The Foyer, 2019-2020, 14
Many adults today are grappling to limit screen time. Schools that went high tech are dumping tablets. Doctors are concerned about what MRIs reveal about screen time and the development of parts of the brain linked to language development and reading skills. Families with anxious teens wonder if technology is the trigger. Most intriguing of all, the tech titans who made this all possible are raising their own children to be gadget-free. When some families try to put the genie back into the bottle, they realize addiction to screens is real.
Putting limits on screens is not a simple matter of storing technology in a padlocked chest because going cold turkey can punish the whole family. The first step is to come up with a thought that makes the limit seem worthwhile to the person that you know and love. Some respond to an encouraging smile coming alongside to help while others will rise to an outright challenge. Some prefer direct information while others need to see for themselves. The point is to speak in a way that makes sense to your child.
The busy Christmas season might seem like a bad time to try on a new habit. Feedback from our Large Room meetings says otherwise. Filling spare time with screens over Thanksgiving break backfired. Children who only have screens on weekends reasoned that, if they could play games on weekdays of holidays, then they could play on weekdays of school days. Crying, complaining, and crankiness decked the halls.
Christmas is a great time to cut back because of the opportunities to introduce liturgies. My mother is from Germany and we celebrated Advent every Sunday, counted down to Christmas with a family Advent calendar, put our shoes out for St. Nicholas on December 6, and prepared a gift for the Christ Child on Christmas Eve (a song, poem, or Bible verse). Think back to when you were a child. Are there little family traditions that have lapsed? Are there ones you would like to introduce?
Think about what your children can do with you to prepare for Christmas. Turn on some Christmas music. Bake, decorate, make gifts, and wrap gifts. Collect some pinecones, holly, or evergreens to make a wreath. Make ornaments for the tree. Write letters to and draw pictures for military people deployed overseas or to nursing homes (which some Harvesters have already done at school).
A community called to offer another way to learn for students in Clarendon County