False positive?

High tech baby monitors are advertising as offering “peace of mind,” but for some parents, constant monitoring and falsse positives trigger worry.

Because the newest devices (wireless electronics in socks or onesies, motion sensors and light-shining pulse probes that measure blood-oxygen levels, etc.) aren’t defined as medical equipment, their accuracy and effectiveness is not regulated.

Before buying any vital signs monitor, get a recommendation from your pediatrician.

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Real world lessons

Just a few years ago, I would have been amazed to overhear a mom give a very detailed explanation of the family composting system.

But I wasn’t surprised when that happened, recently.

Many parents have shifted their thinking. Instead of protecting their kids from realities, they are giving them a more grown-up understanding of real life issues.

This is not only happening at younger ages; this “realistic” teaching is often linked to suggestions of how to make our troubled world a better place.

And that’s all good.

School lunch blues

A glance inside school lunch boxes reveals that the “fresh” and “real” food trends still haven’t reached young brown baggers.

Processed foods are staples in many home-packed school lunches, even though veggies and other healthier foods are now packaged in attractive, single-serve packs.

If prices of healthier options dropped to the level of dollar store packages, kids could be eating better.

Easier parenting?

In some ways, monitoring a child’s tech use is getting easier.

Apps allow remote locking, offer location tracking, and limit time on a device.

My concern is that it’s too easy to substitute tech monitoring for effective parenting.

Helping a child effectively use a device is one aspect of parenting, but gatekeeping, filtering or blocking is a single part of being a good mom or dad.

No app, filter or site will help a child make meaningful sense of his experience. No program can duplicate your family value system.

Tech is a tool, not a parent.

A vote for the melting pot

I grew up on the streets of Chicago, where diversity was assumed. Fusion of cultures? Of course.

As the daughter of a Lutheran pastor, I looked forward to Jewish holidays. That’s when our public school population of 800 dropped down to a couple of classrooms – those days were such fun.

Today’s changing demographics bring reflections of our “melting pot” nation to children growing up far outside the city sidewalks where I learned to ride my bike. Social commentators call today’s increased diversity a sign of the “new normal”, but it simply offers our kids a close-up of the world, right outside the front door.

An End to Helicoptering?

Exposure to technology isn’t merely making kids smarter.

New research says tech nudges children toward independence. Becoming self-sufficient with gadgets is a step in the right direction.

Because we live in uncertain times, parents are also encouraging their children to learn through life experiences. Some parents still hover, but an increasing number believe experiences should include exposure to controlled risk taking.

Could that signal an end to helicopter parenting?

Socially conscious shoppers

Raising children to be pro-social consumers is emerging as a priority.

Just as happened with recycling, introducing the subject often begins at school before the topics are carried home.

But moms and dads who do ethical shopping reinforce those lessons and train their kids to make informed purchasing decisions.

It’s neat to hear children discuss issues like transparency and sustainability, whether at school or home.