Welcome to March 2017! Today is the first day of a brand new month, and what better time to talk about a new topic for this Kids website.
Well, it's hard to actually figure out what is too much iPad time for kids, but I'd like to propose a balance.
Like the picture, kids are, in essence, jumping out of an airplane. Young, innocent, looking for our direction, and guidance, yet the iPad is the entertainment of today. I got to watch TV, and my Daughter gets to watch the iPad. But there has to be a balance.
It's addictive. It's fun. I mean c'mon, it's basically amazing.
Now I know there are families that do no iPad, no TV, no devices, and I respect that. Yet, I am speaking more to the families that actually embrace the iPad as part of the family scene, part of bedtime, part of chill time, and part of the life we now live in. We have three iPads in the house. Three iPhones, two laptops, two TV's, a parakeet, 7 fish, and a little puppy named, MAC. Hmmm.
A puppy named MAC. Wow.
So, it's a delicate dance. We now do iPad in the mornings on the weekends, but not weekdays until after school, after homework, after dinner. But it's there, it's always there, staring at my Daughter. "Pick me up, and let's play" it says like a wafer muppet. "It'll be fun! C'mon, come play with my wolves and horses and animated worlds". It's always calling, and kids are always listening to the call, but it's the parents that have to create the balance.
Progress marches on, and things get more digital, and full of applications, and everything is connected, and yet, WE DO NOT GROW AT THE SAME RATE AS THE TECHNOLOGY. We don't. We are human. We are flesh and blood, and nerves, and human emotions. We are not emoticons, we are not droids, or drones, we are still living, breathing humans. Each year, when a new Intel microchip comes out, we're still the same. We are much like our ancestors of the 1700's and 1800's, we don't evolve like machines and computers do. We don't.
So we need human balance.
We need Human cadence.
We need human down time.
Have you heard of device sickness? Yeah, it's a thing. Have you experienced
iPhone burn-out? That's when you look at your phone a lot, and it drains you, but you're not really sure what's happening, cause it's just an iPhone, and it doesn't seem like a big deal. But it is. It's dangerous to driving, it's dangerous to relationships, it's dangerous to communication. It's dangerous to your health.
Take a break. I dare you to go to the store without your iPhone.
Go on a walk without your iPhone.
Lay down in your bed, or on the couch, or on your back on the floor on a yoga matt, and close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths, and which each breath, your goal is to feel your shoulders and body let go a little. And then with the next breath, as you exhale, let your shoulders drop, and feel your entire body relax just a little more. And, if any thought comes into your mind, just put it aside for ten minutes and think about your breathing, and let go more and more, with no thoughts except your breathing.
No open your eyes. That's a bit of balance.
For kids that don't really get into taking time out to meditate, reading books is good, or coloring, or playing with some toys and going into a creative, talk to yourself world.
iPads are not inherently bad people. In fact that aren't people at all, ("Yes I am!"). Who said that? "Over here, on the shelf, it's me Ilene iPad".
Where was I? Oh, yeah. It's people that decide what iPads will, "Be" to our children. So don't blame the iPad, let the iPad do it's thing. and let kids enjoy all the incredibly fun and interesting stuff that's available today.
But, then it's your job to instill the balance, set the rules, define the boundaries and stick to them. Your kid can play and learn and create with the iPad, and can also know the non-iPad world. Where things slow down, and things get quiet, and a kid can reflect, and breathe and listen to his or her own mind, and find their own voice of creativity and invention.
Then, they may grow up, and twenty years from now, they may say, "Thank you Parents, for instilling balance. Thank you for the peace of mind, for the space to hear myself think, to experience technology and the future, but also, to feel the solace of the past.
Live, learn, listen, grow.
Watch a show.
But, also....help them to know.
Help them to find balance.
Help them to find themselves.