Does that mean we throw out real conversations and books or imaginary play or the arts? I surely hope not. From what I see that seems to be where we’re headed, if we’re not there already. So many kids don’t know how to interact with real people because they spend so much time interacting with their devices.

In order to change the tide, there needs to be balance, as with anything in life. While my kids are allowed to use technology on a daily basis, I usually limit their usage to 15 minute intervals. Once the time is up they have to go and do something else that doesn’t involve a screen. Most of the time they agree, other times I’m “mean.” I can live with that title if the result is that my kids go out and play or use their imagination instead of gluing their eyes to a screen.

When it comes to technology addiction many kids are only copying what they see their parents do. Truthfully there are times when we’re no better. I know I’ve been guilty of a little phone addiction every now and again. Do we really need to constantly check our Facebook feed to see who is blowing their nose every minute? I think we all know the answer to that.

That’s why I have a little rule called “no phones at the table”. It means just what it says. My husband and I are not allowed to have our phones at the table when we’re having a meal. This way we can pay attention to each other and have real conversations. Crazy, I know. But, it works.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s tempting to run over and check a dinging text or go back and finish scrolling through Facebook. But, it’s also important to set an example. If kids see their parents glued to their devices, they may be more inclined to do the same. If we set the example that technology is not king, then maybe we can start to slowly unplug our kids, one device at a time. Hopefully it’s not too late.