School holidays are quickly approaching which means we will be surrounded by our children who need attention and love. Research has shown that the first three years of a child’s life is regarded as the most important development phase.
This means that picking up your phone to stay connected may mean you are hurting your child’s chance of learning and developing.
Parents who are concerned with their child’s language functioning, reasoning and speech development would benefit from putting their phone down and interacting with their children. Children learn to relate better with others and develop better speech patterns when they are in a stimulating and engaging environment.
For parents with babies, it is recommended to have as much face to face interaction as possible. So, to achieve this, play more games such as Peek-a-boo or singing and acting out nursery rhymes. Babies learn from your facial expressions, tone of voice, actions and movements. When you increase your face to face interaction, you improve cognitive development during these critical years.
For parents of children who are slightly older and in their primary school years, it is also important to limit your technology intake this holiday. Instead, read a book with your children or join in and play games with them.
Children of all ages thrive on positive and consistent attention from their parents and family members. Verbally sharing information helps to stimulate their social and communicative skills and helps to facilitate the bonding experience.
It is also important to remember that children learn by watching and quickly identify patterns and routines. To always be on technology and social media teaches children to normalize unhealthy levels of technology usage.
Slightly older children in their tween and teen years rely heavily on social media and technology as a status symbol and communicative tool. By instilling other healthy interactions and habits, you help them to create their own balance between technology and real relationships.
Technology can sometimes create influences that are not regulated by parental control and our children’s security is paramount when they are using technology or the Internet.
While technology fosters many skills and for children using technology has become a part of life, be mindful of how long you spend on your phone or the computer while around your children. Technology has many benefits and offers learning opportunities for children. However, it can also be used as an escape for parents.
With that being said, it is important to create a healthy balance between technology and family. Always remember to enjoy uninterrupted time with your children during the holidays and be sure to spend the time doing engaging and fun activities. Reading a book, singing a song or just talking can foster a happy home and a healthy mind.
Compiled by Olivia Guerini – Registered Counsellor