Sparkle Report: Week of January 30th

Good Afternoon Sparklers!
This week, I’m offering up some great ways to connect with your kids whether it be playing chopped on a Friday night or talking about shopping – – spending time with your girl never goes out of style! And while were talking about style, I’ve got some exciting news for you … I have been invited to be a regular online contributor for BELLA Magazine. You can read my article about kids and consent here and be sure to head on over to my Facebook page and let me know what you think of this week’s report and send me some pictures of you and the fam playing some “games!”

Love and Learning,

To Do … Make Family Time Fun Again!

Do you feel like you’re competing with your girl’s iPhone for her attention these days? Does it seem like scrolling through her Instagram feed takes priority over dinner table conversations or walking the dog together? Well, if you wanna have more influence over your girl than social media does, you’ve gotta be more engaging and fun than that smartphone! No small task I know. Think about why you enjoy spending time in certain places, doing certain things. Usually it’s because it’s fun, interesting and there’s no pressure or stress involved. Make home feel that way for your girl so she’ll want to hang out more! Here’s some inspiration on how to (re)connect your teen girl to the home!

Spark the Conversation:
Let’s keep this one simple. Just come right out and tell your daughter (and other children as well) that you want to spend more time with her. Not in a way that makes her feel guilty, but in a way that lets her know you “really like her” – I mean like a step-in-front-of-a-stampede-of-wild-horses kind of “like.” Make it clear that even though you know she enjoys the company of her friends, you too can be lots of fun! Ask her how she’d bring some fun into your home and brainstorm together. Tell her you want to make time for engaging activities on weeknights after homework is done instead of always waiting for the weekends. And if all else fails, invite those friends of hers over to the house, and as Hannah Montana said, you’ll get “the best of both worlds!”

To Buy … New Gen Board Games

Sorry Stratego, Trouble and Monopoly… love ya, but there’s a new batch of games in town and they’re pretty feisty! Cards Against Humanity, Speak Out and Pie Face are the new games on the block and kids and adults alike are having a ball with these. Family game night is back IN with these choices, and don’t you always love a reason to sit around the table and laugh with your kids — no screens allowed?

Cards Against Humanity is a game in which players match absurd answers with prompts to create the funniest fill in the blank statement. Warning: this is not a game that is appropriate for kids right out of the box. There are many cards that are sexually explicit, politically incorrect or feature profanity. I was able to clean it up pretty quickly for older kids just by removing the cards that I deemed inappropriate for my kids’ ages. For kids under 12, Apples to Apples is a great substitute, no clean up required!

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen video ads for Speak Out, or possibly even your friends have posted their own videos. In this game, a player puts in a dental-style mouthpiece and tries to pronounce a phrase written on a card. Other players must guess the phrase. Some of the phrases might sound slightly naughty, which made my older kids feel like they got away with something. Even if no one guesses the phrases, just looking at each other wearing the mouthpieces is quality entertainment! Pie Face Game is a ball for all ages as well. Each player takes turns spinning the spinner to see how many clicks they must turn the device that may, you guessed it, pie their face. Keep whipped cream stocked up, because kids can never get enough of seeing adults wiping “pie” out of their hair!

Spark the Conversation:
The best part of family game night is that there’s no talking or lecturing about getting off the phone and connecting in real life! Just tell everyone to put their phones in the “bucket” (you do have a bucket, right?) Sure, they’ll grumble at first, but once the fun starts you won’t need to tell them why human connection is important, you’ll SHOW them that it can be fun and carefree. Loosen up and get hit in the face with some whipped cream — your kids will remember it, and maybe ask to hang out again soon!

To Learn … Gen Z Prefers To Shop In Stores

They do everything else online, so this is quite the surprise! Just when you thought you knew them… We’d expect that the first generation to grow up fully “connected” would prefer shopping online, but a new study by IBM and the National Retail Federation found that Generation Z (those born after the year 2000) would rather shop in brick-and-mortar stores. And since the global population of Gen Z is set to reach 2.6 billion by 2020, retailers will need to create shopping experiences that are interactive and engaging in order to appeal to this giant piece of the market that’s “always on,” attached to their smartphone, and willing to spend a lot of cash on leisure activities. These kids see the value in experiences – touching, tasting, traveling, photographing, and apparently, trying things on. Generation Z is different than the rest of the world because they’ve literally NEVER been without the Internet! And they aren’t easily impressed either. According to IMB, “Their last great experience is their new expectation.” Stores will have to keep up with Gen Z to get them to spend their money, because these kids have high standards and they’re unlikely to compromise! They could be the generation that revamps retail.

Spark the Conversation:
Does your girl prefer to shop online or does she prefer to hit the mall with friends? Or better yet does she like to shop with you? Ask her if she factors in technology when she shops, or if it’s really all about the style, fit and the brand? Share with her the findings of this new IBM study and ask her what she thinks. Like, does she check a brand’s Insta before hitting the stores? Does she have favorite websites and social media feeds that she uses to know what’s “hot” and what’s “not”? Remember the more you help her see that you are interested in what she thinks and that you understand that digital media has it’s good points, the more connected you two will feel.

To Think About … Kids And Consent

“Go and hug Grandma before she leaves, sweetie.” I’ve said it many times, but I won’t force it again. Parents and health professionals alike are starting to understand the example we are setting when we insist that kids have physical contact that they’re not comfortable with. It may sound strange to say that kids need to consent to physical contact, but this is a great opportunity to let our children know that they have bodily autonomy and they do not have to engage in physical contact that they are not comfortable with.

Kids have the right to their own bodies. We don’t own their bodies and we shouldn’t act as if we do. They should have the right to decide if they want to touch someone or if someone is allowed to touch them, even if it is just a close relative. By attempting to control what they do with their bodies, we don’t let them develop that independence, personal autonomy, and the ability to decide who they hug, touch, or kiss early on. Read more about kids’ right to consent here.

Spark the Conversation:
This is a conversation that should be straightforward with your child. Just like we talk about issues of safety so that they remember what we have taught them in certain situations, this conversation can help them if they feel uncomfortable with physical contact in the future. Tell you child that even though you’d like it if they’d hug Grandma, that they are not required to have physical contact with another person if they don’t feel comfortable with it just to make someone else happy. This is a foundational conversation that you can build on when they are teens with boyfriends or girlfriends. Let them know that it’s ok to politely decline a hug and maybe offer a high five instead.

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