Month: March 2020

During These Times

During these difficult times and the uncharted waters that we find ourselves, there are endless streams of articles on what to do with your children to help them through. So, why not throw our hat in the ring.

Claiming no particular expertise on children and pandemics, we look to the sage advice of the old masters. Years ago, there was a question on the then popular game, Trivial Pursuit (I know I am dating myself badly here). The question was something like, “What was Dr. Benjamin Spock’s (the famed pediatrician) main advice for parents about raising children?”

The answer that he purportedly said was, “Feed ‘em, love ‘em and leave ‘em alone.

In other words, even though there will be a tendency to try and control things with children, the best approach is to let them be, let them find their own way.

Does this wisdom apply during this current crisis?

I think now more than ever.

(Funny, I wrote this blog early Thursday. Later in the evening I read this op-ed piece in the NY Times, where a mom wrote essentially the same thing, reflecting on what she should be doing with her kids at home: )

Of course, playing family games, like old school board games (if anyone plays them anymore), would be encouraged, but you have to make it fun and lively, not like it’s a chore for them to do. Maybe they are more interested in the current video games like Dota 2, Minecraft, Call of Duty, or anything else. Consequently, it could be smart to invest in a dota 2 mmr boosting service or similar options for them rather than forcing them to spend time playing old board games.

Honestly, board games were more fun and less violent than these new-generation games, and a few developers are trying to revitalize old games on online platforms. In the same way, now you can play Catan online with your family, which is very similar to a board game called Settlers of Catan. Well, you can’t deny that old is gold!

I know that some schools are setting up Google classroom and other such stuff, so they have to meet their basic requirements. Some families may also be looking online to see if there are any Xfinity internet deals, or deals with other providers, to see if they can get a better connection in anticipation of the increased usage that these times will no doubt bring. With the kids, my suggestion would be to set up the structure, that is the schedule, let them know the basic rules and then “let ‘em alone.”

I would sit the kids down and talk to them in very plain language (adjusted to age and level of understanding) and say something like the following to them:

Listen up kids. We need to talk about something. You probably understand that we are all functioning very differently because of concerns with the coronavirus. We will do our best to answer any questions that you may have, but we are not experts and may not have ready answers. In terms of the day-to-day, here’s how it’s going to work. We’re not going to set up too many rules, but the big rule is that you log on to Google classroom and take care of whatever the school is asking you to do. That has to come first. If you need help with it, you ask.

Beyond that, you decide what you want to do. Video games and playing outside are fine. It’s your call. We would love to play some games with you – and we are even ready to learn how to play video games like League of Legends by checking out guides and resources on websites like mobachampion, as we want to make things as fun as possible. The only other thing that we are asking, is that you stay out of each other’s face. If you start fighting with each other, it’s not going to matter who started it. After one warning, if you keep it up, you’re both going to spend 20 minutes by yourselves in your rooms or in separate areas with no cell phones, iPads, or other electronics. That’s it.

Now, I don’t know if Dr. Spock (the pediatrician, not the Star Trek one) would fully approve, but I’d like to believe what I am recommending is in the spirit of “Feed ‘em, love ‘em, and leave ‘em alone.”

Copyright, 2020
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(*** Please note: Dr. Richard Selznick is a psychologist, clinician and author of four books. His blog posts represent his opinions and perspectives based on his years of interacting with struggling children, parents and schools. He reminds readers that he is neither a scientist, nor a researcher. The advice in the blogs and in practice is governed by one overriding principle – “If this were my child, what would I do?” The goal of the blogs and the website is to provide you with straight-forward, down-to-earth, no-nonsense advice and perspective to help cut through all of the confusion that exists in the field.)


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