It was late afternoon and the sun was going down. The temperature of a hot day beginning to cool. I was re-discovering the nostalgia of the seaside, enjoying the gritty sand between my toes and the picturesque stretches of the white sands being gently caressed by the crisp turquoise water.
Holidaymakers relaxing in deckchairs under sunshade umbrellas to get a prized tan. Some simply snoozing, while few others reading a book. The waves were crashing and the seagulls squawking but I still felt an emptiness. Something missing.
My mind rushed back to the eighties, to the small fragments of my childhood days at the beach. We built sandcastles with a bucket and spade, played frisbee and ball games and splashed about in the breaking waves of the ocean.
But where are the children today?
Strangely something caught my eye – children were there. But mostly playing with ipads, phones or some electronic gadgets. A holiday at the beach, just to browse through phones! It’s such a common sight these days. Doesn’t surprise us. We’ve accepted it as the way of life.
But a balance is needed. Constantly tangled with electronic screens deteriorates a healthy brain, whilst also missing nature’s gift of childhood.
Our role of parenting kicks in.
Of recent times, I’m just astounded by the number of parents who have met me to discuss about one thing in common – the hypnotic attraction that children have towards electronic amusement gadgets. Each home a battle ground trying to tackle, trying to cope. It’s a tough fight, but an important one. It’s one that needs to be dealt with.
So here are some tips to win this battle:
Define your rules: Fix timings and clear boundaries to watch television or play with electronic gadgets.
Start early : Inculcate this discipline from very early years. Sadly, it is the parent who introduces the screen to a tiny toddler to lure them to eat or stop crying and then later find it difficult to stop them.
Don’t treat it as a comfort pod: Do not offer ipad’s, iphone’s or TV just to avoid a tantrum. You are training them to throw more of it.
Be intelligent: Be on top of the latest game, app or websites. You need to know what’s appropriate for your child. Pretend you know everything – just google!
Be an example : Your child is always watching you. Lead them by example. If you get excited about cycling so will your little one. However, if you are over the phone for hours or watching television, they simply follow you.
Say – ‘NO’
“Never, never, never give up”. Churchill got it right! When it comes to children we know how persistent they can be. Give them a bit of their own medicine and be persistent back. Don’t give in and stick to your guns.
So good luck troops. Keep fighting the good fight. Your kids are worth it.