Monday, September 22, 2008

Pause the Book

I was reading to Bella before she went to sleep and she wanted to get a different blanket. She then said to me "pause the book" I started laughing and said, “Sure. I’ll pause the book.”

As she went to get her other blanket from the other room I thought about how technologically advanced our lives had become. Since she is used to DVDs and DVRs, and knows you can pause live television and movies. “Pause the show. Pause the movie.” She used the same term for our “low tech” devices like books.

All the words my three year old is saying are things that didn’t exist when we were children. I know that’s making me sound like I’m a hundred years old. Like the old grandpa joke “We used to walk to school uphill in the snow, both ways….” Of course we live in LA so Bella asked “What’s snow?”

“Cell Phone”, “E-mail”, “Wii Fit”, and “Variable Rate Mortgage” are all words that are new to our language, and our kids pick them up like they were always here.

The good news is that to a child, there is no difference in a video game or an old wooden puzzle. If they are engaged and enjoying it, they don’t care if there is a screen or not. But here’s where the parent comes in. Where do you put the emphasis? We try (most of the time) to put the emphasis on books and playing outside old skool and turn the tech off. And when you do that, something very interesting happens. Your children will be more interested in what is seems to be you’re interested in. Imagine that. If you praise the magic of books and make them magical presents and rewards, your kids will love books. If you do that with ice cream, well then in 20 years they are going to be calling Jenny Craig and blaming you.

So turn off the tech, and explain why books and going outside and riding a bike are still better than watching The Wiggles. Actually, anything is better than watching the Wiggles. Man, do they suck. So in other words, “unpause the book.”


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