Julia @ Kids Matter
My Facebook app just alerted me to the fact that several of my “friends” have enjoyed and liked my quick wit and Twitter constantly bleeps at me, to let me know that someone I have never met is now “following” me. I am sooo popular and loved by social media!
WHAT AM I DOING??? What are any of us doing? Have we lost touch of who we are? Why is it that kids today can barely speak, let alone write the English language? Why do I see parents simply hand over their $700 phone to their seven year old for entertainment instead of a book? I have asked parents what their kids are looking at or playing on their phone; I always get the same responses, “It keeps him quiet,” and “… because she sees me on it and wants what I have”. That last statement really hits the bulls eye, “… because she sees me on it and wants what I have”. Recently, I ate at Red Robin and everywhere families sat in similar situations; kids jumping and screaming in the booth seats, higgledy piggledy, while their parents looked down at their phones, simply ignoring them.
The table at meal time should be a time for family conversation and recapping each other’s days. Studies have shown that children and adolescence that have at least four meals per week at the table with their family are more emotionally and socially sound than those families who don’t eat together. Also, they have a lower risk of smoking and drinking, as well as higher grades in school. Research states that the reason for these results is due to families eating meals together, at the table, without electronics as a distraction. Your family enjoying a meal and conversation together provides structure, boundaries, and a sense of belonging for your child. All these things are needed for the developmental health of your children.
It may seem hard enough just to get your teens to the table, let alone to the table without their phones, but if you set that rule early and stick to it for yourselves and them, you will have far more socially adjusted and happy children.
I recently saw a Youtube video It was a young man who wrote and performed a spoken word film about unplugging ourselves from our phones. The central message is about getting back to communicating with one another, and more importantly with our kids. Put down your phones, show interest in your kid’s lives, and eat dinner at the table. Show them and teach them that your family unit is, and always will be, more important than whatever is trending.