Kids Yoga Teacher Training
If you’re over 25, you may recall an astonishing era in history when children spent their vacations quite happily with no electronic screens at all. No iPods, ePads, iPhones, eScreens, VTechs, Leapsters, Kindles, Xboxes, Playstations, PS3s, or Wiis.
No texting, Netflix, computer games, 24/7 mind-numbing cartoon channels, or unlimited DVD libraries either.
And somehow, incredibly, we all survived. You might even say that our brains and bodies developed quite nicely despite the lack of continual flashing, shouting, drum beating and explosions.
In 1998 – only 14 years ago – the majority of homes in North America had NO computer, NO internet, NO pager, and NOT EVEN ONE cell phone. It’s hard to believe today, but since the dawn of time, children have grown up remarkably happy and often quite well-educated without any electronic screens or communication devices.
Many Canadian parents today believe that they are actually hindering their children if they don’t provide them with the latest device – even though there are thousands of years of history which clearly disprove that theory.
If you’re one of them, it’s important to keep in mind this widely-recognized marketing mantra: Sales cannot exist without the creation of a universally perceived need. So if you think you need something, or your child thinks he needs something, just remember that these perceptions of need could be based on nothing more than a continual barrage of advertising messages.
This knowledge will help you stand your ground this coming holiday vacation when the requests for new toys and marathon gaming days start to pour in from your offspring.
Knowing what you know about your own childhood, world history, and marketing will boost your confidence and strengthen your conviction when you set out your new rules.
Kids Yoga Teacher Training
Home Holiday Vacation Time Electronics Rules
- Stop believing that electronics are educational. They’re not. They simply train an active mind to be a passive mind, no matter how many clicks or stylus movements are required.
- Post an electronics schedule. If your kids are old enough, sit down with them and tell them you want to come up with a schedule that everyone can live with. My suggestion is that children under 3 get no electronics whatsoever. Most pediatricians will agree with this rule. Ages 3-5 should get 1 hour maximum per day, and ages 5+ should get 2 hours maximum per day, including phone use. How simple is that? Show your kids how easy it is to get enough games and texting for one day into that period of time.
- With your children’s input, choose the specific hours of the day during which their electronics hours will occur. Post these on your schedule.
- Prohibit the games and shows that you don’t want your kids to play or watch. You know better than they do. No ifs, ands, or buts.
- Confiscate and hold all electronics in your possession until the agreed-upon times. Collect all devices again when the time has elapsed. Again, no ifs, ands or buts.
- Your next job is to prepare yourself emotionally for the inevitable Occupy Smith Home protests. My advice is to threaten removal of all electronics from the home, and to tell them to count their blessings as an alternate activity. Electronics withdrawal symptoms usually last only a day or two, and before you know it, you’ll find your kids coming up with all kinds of creative ways to keep occupied.
- No means no. Don’t negotiate or get into big rationalisations with your kids. This will only make their withdrawal longer-lasting and more painful for everyone.
- Set an example of necessary-only electronics use yourself. Your own computer use should be limited to work only. Put your phone in one spot, turn off the volume, and check it only a couple of times daily. Or change the ringtones to tell you when it’s a family member versus a work call versus personal calls. They can wait, and besides, twittering during the holidays is passé.
- Spend some time with your kids. When was the last time you sat down and created Play-dough objects, or drew pictures with them? You know you have board games – use them. Make cookies. Make a snowman. Read out loud from an actual book. Take a short walk – it doesn’t have to be a day-long hike. I did this the other day and we ended up picking up leaves, red berries and pinecones, which spontaneously (and without my suggestion or assistance) prompted the creation of a beautiful holiday diorama that my child is very proud of! Holiday vacation time activities don’t have to be a big production, or a special show, or anything that takes longer than 20 minutes. Your kids just want you to do something with them. Anything. Just do it.
- Don’t spend all of your time with your kids. It’s actually just as detrimental to them to fill their non-electronics time with zillions of other activities. Let them be bored. Being bored is a skill that we all seem to have forgotten about. Being bored inspires creativity and imagination. Just sit back and watch when your kids have “nothing to do”. I guarantee that you will be amazed.
Remember, no long discussion is necessary. Yes, you should tell them that you understand how unfair it may seem. That you know that all their friends get to use whatever electronics they want, whenever they want. Tell them that you want better for them, and yes, they will understand this when they get older. This is about love, so speak lovingly and firmly. And relax and enjoy the new peace that you’ve created in your new limited electronics home.
Kids Yoga Teacher Training