With the busyness of family schedules in our culture, children (and parents) today are truly in need of simplicity and the need to reconnect.
In her book, Simple Happy Parenting, Denaye Barahona, Ph.D. explains, “When we buy everything and do everything, we do not end up with happier kids.” She goes on to discuss that children feel and reflect the emotions of their parents, telling us that stressed and overwhelmed parents create stressed and overwhelmed children. While electronics, fancy toys, camps and vacations are awesome and adventurous, continuous stimulation and activities negatively affect our emotional well-being.
Additionally, mobile devices have taken over quality family time. So much so that University of Michigan pediatrician and researcher, Jenny Radesky, revealed in a study that parents of young children pick up their phones an average of 70 times per day, which is probably an underestimated number. Therefore, maybe it is time to consider taking family fun back to the basics. Rest, play and moments of simple connection are essential for both adults and children, and transform into some of the best memories. What a parent may feel is just frivolous free play, is actually positively contributing to the development of children’s emotional, physical and social well-being.
As you plan for family time, be creative, yet simple. Disconnect in order to reconnect. Here are just a few ways to do that.
- Turn off notifications on your phone to minimize playtime interruptions.
- If you do need to use your phone during family time, tell the children what you are doing and why (and keep it short).
- Get creative and make artwork or crafts from items already in your home.
- Instead of outings to museums or other places, have a scavenger hunt in your home or neighborhood.
- Go camping…under the dining room table or in the back yard.
- Cook a meal together while dancing in the kitchen.
Regardless of what you choose to do, keep it relaxed. Just play. Just be. Your mind will thank you later for the break.