Author Archives: StlCaverly

Communicating the Social Networking Way

I’ve jumped into the sea of social networking. It didn’t take much effort on the part of Pat Simpson, Marketing/Communications Director at the National Center to entice me into the water. What can I say, new and cutting edge things excite me. I started with blogging which I enjoy and plan to make more time to do. A few months ago I created a Facebook page. This mortified my kids (my oldest says he’ll be my friend when he leaves for college.) I will admit, FB is addicting, so much so the application is downloaded on my cell phone! I watched as my friend list to grew…..high school classmates, college roommates, sorority sisters, friends from church, even adult cousins I haven’t spoken with in years! How cool is that! Recently I’ve added Twitter to my networking tools and boy, do I feel like I’m on the frontage road watching a fast and scary freeway. There is still so much I have to learn.

Through all of this, some questions keep swirling in my mind.
• When does social networking really pay off?
• How can we embrace this new technology here at Parents as Teachers?
• Should anybody really care what my “status” says?
• Did I really want to know this much about acquaintances?
• Are we turning into a society that communicates in 120 characters or less?
• Is “tweeting” considered real communication?
• What’s the line between personal and professional on these sites?
• Can connecting (or reconnecting for that matter) on social networking sites actually deepen relationships?
• How much is too much?

Despite these questions, I’m hooked! In just a few short months, I’ve seen the power of the network. My most recent example happened last weekend. My son wanted to go purchase a particular Civil War DVD. I told him to hold off while I went on FB. I knew that one of my friends is a Civil War buff and he talked about this video in a post some time ago. I logged on and asked if we could borrow it. He responded he wasn’t home at the time (ah ha, another mobile FB user) but to stop by in an hour. Within a total of 90 minutes, we were home watching the DVD. That’s an example of social networking.

What are your success stories? What’s got you thinking? Have you jumped in the water yet?

Become a fan of the National Center for Parents as Teachers on Facebook. We’d love to connect with you!


The Art of Juggling……um, I mean Parenting!

On Monday there was a letter to the editor in the Wall Street Journal about the juggling act called parenting. This resonated with me on many levels. I am a parent of 17 and 14 year old boys. Life is a constant juggling act in our house. I thought it would get easier as they got older……but don’t buy into that line like I did. It doesn’t. Finding time to “do it all” is an ongoing battle. I must admit that I’ve done the “work-life blend” described in the article…taking work to my boys’ ballgames now and again. The wake –up call for me came in the next sentence of the article “It would certainly not be business-like to bring laundry to fold during Friday morning meetings at work.” WOW! How true is that? Our kids are important! They deserve at least the same attention we give to our jobs and careers. No more work on the sidelines for me.


The article goes on to talk about the ongoing need in our country for parent education and support programs that are available, affordable, and “normalized”, to help parents with the juggle of home life and work life. Parents as Teachers is one program that offers families support from the birth of their child until that child goes to kindergarten. If you do have a Parents as Teachers program in your community, take advantage of all they have to offer. If you don’t, find out how to bring this needed service to your community by visiting the Parents as Teachers website.


What do you find most difficult in the juggling act called parenting?

Thinking back…..

When I was growing up in the 70’s, there were four TV channels. I remember having to fight my sister for the phone at night to talk to a friend. And I recall when cartoons on Saturday meant Felix the Cat and Road Runner? Times have sure changed and research is backing that up! A new report from the National Institutes of Health and Yale University shows strong links to increased media exposure and ill effects during childhood. So dramatic are these effects that these researchers say our nation needs a “wake up call”. The link between various types of media and obesity, increased drug and alcohol use, low academic achievement and increased sexual behavior cannot be ignored! What surprised me most about this study was the sheer amount of time that children spend on cell phones, TV, magazines, internet, music and video games…..on average of 45 hours a week! This compares with an average of 17 hours a week spent with parents.  


For nearly 25 years, Parents as Teachers has been working to help parents understand their important role, to strengthen that parent-child bond, and to provide opportunities for parents and children to play together – away from the pull of the media world. Would the research findings be different if every family had access to a PAT program? I believe so. While technology is great (I love my Blackberry)….too much of a good thing can be very, very bad. Research is showing us that. I challenge us all to spend some more time with our kids…..away from the TV, the IPods, and the cell phones (and Blackberrys). What fun things are you going to do?

What you say & how you say it does make a difference!

Those of us in the early childhood field understand the importance of talking to children; beginning early, early on. We know what we say and how we say it is critically important to early literacy development. However, for many children most of what they hear from the adults in their lives are commands and demands.  “Pick up your toys” or “Clean up that spill” and not enough problem-solving questions such as  “Where do we put our toys when we are finished playing?” and “What do we need to do now that the milk spilled?”  Look at the difference in the number of words in each of the exchanges. With problem solving questions, children are exposed to more words and the tone is more respectful.  Researchers Betty Hart and Todd Risley found these two elements do make a difference in literacy development and school success. Why is it that more parents and others who spend time with small children aren’t getting this message?  I came across an editorial in the Los Angeles Times that speaks to this issue.  Esther Jantzen proposes some very interesting strategies. What are your thoughts?

Reflections on Mom’s Day

With Mother’s Day being this past weekend, I was reflecting on the intangible gifts that my mom (and dad) gave me while I was growing up.  I remember clear boundaries and rules, family dinners, and game night to name a few. I came across a new resource last week, Taking Back Childhood by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, that helped me to be even more appreciative of these gifts from my parents.  In this age of cable and satellite TV, game systems, and crazy consumerism…how are you encouraging parents to “take back childhood”? Parents….what are the intangible gifts you are giving your children? Let’s share!