Friday, April 11, 2008

Watching the Kids

For most moms, watching the kids means keeping one eye on the kids as they play and the other eye on the mail, the dog, the dishwasher, the contents of the glove compartment, or any other task that requires only one eye. Those moments of independent play allow moms to hover at a distance and get a few things done.

But if you write for children, watching the kids takes on new meaning. It’s those moments of independent play—those minutes watching children absorbed in figuring out how something works, solving their own conflicts without adult intervention, laughing at each others’ jokes—those moments definitely deserve the double-eye. And a notebook.

As the kids get older, it’s harder to do the double-eye. Kids deserve privacy. No tween or teen wants to look up from a science project to see beady-eyed mom ready for a stare-down. And if you want your teens to bring their friends over, you’d better give them some space.

YA-writing-moms must rely on a different sense. Volunteer for carpool and get an earful. With teens, it's all about listening.


  1. With teens, I thought it was about sneaking a peek at their diaries! Seriously, I'm not in teen or even tween territory yet, but this is good advice for when I get there.

  2. If I ever do get an acknowledgements page...I will definitely have to thank my son, my unwitting gate to the modern teen world. Watching him text, sulk,or just hang with his friends not only offers me a peek into modern teen life but keeps me in touch with my own inner teen agnst. Well said,Judy!