And the Winner is…

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 30, 2014

HH&H_cover_860x600_strokeCongratulations to Kari Burkholder! Kari (as chosen by Random.org) is the winner of the Nabi 2 tablet, a digital copy of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected and 10 conversation gems.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway and showed social media love over the past two weeks by buzzing and sharing the link to my book. I appreciate all of your support and encouragement as I launched this new baby into the world. I’ve had a great time, and I’ve enjoyed connecting with some terrific folks.

If you are so inclined, there are still ways you can help me spread the word about this social media training resource for parents…

  • Share the link on Facebook
  • Tweet about it on Twitter
  • Pin the book’s cover image on Pinterest or Instagram
  • Write a review on Amazon or BarnesandNoble.com
  • Add the book to your Goodreads shelf

Thanks again for your support!

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Interactive Technology Brings Families Closer

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 29, 2014

Studies find that interactive technologyOnly 24 hours left to enter to win a Nabi 2 tablet and a copy of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected! Scroll down to the Rafflecopter widget below to enter! 

According to a survey conducted by Pew Research, “A majority of adults say technology allows their family life today to be as close, or closer, than their families were when they grew up.”

What are some ways families stay connected with technology? I asked this question during my Facebook Virtual Book Launch Party. One of the most popular ways that parents said they stay connected is through Skype and Facetime.

Skype and Facetime are especially great technologies when a spouse travels for work. A parent can show their child their surroundings, read a book together or simply say good-night using video technology.

These technologies are also fun for grandparents who live far away as a way to see and chat with their grandchildren.

While your kids may spend a good chunk of their time making silly faces on camera, the early exposure to talking through video will help them feel more relaxed visiting with people this way later. Many teens also use Facetime and video hangouts to chat with friends. And in the future, more employers may start using Skype or other video connections to interview candidates living across the country.

Texting is probably the most common way we stay connected to one another. We can coordinate schedules and check in with each other easily throughout the day using instant messaging.

Among families, Facebook is a simple way to stay connected with long distance relatives. I have not only grown more aware of my extended family’s lives thanks to Facebook, I’ve even gotten to know relatives I may not have ever “met” if it wasn’t for social media.

What do you think…. Has interactive technology brought your family closer? If so, how do you use technology to stay connected?

 

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A Special Thank You!

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 26, 2014

Only 4 more days left! Join me as I celebrate the launch of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected! Enter to win a Nabi 2 Tablet and a digital copy of my book. Enter daily if you like! Go to the Rafflecopter link at the end of this post.

Thank yThe average user of a social networkingou to everyone who was able to make it to my virtual book launch on Facebook. I had so much fun interacting with a great group of parents and learning more about their concerns and challenges surrounding raising this generation of digital kids!

If you couldn’t make it, the event page is still available. Be sure and check out the conversation threads and the resources that I made available. Click here to see it.

Also, feel free to post to the page if you have questions or comments. I will be checking in and I’m happy to answer questions any time.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nurturing an Empathetic Communicator

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 25, 2014

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Join me as I celebrate the launch of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected! Enter to win a Nabi 2 Tablet and a digital copy of my book. Enter daily if you like! Go to the Rafflecopter link at the end of this post.

Self-confidence and communication skills are deeply intertwined. Without one, it is difficult to be successful with the other. Emotional intelligence helps us navigate all sorts of relationship issues more successfully.

Daily experiences provide opportunities to help your child see other people’s point of views and grow in empathy. You can do this by asking your kids questions like: “How do you think that made him feel?” “How would you have handled a situation like that?”

Whether you are out driving around, at the shopping mall, watching a TV show together or your child is telling you about a problem at school, flip situations on their heads to play a friendly devil’s advocate and encourage critical thinking.

For example:

Frankie: “Mom, the new kid at school is so weird. He wears the same shirt almost every day. He told me that I’m no good at basketball. He wasn’t even playing with us.”

Mom: “Did that hurt your feelings?”

Frankie: “Yeah, kinda.

Mom: “I bet. Why do you think he said that?”

Frankie: “It was cause I missed a shot.”

Mom: “Well, I know that wasn’t a very nice thing to say, but maybe he is just trying to fit in with you guys? It’s hard being the new kid. I remember when I was the new kid at school.”

Frankie: “What happened?” 

Mom: “I had a hard time making friends because I was shy. Then, this really nice girl in my class asked me if I wanted to sit with her and her friends at lunch. After that, things got easier. Maybe you could ask him if he wants to shoot hoops with you guys next time you play.”

