Consider this During the Holiday Season

Since it is gift giving season I wanted to share something that has been weighing on my mind for a long time. I was inspired to write to you by Ms. Carolyn’s note to her parents last week and recent media stories on the topic.

How do I say this without sounding preachy? I care so much about children, which is why I took the Montessori training, taught and opened MCDC in 1978. My commitment to and concern for child development has grown over the years. Things have changed so much since 1972 when I completed my training. The world, families, culture, technology are sometimes difficult to define. Some things are for the better and help children learn and grow but I have observed a trend that may very well be disadvantageous to the children’s future emotional and social development.

The only reason that I am bringing this up at this time is to encourage parents to think carefully about gift giving for the upcoming holidays. Consider creative games that can involve the whole family, project oriented gifts the can involve mom or dad or brothers and sisters. Ideas such as; board and card games, cooking and baking projects (get a chef’s hat and apron for your child), tools (if you click on the blue words you will find some suggestions.) for woodworking, gardening projects, arts and crafts. These hands-on activities are so important to building good family cohesiveness, communication and fun. When you give your child a tech tool or game you are essentially abandoning him/her to do it alone.

Team building starts first at home. A strong family team creates a strong confident teen then adult. Here is an article about the negative effects of tech long term when started young PLEASE NOTE THIS ARTICLE. You can do the research yourself and you will find many studies that are being done. I must say that over and over I am deeply saddened when I see families sitting down for a meal with some device in each one’s hands, not talking to each other. The other day I saw a young man (late teens or early 20’s) seated with an older woman, obviously taking his grandma to dinner. He spent the entire meal texting on his cell phone looking up only occasionally to acknowledge that there was a person across the table from him. I wept for what he was missing and for grandma who might as well have been sitting by herself. Here is a podcast that exemplifies where the use of social media has already led. Just listen to the first 10-15 minutes.

Remember, you are the role models for your children. If you are on your phone at the dinner table that makes it acceptable/normal.

OK, so it was a little preachy, sorry, I am just passionate about the direction I see children heading. We, adults, are the ones that need to make the changes and set the guidelines.