T0 Screen or Not To Screen,
That is our Question..
We’ve all called a truce with screens.
But remember, that agreement is only temporary.
Screen time is an unavoidable reality of modern childhood, with children of every age spending hours upon hours in front of tablets, smartphones and televisions. Technology pervades our culture and continues to be encouraged at younger and younger ages.
Just to make things more fun, Rona (that’s my pet name for the coronavirus) has upped the ante. It’s no longer an option for parents to enforce strict rules at home about screens on their children. Virtual this, google that, many parents and caregivers have thrown up their hands in defeat.
My school district opted to start the school year 100% virtual. Personally, If we were starting the year in the classroom, I would be allowing little to no screen usage at all.
Not having that option this fall, I continue to encourage a balanced approach to at home learning. I refer to it as the Triangle of Learning: Virtual learning assignments, Non screen learning activities and Outdoor learning activities whenever possible!
A few ideas for “non screen learning”
and “outdoor learning” while at home:
- Write a letter to a local politician addressing concerns and offering solutions
- Write interview questions and interview a grandparent or an interesting neighbor
- Write a play, poem, speech, or sing a silly song!
- Take a nature walk together; observe an animal in its natural environment and take notes
- Plan a trip with a bus map and schedule or plan a walking trip using a city bicycle route map
- If you feel comfortable doing so, take a trip to a public library
- Plan a financial budget together such as a monthly grocery budget
- Write out a grocery list together and go shopping; have your child measure and or weigh out various items at the grocery store; your child could assist you with handling small amount of cash, counting change, etc.
- Cook together; have your child measure and/or weigh out the different ingredients in a recipe; Dr. Montessori believes this is a great age to involve them in cooking!
- Read the newspaper together and discuss current events, debating both sides or points of view
- Help your child plan a small neighborhood business or service
(paper route, animal sitting, shoveling, etc.)
- Draw or paint objects in the home or neighborhood; draw or paint emotions/moods
- Go to the park together and play a game or, better yet, invent your own game! This would be a great opportunity to try out our Educational Language game, GadZooks! (yes, a shameless plug.)
- Encourage creative thinking!
When the time is right,
begin to limit your child’s screen time again.
I understand why we have thrown our rules about screens out the window. Kids have a keen ability to figure out how to push their parent’s (and sometimes even their teachers!) buttons to get what they want. They want screens. All day long. And they don’t want you to tell them, “5 more minutes.” Instead, they get agitated and angry, maybe in a way you have never seen your child react before.
Dealing with this pressure from your children all day long is exhausting. And now, just to make things more interesting, Rona has put many school behind those screens and have asked you to regulate their usage over many hours, every day of the week.
However, all the previous research still remains true! Too much screen time impedes the development of the abilities parents are so eager to encourage in their children. The ability to focus, to concentrate, to be attentive, to sense other people’s moods and to communicate with them, to build a large vocabulary. Unfortunately, screen time harms all of these.
According to recent research, 97% of youth play video games; nearly three quarters of them have an online social networking profile (Tik Tok, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.); 91% have a mobile phone; and the typical teen sends an average of 10 text messages an hour!It’s no surprise parents repeatedly hear their children complain about how boring school can be. Compared to its competition, formal education doesn’t even come close to holding a student’s attention.
Experts are beginning to believe children are even exhibiting some key signs of addiction.
Once again, thank you for doing the hardest job on Earth: Being a parent.
Remember to breathe deeply, pause before reacting, or even give yourself a time out when you feel you need a break. The good news is that most children are quite resilient. If you make a mistake, an apology goes a long way.
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