Before we get started today, I want to make sure that you don't miss this!
In this article I'm going to tell you about 6 of these tools—why I picked these specific ones and why they're such heavy hitters! Let's dig in.
About those organization systems
Last week I shared with you the 5 organization systems that I had to put in place for my family so that my children could be organized at school. That word "had" is 100% purposeful because by not being organized at home, I was hurting my kids' abilities to be organized at school. That is a really humbling thing to write, but it is absolutely true!
But there's more to it than that.
I wonder if you can relate? There is just so much to manage and life is so busy, I often get this nagging feeling that I might be missing something important. I know that when I was young, I didn't tell my parents everything, or even most things, because I just didn't think to do so.
I wish that I could hand you a magic wand—or a magic app!—that could do all of the heavy lifting for both you and me when it comes to staying on top of our kids' modern lives. But the truth is that this doesn't exist. There is no substitute for purposeful parenting.
That's why No. 5 in that organization list is the ways that our family stays connected even as life gets busier and busier. You might have been surprised to see that topic on that list!
But if there is a magic secret to keeping our kids safe and happy in this modern world of ours, staying connected is it.
So today I'm going to share with you 6 tools proven to support positive parenting in a modern world.
Why? Because of all of the organization systems that we can have in place, staying connected with our kids and being their soft landing for all the things they're juggling—I daresay that it's more than we ever had to—is, by far, the most important.
And if anytime is good for a fresh start and a chance to get things right, then anytime is also good for getting this right.
In this article I am going to show you the exact tools that I use to:
- Keep the lines of communication wide open with my children.
- Meet my kids exactly where they are and change and grow with them.
- Teach my modern kids what they really need to know to not just be okay, but to absolutely thrive.
- And to stay connected and parent the way that I want to, something that I call "Parenting Brighter."
But before we start trying to use these tools
It is so important to address the fact that our kids are juggling so very much right now. To name just a few:
All of these are absolutely compounded by the access that they have to the Internet and that the Internet has to them. So even if they're not verbalizing it (because they don't know life any other way!), this is a lot for them to manage.
Regular life + modern life
In the chart above, what I mean by "Regular Life" is the everyday things that impact our kids that we are aware of and remember from our youth. They're the things like friends, homework, and schedule overwhelm that we listed above.
And what I mean by "Modern Life" is all of the new things that are literally layered on top of what we already know is hard to manage. This includes things such as:
- Understanding the nuances of the online world (Most of us as adults are still working on this!)
- Foreseeing how far reaching their posts have the potential to be. (And the very real consequences that this fact has.)
- Predicting how their posts will be perceived. (There's a vital step between wanting to post and actually posting that our kids absolutely need to be taught. This doesn't come naturally!)
- Making sense of the very real feelings of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and jealousy that social media inspires. (In Kindness Wins, I call this "Greener Grass Perception." It affects all of us, but it can absolutely be taught to be managed.)
- Understanding what advice such as "be safe online" or even "make good choices online" really means. (These are largely undefined which doesn't set our kids up for success. Not only that, but most adults define these incorrectly making it even harder for our kids to succeed in such an important realm!)
And these are just the surface-level issues our modern kids are faced with.
That's a lot for our kids to manage! And because we can't realistically take any of these completely off of their plates, it is our job to carry this load with them by making sure that they know that they're not alone in figuring it all out and that they know what they need to in order to maneuver their modern world.
And the best way to do both of these, like anything else, is to have an organized system in place to do so.
Here's what I mean by that.
The problem: So if the problem is wanting to make sure that we're not missing anything going on with our kids and this being a far more vast job than any of us realize until we're faced with bigger issues that we can't ignore.
The success story: ... And success is the ability to parent positively like we want to despite how fast paced, complicated, and layered modern parenting is—I call this Parenting Brighter and I'll be writing about it when this giveaway ends! Sign up here to make sure that you don't miss this!
The solution: ... Then the solution is having a purposeful and powerful system in place that:
- Keeps the lines of communication open with our kids.
- Meets them where they are and changes and grows with them.
