If you’re like me, you worry whether your kids are overdoing the screen time. You guiltily give in when they beg for youTube just seconds after they finished bingeing on their favorite cartoon for an hour. You download math apps, or morning routine timers, or video content from jw.org meant to teach spirituality, manners and morals, and hope that the good they get from their screen time outweighs the bad.
But it’s not just the kids. Your husband crashes on the couch after a long day of work and channel surfs for a while to chill out. You can’t be parted from your smart phone for more than a few minutes because you might miss a new post on your favorite social media or a like or comment on one of your own posts. We live in a world dominated by screens whether we like it or not.
If you’re like me you also wonder, what can I do to give my kids the kind of childhood that fosters curiosity, imagination, exploration? There are countless blogs about the 8 best educational apps or the 10 best parenting books, or the 30 best vacation locations, or the 12 most popular toys. Don’t get me wrong, I read those and pin them all the time. But this blog is not about a quick fix, with a catchy photo you can pin. It’s about the kind of drive for life that makes anyone happy, young or old. The kind of thinking that gets us off our couch and out of our devices and lets us live our life.
Ironically one of those blogs that I pinned to my Pinterest board led me to a book which led me to crystalizing this thought that means so much to me. In the book “The Science of Parenting” by Margot Sunderland, I learned that “the lower brain contains a SEEKING system, one of the seven genetically ingrained systems in the brain. . . In humans, the SEEKING system can activate an appetite for life, an energy to explore the new, and an eagerness to seek out the fruits of the world. It also stimulates curiosity or intense interest in something and the sustained motivation and directed sense of purpose that help us to achieve our goals. . .The SEEKING system is like a muscle-the more you use it, the more it will work for you.”
Exploration and curiosity can die at any age if we ignore it. Don’t go through life exchanging momentary pleasure for deep seated joy and satisfaction. And this thought extends on into everlasting life. What will we do for eternity if we don’t have a well developed seeking system?
So what can change this spiral into screen induced laziness? I have made it a goal to get myself and my kids out of doors at least once a day. I am trying to stop the endless multitasking going on in my brain and focus on my child, relative, or friend wholly and undividedly when they talk to me. I need to not stop the littles when they squish in the mud and scatter their dolls and paraphernalia all over the living room. Shutting their brain off is not worth the momentary peace, quiet, and cleanliness it causes.
Instead of being frustrated and annoyed when they want screen time, I am trying to set clear limits and stick to them. Then, not only do they get to enjoy their screen time guilt free, so do I!
As for myself, I’m exploring new ideas and creative outlets. This blog for example! I hope my journey can help readers like you find a new zest for life. Find what makes you happy, and go for it! Stand up and live your life. Just be sure to like and share and comment first 😉