DadsDecodedWhere men learn to be dads


Kids Spend only 4-7 minutes outside

I just saw this statistic from OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook, a PBS show that I think is one of the most informative shows on the radio.

This statistic is shocking; 4-7 minutes a day playing outside? He points to the fact that it's a lifestyle change that has occurred to this new generation of children. Comes down to three things; more screens, more over-protectiveness and more scheduled time. Whoa. We live just outside of Boston and get an annual pass to the Franklin Zoo. It's convenient because if we don't have anything planned, we can just head over to the zoo where it's pretty safe for our 3-year old to just run outside without fear of running into the street or getting lost in the clothes racks at the local mall. He loves it and we feel that all those fences keep the animals in their areas, and our boy in his area. We still never take our eyes off the boy, but he feels free and as a result, loves the outdoors. Unfortunately, as soon as he comes home, he's asking for that damned iPad to watch Wild Kratts. Sometimes we give in, sometimes we say, 'no' and watch the temper tantrum ensue. But at least for a few hours, he was one with nature and out with us.


Why are children scared of the dark

Fear of the dark is common at the age of about three years old. It occurs suddenly because children’s imagination starts to come alive at two and is often in full swing by the age of three.
Once the imagination kicks into gear, it’s difficult for a child of this age to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. And in the confusion, a dragon or medieval knight that they saw at a party or read in a storybook can find itself alive in their real world. And darkness represents the bridge between that fantasy and reality.
Most kids grow out of this phase in a matter of weeks or months. So be patient and don’t try to rush a child through this phase as it may actually prolong it. Tips include;
  1. Don’t tease the child. It’s very real to them and it can prolong the stage.
  2. Give one of his stuffed animals the title of ‘protector’ to help him as a friend to accompany him and keep him safe.
  3. Use a night light so he can see something and not make up shapes in the void of nothingness.
  4. Don’t bring him into your room to make him feel better. It only reinforces that his room isn’t safe after all. Instead, visit his room so he can see the monsters aren’t the problem and mom and dad know this and are willing to go into the room.
(Note: As my son goes through this stage, I learned of this developmental stage from Claire Lerner, LCSW, a child development specialist.)

10 ways to get your picky eater to eat better

Why some kids can eat anything and others are picky eaters is a mystery. Some parents say they just feed their kids what the rest of the family is eating and they learn to eat it or go to bed hungry. While this sounds cruel to parents with picky eaters, think of it a different way; when you prepare a meal for the family, make sure it has enough variety that the kids have a good opportunity to find something in the meal that they will eat. In due time, they will learn to try other things that they will discover they actually like.

That said, there are ways to get kids to eat better. Here's some things to think about;

1. Kids need to eat every three to four hours. Schedules are important and when you begin to regulate a feeding schedule, you're on the right track The rule is 3 meals, 2 snacks and lots of fluids. Snacks might include carrots, pretzels, yogurt and water.
2. Respect your kid's appetite or lack thereof. If you try to force or bribe your child, you could be reinforcing a power struggle of food. Mealtime shouldn't be associated with anxiety or frustration. Try smaller portions so they're not overwhelmed.

This week -"There's An Elephant In The Bathtub" by Roger Bradfield

Many research studies show that boys learn to read at a slower pace than girls because they don't have male figures in their lives that read. So I've decided to ask men to read outloud to kids so that boys can see that it's cool to read. VISIT THE READING ROOM...