- And teaches them what they really need to know to not just be okay, but to absolutely thrive.
Because there is no such thing as "fool proofing"
The concept of "fool proofing" our children from anything, really, is a dangerous myth because believing that this is possible keeps us from actually teaching our children what they really need to know. This is especially true when it comes to the things that our children face today. There is, sadly, no magic app or wand that works in this way.
So the tools that I'm sharing with you today are the only real bridge, or rainbow, between our problem of not wanting to miss anything that our kids are struggling with and success, which is brighter, more connected parenting and thriving, more connected modern kids.
So basically, I'm giving you the rainbow. :) Let's get started.
Related Note: If I am ever an affiliate for a tool, I will always note that with a little *. Your trust means everything to me and I promise I will only share tools with you that I absolutely love.
How to stop the "we're too busy for each other" issue from returning
Proven Tool No.1 // *Erin Condren Life Planner
One of the biggest obstacles that modern families face is finding time to connect and to be together. I have found this simple rule to be super effective in solving this for my family: what gets written down, gets done.
I have tried so many systems, calendars, and online "reminders," but I cannot say enough good things about the Erin Condren Life Planner.
Erin Condren is a mom-run, wildly successful company; and these are just two of the reasons that this Life Planner actually works for keeping schedule overwhelm at bay. The planner is beautiful and customizable and has families in mind. So this is the number 1 tool that I use to stay organized enough to be able to plan for family meetings as well as regular times to connect and these are precisely what help me stay on top of what is going on with my kids.
The biggest modern parenting mistake you don't know you're making
Proven Tool No. 2 // *GoFanco Family Device Charging Station
I'm not going to mince any words with this one: the number one mistake that modern parents make is forgetting that we are always, truly always, modeling. This is especially true with technology use, because in reality we're building our screen time habits at the same time as our kids are; having as much access to technology as we do today is new to us, too!
So we have to be so, so very mindful and purposeful of what we're showing our kids are good tech time habits. This includes while we're driving, when we're (supposed to be) interacting with others, during dinner, and so on.
The one thing that has made all of the difference in the world—truly—at our house is having a set place for everyone to plug in their devices when they're not in use and this is the charging station that I use for this because it's compact, simple, lovely, and durable.
Using a station and system like this works so well for so many reasons including disabling the myth that our phones always have to be attached to us, naturally modeling and living the mantra, "people before things," and creating a system for where phones go at night. I am a big proponent of "turning in your phone" at night. I go into a lot of details about why I believe this in The Balanced Screen Time Road Map™.
The perfect way to have and enforce modern family rules in 3 easy steps
Proven Tool No. 3 // 100% Personalized Custom Family Internet Rules
The concept behind creating a cell phone contract with kids isn't all that new. But there is a step that most parents miss to actually making a cell phone contract an effective part of modern positive parenting. I teach this in step-by-step detail in my foundations course Raise Your Digital Kid™, but the basic idea is first, come up with your value-based bottom line rules for cell phone, screen time, and social media behaviors; and, second, use these to create a unique-to-your-family "contract"; that you use to, third, enforce consequences when—not if, when—mistakes happen, because they absolutely will!
Our family uses the Custom Family Rules Artwork via Signs by Andrea because it is equal parts customizable, useful, and beautiful. Andrea has pre-populated gems of ideas that you can use in your sign or you can add your own. I love this feature so much! The colors and fonts are also customizable so that you can truly make this perfect for your family. The result is a lovely visual reminder of what your family believes about how the Internet is meant to be used that you can download, sign if you wish, frame or hang, and, most importantly, use every single day. (Yes, every single one! I'll show you how in Raise Your Digital Kid™!)
How to be a positive parent in a modern world like a boss
Proven Tool No. 4 // Raise Your Digital Kid™ E-Course
Raise Your Digital Kid™ is my answer to what do we do about the state of the Internet, how do we make sure that we're not missing anything about our kids' online lives, and how do we teach our kids what they really need to about how to maneuver and be online all at the same time.
