Most parents will admit a little unease about raising their child(ren) within this digital age. But sitting on the sidelines with a myriad of unanswered questions will only worsen our concerns and will leave our kids in harms way. Yet again, the answer is in education. Well, last night, WQED aired the Like, Follow, Share episode of iQ: smartparent. If you missed it, I’ve attached it below.
In this episode, we discussed common parental concerns of raising a child in a digital environment, one that relies so heavily on Social Media. I spoke with Caroline Knorr (Common Sense Media‘s parenting editor), Kelly Kochamba (Primary Media Representative & Community Outreach Specialist for the FBI Pittsburgh Field Office) and Rick Wallace (Director of Special Operations/Global – National Security Analyst) to get varied perspective on what we can do to keep our kids safe within this sea of tech.
Check it out and I would love to hear your feedback on the issue.
Children and teens are using social media to define and share their personal narratives. When there is no “delete” button on Facebook or other social platforms, what story does your child’s online identity tell, now and into the future? What does it mean to be a good digital citizen? Join us for an eye-opening discussion on how parents and children can have safe and positive experiences online.
As a result of your incredible feedback, I let you know (over a year ago) that our second show for Amazon Studios, Wishenpoof, had received the green light for series production. After many, many months of notes, scripting, sketches, character designs, storyboarding, scoring, animatics, recording, rendering, editing, research, more research and much, much more, I can finally see the light!!
So on August 14th, our latest, most magical Wishenpoof will premier for Amazon Prime Members in the US, UK and Germany! A fun, magical adventure series that teaches lessons through imaginative play, Wishenpoof inspires children to solve life’s big preschool problems in creative ways.
There’s been a nice amount of press about Wishenpoof‘s release and with a BIG premier party staged in New York City’s Central Park, everyone will start to feel there’s magic in the air!
I can’t thank you all enough for your incredible support and I hope your kids LOVE it!!
Not a Prime member yet? You can sign up for a free trial at amazon.com/prime.
I really wish I could tell you that I break into song every time the mail arrives just like Steve/Joe from Blue’s Clues does. But well, I don’t.
I’d love to say that when one of my daughters has a problem, my usual response is to cheerfully chant, “When you have a problem, we look…in a book!” just like my characters from Super Why. But no, I don’t do that either.
So, what do I do? And what have I learned from writing hundreds of preschool episodes for television?
Seriously. Singing anything. We even sing when the mail comes on Blue’s Clues. Because, well..mail is exciting when you are four! And truthfully, most mail is exciting. It’s like a little surprise present. Singing about it makes it celebratory.
So why not sing about other things? Sing when we are cleaning up, which preschool teachers have been doing forever! Sing when we are sad (Hello, Taylor Swift?). Sing when we are excited (“I’m so excited! And I just can’t hide it!”). Sing when things don’t go our way (“You Can’t Always Get What you Want”).
Feel free to belt out a tune today. Just watch how it helps!
I had spoken with Ana Flores of Spanglishbaby.com about the importance of raising multilingual children. Her passion and her expertise was quite evident. It was also nice to see a similar philosophy between the two of us. While my goal has been to educate children through media, my philosophy is grounded in the belief that you must inspire kids and immerse them into the world of education, at their level, and not force the material. The desire to learn is far more important than anything else.
In similar fashion, Ana believes that a parent who shares their native language in the home and surrounds them with the language, is supplying them with immense benefits..much more than previously thought, I found out. We also dispelled a few myths and talked about it’s positive effects on literacy skills! Check out our interview (and our instant bond) on PBS’s The Parent Show!
A cornucopia of thanks to all of you that give Daniel Tiger, Super Why, Blue and the rest of our imaginary characters an open door policy into your home.
There isn’t a day that we take your trust for granted and we’re proud to meet the challenges of bettering the lives of children across the globe.
Happy Thanksgiving one and all!
We love hearing from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood fans and many parents have been reporting that the strategies featured in each episode are not just helpful for their preschoolers, but also useful tools in their adult lives! References to the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood series draw parents to the Daniel Tiger series as much as their toddlers. Whether parents remember the original “Daniel Striped Tiger” puppet that Fred held in his show, or have a special place in their hearts for the original red trolley (Ding! Ding!), there are little nods to Fred’s series throughout Daniel’s animated Neighborhood of Make-Believe. This affinity by parents is likely to lead to greater occurrences of co-viewing.
