5 Digital Parenting Questions to Ask As Your Kids Return to School

Now that we are all returning to school routines, take the time to make a few 21st Century family decisions — choices that can help the device-users in your family grow more careful, thoughtful, and serious about their connected world  responsibilities. With so much going on the digital world, parenting today is a bit like riding a roller coaster. But some carefully considered decisions can set the stage for fewer digital world scrapes and bumps in a family’s life.

1. Where will digital devices be charged at night? Most educators recommend that families charge devices in a centralized location away from bedrooms. Many parents also set an evening time limit after which mobile phones, iPads, and even the Internet cannot be used.made_at_www.txt2pic.com

2. If students have significant amounts of online homework, where will they work? Dining room table? Family room? Den? Most educators and pediatricians suggest that students do  homework on computers that are located in places where other people also spend time and not in the bedroom. Check out How Does Multitasking Change the Way Kids Learn over at the KQED Mindshift website.

Continue reading

Get Better Quality Sleep With a Centralized Home Charging Station

From a MakeZine Activity. http://makezine.com/craft/how-to_diy_device_charging_sta/

Check out this MakeZine Activity!

Where a digital device is charged is a health issue for 21st Century children.

With so many different electronic devices in our lives, it’s easy to get distracted and use them for extended periods and inappropriate times. Concerns about overuse abound, but one of the most significant issues is the way that digital devices keep people, especially 21st Century preadolescents and teens, from getting enough good quality sleep.

To improve sleep habits in your house, consider purchasing or one or two digital gadget charging stations where family members can charge phones and other devices. Locate the charging stations away from the bedrooms.

A Google search for charging stations gets you started, or you can begin with this Mashable post, 10 Chic Charging Stations.

Charging station at Pottery Barn.

Charging station at Pottery Barn.

I recently discovered, in a small way, just how a cell phone screen can disrupt sleep. I received a new Solitaire game app, and began playing two or three games on my iPhone just before bed several nights in a row. A few games grew into 20 or 30 minutes of play, and for three nights in a row, when I put down the phone, it took me a long time to settle down and get to sleep. The fourth night I did not play, and sleep came easily.

Lesson learned.

One of my favorite charging stations is the red box at the top right of this post, a nifty do-it-yourself craft project made from a filing box. Click on the image link and check it out at MakeZine.

Twenty-first century parenting demands are unending and sometimes difficult to solve, but introducing charging stations into a home is a simple and elegant solution that addresses sleep deprivation issues for everyone in the family.

Other than ensuring a child gets all of the recommended vaccinations, supervising good sleep is just about the best thing a parent can do for a child’s health.

A Few Resources on Sleep Deprivation and Digital Device Screens (repeated from previous post)

Want Sleep in Your Home? Get Charging Stations

Charging stations at Pottery Barn.

To make a positive difference in the quality of  your household’s sleep, consider purchasing one or two charging stations where family members’ phones and other devices can be charged at your house. Install charging stations away from the bedrooms of family members. A Google search for charging stations gets you started, or you can begin with this Mashable post, 10 Chic Charging Stations.

I recently discovered, in a small way, just how a cell phone screen can affect sleep. I received a new Solitaire game app, and I started playing two or three games on my iPhone just before bed several nights in a row. A few games grew into  20 or 30 minutes of play, but when I put down the phone, it took me a long time to settle down. The fourth night I did not play, and sleep came easily. Lesson learned.

I’ve added four pictures of charging stations that my family has checked out — some practical and others with a bit of whimsy. Many others are available. Continue reading