The Quantified Parent

Everything in moderation. This is sound advice for most things and it is the adage that ran through my mind while reading The Quantified Baby by Anna Prushinskaya.

There is no doubt that in today’s society there are a number of distractions. The Quantified Baby describes the potential distractions of tracking your baby, but for me tracking has provided freedom. Tracking has not only given me the information needed to understand my child’s sleep habits and establish healthy routines, it has also helped me promote healthy eating and optimize play schedules.

The article suggests that tracking may take the human element out of understanding your child’s day. I feel quite the opposite. Because everything is tracked I can let our nanny go more quickly in the evening and get right to spending time with my children. In my pre-tracking days, I spent a lot of time asking questions about the day. Now I check Munchkin Report before I leave the office and know when I get home who has napped, who has eaten, and can even begin to engage right away with “Tell me about going on the swings that looked like so much fun!”

There is no doubt that technology can be a distraction. I know many parents who, in my opinion, spend too much time editing their online lives on Facebook and Instagram rather than focussing on the real life happening in front of them. They are the same people who might say that the 30 seconds it takes to write down the length of a nap is distracting, then provide their children with 2 hours of screen time while they read magazines.

I’ve even used tracking to help teach my 4 year-old things like organization, scheduling, time and numbers. She loves to help me log her little brother’s activities. We talk about the length of his nap (how many hours was that), food intake (how many ounces) and (her favorite) his moods (why was he so cranky!). And of course she loves to see her own tracking (both then and now).

Tracking is a “distraction” that yields positive benefits while so many other distractions (like TV or video games) have virtually no upside. For me, it’s all about incorporating tracking into my routine–like making my weekly shopping list because without I know my Sunday trip to the food store will be less efficient.

Happy Tracking!