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Why Parenting Matters

I've had many of you email in response to
my posting yesterday about my friend's new website href="http://tumblon.com" target="_blank">Tumblon. You've
all expressed interest, and many have asked additional questions.
So rather than hear my interpretation of it, see what my friend
Graham, the co-founder, of Tumblon, has to say about why he started
the site and what he hopes you gain from it. Click below to read
his article on why parenting matters, and I'll see you all again
tomorrow -


If you've been around Jen's blog for
long, you've noticed that she has recommendations for (almost)
everything. Through experience and talking with friends, both
online and off, she has garnered parenting wisdom to share with
you, her readers, which is why so many of you keep coming back.
When I left teaching to become full-time father to my
then-18-month-old daughter, I did the same thing: I started a blog
to preserve memories, share experiences, and hopefully share some
wisdom along the way about parenting.

As I did so, I realized that I didn't have a clue where to begin.
I had a master's degree in early childhood education, but didn't
know what was normal for an 18-month-old, or what I ought to be
doing with her. So, like many of you, I checked out books from the
library, scoured the internet, waded through toy stores, and talked
to other parents to find out what I ought to do. After hours upon
hours of research, it dawned on me, "It shouldn't be this
difficult." In a web 2.0 world, isn't there someone who will give
me timely child development information, recommendations of
appropriate ways to engage my daughter, and connection with the
wisdom of other parents? I looked high and low and found nothing.
There were blogs and photo galleries; there were parent message
boards, and static lists of milestones (and even more good
resources in print); but there wasn't a service that tied it all
together and made it simple. In fact, most of what I found made it
more complicated.

So just over nine months ago, my childhood best friend, Jonathan
Dahl, and I began to create a web 2.0 service to inform and inspire
parents of young children to engage in the joys of parenting. Our
aim was to provide, simple, reliable, customized, interactive child
development information - and that is what we have done. We wanted
to foster networks of families to share resources, wisdom and
experiences so that blogs like mine and Jen's are interconnected
and collaborative. Now you can create that kind of blog. We wanted
to cast a vision far more compelling and human than those who would
like to engineer their kids to be geniuses. So we partnered with
Gladys Hunt, author of target="_blank">Honey for a Child's Heart, to provide
an age-appropriate interactive reading list of great children's
literature - as well as a brand new href="http://tumblon.com/honey" target="_blank">featured
that Gladys writes. Finally, we wanted to let parents
know when to seek professional help. If a child reaches the end of
the normal window for developing a critical milestone without
accomplishing it, we let parents know that this is the time to seek
the help of early intervention or a pediatrician - or both. (As the
husband of a pediatrician, I constantly hear stories about how
powerful early diagnosis and intervention are.) If we accomplish
those aims, we believe that we can impact the character,
competence, creativity and health of the next generation.

What makes me think that? In doing some background research for
tumblon, I have discovered some staggering statistics:

•90% of brain growth occurs before age 5 (href="http://clipmarks.com/clipmark/660757DA-ACA5-4281-A156-350BB1906B57/"
target="_blank">Zero to Three

•Brain growth is activity-dependent. (href="http://tumblon.com/essentialquestions/16/activity-dependent-brain-development"
target="_blank">Zero to Three

•Parent involvement is the best predictor of school
achievement. (href="http://clipmarks.com/clipmark/65A22D18-8956-456F-8E21-D459D4BDEC8D/"
target="_blank">US Dept of Education

•Parenting practices are strongly correlated with intelligence
test scores. (href="http://clipmarks.com/clipmark/9DC6A349-12EE-4F0B-B35A-C8E1F6A49D15/"
target="_blank">Child Development Journal

•Parents have a dramatic influence on social, verbal and
cognitive development. (href="http://clipmarks.com/clipmark/277FA1D3-BBCC-4475-AF5E-1536F04110DE/"
target="_blank">Harvard Family Research Project

Those statistic have led me to two simple conclusions:

1.Parents play the most important role in society.

2.The first 5 years are the
critical window of parenting.

Quite simply, there is no more powerful way to change society than
by influencing parents during those formative years - not by
overwhelming them, but by inspiring them. And that is just what we
aim to do.

So please check out target="_blank">tumblon, and href="mailto:support@tumblon.com" target="_blank">tell us
what we're doing well, what we're doing poorly, and what else you
want to see us do. We are "parents helping parents," and in order
to do that well we respond to the input of parents like you.


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