Over the last several years there has been a movement of people promoting minimalism as a way to cut down on clutter, save money, reduce anxiety, and more. There is a great deal of anecdotal evidence of the positive effects of minimalism on individuals and families. Some are even tempted to turn this technique toward the technology in their lives regain some free time and set a better example for their children.
There has been a great deal of research over the last several years about the effects of personal devices on children’s minds. Since smartphones and iPads are still relatively new technology it will be years and maybe decades until we truly understand their impact. But what we do know is that these devices are addictive. In a progressively technological world, it’s unreasonable to promote the elimination of technology from your child’s life. But, it’s important to remember that technology is a tool, and it’s up to us as parents to determine how much access our children ought to have to those tools. Here are some ways that your family may benefit from a more minimalistic approach to technology.
More Time For Creativity
When children are glued to their screens from sunup to sundown, there isn't much time left for the creativity that is so central to child development. You’ve probably experienced this in your own life. The glow of your television or smartphone screen can easily distract you for hours, stealing the time you might have preferred to spend time reading a book or finishing that painting you started months ago. Screens have the same power over children, and limiting their access to them opens them up for more time to just be kids.
Quality Time Spent As A Family
Picture this scene, you, your spouse, and your children are all sitting together in the living room each completely taken with the technology in front of you. All of you together, but not really together at all. This is a common experience in modern families and one that mimics quality family time without providing any of the benefits. Now, imagine the joy of a night spent together, playing board games, or taking a walk around the neighborhood. Setting limits on screen time is healthy for individuals and relationships. If there’s one technological parenting tip we can prioritize it is this one. You’ll never regain these moments, so make sure you’re fully present for them.
Experiencing Gratitude For What We Have
Research shows that a regular gratitude practice makes people happier. But when we’re constantly seeing images of products and lifestyles we don’t have we can be convinced that our lives aren’t good enough. We see this play heavily in children's use of social media. Seeing the curated online lives of celebrities or their friends from school can leave your son or daughter with a sense that they’re missing something. Create some intentional space from technology and help your children to actively practice gratitude for the great things they do have in their lives.
Technology is a blessing, but left unmanaged can feel more like a curse. If you’re struggling to find the balance in your household, consider some of these minimalist strategies. For more parenting tips continue following along on our blog, and contact us today to learn more about the St. Barnabas School community.