It is our hope that these co-viewing habits spark conversations about Daniel’s struggles and triumphs around the dinner table, before bed or anywhere it’s helpful.
According to Demers et al. (2012), “infant television viewing is greatly impacted by co-viewing, in that infants’ gaze and attention directly follows that of their parents.” Children put greater emphasis on content that their parents pay attention to. One positive consequence of this is that young children, mimicking the viewing behavior of their caregivers, will start to pick up on salient cues – a skill that is useful both with television viewing (higher comprehension of the episodes), and with other aspects of everyday life (picking out salient cues in our everyday environments, while ignoring distractions).
Not only is immediate viewing behavior (eyes on screen) affected by parental influence but, more importantly, off-screen time is also affected. Parents who co-view programs can then incorporate the lessons and themes from the episodes into their child’s daily routines. When this “take away” message is incorporated and applied to the child’s real world surroundings, that’s when the benefits of quality content really shine!
So pull up a seat, you might be surprised what quality content (in appropriate amounts) can do for everyone!
Our annual Halloween Photo Contest has finally found it’s winner!
With well over a hundred submitted entries (and some clever Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood disguises), the submissions were creative, heart felt, adorable and didn’t make it easy on our judges!
This year, it was a toss up..so we decided on 2 sets of winners. Congratulations to Cameron, whose Illinois family jumped into the fun also!
Congratulations, as well, to the cutest set of buccaneers, Levi & Henry, from Washington State. Your signed books (and a few extra treats) are on their way.
My sincere thanks to everyone for your most memorable Halloween pictures. Life is about having fun along the ride and the memories you’re all creating is to be commended!!
Here’s to a Happy & Healthy Thanksgiving!
As you’re probably aware by now, our little Daniel Tiger from PBS Kids’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will be welcoming a new baby into his neighborhood tomorrow, Thursday August 14th. We are VERY excited about this BIG news!
We will celebrate the new baby with a Twitter Party at 9-10 pm ET (Be sure to use #DanielTigerPBS).
We will also be discussing important steps that new families might wish to consider when welcoming a new child into their home, especially in regard to siblings. We hope that the discussion will aid those families in similar situations & continue beyond!!
Superheroes with the power to read, salt and pepper shakers that talk and toe tapping strategy songs are a large part of my day. They serve as a means to help preschoolers share, cooperate and enjoy their environment that they are a part of.
So, how do we talk to kids about the not so enjoyable..the troubling and scary events that occur in the real world?
Less is more.
The best course is to answer the questions in a clear, concise way. Don’t offer up extra information. And for the very little ones, it’s best to shield them from what’s happening all together (an easy way to do this is to avoid having the news on when they’re in the room).
As kids move into grade school, they are much more aware of the world outside of themselves. They also have great difficulty understanding the distance between that world and themselves. How they see the world will depend on how we, as parents, help to paint the picture.
When it comes to the tragedies that they’ll inevitably hear about, it’s best to focus on the facts and what you can do to help. One of the workers at my daughter’s school lost a large portion of his family in an earthquake. We talked about it as a family and focused on what we could do to help. My daughter wrote a letter telling him how sorry she was and we helped collect food and supplies for the people affected. The worst part of these situations for kids is their feeling of powerlessness, so enabling them to take control by being proactive about helping is important.
Here are 3 more tips to help you talk to your kids about topics you may tend to avoid:
- Listen first, then talk. With the less is more philosophy, listening to our children in an empathetic, interested way is of utmost importance. Find out what they want to know, what questions they have, and take cues from the way they are talking. Do they want a hug? Reassurance? Answers?
- Be truthful, calm and explain the situation. If children ask about a specific situation, such as natural disasters, a good answer is: “Yes, this was a terrible tragedy but it is very unlikely that it would happen here. We prepare ourselves for emergencies such as these. We have a lot of people whose job it is to keep us safe.” Even kids as old as twelve need to be reassured.
- Make them feel safe. Many specialist’s believe that it’s better to apologize and explain if an improbable, traumatic event does occur rather than have kids live with the fear that something “could” happen. PBS does an excellent job of explaining the science of tsunamis, earthquakes and the improbability of it happening to us on Savage Earth.
Please share some communication tips that have helped your little ones feel more secure after a difficult time, because we’re all in this together!