Responsible parenting and leadership are a start. In between reaching for the sky (Toy Story rocks).

Screw the darkness. I prefer the lightness of Pop.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Unapologetic Parents Who Integrate It All

There we were, sitting at dinner, talking away, while the girls watched shows on their iPods. One of us asked Beatrice a question, but she didn't respond. We asked again, and then she quietly and reluctantly answered with one clear disclaimer: "I'm watching my show."

Dinner with friends and family at restaurants has included childhood distractions for decades. I remember getting crayons and coloring pages when we'd go to Sambo's or Bob's Big Boy, whether supplied by the restaurant or by my parents or grandparents. Usually both.

So, with iPods active, I made the definitive statement: "Yes, we unapologetically bring our devices everywhere we go."

Then I added: "Amy and I grew up with the TV on all the time, and our brains didn't melt."

Which is not entirely true, for us or for our children. The Mama and I are big readers, always have been, and this is one of many activities we encourage with Beatrice and Bryce. In fact, every week they go to the library and bring back a big bagful of new books to read, which we do every night before bed.

There are those child development experts who agree all things in moderation and integrated into everyday family life that includes talking with your children, doing arts and crafts projects together, reading together, writing together, drawing together, engaging in make believe together, or build forts (and even buy one once in a while), or watching a show or playing a game together. In fact, Bryce and I designed a unicorn video game together recently and then imagined we were actually playing it.

And think of it from the kids point of view while out at dinner. Having to listen to adults blather about this and that as they eat painfully slow with no consideration of the fact that the kids are missing out on valuable play time and reading time with the Mama and the Daddy.

As I write this, the girls are watching Little Einsteins on Disney Junior learning about music and art. And then we'll watch some more, and then they'll play on the devices, and then we'll do some art projects together, and then we'll read some new books, and then...

We are the unapologetic parents who integrate it all into some semblance of family time, even when they want to draw daddy's foot when he's working.


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