Frankie: “Yeah, maybe. It doesn’t seem like he has any friends.”

Share stories rather lecturing. Teach them to question the status quo and to think critically about why others act the way they do. (Sometimes there really is no explanation, but mostly people mean well.) Your kids will learn to tune into their intuition; fall back on their value system; and assess information and diverse situations critically–and with empathy.

What do you do to nurture empathy?

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Virtual Book Launch Party Today!

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 24, 2014

Don’t forget today is my Virtual Book Launch Party on Facebook from 4:30-8:30 CST! This will be a festive event with plenty of opportunities to chime in, share your experiences and thoughts, and learn about resources that will help you prepare your child for the digital world.

Please feel free to pop in and out at your convenience. This event is open to the public. If you have a friend you’d like to invite, you are welcome to share this post.

Have a specific question you are hoping to learn the answer during the event? Leave a comment below.

Thank you for helping me celebrate the launch of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected! There is still plenty of time to enter my giveaway. Simply scroll down to the Rafflecopter link below.

 

Parker cartoon: Back to school
Cartoon: Jeff Parker/Florida Today

 

 

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Be There or Be Square: A Virtual Book Launch Party!

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 23, 2014

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Join me as I celebrate the launch of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected! Enter to win a Nabi 2 Tablet and a digital copy of my book. Enter daily if you like! Go to the Rafflecopter link at the end of this post.

This Wednesday, September 24, between 4:30 and 8:30 CST, you are invited to my Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected Virtual Book Launch Party on Facebook!

Know other parents with preschool and school-aged kids? Feel free to invite them, too!

What is a Virtual Book Launch Party? A virtual book launch party is a light-hearted, interactive event that you can participate in from the comfort of your own home. I know you are a busy parent, which is why I stretched the event out over several hours. Drop in and out at your convenience. No babysitter required!

Throughout the afternoon/evening, you can:

  • Share your thoughts, concerns and perspective about parenting in the digital age
  • Learn the good news about our phenomenal online generation
  • Nibble on tips, trivia and fun facts about social media
  • Access a variety of helpful resources
  • Enter to win a Nabi 2 tablet, a digital copy of my book and 10 Conversation Gems

(This event is in no way administered, sponsored or endorsed by Facebook.)

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Games that Nurture Listening Skills

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 22, 2014

Join me as I celebrate the launch of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected! Enter to win a Nabi 2 Tablet and a digital copy of my book. Enter daily if you like! Go to the Rafflecopter link at the end of this post.

shared. (1)When others pay attention to what we say in a conversation, we feel validated, like what we contribute is meaningful to those we are conversing with–even if they happen to disagree with us.

By definition, dialogue is the shared give-and-take between speaking and listening. So why does it feel like so many conversations are more like competing monologues?

For sure, listening is a difficult skill to learn, but it can be nurtured. While your kids may not always tune into everything you have to say, here are four fun games to help promote active listening skills.

20 Questions. One person picks a person, place or thing. Other players have to make guesses by asking questions to gather clues. The person who listens carefully to the clues and guesses correctly in 20 questions or less gets to go next.

Shout-out. Use this game when reading books or listening to songs with lots of repetition. Whenever your toddler or preschooler hears the key word or phrase, she can shout it out. Popular children’s books that use repetition, include Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Brown Bear, Brown Bear; and Bear Snores On.

Who am I? Gather your preschooler’s stuffed animals and have her turn her back. This game will probably get both of you giggling! Pretending to be one of her stuffies, use a silly voice and describe your characteristics. Can she figure out which one of her favorite lovies you are describing?

Picture it. Have your child take a blank piece of paper and a pencil. Using step-by-step instructions, tell your child what to draw. How accurate was he? Then let him challenge you!

(Additional listening game ideas are included in my book Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World.)

What do you do to promote listening in your home?

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Bring Your Own Device Parties

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 21, 2014

Join me as I celebrate the launch of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected! Enter to win a Nabi 2 Tablet and a digital copy of my book. Enter daily if you like! Go to the Rafflecopter link at the end of this post. 

BYOD Parties (1)Does your child’s elementary school use “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) parties as a reward for students?  Considering how much kids love to interact with technology, you can see why this would be a valuable incentive for students.

According to a survey conducted by Bradford Networks, 44% of schools allow kids to bring their own devices into school. Most kids these days have access to some sort of electronic device, but parents differ on when and where they would like their kids to use these devices. 

