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Want your kid to go to sleep? Cut out TV time before bed.

bigstock-Young-Girl--Child-Sleeping-2966504I haven’t read Go the F**k to Sleep, but I understand the sentiment. All parents have been in the situation when our children will not settle down and go to sleep. It is especially frustrating when you have plans for their snoozing time and patience runs thin, or you worry about your child being exhausted the  next day.

There are many strategies to ease your children to bed on time:

  • Make sure they get enough exercise throughout the day
  • Eat dinner early
  • Avoid caffeine (it’s in chocolate)
  • Take a hot bath
  • Read to them

What you do prior to sleep onset is very important.  New research has found screen time to cause later sleep onset.

[Read more…]

Worst Toy of the Year!

Every year, the Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood (CCFC) selects several toys for the TOADY award. Readers vote on which toy is the worst toy of the year. This year’s winner is the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Apptivity Monkey.

“The TOADY voting reflects growing resistance to the toy industry’s cynical attempts to foist screens of every conceivable size and shape onto infants,” said CCFC’s Director, Dr. Susan Linn. “Screen-free stuffed animals have been a source of comfort to young children and a springboard for creative play for generations. The Apptivity Monkey is a textbook example of more being considerably less.”

Fisher-Price markets the Apptivity Monkey as “the best of both worlds for baby—a soft, cuddly friend to hold and hug, plus fun interactive learning with your iPhone or iPod touch!” There is no evidence, however, that screen media is educational for children under 30 months. CCFC’s ongoing efforts to hold the “genius baby” industry accountable for its deceptive educational claims led Disney to offer a groundbreaking refund on Baby Einstein videos in 2009 and to alandmark judgment by the Federal Trade Commission against the makers of the video series Your Baby Can Read earlier this year. The push to convince parents that screen time is educational for babies—and the packaging of a screen device inside a stuffed animal—are what propelled the Apptivity Monkey to outpace its formidable competition.

[Read more…]

Getting Kids Outdoors

Spring time is the perfect time to get kids outside!Editor’s note: The following post was originally published on Green and Clean Mom. “Green & Clean Mom can inspire you to try a little harder, be a catalyst for change and to offer you some new tips and news on how to be the green, sexy and sassy mom…I know you are!”

In my local community something is happening that makes me want to jump up, clap for joy and say, “thank goodness”! Children are being encouraged to get outside. Turn off the television and discover green grass, bugs, bond with the trees, smell the fresh air, run and get dirty. It’s an initiative that really shouldn’t have to take place but with television, computers, working parents and technology more children are inside verses exploring the great outdoors. Find out how to locally get involved or start an initiative near you by visiting Getting Kids Outdoors.

The idea is to leave no child inside. I found many helpful tips for parents on a handout given to me at our local health fair and hopefully you can use some of these tips and join in the effort to get our kids off the couch and outside where the rain won’t hurt them and some mud could be fun for everyone!

Limit Screen Time. Designate how often the television can be turned on and stick to it. Avoid using it just for noise. I’m guilty at this. My children love to just have the television on but they’re not watching it. It wastes energy and it’s just noise. [Read more…]

Report Claims Video Games Are Good for Kids

A report from a European parliament committee states that playing video games has a “broadly beneficial effect” on children’s mental development.

According to this study,

Games can help instill facts in children and encourage the use of important skills such as creativity, cooperation and strategic reflection.

(Right, because when I think of ways to encourage creativity and cooperation, I think video games.  Doesn’t everybody?)

The study also suggests that games should have a “red button” which parents could push to turn off a screen or disable game play, as “the possibility of harmful effects on the minds of children cannot be ruled out”.

Honestly, I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. [Read more…]

TV-Turn-Off Week – A Green Opportunity

tvtree.jpgThough those of us in the eco sphere are celebrating Earth Day this week, many of us green or not are also observing TV Turn-Off week. Sponsored by The Center For Screen Time Awareness, the annual TV-Turn-off week encourages us all to get out from behind the screen and do something else.

Though originally started as meaning, turn-off the TV, it has now spread to include all screens- TV, computer, video game, etc. That’s a lot of things to turn off.

Beyond the obvious benefits of spending less time in front of the tube, such as increased productivity, more social interaction and for kids…better grades and a more active lifestyle, there are other green and money saving benefits.

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Baby Einstein Becomes Baby Entertaining…Only.

(See also Jennifer Lance’s article posted last month on “edutainment.”)

Campaign For a Commercial Free Childhood, a coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and parents, announced today:

As a result of CCFC’s Federal Trade Commission complaint, Baby Einstein has completely redesigned its website and is no longer making educational claims about its DVDs and videos. In other words…no longer will Baby Einstein DVD’s be pitched to parents as not only appropriate but good for growing infants! Which makes sense since The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for those under two.
[Read more…]