Put down your smartphones if you have young kids

Put down your smartphones if you have young kids
August 20 08:25 2016

We now live in a digitally connected world which has caught parents in between. With the advent of smart devices, it has become a difficult task for parents to stay away from their mobile devices. Checking for updates on a mobile phone has become a habit as well as a necessity. However, spending so much time on your mobile device impedes your child’s learning ability.


Enhancing your child’s communication skill

You devout so much time to your child’s development; ensuring they lead a healthy lifestyle. It is equally needful for you to put in efforts in enhancing the communication skill. Communication skill of children improves when they listen, read, talk, sing and play with their parents; you disconnect with them when you spend so much time with your smartphone.


Below are three techniques you can use in enhancing their communication skills

  • Play non-digital games with them: Rhymes like peekaboo, Itsy Bitsy Spider, pat-a-cake and Itsy Bitsy Spider improve face-to-face interaction and strengthens the bond that exists in in a communication. Activities such as kiss blowing, clapping and waving goodbye help build a child’s social and communication skill. These games can only be played when the hands of the parent is free.
  • Do things together: Read a story together, share a cup cake, and walk together. Doing the same thing at the same time strengthens what is known as “joint attention”, which plays a vital role in every communication. It is an important social skill which when learned allows a child to share his/her experience with someone else. Doing something with a child makes them understand that you have their interest at heart. Putting your attention on your smartphone takes away your focus away from your child, and this hampers their development.
  • Use nonverbal messages: Being able to understand words is an essential part of communication. Non-verbal communication such as facial expression, gestures, eye contact and body languages are alternative means of communication. Children have the capability of reading meanings to nonverbal messages. Frequent use of smartphones cuts out nonverbal content of communication. This makes the child lose whatever nonverbal message you ought to have communicated to them. It also causes you as a parent to lose whatever message your child in trying to communicate through gestures.

Advice for parents overwhelmed by tech gadgets

  • Set aside times you will be free from smart devices: This means setting aside times you will be away from phones, TV, computers and games. The ideal time for this, is dinner and minutes before bedtime. You can further stretch further this time if you have very young children. To reduce distractions, set aside rooms where no form of digital device will be used. Break the habit of texting while eating. You child can only leant to connect when you connect.
  • Create tech-free outings: This could be taking a walk to the farm, park, zoo or visiting the pool. Though its sure feels good to share pictures of fun time with your child on Facebook, it shouldn’t be all the time. Putting your phone away keeps the fun and communication going without interruption.
  • Your digital devices should be used interactively: If you must use your smartphone, share it with your child. Pick their brains, discuss what you see.

Never allow technology take your place

A child that has developed speech and language skill often develops strong social, thinking, writing and reading ability which propels them to excel academically. 80% of a child’s brain development occurs between 0 and 3 years of age. For this development to occur, there has to be consistent verbal and nonverbal communication, and so it is important to spend quality time with them.

This is not to say you should totally do away with your smartphone. But you are the one who will have to interact face to face with your child, and not your phone.


Put down your smartphones