Then there is the digital divide to consider. Some students may not have access to a device or may have older technology compared to kids whose parents can afford to send them to school with a more state-of-the-art device.

Parents also wonder who is controlling what the kids are doing and seeing on the devices if they are being used for something other than learning, such as during indoor recess.

On the other hand, when teachers are able to integrate a child’s favorite handheld device into a lesson plan, kids can grow more engaged in the learning process.

What is your opinion? Do you think there are advantages to BYOD parties at school? What are the drawbacks?

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Giveaway Day 3: What’s Next??

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 18, 2014

Join me as I celebrate the launch of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected! Enter to win a Nabi 2 Tablet and a digital copy of my book. Enter daily if you like! Go to the Rafflecopter link at the end of this post. 

OverwhelWhat's nextmed with all of the scary news, disturbing headlines and alarming research when it comes to social media and kids? As a mom of two children who are growing increasingly interested in technology,  I know I was concerned. But, I was also frustrated. As parents, we need realistic solutions and practical tips to help our kids thrive in the digital environment.

I want my kids to enjoy the many benefits of social media technology while having a healthy awareness of the risks. With that goal in mind, I wrote Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World.

It is never too early to start thinking about how we are going to prepare our kids for the online environment. Consider this: According to a survey conducted by Common Sense Media, 38% of children interact with a tablet or mobile device before the age of 2. They push a button and are typically rewarded with a sound or an image. They grow accustomed to immediate results. Teaching kids to be conscious, patient and deliberate is no easy task when they are more focused on “what’s next” rather than what’s happening right now.

One thing we can do to help kids grow more patient and conscious of the world around them  is to integrate unplugged downtime in the day. That may sound counter-intuitive when we’re talking about preparing kids for social media. But really, by giving them opportunities to unplug and connect with the people in front of them, we are teaching them the value of setting boundaries, developing important conversation skills, all while underscoring the necessity of striking a healthy balance between the online/offline world.

Here are a few ideas to nurture an appreciation for the present moment:

  • Go on a walk together. Point out the sights, smells and sounds of nature.
  • Sit down to a meal together. Relax and reflect about the day.
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle.
  • Snuggle up and read a book together, pausing to look at the pictures. Ask your child’s opinion of what he thinks will happen next or what he does and doesn’t like about each character. 
  • Color or paint pictures together.

As kids grow older and are greeted with more complex social situations both online and off, the ability to slow down, listen and thoughtfully evaluate situations and people critically and empathetically, will serve them well.

What do you like to do that helps you and your kids slow down and be more “in the moment”?

Click Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway going on now until September 30. Enter daily if you like!

You will be entered to win a Nabi 2 Tablet, a digital copy of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected and more!

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Giveaway Day 2: Win a Nabi 2 Tablet

by Christa Melnyk Hines on September 18, 2014

Join me as I celebrate the launch of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected! Over the next few weeks, I will share helpful tips and resources that you can use; a how-to on making conversation gems for crafty folks; and invitations to share your thoughts, stories and ideas about nurturing the next generation of smart and confident communicators.

HH&H_cover_730x600-1So what is a Nabi 2 tablet anyway and why do I like it?  The Nabi 2 is a powerful, durable Android tablet designed for kids, but it is sophisticated technology. It arrives preloaded with kid-friendly games, educational apps,  ebooks, music videos, movies and TV shows.

The Nabi 2 features its own app store, a front-facing camera, wifi and Bluetooth.  It also comes with a “mommy/daddy” mode so that you can easily set parental controls. You can even set time limits for how long your child can use the device. In my opinion, this is a great tablet to start training your youngster to use technology in a responsible way, giving them growing access to the Internet at a pace that is right for you and your family.

Enter now to win:

  • a Nabi 2 Tablet
  • a digital copy of Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected (including bonus material)
  • a bag of 10 “conversation gems” for your family to spark conversation whether sitting around the dinner table or on a road trip

To enter the giveaway, click here: Rafflecopter.

  • Subscribe to my Confidently Connected monthly e-newsletter, which includes communication tips and resources that will help you and your family build stronger connections for a happier, healthier life.
  • Gain additional entries by following me on Twitter, sharing information about the giveaway on Twitter or pin Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected on Pinterest.
  • You may also share a comment here on my blog.

The event ends on September 30 and you can enter every day if you would like!

What type of technology does your child have access to?

 

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