Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Television and Toddlers"

The latest issue of Developmental Review, a scientific journal focusing on child development, focuses on the effects of watching television among infants and toddlers:

I was especially interested because Abby is certainly no stranger to the television and computer. We check out the Baby Einstein videos from the library and other Spanish language and sign language videos. And I'll admit to occaisionally (perhaps daily...) using Sesame Street and nursery rhyme Youtube videos in one window on the computer screen to distract Abby while I check my email in another window.

The first piece in the journal is a "review article" which summarizes the state of research in child psychology in a particular area. The main points:
  • Babies under 18 months usually don't understand much of what they see on the TV.
  • After 18 months, they begin to understand what they see, but they still "prefer to connect with humans and learn more effectively from them under most circumstances."
  • After 18 months, education television programming can help children learn language, if it's done effectively (like Dora, Blues Clues, etc.).
  • Having the TV on in the background does distract babies from playing with toys and other children.
  • If the TV program is directored toward babies and toddlers, they learn more if the parents watches the program with them and talks to them about it.
  • If the TV program is directed toward adults, "interaction between parent and child is diminished."
  • Viewing television does not cause ADHD in children, unless they watch more than seven hours per day. And even then there's only been an association demonstrated and the causal link is not yet been proven.

The authors of the article summarize their findings by saying that TV-watching among babies and toddlers doesn't really hurt them, but it doesn't really help either. Just like adults, it can be entertaining, but the educational value of videos like "Baby Einstein" has not yet been successfully demonstrated. They recommend that if adults allow their children to view television, that they choose age-appropriate materials and watch the programs with them and provide feedback as they go along.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It had to happen eventually...

Just in case anyone is even remotely interested (which I doubt)... I finally broke down and started a separate "weblog". It's for my new job and it's intended primarily for my students and others in the community where we're going to live. However, if any of you are ever interested in reading exceptionally boring musings about a political science perspective on Kentucky and U.S. politics and government, you're welcome to come check it out sometime:

Also, just so you're all aware: I'm restricting comments to those who are my students or others associated with the university or the Danville, KY community. So don't feel offended if I don't approve publication of any comments you might wish to post. :-)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Time for a change

Don't hate me. I just needed a change.



The only people who have ever told me that they are jealous of my long hair are people with short hair who don't have to deal with long hair.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

i don't care (Denali's proposed title)

hey this is Denali, during this blog post you will notice that i do not capitalize things, and sometimes it will be in CAPS LOCK!

last week we went camping, we went to a camp ground that had a trail that is only 2 minutes from a lake! we went swimming and roasted marshmallows, and stayed in a tent for 3 hours during a thunder storm! then after the storm we made a fire and cooked crasonts! And we got some really cute pics of abi on her new camp chair! Also when we went to the beach abi just loved jumping and playing in the sand and water! And I played with ABI’S LITTLE BOAT Thing! On the way home I had to carry all of the towel so I wrapped them around me like togas, and I became GODDES TALANIA, or something. But camping was fun and abi loved being in a tent 4, 3 hours playing on top of us! The end!!!

I am just kidding, 2 weeks ago we went to an art festival! It was delicious! loved it! i really loved it!! that is wing ding for I really loved it!while we were there I was able to get a henna tattoo. It was a butterfly! It is coming off now, but I don’t care! Okay now it’s the end!! Bye!!

Iowa Arts Festival. These are pictures of the booths. Denali made several different crafts while Abigail and Carl (we were watching him) went wild.
She also got a henna tattoo.

This is a huge rocking chair near where we camped.

What is a campground without a playground. It's not like the kids want to rought it when you are roughing it. Besides it is SO much fun to have a tent full of sandy babies.

Here's a bad picture of all of us.

This one's a little better.

Here's Denali swimming at lake. She would have spent every waking moment there if we had let her.

Here she is walking back to the campsite, our little towel queen.

Maggie in boat

Abigail LOVES the water. She loves it.

We also went on some walks around the lake and the nature trails. As for wildlife, we saw lots of flies, mosquitoes, birds, deer, snakes, fish, and turkeys. We threw rocks in the lake, waited out the pouring rain and lightning in the tent, slept on hard rocks, and even drove Abigail around in the car one night so that she'd actually, finally go to sleep.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Weekly Digest

Apparently I have been having too much fun doing other things, and not blogging enough. I ask forgiveness and to appease the voracious appetites of my readers, I will include lots of pictures. Please forgive.

Having a ten year old in the house gives us lots of excuses to get out of it and to do fun things that we've never done before. We spend a lot of time at parks, at the public library, watching Elmo, and doing crafts.
We also played with bubbles. Denali taught me how to blow bubbles with my hands. For our big adventures this week we went to a small hotel waterpark that was lots of fun. Abigail loved it and lasted for three hours. However, we were all in the water for three hours and thus do not have pictures of it. The camera would have gotten wet. Take my word for it. Abigail loved it. Here's the splash pad where Abby played Here's Denali on the Mill Race Here's Ben coming down the water slide. Yesterday we traveled about an hour East to go to the Niabi zoo. We saw lots of animals and all avoided sunburns. Thank you 50 SPF. Abigail was more interested in walking around than looking at the animals and all Denali wanted to see were the tigers. She kept complaining that the zoo was too big even though it's a REALLY small zoo. Too bad we don't own a stroller that's her size.
Not quite a fan of the carousel when it started moving up and down.

Petting zoo.

Pictures of animals taken by Denali and selected by her to make their appearance on this post.

We also visted the John Deere Pavilion. I definitely wanted to see this before leaving Iowa. I knew that I would see huge tractors, but I had no idea how cool this site would be. The girls loved it SO much more than the zoo. They were running around screaming and climbing on everything. Loved it. I was fascinated to find out the the tractors use GPS technology to guide their tractors when they plant seeds, water, spray herbicides, and harvest. The info tells them if they are heading straight in the field or even if they are one inch off. It also tells them which areas of the field need to be watered or sprayed so that they only treat the areas that need it. WOW. I never knew that farming was so high tech. Very cool. Also the building was air conditioned, a definite plus. The John Deere store was fun too. I wanted to buy Abs the toy ride on frontloader and backhoe but it was over two hundred dollars. Bummer.

This machine cuts down entire trees and can move them long distances. Whoa!

Here are some pictures of the Iowa State bird (American goldfinch Carduelis tristis)on my beautiful flowers in the back yard. Denali took this.
And lastly, our backyard woes contine. The muddy/swampy/waterfally backyard is now a mud pit. We paid serious money to have contractors come and dig a huge trench, put in a porous pipe, then fill it with gravel and dirt. Hopefully this will solve our water problem. They should be putting in sod when it dries up a little bit.

P.S. Some pictures Denali has taken of our precious babe.