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Parenting Blog

Two girls looking up towards each other from teen texting

Teen Texting: Don’t Skip Face-to-Face Time

Does this sound familiar? You are driving your daughter and her two friends to a soccer game and the car is unusually quiet. They must be mentally preparing for the big game, you think. How nice. You maintain this illusion until you hit the first long red light at which point you glance into the…  Read More

Teenage girl having a difficult conversation with her parent.

7 Ways to Get Face to Face With Your Tween

I just wrote a post on the importance of face-to-face interaction for tweens. Here are a couple of ways to make sure you are striking a good balance between online and offline time: Make meal times screen free. This is a great time to start conversations about the day and connect with one another. Ask…  Read More

Three children engaged in free play in a field

Free Play Builds Brains

A Lesson From Caine's Arcade

If you haven’t seen the Caine’s Arcade video, you should watch it immediately. In fact, here it is: The magic of this video is that transports us into the vibrant world of childhood imagination. Caine’s imagination manifests in an elaborate handmade arcade (his tools: cardboard, tape, scissors, and markers). Watching Caine at work reminds me…  Read More

Kid sitting on couch holding video game controller and looking at books.

“Digital Discipline” and Cutting Down on Digital Distractions

There has been a dramatic increase in parental and teacher concern about technology “overuse” as more and more children and teens have their own smart phones and more of their social life is spent on line either texting or on social networking sites. While it is clear that there is enormous benefit to growing up…  Read More

Kids demonstrating the benefits of exercise by being active in the school day

Brain Benefits of Exercise

Why Active Kids do Better in School

School districts strapped for cash and facing pressure to increase test scores often try to preserve classroom instruction by making cuts to physical education and recess. Districts are making very difficult decisions and I don’t envy them! Unfortunately, based on the latest brain science, cutting exercise can be counterproductive. Brains and Bodies Are Connected Think…  Read More

Teenager looking at his phone with a smile on his face, demonstrating good digital citizenship

Parenting for Digital Citizenship

Many parents share your love/hate relationship with technology. This ambivalence makes a lot of sense! If you synthesize the mountain of research on technology’s impact on kids it boils down to this: there is a lot of incredible opportunity and a lot of stuff our kids could do without. So how do we respond? The…  Read More

Teenage girl trying to study amidst lots of digital distractions

Digital Distractions and Building Your Child’s Focused Attention

A number of years ago a parent, Eleanor, contacted me after a talk to ask me a question about digital distractions. Eleanor had recently attended her son Jeremy’s school conferences and was surprised to learn that he was having a very difficult time focusing in class. “Dr. Walsh,” she exclaimed, “It doesn’t make any sense!…  Read More

Teenager multitasking while doing homework

Ten Ways to Improve Attention in Children

What’s going on with children and attention in the digital age? Video games, texts, whirling toys, and non-stop entertainment have made it hard to strengthen children’s focused attention systems. Here are some suggestions: Give babies only a couple toys at a time, so they learn to focus on one. Limit television, video games, and movies…  Read More

Two teenage boys playing video games

Video Game Addiction: Symptom Checklist

Are you worried about your child’s video game habits? Take a look at this video game addiction symptoms checklist I created to see if you have cause for alarm. While this is not a diagnostic tool, it can help you assess whether or not games are an unhealthy part of your child’s life and if…  Read More