3 ways to avoid children’s technology overuse these school holidays
As a busy and overwhelmed mum I am often tempted to turn on the TV, bring out the ipads, and scroll through Facebook to stop the tantrums and repetitive questions that typically start with the word ‘muuuum’.
But it’s at this point that I make a child development decision. This decision doesn’t involve saying a complete no to technology. This decision involves me creating a healthy balance between technology and mother sanity. So yes I do turn on the TV, give the children their headphones for their ipads, and spend 10 minutes scrolling through mindless posts on my phone.
The most important decision I make involves setting the microwave timer to ensure that after 10 minutes of ‘tech time’ the whole family stops their technology, joins in a colouring activity, a silly game of table ping pong, or dances to our favourite Greatest Showman music. The microwave becomes a tool for us to make sure our physical, psychological, and emotional health remains in check.
Discover ways to manage technology use at home below.
It takes 5 minutes of exercise, laughing, and play, to refuel the mind and body. What you’re teaching your family is that technology definitely has it’s benefits for learning. However, everything is in moderation.
So my suggestions for a ‘tech savvy family’ these school holidays includes:
1 – Go back to the basics with a ping pong ball and a washing basket
This activity is great for the whole family as we aim ping pong balls in to a washing basket from various distances. My two year old’s favourite part of this activity is tipping the balls back out of the washing basket. My six year old son’s favourite part is throwing ping pong balls at dad. The laughter that this activity creates in our home is electric and contagious.
2 – Whip out the colouring pages or encourage free drawing by sitting down with a pencil in hand
The key to success with colouring at our house is my involvement in the activity as well because children are constantly modelling how we behave as adults. When I sit down at the table with my cuppa in one hand and my pencil in the other hand, my kids are quick to join me at the table to also colour in or draw.
Colouring in provides the child’s hands with fine motor skill practice needed for letter formation, handwriting, and doing up buttons.
Colouring can happen any time, anywhere with just a selection of four or five pencils and a piece of paper. As I type this blog post in a beautiful café called @colourfields I can see a young girl aged seven or eight colouring in with her grandmother and a family with a 2 year old and 3 to 4 year old sitting together chatting and laughing with colouring sheets and pencils.
While technology is amazing for the whole family, let’s not forget about the many benefits that come from the basics of paper and pencil.
3 – Explore local parks and gardens regardless of the weather
I am very fortunate to be surrounded by incredible parks and gardens where I live and work. Even on the coldest days, I rug up all three kids with hoods, scarves, and snow boots, and off we go exploring flowers, trees, and grass areas.
At a park I feel free from the four walls that I have at home. I also feel like my anxiety drops, so I ‘nit pick’ at my kids less. We all come back home calmer, happier, and healthier.
So next time you have a spare 20 minutes, rug up the kids and enjoy the outdoors.