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The Best of 2018 in three steps


So here we are, the last week of 2018. My inbox has been inundated with lists – list of best apps for kids, list of best places to visit and list of things to do around the new year. Oh, and there is that list to look forward to as well – the list of resolutions for 2019.

I do not have my goals set for 2019 yet but I am certain of this. For me, this was a very special year because I got to know you and share with you ideas and stories. It takes a village to raise kids. Through your likes, shares and comments, it has been refreshing to realize that parents and seasoned educators out there are going through the same struggles as I do when it comes to managing tech-time with kids. It is very comforting to know that you are out there navigating this puzzle with me, in some shape or form.

PopSmartKids was born out of the need to amplify the human factor in technology The PopSmartKids blog has been a way to establish the human connection in a day and age when we are overloaded by technology around us. It has been my attempt to introduce you to the vast possibilities that technology can bring, the emerging technology trends in education and navigating some related and some unrelated parenting challenges.

On that note, I leave you with the following three actionable steps to wrap up the last few days of the holiday season.

Growth, not Goals

New Year is about goals and it is a really great way to start the year. But how do we look forward when we have not taken account of how far we have come? It’s like that famous quote – Never take your eyes off where you are headed but never forget where you came from. The growth mindset promotes the philosophy ‘I don’t know this yet’. On the same lines, forget the goals for a bit and ask your kids:

What do you know today that you did not know at the beginning of the year?

When they say out loud a few things they have learnt in the last few months, celebrate how far they have come. That will go a long way in building up their self-confidence.

Screen-time, not scream-time

Like most parents, I worry about the time my kids spend on their devices.
Like most adults, I sometimes binge-watch.
Like most adults I know when to stop watching.

I believe kids are people just like us. So sometimes they want to keep watching because they like the show and can’t stop. They need your help. You have the wisdom.

So instead of screaming, work on a plan and work on it together. Work preemptively at the start of the day or at the beginning of screen-time. Decide on the number of minutes they want to spend on their devices and pay special attention to what they are going to do on their devices. Think of it like being in a library and choosing books. You have the wisdom. Books are not bad, inappropriate books are. Screen-time is not bad, inappropriate content is.

Creation, not consumption

When it comes to words like consumption, the immediate reaction that we have is that of kids watching a show or a movie or a youtube channel. But the idea that kids are at the receiving end of consuming content applies to all things, including books. Challenge your kids by asking the following questions.

If you had to sketch this character, how would you do it?

What do you think the character might be eating? Spaghetti? Candy?

If the story continued, what do you think would be happening next?

The list goes on. These don’t need to be a special sit-down session with your kid or intense questions. Get silly. Get talking – while in the car or walking around admiring the zoo lights or over dinner. Incorporate these questions in your everyday conversation, like, ’Hey what were you watching?’ ‘Why do you like that show so much?’

Let them amaze you. Ignite their imagination.

Priyanka is the Founder and CEO of PopSmartKids, a company created to foster social-emotional learning in children by effective use of technology. A graduate from Purdue University she left her career as a tech exec in 2018 to start a movement of redefining screentime from a monitored time to a powerful tool for mentoring our future generation. She is a mom to two clever boys and a big advocate of digital citizenship for children.

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