Do­ing bat­tle with screens

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

o y n slow’ or ‘in the zone’ and it’s a won­der­ful feel­ing but, as par­ents, we don’t al­low enough of it.”

Coun­sel­lor and psy­chother­a­pist Ge­orgina Man­ning cre­ated the pro­gram Peace­ful Kids, which in­structs chil­dren on how to achieve mind­ful­ness and med­i­ta­tion in schools, af­ter she no­ticed a spike in stress and anx­i­ety in chil­dren as young as five. The two-day pro­gram, taught in schools across Aus­tralia, teaches chil­dren to be fully present through a range of ex­er­cises.

“The pro­gram teaches kids sim­ple ac­tiv­i­ties like how to no­tice their breath when their mind wan­ders,” the Well­be­ing For Kids di­rec­tor says.

“But it’s also im­por­tant for kids to en­gage in in­for­mal mind­ful­ness, which is just free, creative play, things like play­ing with Lego, mak­ing ro­bots from card­board, build­ing an ant farm, dress­ing up. This kind of in­for­mal mind­ful­ness al­lows them to be­come fully im­mersed and it clears the mind.

“If a child never has the op­por­tu­nity to rest their mind — and sleep alone doesn’t do it — it can lead to anx­i­ety, on­go­ing stress re­sponse, per­fec­tion­ism, gen­er­ally be­ing un­happy and burn­ing out.”

She says the main el­e­ments in so­ci­ety pre­vent­ing bore­dom is too much tech­nol­ogy, over-sched­ul­ing ul­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, and hav­ing a stressed d fam­ily life.

“Par­ents of­ten feel guilty if their child isn’t con­stantly en­gaged in struc­tured ac­tiv­i­ties like sport, mu­sic, dance, drama and tu­tor­ing,”ing,” she says.

“But one of the best things they­hey can do for their child is al­low time ime for reg­u­lar free play ev­ery day.” ” MOOREBANK mum Kylie Reynolds re­mem­bers play­ing with friends, rid­ing her bike and swim­ming in the back­yard pool af­ter com­ing home from school. But the mum to Jay, 12, Kayla, 10 and Lach­lan, four months, says a lot has changed from one gen­er­a­tion to the next.

She says she does daily bat­tle with her chil­dren to get them off their screens and play like kids used to. “I think par­ent­ing kids today is a lot more com­pli­cated and chal­leng­ing than when I was a kid,” she says. “And as far as I can see, the main rea­son is tech­nol­ogy. Kids have such a de­pen­dence of those screens and when I put the ham­mer down and say enough is enough, they re­ally fight me on it. Kayla will find other things to do when I take the screens away, she’ll colour or read a book or play with toys, but it’s much tougher with Jay.”

Reynolds says she wor­ries this gen­er­a­tion of chil­dren are los­ing their abil­ity to use their imag­i­na­tion or to be creative be­cause of the de­pen­dence on screens. “I re­mem­ber be­ing bored when I was lit­tle but I’d go to a friend’s house to play or swim in the pool, I’d be out all afternoon with my friends, com­ing home only when din­ner was ready.

“But I think par­ents are too scared to let their kids wan­der too far on their own these days, and I’ll ad­mit I’m guilty of that too. I’m sure the threats that are around now were around back then but it wasn’t in your face like it is now. The kids have plenty to do in the back­yard, we have a net­ted tram­po­line, a pool and have had cub­bies, slip ‘n’ slides and totem ten­nis, but they lose in­ter­est af­ter a while.

“II can see ... how bore­dom can lead to kids find­ing more creative things to do. But I do think tech­nol­ogy has re­duced their in­ter­est in other

sim­pler ac­tiv­i­ties.” Kylie Reynolds with her chil­dren Jay, Lach­lan and Kayla. Pic­ture: Si­mon Bullard

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.