As we adjust to new routines in quarantine, people are turning to technology more than ever. Screen time has increased for most of us due to schools closing, jobs going remote, and classes moving online. For parents, this drastic change has left them grappling with how to deal with their children and technology.
According to Caroline, Knorr, a senior parenting editor at Common Sense Media, “While parents are trying to figure out how to run the household under new conditions, it’s fine to allow more screen time than usual.” This calming message on media and tech use is exactly what we all need to hear right now!
Luckily, screen time doesn’t only have to be a way to distract children while you get work done—it can be a great tool for learning! There are a variety of educational applications and media that children can use to tie learning and screen time together. Some trusted sources for finding educational and age-appropriate screen time content and resources for kids include:
The possibilities are endless!
Since we are all getting extra screen time, why not use technology to communicate with children about how they’re doing, too? Here are three simple ways you can use technology to check-in:
Have your children choose an emoji (or up to three emojis) that represents how he or she is feeling. Then, they can share why they chose what they did and other family members can show connections and ask questions. To go even further, children can then create their own emoji faces.
Turn the classic game, “The Sims”. into a dynamic check-in. First, download the Sims Check-In and work with your child to determine his or her particular Sims tanks. They may choose family, friends, education, wellness, pets, or sports—any area that is important to him or her! Next, ask your child to color in their tanks based on how they’re feeling in each area. If the education chunk is low, you could read a book or do a science project together. If wellness is low, you could find ways to make snack time fun and healthy! We call this the Sims Tanks, but you could also refer to it as Love Tanks if that makes more sense for your family!
Lastly, a picture tells a thousand words! Instead of having children tell you how they feel, let them show you! With free photo platforms like Unsplash and design platforms like Canva, you can make checking in a daily family event. Each day could involve finding a quote with a corresponding image and frame. Talk with your children about how each image expresses the way they are feeling. Is it the colors of the image or the expression? Or, have your kids create a photo series with different images that reflect how they’re feeling. They can then present their slideshows and explain what the pictures mean to them!