Leave Me Alone, I’m Talking

We are living in such a digital age, and the benefits to us as adults are immeasurable.  We can stay in contact with the touch of a button, have access to calendars, cameras and contacts immediately, and the availability of information is unlimited. Technology has a place at our table, and it is a very significant place indeed.

Our young children, however, may be seeing our interest in technology in another way. Although we have ready access all the time, we as parents need to be conscious of just how much and when we are using our mobile devices. Recent research has shown that the way parents are using their phones may be getting in the way of getting along with their children.

  • Young children learn about the world around them through us as parents. When they watch our reactions to our environment, or see the way we approach different situations, they are making decisions about how they will behave in these situations. If we are not engaging in our world because we are using technology, our kids can’t learn from us about how to successfully navigate the world.
  • Young children will learn language best when they are engaged in conversation. The back-and-forth of language between people encourages more words, more interest in communication, and more skills with language. Walking through interesting places with our child, but not talking to her about what we see and what we are doing because we are distracted by a screen, results in our child not getting as much out of the experience. She is having world experiences in isolation, even as we are walking with her. If we stop and talk about the details of the environment, the feelings we have in seeing something new, the ideas we have about what we are seeing, we are building vocabulary and strengthening her experience as well as language skills. Our children want to talk with us about all that they experience, and when we respond we are not only encouraging language development, we are reminding them that what they have to say is important.
  • A child who is misbehaving is often a child who is looking for attention. Our use of mobile devices and screens can draw our attention away from our children. Since children most want attention, they will resort to negative attention if this is all they can get. If we are consistently on our mobile devices, we may see consistent misbehavior. Sometimes the best way to reshape our child’s behavior is to make changes in the way we interact. Putting away our phone and focusing on our child will likely help you to see much better behavior.

Looking for more information on how screen use is affecting our relationship with our children?  The latest research was summarized on a recent radio program. Click here to get the full story.

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