I've always been an advocate for play.
Normally, I'd rather send my three children into the backyard at seven in the morning with a silent prayer that the neighbours won't complain than to put the TV on.
Normally, when the inevitable "what can we do?" arises, my suggestions are always a long list of books, games, puzzles, role playing, adventure and other playful pursuits.
Normally, we have very clear limits on the use of screens and devices, knowing that without them, my small humans could quite quickly tumble down the rabbit hole of the internet... never to emerge again!
But, these are not normal times.
This is the time of parenting and educating through COVID-19.
This is the time that I am sure none of us ever planned for.
This is the time where the vast majority of children are learning from home. This is the time where many parents are working from home.
This is the time where early childhood services are experiencing decreased attendance and yet, are trying to remain connected to the children that they care for.
This is not the time to be militant about screen time use.
A number of years ago, we were fortunate enough to bring Professor Peter Gray to Australia for some speaking events. Peter's book Free to Learn is highly recommended and his research and writings often leave me deep in thought. But, when Peter suggested that we (as a society) are perhaps on the wrong path with limiting screen time, I was surprised. My initial thought was... is he crazy? This man has inspired so much of my thinking and understanding about play and he is telling me not to limit screen time?
After my initial shock, I absorbed what Professor Gray was saying and one sentence particularly resonated with me: "technology is a tool of our time."
And perhaps this has never been more true than right now.
Technology is enabling our entire Inspired team to work from home and yet stay connected to one another, and to our clients, throughout the day.
Technology is being used by schools across the country to provide learning materials to children engaged in sudden "home-schooling".
Technology is keeping us connected to loved ones.
And yet, there are parents, all around the country (and no doubt, the world) who are experiencing a daily battle with themselves, who are feeling guilty about the amount of screen time that their children are having right now. To those parents (and myself!), I say - read Peter Grays work now!
So what do we do about the screen time battle?
Stop battling! This is a time for love, connection and "getting through", being at loggerheads with children about their use of screens on a regular basis is not helpful for anyone. Here are a few simple things you can do to help:
So, as you are reading this on your screens, perhaps feeling guilty about the consumption of digital tech in your household right now - STOP. Stop feeling guilty. Stop pressuring yourself to have the perfect, instagrammable isolation. Stop battling with your little ones (or big ones!) about screens. Go and give them a cuddle and be kind to yourself.
We'd love to stay connected, to share new and exciting opportunities as they arise. Sign up today to get our awesome mail into your inbox!