Video Game Kids playing 06172019

Video Games & Parenting: Doesn’t Have To Be A Scary Thing

It can be argued that there has never been a more difficult time to be a parent. The way that technology has moved on in the last 20 years is breathtaking, and it has opened new opportunities and new horizons for people all around the globe.

While it is impressive to be able to browse the internet from your phone, to have shows and movies on demand through Hulu and Netflix, or to merely banking in your PJs, this new world does not come without risk. Specifically, that risk extends to children who are also finding themselves in an ever-changing digital world, but who don’t have the risk assessment necessary to know when something is good, and something is potentially dangerous.

Children learn their world by watching adult behavior. As we spend more and more time online or in the middle of digital anything, they want to do the same. They need necessary guidance and vital mentors from their parents to make the right decisions, the safe decisions, and the decisions that will let them explore in a way that you as parents can be comfortable with.

Here are four steps that you can take to ensure that your children playing Fortnite are chatting with friends safely and responsibly.

1.    Know who they are talking to – This is the most natural step to take, but it is one that often gets overlooked. There is a fine line between letting your child develop their sense of privacy and being too oblivious to whom they interact with daily. A good rule of thumb is to encourage your child to only communicate and talk with people they have met, never adding strangers or friends of their buddies.

2.    Encourage communication – Being a vital mentor means that your child is open to talking with you. All too often in the world today, we see parents and children that known nothing about each other’s life. You don’t have to be your teenager’s best friend, but you should certainly be able to talk to them enough to know what they are planning on doing on a Friday night.

3.    Keep personal information safe – Anyone can hide behind a screen name; this is both a good and a bad thing. The wrong side is focused on often, with people preying on others or bullying them with no recourse. The flip side though is that your child is also anonymous. Make sure they understand that this is important, never sharing photos, real names, addresses, etc.

4.    Set reasonable internet usage limits – Nothing is going to make a child act out more than being told what to do in a way that seems unfair to them. Workaround this by setting an internet limit, then offering incentives to increase it through insight into their world.

As with many topics concerning children, the key here is communication. Be open and honest about what you expect and be reasonable with what you want from them. The digital world CAN be a scary place, but it only doesn’t have to be that way.

Story by Steve Wright
Independent writer

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Reading Is Vital To Your Child’s Learning

Reading to your children can make a vital difference in their lives. Not only will you and your child bond and make memories over their favorite books, but you are also guiding them into a love of reading they will carry with them through adulthood. Reading is not only a source of entertainment; it is a way to expand the horizons of young minds.

Below are ten reasons to make a little time each day to read to your children.

1. Language Skills
Language skills will vitally improve when you read aloud to your child. Listening, speaking, reading and writing are the four language skills, and if your child is read to every day, he or she will be well equipped to handle the challenges of school.

2. Vocabulary Skills
Vocabulary skills will also improve through hearing words and phrases that are not used in their everyday life. If your child has not yet started to read, pointing to the words while reading will give them a head start. Guide your children through the books and discuss the illustrations before reading
the text.

3. Empathy
Empathy can develop through reading. Children identify with characters, and can effortlessly feel the emotions the character is going through. Reading every day will help children identify with their own emotions and feelings as well as an ability to understand how other people think and feel.

4. Imagination
A child’s imagination can soar through reading. Being transported to other places, times, and spending time with remarkable characters can spark new ideas and creative thinking in your child. While I believe it is vital to let your children’s imagination skyrocket, it is also essential for them to understand the difference between fantasy and reality.

5. Bonding
Connect with your children through reading. A regular bedtime reading ritual will help you both relax from your busy day and enjoy a little cuddle time. Reading will also guide you and your child to increased communication.

6. Longer Attention Spans
Most young children have a relatively low attention span and living in a world of constant screen time doesn’t help. However, reading does assist in developing longer attention spans in younger children.  This will be of great benefit to them as they enter school.

7. Academic Performance
Children who read, or have been read to regularly, perform better in school. They have learned how sentences and phrases are supposed to sound, which gives them a head start in language structure. This aids your child in all subjects, not just language arts and English classes.

8. Concentration
Children who have been read to and who like to read can concentrate for more extended periods. This is a vital skill that will be needed throughout their academic career.

9. Eagerness to Learn
Reading teaches children about the world and assists them in finding topics they are interested in learning about. These topics of interest may lead to wanting to know more, therefore opening the door to more knowledge. Guide your children to different subjects, fiction, and non-fiction. A quick trip to the library may spark a new interest.

