We live in a world where idleness is hard, if not impossible, to come by. If we are not forced to sit in front of a screen all day at work, we (usually) choose to look at one (or multiple) at home and, let’s be honest, even when we’re on holiday.
While technology most certainly has it’s pros, it can also be very invasive, entering every area of our lives, including that of our children. So, how do we raise our kids to be tech-savvy, while still stressing the importance of face-to-face communication, reading ‘real’ books, and spending time outside.
Experts are encouraging parents to implement boundaries around technology. Like with most things in life, too much of it is just not good for you (or your kids). By limiting technology, as a parent, you are creating healthy boundaries for your kids. Moreover, you are teaching them how to be well-balanced human beings, and learn how to use their imagination.
Aside from feeding them vegetables, we at Mind and Body Counseling Associates, Reno, Nevada, have put together some key strategies to raising healthier, active, and more mindful children:
#1 Be the Example
Most of what your kids will learn will be based on what they see you doing. So, try to limit your time on your phone and, at certain intervals of the day, put it completely aside. When you’re totally disconnected, you can spend proper quality time with your family. Also, be sure to identify what matters most to you and your family, and then prioritise implementing those values.
#2 Explore Mindfulness
Those of you who have tried meditation will know the benefits and balance it brings to your life and how it enhances your health. As such, it’s a great learning to pass along to your kids and will help them maintain a sense of calm in a distraction-filled world.
#3 Head Outside
The idea is not to just send your kids outside to play, but to join in and become active with them. Whether that be kicking a ball around, doing some jumping jacks, or simply going for a walk or bike ride, it will do you all the world of good. Try to schedule this in, for example, as a 15 minute session of outdoor play before dinner or over the weekend. It’s great quality time spent with your children and will encourage healthy, active lifestyles.
#4 “Be Where Your Feet Are”
This is a great mantra to not only teach your kids, but yourself too. In a way, it ties in with the mindfulness point and reminds us to be “present” wherever we are. Be it a meeting, a workout, a book or a conversation with someone, “be where your feet are”. Don’t start thinking about something else or scrolling through your instagram feed while someone is talking to you. And, especially, be present with your kids and teach them to do the same.
#5 Teach Them How to Play
If your kids have been absorbed with technology up until now, the transition away from this will need to be a slow one. You will need to gently guide them and offer them alternatives and new ideas. Here are some you could try:
Provide them with something tactile and new to play with
Offer a clean, uncluttered space to play in
Have open-ended, simple toys available, such as Legos, blocks, puzzles, dress up clothes, art supplies, etc.
Be prepared to spend more time with your kids as they relearn how to play