by Anna Peterson Macsalka
When we think of children, we tend to have idealistic visions of them playing, laughing, or exploring something new. Innocent little developing minds and bodies absorbing their experiences like little sponges. However, lately when I observe kids “in the wild”, I see many either trying to capture the attention of someone distracted by their phone or they, themselves, are secured firmly to a screened device. It doesn’t matter if it’s a restaurant, grocery store, or Disneyland people are gravitating more to their screens and less and less to incredible world around them.
Technology and information have evolved at an incredible rate. Everything is available to us at all hours of the day and the content never ends. You could read or watch for millions of years and still not digest it all. The human brain isn’t wired to handle this extreme overload, especially the fragile brain of a child. Taking breaks to allow the brain to heal and process our world is essential.
Cutting this ambitious task into bite-sized moments can make it easier as the dopamine rush of technology is truly an addiction. Dedicating just 3-5 minutes per day to sit down with your child with your eyes closed listening to your breathe or other sounds surrounding you can be groundbreaking. But let’s say that’s a big ask for your particular kiddo. Can you leave your screens at home and take a walk around the block together? You might even like it enough to make it a habit, which can evoke a greater sense of connection and joy for the entire family. My guess is that this small shift won’t be wasted time for any of you. Sending love and hope.