10. Cognitive Skills
Reading to your child teaches early thinking skills such as problem-solving, decision making, and remembering. Your child will have an easier time processing information with regular reading. It also has a positive effect on the growing brain, helps advance literacy skills, and is vital to attaining better comprehension skills.

Through your guidance, your children will benefit from reading, not only in the ways mentioned above but throughout their entire lifetime. Set your children up for success while enjoying the time you have with them as they grow. Reading is not only a good source of entertainment; it is an excellent way for a family to connect and build stronger relationships.

Article by Kristine Protopsaltis
Independent Writer

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Mentors Provide Vital Guidance To Children

It is vital for children to have good mentors in their life.

The above statement seems like it would be an undeniable fact, yet in our modern world, where everything happens at a fast pace and technology has taken such firm root, it is not a statement parents give much thought.

Parents from the younger generation, Millennials if you will (though I hate using that phrase) need more help than ever when it comes to raising their children. There are so many examples of co-parenting, (most good but some bad) and other types of family units that it is sometimes hard for children to get the vital counseling that they need from a mentor or role model.

Mentors fill so many roles for children that it is hard to come up with a complete list of all the ways they provide necessary guidance at an age where it is most needed. These vital relationships can last for years, even a lifetime for the right match of people, and here are just a couple of the ways that mentoring can help children grow into balanced and successful young adults.

Freedom of expression
A good mentor knows when to step in and when to step back.  Children do not want to be in situations where someone else is dictating all their choices.  Frankly, if someone is controlling their life, there is no opportunity for them to grow.

A good mentor plays the role of a supporter at times.  He or she is willing to let children make decisions, be they correct or incorrect (within reason) and to let them be themselves. This trust also results in a level of accomplishment for the mentor as with the right vital guidance children will succeed off their own choices and their freedom to make decisions.

Development of confidence
One trait that we commonly see in children and teens today is a sense of being withdrawn from life. Parents find it all too easy when a child at a young age is boisterous or inquisitive, to sit them in front of a tablet or TV for the evening. While there is undoubtedly a place for that in raising kids, there are so many good entertainment options out there that involve learning, and this can have a negative effect if used too often.

In the past, and by that I mean 20 years ago or so, children learned how to be social because there were basically no other options. If you wanted entertainment, then you had to build a friend group with similar likes and dislikes and go from there. Today, kids don’t have that, so confidence within the peer group can be challenging to achieve.

A mentor will help with this instantly with a human connection to the broader world.

Article by Steve Wright

Train Up A Child 2

What’s Your Opinion On Raising Children?

Everyone has an opinion about how to raise children, even those without them. The fact is, no two kids are the same so the experience of raising children will not be the exact same for parents.  Some kids will listen and some will not, some kids will be calm and still and others will not, and some kids will need more vital guidance than others.

The Bible is one of the best resources we have for how to raise children.  Not only does it provides vital guidance about parenting children, but it also provides guidance for being a parent.  The child-rearing experience will still be different for parents but the Bible helps with their responsibility to teach a good foundation for children to thrive in the world.

Here is a short list of some of the best verses for parents and children:

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it” comes from the Book of Proverbs.  There are a few different ways people view this verse from raising a child based on his or her talent to growing the child up in God’s Word for character and a relationship a with Him.  The latter view sees a relationship with God as more important than earthly talents.  However, the overall goal would still be to have a child with godly character who still thrives to be the best at his or her talent(s).

There are also verses about “children obey your parents” and “Fathers do not provoke your children to anger but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” in the Books of Ephesians and Colossians.  At times, it’s a natural response to be upset with children when they do not listen or have intentionally damaged something that was important to you.  However, that is when parents must fall on the vital guidance of the Fruits of The Spirit to parent in a way that is comforting and safe for children to learn from their actions.  In the end, parents will see it was just stuff that was not more important than their relationship with their children.

There is no guarantee how children will turn out as they grow up, but parents still have a responsibility to teach them right from wrong.  If you do this based on varying opinions of others then your children can’t explained why their beliefs are what they are because they were never a solid foundation. They were just the opinions of others that can readily change based on how they are feeling that day.

In the Book of Deuteronomy, the Bible says “these words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts.  And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

Today, there are many ways to learn those words.  Reading, audio as well as Bible videos are available in many languages as well as at our fingertips because many of us have mobile phones.  So the next time you’re in the comfort of your home, traveling or relaxing before bedtime, read or listen to a few verses for knowledge of how to train up a child.