Between virtual school, being social and playing games, our kids are spending so much time on screens … this can interfere with everything from sleep to creativity.
“The growing human brain is constantly building neural connections while pruning away less-used ones, and digital media use plays an active role in that process. Much of what happens on screen provides “impoverished” stimulation of the developing brain compared to reality, he says. Children need a diverse menu of online and offline experiences, including the chance to let their minds wander.” ~ Pediatrician Michael Rich “Boredom is the space in which creativity and imagination happen,” he says.
Research has shown that radiation from our personal devices, like cell phones, computers, and wireless internet, can be linked to brain, neck and head cancers. We’ve been underplaying the possible dangers from cell phones for too long. The entire industry is currently (and has been) hard at work, manipulating science to stave off being regulated and having to issue warnings. Cell phones are even more dangerous for our kids than they are for us, as adults. Just think of how much smaller they are and how much they absorb relative to us! And, the dangers are not limited to cell phones … it’s also our laptops, microwaves, iPads, and all Wi-Fi everywhere. But, this is our reality, so should we just accept it all? Visit Environmental Health Trust whose mission it is to safeguard human health and the environment by empowering people with state-of-the-art information and to put forward solutions for safer use of technology in homes, schools, and public spaces.
1/ Recess! Moving is life and nature and the great outdoors makes kids happier, healthier, and smarter! With children facing full days of structured activities: school, sports, carpool, tutoring, lessons, and more, there is a lack of activity, unstructured play, and outdoor time. With a little effort at making time for recess – even 5 minutes of active moving outdoors, you will notice a difference in yourself and your kids. If you have or can find green space, play in nature, and vary the spaces and activity you take recess in … we thrive with variety!
Kids NEED to offset screen time with nature time.
Print and post this pledge to create a healthy recess ritual with your kids!
Here’s a short and compelling CBC report to read/watch.
Have your kids track their time outside! We appreciate the 1000 Hours Outside initiative working to match nature time with screen time.
2/ Take Precautions! The Precautionary Principle teaches us that if we wait until we’re absolutely certain something is not acceptable, we’ve probably waited too long. You can read articles and research about cellphone and personal device use and safety and decide for yourself whether you want to take precaution (you do!). The more we can reduce our exposure, the better. Here is a shortlist of products we use.
3/ Kind Food Snacks “Garbage in, garbage out!” Many research studies have demonstrated a connection between the foods we eat and our moods. When we nourish our kids with “kind foods” throughout the day their mood will be more pleasant, and they will have more stable energy levels. On the flip side, feeding kids junk foods leads to junky moods and attitudes. While all of us benefit from consistently eating kind foods, children and teenagers are in a rapid phase of growth and development … we need to pay attention to how we feed them in order to support their mood, attention, learning, and behaviour. We advocate for fresh and unpackaged food for both health and environmental reasons, but, snacks in packages that are well labeled and full of good, healthy ingredients can ensure everyone’s safety and health, and satisfy our occasional cravings and desire for “convenience”, too. Here are some of our favourite Kid-Approved Kind Snacks.
4/ The Waterfall The Waterfall is a “flooding” of your body with a large glass of tepid water … all at once, in the morning when you wake up. This simple activity can be done as a family, and will get everyone ahead on their hydration for the day. Water is an essential nutrient, and all of our organs and tissues depend on it to function optimally … before you sit down, and your kids do, drink up! Here’s how to make The Waterfall part of your kids’ (and your) morning Ritual.
5/ UnMeditation UnMeditation, The Akira Concept’s variation of traditional meditation, un-complicates pre-conceived notions about breath and stillness and is the antidote to too much screen time. UnMeditation is easy, it works and we believe it is a non-negotiable life skill! Whether you are concerned that you and your kids don’t have the desire, time, or might even reject wanting to practice, UnMeditation is designed to support you. If you want to encourage your children to UnMeditate, the worst thing is to impose it on them. The best way to get your child curious about UnMeditation is to lead by example … their interest will awaken naturally and you can share the benefit with them. Research has shown that when children practice stillness on a regular basis, it can change their brain and boost their Braintelligence. UnMeditation can help children regulate their emotions, thereby having fewer meltdowns, reduce their impulsivity, and improve concentration and focus. Very helpful with children diagnosed with depression, anxiety, ADHD or ADD. Here are a few of our favourite UnMeditation tracks but explore what works best for you.
Screen time affects us all … and all of us. It can compromise our wellness (in all dimensions), including our our nervous system, our immune system, and most certainly our mood.
The irony is that spending time on a screen can actually cause kids to miss opportunities for learning … make sure to offset screen time with self-care time!