Helping the kids post

by jefftkjefftk1 min read17th Apr 20209 comments

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Sometimes I tell the kids "sorry, I can't do that with you right now, I'm writing a blog post". A few months ago Lily (then 5y) came up to me and asked if I would help her write a post. We sat down on the couch, she dictated, I typed, and out came a post about bridges. Since then she's asked me to record about a dozen more.

Some of the posts are fully initiated by her (podcasts) but other times I'll ask if she'd like to write one with me. Perhaps we've just done something interesting together (static and balloons), or maybe she has something she wants to tell people about (tricky situations with my sister).

First she'll dictate the post body, then I'll ask about a title, then I'll ask about colors. Sometimes her color preferences can be a bit much, and I kind of regret learning the CSS for polka-dotted backgrounds. I'll ask if she wants any pictures on the post, and we'll either look through my photo archive or go take a picture of something. I'll usually take pictures during activities if I think there's a chance she'll want to use a picture in a post; at some point that kind of anticipation will be her job, but not yet.

When it's done I'll date it and add it to the index page. Lily will often ask me to post it in the Anna and Lily Facebook group. Yesterday she wrote something and wanted to post it to LessWrong so more people would see it. I expected she wouldn't get the same kind of reception there as on Facebook, but I helped her make an account. She had trouble deciding what she wanted to write, though, and didn't end up posting anything.

Her younger sister Anna has written several as well, though her attention span is a lot shorter and the posts are less coherent. She clearly misses her cousins a lot.

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These are great!

Lily, I enjoyed reading your posts.

These are adorable.

If she does decide to post to LessWrong, the reception will probably be better if it's an Open Thread comment or in the Shortform section, than if it's a top-level post.

I'll pass that on to her

I would love to try writing answers to question-posts written by Lily, if she's interested in trying out writing those sorts of posts :-)

I love this! I'd like to do something like this with my kids when they're old enough.

One thing seemed a little off: does Lily really describe herself as "quite the chatterbox"?

When I was her age, I really really loved the periodic table. It was so interesting to realize that (almost) everything was made out all these different things, and that you could organize them in a colorful way. I named all of my stuffies "Boron" because I was 5 and it was therefore my favorite element.

does Lily really describe herself as "quite the chatterbox"?

Yup! That was dictated in response to a prompt like "normally people put something here where they describe themself. Is there anything you would like people to know about you?" She listens to a lot of podcasts, and spends a lot of time talking to adults.

I am quite curious about the podcasts she listens to. Are they podcasts aimed at children? EconTalk? Joe Rogan?!

Thank you! (I missed it when I looked.)