Friday, July 19, 2019

The history you could be reading

I like history.

I listen to a history podcast and read a lot of historical fiction. I used to watch a lot of shows about history as well. From time to time I'll invite my son to watch a history program with me, and I wonder how truly interested he is in history (versus just wants to watch TV with me.)

I've noticed that his school doesn't focus a lot on history. I was wondering if that was normal or if it was just due to his age level. I recall having social studies classes when I was his age, but heard that wasn't really a thing kids experienced until middle school.

It turns out that it should be a thing.

Kids like to read about history. They like it so much that the subject gets them to read more. The reading sheets that my son comes home with now are disjointed and a little boring. I don't think he is getting much out of them. However, if I give him a story about myths and legends or ancient Egypt, he is all in and wants to know more.

Yes, schools should focus on reading. But the content of what our children read is important. I think it is healthy to mix up the fiction and non-fiction my son is exposed to and see what further sparks his interest.

Maybe that is harder said than done. At least for the schools. But that is something I can continue to encourage at home.

Does your child like reading about historical subjects? Talk about it in the comments.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The days you are bored

Sometimes I watch my son play in his room. (This generally works out well when he doesn't know that I am there.) I watch him build cities, assemble insane racetracks and create his own card games. I love seeing him come up with his own stuff to do.

My son has plenty of toys, books and activities to fill his time. And he still has times of boredom. Like most children he mopes and whines when he is bored. And I let him. I let him, because I know he'll eventually figure out something to do. And the next thing I know there will be a fort in the family room, or a store created in the loft, or an endearing plea for me to play a new game he just invented (and hasn't worked out all the rules for.)

That's the signal that boredom has kicked off his creativity.

I know that boredom is good for my son, but I sometimes forget that it is good for me. I keep lists of things to do in the short term and the long term to be sure that I am making the most of my free time. But I think I need to remember that filling my time isn't always the answer. It's OK for me to be bored...because maybe something wonderfully creative would come from it.

Do you let yourself and your family embrace boredom? Talk about it in the comments.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Keeping tabs on the teens

For our vacation this year, we decided to give our son some additional independence. Instead of enrolling him in a kids club at the resort we stayed in, we gave him some additional boundaries and let him have his freedom.

And we were all rewarded for it.

My son was so happy about his independence, and spent lots of time making new friends and enjoying the ability to make his own decisions about his time. He did a great job checking in with us and keeping track of where we were.

This was a good reminder that a lot of discussion about independence and privacy can go a long way with our children. And that is something I need to remember when it is time to get my son his own mobile phone.

I've been on the fence about tracking apps on mobile devices for a while. I hear from some parents that they are lifesavers; I hear from other parents that they feel like they are spying on their kids. And since tracking apps have already advanced really far since they first came out, it feels like a very personal conversation for each family.

I get that my son will need to learn mobile and social responsibility when he does get a phone, but I hope that I will be patient enough to remember to talk to him as we take that journey together.

Do you put tracking apps on your child's phone? Tell me about it in the comments.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The changes to Dad's brain

My husband is a wonderful father to our son. He is a good playmate, encourages our son to try new things and is very patient. I love him for all of these things. I loved him for the man he was before we had our child. And, while the BC and AC (before child and after child) version of my husband is basically the same guy, I have noticed some changes in him along the journey through parenthood.

For example: The Dad jokes. While my husband always appreciated a good pun, fatherhood seems to have taken that appreciation to a whole new level. Sometimes I seek out especially good/bad ones just to make him smile.

And then there is his role as the real-world explainer. My husband loves to show-and-tell how the world works for our son. This is generally a good thing and only occasionally backfires on him (like when my husband explained that the GPS tracked our car's speed against the limit and our son announced every time we were over it by 1mph.)

It turns out that these types of changes are very real. "Dad brain" is a thing. Men have chemical changes that kick in after the baby is born. Interestingly, those chemicals aren't released until a few weeks after the baby arrives, which is why some men feel they need to "warm up" to the new baby. 

Frankly, I think this is pretty cool. Moms, of course, are already flooded with baby-loving hormones and it is amazing that Dads' bodies find a way to react and catch up.

If you need me, I'll be searching for new puns to make my husband smile.