Sep 22 2016

Teach Your Kids What a Phone Is

Via Sue Walsh on Medium:

A friend recently told me that he asked his son to answer the phone. He and his wife have a backup landline, as cell reception can be spotty in their apartment. As the phone rang, the son ran around looking for it, not knowing where it was, even though the landline was in plain view. He thought “phone” was his Mom’s orange-cased iPhone. Without knowing that the ringing was coming from that unidentifiable thing on the wall, the call was missed.

The rest of the article is good too. The part I quoted is specifically about kids not knowing what a land-line is. They should. Teach them. ‘Kay?

Source: Digitization and The Loss of Iconography – Posted by SYPartners – Medium

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Aug 17 2015

Books – The Original iPad

I recently received an email from a PR person touting the success of electronic devices giving parents some time to themselves. This is true. But it doesn’t only apply to electronics. It also applies to books.

DaddyTips—Thoughts on Dadding

When I was a kid, there were electronics, but they required dinosaur toenail clippings to run. (Little joke there.) I spent plenty of time in front of a screen, usually a television, because that’s what we had. I also owned a lot of handheld games, like this miniature Pac-Man machine. Eventually I had a TRS-80 Color Computer which I used to play games and also write programs in BASIC.

English: Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer 1

English: Tandy/Radio Shack TRS-80 Color Computer 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But before any of that, I read books. So many books. The Hobbit. Lord of the Rings. Bored of the Rings. A Wrinkle in Time. The Fletch and Flynn series by Gregory MacDonald. (I was too young for those but I read them anyway.) Agatha Christie. Sherlock Holmes. Comic books.

Reading gives parents a break as much, if not more than, electronics do. I’m not anti-screen time. I try to manage it, and I recommend that parents with very young children manage screen time closely, mostly because I don’t see any reason for a 6 month old to be playing with an iPad. But as a kid who grew up watching a lot of TV, it would be hypocritical of me to say that I’m anti-screen.

But a good book will always trump electronics. A good book — I’m talking about a really good book — is hard to put down. Sometimes it is impossible to put down. “Just one more chapter. Just one more page.” Sound familiar? Sure, the same can apply to a video game. “Just let me beat this boss.” But it’s not the same thing. A book requires imagination, and therefore uses more of the brain than anything involving a screen does. (Kindles count as books, although there is an argument to be made that plain ol’ paper books are more involving because it’s just the book, no buttons, no screen. It’s not necessarily an argument you will win, but you can make it, and I’d back you up.) (Note: the statement “uses more of the brain” sounds like I’m making a scientifically proven statement. I’m not. I think it’s likely that my statement is correct, but I don’t have the science to back it up.)

Not all kids are readers. I was, and luckily so are my kids. I like to believe that because they grew up in a house where reading was a regular activity, they naturally became readers themselves. I have no idea if this is the case, and I never will. Maybe I just got lucky. But I can confidently say that once your kids learn to read, it has the potential to be life changing… for you.

Kids who love to read get involved in their books. And when they’re reading, they don’t ask you to look up a walk-through so they can beat a section of the game they are playing. Also, reading is a quiet activity. Books don’t make noise. And readers rarely make noise when they read. (Occasional exclamations of surprise and/or joy don’t count, although they are wonderful to hear.)

Again — I am not knocking screens, literally or figuratively. Heck, unless you printed out this blog post, you’re reading it on a screen. And video games are fun. My point is simply that back in my day, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, books provided a service to parents that electronics do now. And they still can.

Dec 15 2012

Ethan Hauser’s Reflections On Holiday Family Time

This was my favorite line:

There are, I imagine, legions of people for whom the holidays are bliss. Gracious sons and daughters, proud grandparents, unwounded mothers and aunts and cousins. Selfishly and bitterly, and no doubt wrongly, I believe there are two elements common to such people: there are Christmas trees in their homes, and no one in their families is a practicing psychotherapist.

via The Total Agony of Family Time –

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Sep 19 2012

Guess What? Reading Is Good For Your Brain

A book being read

Turns out that reading is good for your brain. Duh.

But you know something? It’s good when people point this out. In this case it was an item on Huffington Post.

Reading is valuable — not only for entertainment or knowledge value, but for exercising your brain.

I never used to think about that aspect of reading. Then I saw an episode of Boston Public where Denny Crane, the character played by the possibly immortal William Shatner (toupee or no toupee, the guy has a lot of energy for an 81-year-old), visits a doctor to discuss his brain decay. (I’m simplifying.) One of the doctor’s suggestions was that Mr. Crane do more activities that exercise the brain — crossword puzzles, and yes, reading more books. That little moment of television stayed with me and I now make an effort to do crossword puzzles, play word games, and yes, read more books.

But that’s about me, an adult. (An adult who loves superheroes, comic books, and cartoons, but an adult nonetheless.) How about reading and kids?

A DaddyTip About Reading, And Why Reading Isn’t “Nerdy”

With children, it’s always a good idea to get them started with reading as soon as you can. Read more »

Jan 26 2012

Dad Related Link Roundup For Today

Worthington Super Links

Ah, branding. I’ve tried to come up with a consistent title for these DaddyTips link roundups. DaddyTips Link Roundup. Show and Tell. Reading is Fundamental. Reading Makes Me Mental. I give up. Here’s a link roundup on, and it’s a series of links to things I saw that I don’t want to recap in a full post because I don’t have time to that and also be a parent.

Awaaaay we go. Read more »

Dec 12 2011

Book Review – So Now You’re A Zombie [Child Labor]

So Now You're A Zombie

Here is a review of the bookSo Now You’re a Zombie“, by John Austin. Review written by my older son. This does not count as child labor. Or so we believe. Read more »

Sep 22 2011

Reading Makes Me Mental [Links]

Worthington Super Links

I used to call the DaddyTips Link Roundup Show and Tell or Reading is Fundamental. Then I discovered that the Reading is Fundamental program, RIF, had been defunded. (RIF RIP. Rim shot. Thank you.) I also realized that reading generally makes me mental. Since I never met a play on words I didn’t like, I’ve decided to call the DaddyTips Link Roundup Reading Makes Me Mental.

And wow. Does it ever.

Read more »