I love spending time with my kids. I really want to create happy childhood memories for my children. In our culture, this has to be planned and deliberate because it no longer JUST happens. There are just too many things that threaten to take our time and energy. Over the years there’s been a lot of trial and error to find what works for us. Holidays in resorts do not (sigh) but camping is a hit! Breakfast at a nice cafe often results in a meltdown (usually me) but coffee and croissants at the grandparents works beautifully! My boys love being outdoors and they love talking so a short drive to the country (we live in the city) is usually a winner!
Time together as a family is the foundation in which security and stability are built in our children. Our relationship with them is how they form a perception of themselves and develop their world view and value system. It rates in importance far above dance classes and other activities and certainly above having the latest technology available to them.
Research has shown that quality time with children isn’t enough – they need quantity time. In fact, it’s the quantity of time we spend with our families that makes it a quality experience. Time is really important.
Technology impacts our availability and our willingness to spend time with our kids. It also impacts their availability and willingness to spend time with us.
I wonder what our kids will remember from their childhood. Will they remember the feeling of being ignored while mum was busy on facebook? Will they remember how many times dad told them “in a minute” while he spent hours on the computer? Will they regret the fact they didn’t spend more time outdoors running amock? Technology impacts our lives in more ways that we are prepared to accept and acknowledge. It does impact our family.
We have to shift the focus back to our family realising that family time is more beneficial than any educational gadget we can give our children.
It’s a counter-cultural choice to say that we value family time above TV, gadgets, ipads, or computer time. It doesn’t matter how educational or important the technology may seem (or be marketed to appear) our family is more important. Family time will build character and impart values and a sense of security and belonging. A nintendo DS will provide some overstimulating fun and peer acceptance but it won’t help our children grow into a good person. Of course, in moderation it causes little harm but this isn’t about minimizing harm it’s about providing our kids with the best environment to grow and flourish.
We need to get this balance right. We need to get our priorities right and make sure that we control the technology in our lives not the other way round.
Family time is just too precious and too important to our children’s development and our own relationship with them to let technology take even a little piece of it.
How do we find a balance with technology? How do we truly know if it’s a balance or whether we have just figured out how to justify our (or our kids) overuse of technology? How do you find a balance?
The pictures were taken of my friend while we were visiting a national park in Alice Springs….She pulled out her ipad while the kids were happy playing so I couldn’t resist taking some snaps!