It is effective because it takes the guesswork out of what we need to teach our children about how the Internet is meant to be used, how to teach it, and in what order. I walk you through every single step via videos, guidebooks, workbooks, and a community. There is truly nothing else like this out there. It is made up of all of my own research for my book Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online, and my TEDx Talk "Raising A Digital Kid Without Ever Having Been One" which were both results of my own cyber bullying experience. (You can learn more about my story right here.)
I've taken all of my trial-and-errors and everything that I know about teaching (from earning an MA in Education and being a classroom and reading teacher for a decade), parenting (12+ years and counting), and the online world (I have been working and writing online for 8+ years now) and I put it all in once place to create this foundations course for you so that you can teach your kids what they really need to know about how to be online and you can harness a peace of mind that most people just don't have when it comes to this topic.
Want to stay connected with your kids? Try this.
Proven Tool No. 5 // The Relationship Booster's Club™ E-Course
In the beginning of this article I told you that I have found that the only real way to keep our kids safe and thriving in this modern world is to stay connected with them as they maneuver this tricky, layered terrain so that they learn what they need to and see us as resources when they need help. These two things are crucial.
I have seen this in my own home as well as in the classrooms that I've worked in. But what's even more eye-opening is that every single one of my students has experienced this as well. We have all found that it's the relationship and the ongoing dialogue that are at the heart of being able to do this effectively. Because of that, I have created a second course called The Relationship Booster's Club™. (Right now, this course is not for sale.)
This course includes a video training on purposeful parenting; a digital copy of my book Kindness Wins that has 10 conversations with kids about being online all laid out for you; the step-by-step directions, process, and example that I use to set up a cell phone contract for my family so that you can set yours up to be effective; and my signature Adult-Child Interactive Journal that is 10x more effective than others like it because of its unique design and digital downloadable format and the fact that it is 100% customizable and refillable—you can use it with as many children as you have for as long as you'd like.
The Relationship Booster's Club™ is uniquely effective because of my signature focus on connecting with our kids because of technology, not despite it so that you can boost your relationship with your kids, keep the conversation wide open with them, and teach them what they need to know all at the same time!
The modern parenting secret that will change your life
Proven Tool No. 6 //Mamalode Magazine
When I first started blogging eight years ago, I couldn't believe the magic that I found online. A wealth of moms sharing their stories, their small moments, their hard days. As my kids got older, though, something changed.
The lines between our stories and our children's stories blurred a bit and people stopped sharing and discussing what was going on with their kids. This made perfect sense to me because I was feeling this blur as well, but I definitely still needed the support that I found by parenting within community. The old, and somewhat annoying, adage "bigger kids, bigger problems," is true.
Mamalode Magazine is the antidote to this. They only publish the real deal; the motherhood stories that make you think, feel, and be less alone. Mamalode is a mother-run magazine and many of the writers who we all adore to read today got their start there.
So the modern parenting secret that will literally change your life is to ease back into the habit of parenting within a community like we were all encouraged to do when our kids were little. While we can't go posting on Facebook what our school-age kids are struggling with, that's not necessarily our story to tell anymore, we can read Mamalode and feel connected; both us and our kids are better for it when we parent in this way. (This is also why my courses include a Live Group Chat. We need each other.)
So these are 6 of the tools that I use to make modern positive parenting work for me.
Download the free checklist to see the other eight. Page 9 might surprise you, but it's my favorite!
I'm not going to say that I don't have to worry about my kids at all anymore; I would never lie to you. They have so much to manage and I am all too aware of the nitty-gritty details of this.
But you can learn what you need to so that your kids can not just be okay online, but absolutely thrive. You deserve this peace of mind and your kids deserve this teaching!
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GALIT'S LIBRARY OF RESOURCES FOR PARENTS AND EDUCATORS
AUTHOR: GALIT BREEN
Hi, I'm Galit. Best selling author, TEDx speaker, parent educator, researcher, mom. I'm going to help you raise and teach your digital kids. I've been teaching and working in social media for 8+ years. If you are so over vague, surface level online safety advice and are ready to actually teach your kids and students what they need to know to make an impact + raise a leader, we're going to get along just fine. Learn more about me here.