As the school year rolls on, I assume parents are experiencing the joys and frustrations of schoolwork, extra-curriculars, and simply spending some time together at home. In addition, we now have the added family member who I lovingly call 'Screen'. He didn't come home from the hospital, but nonetheless, he did take a good amount from your wallet. Screen is usually present in all rooms of the house. He can sit on a desk, on your lap, and may even be an appendage on your body (usually connected to the hand). Sometimes, Screen talks back to you. Has that happened? You think you are home with just your family (maybe you are even wearing your pajamas) and Screen has a person on it who suddenly says, "Hi Ms. Jayson, how are you"? That is Skyping Screen. I don't always love it when he is present. But my children do.
Screen can take over. Do you spend more time with Screen than with your kids? Track it. Record the amount of time you are actually focused on your children WITHOUT Screen present. Screen has a very tricky way of invading all of our spaces. Technology is important and critical for our ever changing society. We also need to ensure that our children are ready for future, but we need to prepare them to be good, virtuous human beings. That does not come from a screen. This comes from direct, uninterrupted interaction with others.
Time spent with children, modeling for them kindness, generosity, patience and empathy for others is an invaluable lesson. We live in a society that often demonstrates a disregard for the human spirit and humanity. Wouldn't it be amazing if the news was filled with stories of acts of kindness brought forth by our children? Play with your children, model for them what to do when things do not go their way. Show them how to solve a problem with words (as opposed to some ways they will learn from Screen). Show them how to disregard Screen and make them feel more important than Screen (demonstrates focus, non-distraction).
Finally, I know Screen has moved in permanently. I love Screen, too. But let's simply find a balance. An hour with Screen, an hour outdoors-playing. Another hour with Screen, and hour eating dinner together-NO Screen (he can eat later). You can do it, so can the kids. Enjoy the video below...I love the little baby who treats the magazine like an iPad. ;)
Keep it simple...and balanced. ♥D