Ways to Entertain Children in Restaurants
I've just discovered Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfections, which I'm listening to as an audio book whilst I swim. It makes a very welcome change to Haruki Murakami's Killing Commandatore which I've recently finished. It wasn't that Killing Commandatore wasn't interesting to listen to, but at 700 plus pages, I think I could have swum to Thailand in the time it took to get through it!
Anyway, Brene Brown's text is a very different type of book. It's non-fiction self-help and explores the obstacles to happiness and how to be courageous in facing our imperfections and making connections (or something like that anyway!). I haven't listened to much yet, but so far there is lots to be interested in and to enjoy. It too might be better to read a print version of (a friend mentioned, quite often within it, you want to pause and reflect on how her observations resonate personally) as by the time I've finished my swim I can't always bring to mind what Brene Brown has said (perhaps my 50 year sieve for a brain), but one comment she made did get me thinking.
She commented on how in restaurants kids spend loads of time on their 'screens' when instead the family could be making connections. It was, I think a fairly insignifcant remark and I get the feeling that Brene Brown would be very open to discussing this, but I'm not sure if I agree or not.
I do get the whole thing about screen time and how it restricts conversation, but I can't help just being a little bit defensive about using screens too. I think any kind of 'babysitter' at meals can be a very good thing. When my own girls were young screens were still in their infancy - the most hi-tech phone was a brick like Nokia and a gameboy was a luxury item - so we took crayons and a colouring book everywhere we went. Rather than being criitcised for bringing something to occupy the kids with us, we used to get praised for the foresight in doing so. This is different to parents today who are criticised and berated for giving kids tablets or phones to occupy them.
I've been trying to figure out the difference between screens and colouring and why one is deemed ok and the other isn't.
Kate Greenaway Medal Chat
I have just spent a pleasant hour reading the Kate Greenaway medal shortlisted titles for this year. It made me sad and nostalgic that I won't get to share them with the kids at school. We have always enjoyed reading them, voting for our favourite title and discussing the issues they explored. The kids made connections, sometimes even to the previous year's titles and remembered the stories way after I'd forgetten them. Sometimes we added to this a little research activity, author study quiz, or creative writing and drawing extension activity, though for me, it was always sharing the story that was fun. I'm not a big believer in forcing written responses to reading (it kind of kills the magic). Anyway, I didn't always realise it, but those were fun days.
Parent Support Required
Exam season is upon us and, as my daughter. Betsy, pointed out this morning, (note it was her, not me who said it) there are no more safety nets. Now it’s for real. Her first exam, Higher Level History, is on Tuesday, followed by further History papers on Wednesday and Thursday … honestly how much does any one teenager need to know about Chairman Mao? As a parent I need exam stress therapy!
It would probably be fair to say that Betsy seems a little stressed, so I’ve sensibly suggested that she makes a list of what she should achieve today. I’ve no idea why this has led to such an elongated ‘mummmmm.-e’ response - (do anyone else’s kids do this?) and such extensive eye-rolling. Anyway, she has now disappeared off, fingers cracking, to her room!
Helping Maths Anxiety
I blogged the other day about my self-revelation that Betsy has probably been suffering from maths anxiety for her whole school life; I did make a basic parent error of not checking with her before posting and I’m not sure that she is completely ok with me, not only diagnosing her as having Maths problems, but telling the world. I did try to reassure her that I’d pointed out she had been successful (she passed her IGCSE), and that as she was my only consistent blog reader anyway, (woe is me), no one else would probably see it, but I am still not sure it was my smartest move! A wise ‘new blogger’ would learn from this and move to less personal topics to explore. Wisdom has never been my strong point though! I figure that having raised the problem of maths anxiety (though that was actually Jenni Murray’s fault for podcasting about it) I now need to focus on exploring the solutions.