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What you can do

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April 1, 2008

The end of each chapter in "Taking Back Childhood" (Hudson Street Press) contains a section titled "Steps You Can Take." Here are few samples:

  • "Take the time to observe your child and think about how he or she sees things. . . . Try to suspend your own viewpoint, expectations, and desires and tune in to what their goals and needs are."

  • "When your child is fascinated with a single-purpose toy, try to introduce a more open-ended material such as play dough or building blocks to use along with it. . . . For example, if your little girl is playing with the Doctor Barbie doll, you could say, 'Maybe you could build a hospital with these blocks.' "

  • "Keep your children's screen time to a minimum. . . . In my own house, I cover our TV with a piece of fabric and I'm always surprised at how infrequently my grandkids ask to watch it when it's covered. When they do ask to watch a show or video, we talk about it and decide to take off the fabric so we can do that. This makes our viewing a conscious choice rather than a habitual activity."

  • "Point out ads, talk about why they exist, and ask open-ended questions that encourage children to think more about marketing, keeping children's ways of seeing the world in mind."

  • "When considering using electronic toys, games, or screen activities, ask yourself, 'How will this activity affect my child's emotional and social growth?' "

  • "Support children in every way possible to become original thinkers whose caring and compassion for others will gradually expand to include all people everywhere."

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