Who’s Really Teaching Your Grandchildren?

By on April 1, 2012

By Max Elliot Anderson –

My wife and I became first time grandparents on January 23 of this year. Later this summer, our daughter and her husband are expecting their baby.

As a parent or grandparent, you are already aware of the many forces at work, intent on attempting to shape the thoughts and opinions of the little ones in your family. What you may not know is that a clock is ticking, as you guide them to independence and maturity.

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For decades, psychologists have reported about the critical stages of development in children. As the research progressed, it became clear that formation of personality and the foundations for learning occurred much earlier than had originally been thought.

The debate has raged for generations, as it relates to how our children develop, and whether heredity or environment has the greatest impact on the outcome. But stop and think about where your grandchildren are getting the information from which to form their life’s choices and opinions. Consider the following.

A recent survey found that 90% of parents said their children under age 2 watch at least some form of electronic media. And the average amount of TV watched by children 2 and under was 1-2 hours a day.

Then the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) made a “screen-free” recommendation for all children under age 2. The researchers wanted to study the benefits or harm in educational TV viewing for the same age group. This is some of what they found:

Because educational television programs usually use content and context that doesn’t make sense yet to children under 2, there is little, if any, educational value.

Unstructured play proved to be far better than electronic media for encouraging brain development. Through unstructured play children learn creativity, problem solving, reasoning, and motor skills. Unstructured play also encouraged independence by teaching children to entertain themselves.

Little children learned best when they interacted with people and not a TV screen.

Even when parents watch TV and videos with their children, to help them understand and learn, the children do much better from live interaction and instruction.

A television or radio, in the background, can also do damage to a child’s development by distracting the parent and decreasing interaction with their children. Hearing these distracting sounds in the background can also have a negative effect on a child during his unstructured play time.

Television viewing around bedtime is especially negative because it causes difficulties in sleeping and sleep schedules. This affects a child’s mood, behavior, and learning.

Many children with increased exposure to media have delayed language development after they start school.

One of the primary researchers, Dr. Brown, gave the following recommendation to parents: “In today’s ‘achievement culture,’ the best thing you can do for your young child is to give her a chance to have unstructured play — both with you and independently. Children need this in order to figure out how the world works.”

Because you’re concerned about what your grandchildren are learning, and their literacy success, pay attention to the warnings from AAP and consider reducing or completely eliminating heavy media use for children under 2 when they are in your care. Instead, begin reading together to better develop literacy and to insure their success in education and life.

To help in this battle, an online children’s magazine has been developed where you can find new short stories to read to your grandchildren during the day or at bedtime. Each month, I will also have two, new, original short stories in this magazine. My first story, “Willy the Wrong Way Rabbit,” is there now. You can find more information at http://www.knowonder.com. It’s free.

Remember, parents and grandparents stand on the front lines when it comes to influencing our children. Reading habits you instill early will benefit them for a lifetime.

Max Elliot Anderson grew up as a struggling reader. After surveying the market, he sensed the need for action-adventures and mysteries for readers 8 – 13, especially boys. Using his extensive experience in the production of dramatic motion pictures, videos, and television commercials, Mr. Anderson brings that same visual excitement and heart-pounding action to his stories. Each book has different characters, setting, and plot. Several books are published, with an additional twenty-nine manuscripts completed. Young readers have reported that reading one of his books is like actually being in an exciting movie.

Books for Boys Blog:  http://booksandboys.blogspot.com
Author Web Site:  http://www.maxbooks.9k.com/index_1.html
My Youtube Videos http://www.youtube.com/user/Maxbooks100

About Max Elliot Anderson

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Who’s Really Teaching Your Grandchildren?