Cellphone Usage For Kids

Question: My son who is 11 will be going into middle school in the fall. He is begging for a cellphone as most of his friends seem to have one. He is allowed to have a phone at his new school. If we decide to get him a cellphone, what rules should we set? — No Cellphone Fan

Answer: First of all, the decision to get your child a cellphone is yours — not your son’s. Base your decision on how mature and responsible your child is. Ask yourself if he is likely to abide by your and the school’s limits on his usage. And consider if he usually keeps track of his possessions. Then, before you ever get him a phone, work with him to devise rules about when and where he will use the phone.

If you go online, you will find a number of websites that offer parent/child contracts on phone usage. You might want to adapt and use one of them. You also need to discuss cellphone etiquette, cyberbullying and internet usage. At his age, you will want to know the passwords for any social media accounts he will have. And you should insist that he run all app purchases by you. Plus, you definitely need to discuss how many text messages and minutes you are giving him, as well as what will happen if he runs over.

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Summer Arts Activity 4: Introduce your young children to art with a traditional activity for children — finger painting. You can buy this paint or make your own with watered-down food coloring. And you can add sand to get more texture. The children can even use shaving cream and some finger paint.

Finger painting is best done on thick paper or cardboard. It also can be done on a mirror. If you want the activity to be less messy, just put several colors of paint into a Ziploc bag along with a piece of paper. The children can make pictures by squeezing the bag or tracing designs with their fingers. It’s not exactly finger painting, but children also can paint using foam rollers.

Older children can imitate the art of famous painters. They can dip Q-tips in paint to make paintings with only dots as Georges Seurat did. Or they can fling paint on a canvas laid on the ground as Jackson Pollock did.

Just as children need to know something about classical music, they should also be able to recognize a few paintings that just about everyone considers great ones. These pictures easily can be found online. Several evenings could be devoted to looking at them this week. Do introduce your children to the most famous painting of all — the “Mona Lisa” by Leonardo da Vinci. They should also be familiar with Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” and Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica.” And so they know how different and interesting paintings can be, do show them works by Rene Magritte, Jackson Pollock, Salvador Dali and Piet Mondrian.

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