Friday, April 27, 2012

How to Connect with Kids: Kids and Technology

There are so many ways parents can connect with their children. Would you ever imagine that disconnecting could actually be a good way for parents and children to connect and strengthen their relationships? A recent post in Mamapedia entitled, "Disconnecting to Re-Connect," speaks poignantly to this idea and inspired some additional thoughts on the topic.

"Disconnecting," in this context, does not mean detaching from relationships with kids; it is about families freeing themselves of technology, for periods of time, in order to strengthen relationships. Technology is all around us and has become a significant part of families' lives. Cell phones, iPads, laptops, video games, high tech TV and movies, and children's electronic educational toys abound. Parents and kids can easily get lost in the world of social media and communication - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email, blogs, etc. While these things can make various aspects of life easier and be excellent resources, they also have the potential to be distracting to relationships.

Knowing that children need to experience a sense of connection with their parents in order to develop positive self regard and feelings of security, have healthy relationships, and be able to manage various life ups and downs, it makes sense that too much distraction by technology could have an effect on child development and parent/child relationships.

This is not to suggest that all technology be permanently abandoned. Advances in technology have simplified many aspects of life for parents, thus possibly freeing up time to be with their children, and for kids by giving them tools to enhance learning and skills. However, it is important to be sure that technology does not get in the way of relationships and that there is always time made for connecting - talking, free play, creative arts, educational outings, etc. Children flourish when they have the undivided attention of their parents and neither is distracted.

So, what is another way to connect with kids? Disconnect from technology sometimes and enjoy each other's company.