Posted by curlyq on March 1, 2013 in Big Kids
Recently, I was at an event where there were several middle school kids all sitting in the bleachers together in total silence – silent enough to hear their fingers texting furiously away sending messages to the very friends by which they were surrounded.
In this techno-crazed world, we are – generation by generation – becoming better texters than talkers. This new world of unlimited data has put tremendous limits on our basic communication skills.
This is not a commentary on “teenagers these days.” It’s really a challenge for parents of young children who are also feeling that technological tug towards less talk and more type. We are the ones raising the next generation with a sippie cup in one hand and our iPhone in the other (‘Don’t drop it!’).
No doubt that most of us find our apps are far more fascinating than browsing books or building blocks with our children. But with a phone constantly in hand, what messages are we sending our kids?
The answer of course is simple, but simple answers are often the most difficult ones. The challenge for us is to put down our laptops, iPads, iPhones, and even remote controls, and play with our kids. That’s right – even in that uptight restaurant when we know a game of Angry Birds would quiet our kids in a second; even when we have “Good Night Moon” memorized and we haven’t checked Facebook in over an hour; even when “Words with Friends” would be so much more stimulating than words with our kids.
This is not to say we must live like the Amish (nothing against the Amish, but I guess they’ll never read this since it’s online, right?) or trash all things techno. These things can be educational and, of course, offer us a second of sanity when we need it most.
The challenge is not to chuck anything that plugs in so we can play puzzles all day with our preschooler, but to turn to technology as a last or even second resort rather than a first. We can read books, tell stories, play old-school games like “I Spy” or “Twenty Questions.” Take a cue from a toddler sing-a-long tape, or pretend to be a favorite farm animal. It’s amazing to see how much enthusiasm our kids can have when they’re not staring at a screen.
All of these games and activities take time and energy (not to mention humility) on our part but in turn teach creativity, imagination, and most importantly, interpersonal communication. They also teach our child that he or she is worth our time – a lesson that can boost their esteem far more than any WIFI device ever could.
Much Mommy love, Mommy Mentor Cafe du Mom
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