Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thoughts about Technology and your Child this Summer

Dear Parents,

Summer is a wonderful time for children to have new experiences. They have unstructured time to stretch their thinking, consolidate and extend their skills and understandings and explore new territory. In these early years all these goals are best met through active engagement with the physical world - outdoor play, building, designing, drawing, reading, singing, listening to stories. 

If you are traveling with your children this summer, consider limiting the time they spend watching movies or playing games on an electronic device. Remember that staring out the window of a car, constructing new inventions on paper or with blocks, reading or rereading a favorite book, listening to music or audio books, or just sharing ideas in casual conversation are more important than engaging in “learning activities” on an iPad or computer. This is a time to build social skills, to learn how to get bored and then rise out of that moment with a new idea, and to have fun taking risks outdoors. 

So my recommendation for summer technology engagement is: have as little as possible. Set the tone by disengaging with your own technology in the presence of your children, and creating as many technology-free experiences as you can when your family is on vacation. The moments of frustration about not having that iPad to set up in the restaurant or when your child is whining in the car will be forgotten as you see them grow in capacity and creativity with each experience. 

Think of all they will learn with their eyes and ears open and available to the family, to new experiences, and to the outside world. Those moments of engagement can't be replaced (or enhanced) through technology.

Have a wonderful summer! 

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