Last week I recieved the book “Cami and Wyatt Have Too Much Screen Time” by Stacy C. Bauer. I purchased it when Stacy ran her pre-order campaign on Kickstarter. It immediately caught my attention because of the topic. During the school year I teach Technology, so this is a topic I talk about ALL the time with my kiddos.
The story takes place when Cami and Wyatt were playing with their new devices. They were so excited and so enthralled with it that they passed up opportunities to do the things they normally love to do. They missed out on hanging out with friends, the ice cream truck, a fishing expedition with Dad, and Mom’s yummy cookies.
When the power goes out unexpectedly at dinner, Cami and Wyatt must find another way to spend their time. With games of Hide-and-Seek, flashlight stories and board games, they were able to take their minds off the dark room.
When Mom and Dad explain their worries to Cami and Wyatt about their excessive screentime, they all find a way to solve the problem without having to give up their devices indefinitely.
I really enjoyed the fact that this story shows there is a balance. It doesn’t indicate chosing one activity over the other but they discover ways to spend their time instead of staying on the devices all day.
This book is a nice, calm and fun way to break the topic of screentime to your kids without seeming too “preachy”about it. Definitely put this on your To Read List.
As an author and a teacher, these past few months have had me concerned about how all of these things are affecting our children. First, the isolation. Then the fear of illness. Then the missing out of milestones. Finally, the boredom.
Just when things started to look up, a scary wave of civil unrest broke out. Our children are hearing us, watching us and learning from us. As adults and leaders, we have to do better.
Whether or not things improve right away or further down the line, I think it is important we pay attention to the kids. They might not be obvious about it, but it does affect them and stress them out. So what can we do?
Here are some things I’ve come up with and ideas I’ve used before.
When they see the negativity and feel that the world is a hopeless, dangerous place, follow the advice Mister Rogers shared: “Look for the helpers.” There will always be helpers. Have them share with you what they discover.
Start a gratitude or Positivity journal. This trains our brains to look for the good and positve things in our lives. They could write down one, or two or however many items they want. It doesn’t need to be huge. Maybe it was a beautiful sunny day. Maybe they read a favorite book. Maybe they had their favorite dinner.
Encourage them to talk about what they’re feeling. Sometimes all they need is an ear.
Offer a variety of things to do – especially if they are still quaranteened. Is there a TV marathon they want to watch? Do they want to do a livingroom campout complete with favorite snacks? Is there a Monopoly tournament (or life, or Sorry, etc). Maybe they can help set up the new garden? The temptation might be for them to withdrawl into one thing – such as video games. Change it up a little bit. My teenager grumbled a bit with the garden help, but afterwards he told me he felt “accomplished.”
Give them something creative to do. Do they like art? Many illustrators offer art tips. The illustrator of Angel Donor, Samantha Bell has a great selection here.
Do something kind for someone. Does someone in the neighborhood need help with anything? Maybe they saw someone be mean or discriminate against their friend. Letting them know that being a friend to that person can go a long way.
As always, if you are worried about their mental health or physical health, get in touch with their doctor right away for the best individualized advice for them.
What are some ideas you have to help our children get through these times? Do you have any reading suggestions for children that would help ease their stress?
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