There are three ways to use the new PKR:

  1. Browse and click on color-coded boxes that appear as if by magic as you scroll down.
  2. Click on a category for all the ParenTips under that particular category.
  3. Go to the Site Map (link) for an:
    • a) alphabetical list of all ParenTips.
    • b) A list of all 8 categories with every ParenTip in that category listed alphabetically.

Or mix and match! Have fun as you get the information you need!

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Small children are social networking all the time. They are born with the ability to get the attention of adults and do their version of a “Tweet” to tell others what’s going on: I’m hungry! I’m wet! I’m bored! Babies also make eye contact to get our attention.

But some parents are OVER-DOING their social networking and cell phone usage.

I have noticed parents who are so glued to their cell phone that they are oblivious to their children. Kids get short-changed when Mommy is talking to a person on the phone instead of the child right there.

Cell phones are not going to go away and I won’t try to deny the benefits of a cell phone. Or deny how important they are in today’s busy families to keep track of everybody. But some of us over utilize our cell phone. One survey reported that 15% of respondents replied they interrupted sex to answer a cell phone! 7% answering another survey blamed the cell phone for loss of a relationship or job.

Of course I own one but with rare exceptions mine is turned off. I use it when I need it, I am simply not available when others just want to talk. Message machines can easily keep us in touch without interfering with parenting or work. And every cell phone ever made can be turned off.

It’s courteous to turn off your cell phone when you are with other people who might not want to hear your conversation. Other people include your children.

Children need and crave attention from their parents. Full attention, focused attention, undivided attention, courteous attention. Not every minute but certainly some of the time. Children tell us when they need us. But if you are talking or Tweeting you are not paying attention.

Lately I have seen mothers texting or talking while totally ignoring the crying baby in the stroller. I have seen a father tell his toddler to shut up so he could hear the phone. Yesterday I saw a mother and father watch a phone video. They were laughing while the baby was whimpering.

Ignored children keep on crying or talking. Behaviors escalate until the child gets frantic or gives up in profound frustration which leads to sadness.

I was once seated next to a young mother on a plane who kept a potentially squirming toddler happy and content by keeping up a constant patter, noting any restlessness and providing a change of toys or books as well as snacks. This Mom was totally attentive to her child. When we landed I complimented her on her exemplary parenting.

So pay attention to your child who is social networking with you, or trying to. Little kids need their parent’s attention to know their parents love them, to learn about the world around them, and to be entertained for a while when things get boring. Instead of Tweeting keep up a running patter about what you are doing in the market, where the pasta is, what kind of fruit to buy. If I see you doing this in the market I’ll compliment your parenting too.

The most important connections are the people you are with, especially the little people, not the ones on the other end of the line.