Par­ent wants kids to read, not watch TV

The Saline Courier - - OPINION -

“Congress shall make no law ... abridg­ing the free­dom of speech, or of the press ... . ” — From the First Amend­ment to Con­sti­tu­tion

DEAR HARRIETTE: I know that read­ing is im­por­tant for build­ing the mind. I have al­ways been a reader, and I want my chil­dren to en­joy read­ing as well. The prob­lem is that my hus­band loves to watch TV, and we live in a cul­ture where binge-watch­ing stupid pro­grams is the norm. How can I train my chil­dren to love read­ing and not to be­come en­tranced by the TV? -- Time To Read

DEAR TIME TO READ: You need to strike a happy medium in your home. You may not be able to get your hus­band to be­come a reader, but you can limit screen time for your chil­dren and es­tab­lish spe­cific read­ing hours where you read to­gether. If you start this prac­tice early enough, you can help your chil­dren es­tab­lish a rhythm that in­cludes read­ing. Chil­dren tend to em­u­late what their par­ents do, so set a good ex­am­ple.

Do know that lim­it­ing tele­vi­sion is not nearly enough. Young peo­ple are more en­gaged with their smart­phones and other de­vices than tele­vi­sion th­ese days. You may want to cre­ate a pol­icy where smart de­vices go into a bowl upon en­ter­ing the home or, at least, dur­ing a pe­riod of time al­lo­cated for read­ing, study­ing and be­ing with fam­ily. ••• DEAR HARRIETTE: My son wants to be a rap­per. He has been mak­ing mu­sic and post­ing it on Sound­cloud for a year now. He has per­formed at his school and a cou­ple of other places. I am happy that he is ex­plor­ing his cre­ativ­ity, but I do not want him to drop out of school to do this. He is a good stu­dent, in the 11th grade. I don’t want to come off as the over­bear­ing par­ent, but I want him to go to col­lege and get skills that will help him later in life, even if he does get a chance at this mu­sic thing some­where down the line.

My son is talk­ing about try­ing to go pro­fes­sional as soon as he grad­u­ates from high school. One par­ent sug­gested to me that I let him take a gap year to ex­plore his op­tions. He said I should give him the com­pro­mise to ap­ply to schools and then ask for a gap year to be able to at­tend. What do you think about that? -- Rap Gap Year

DEAR RAP GAP YEAR: I know many fam­i­lies who al­lowed their chil­dren to take a gap year. They did this in part be­cause the in­vest­ment in col­lege is sig­nif­i­cant, and if the stu­dent isn’t se­ri­ous about it, it can turn out to be a huge waste of money.

On the other hand, I to­tally see the value in push­ing your child to­ward com­plet­ing his ed­u­ca­tion. It’s tricky.

I like the com­pro­mise you put forth -- ap­ply to col­lege for the ar­eas of in­ter­est he has, then re­quest a de­fer­ment for one year. This lets him know that he has a con­crete re­spon­si­bil­ity in 12 months and may mo­ti­vate him to make the most of ev­ery day lead­ing up to that. Dur­ing the gap year, en­cour­age him to be pro­duc­tive and cre­ative as he pur­sues his dream. To­ward the end of the year, as­sess where he is and what his next steps should be.

•••

Harriette Cole is a lifestylis­t and founder of DREAMLEAPE­RS, an ini­tia­tive to help peo­ple ac­cess and ac­ti­vate their dreams. You can send ques­tions to askhar­ri­[email protected]­ri­et­tecole.com or c/o An­drews Mcmeel Syn­di­ca­tion, 1130 Wal­nut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

HARRIETTE COLE

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