(Side Note: I wanted to call this post, Technology: The Good, The Bad and The Holy-Crap-Get-Your-Butt-Outside but I guess I only get so many characters for a title. And apparently sentences don't make good titles. Even funny ones. Jeez, I didn't realize when I signed up under Wix it was powered by the grammar police. Like tiny little beings on patrol that like to use red pen and underline lots of things and don't have many of my colorful, four-letter words in their vocabulary. Sad.)
Anywhoooo...off topic, as usual.
So, I used to work in an elementary school. I taught art. The "second favorite" exploratory. (I have surveys from actual children to back this up.)
And I was okay with being second favorite because how is drawing puppies supposed to compete with Capture the Flag?
I couldn't compete with running and screaming and the ability to release all that pent up energy - at least not without having a full-blown riot on my hands day in and day out. I mean, I was okay at my job but to overtake PE in popularity? That'd take a miracle. A water-to-wine miracle. And Cana this is not.
So I resigned myself to be second favorite.
I was good with second.
(By the way now is not the time for anyone to spout off that nonsense about second being the first loser. I don't need that negativity here, thank you.)
So here's the thing I want to bring to the attention of parents everywhere, and I'm using the "elementary school work" section of my resume to help you understand that I do know what I'm saying when I say this: kids these days spend a lot of time with a screen in their face.
And I know its difficult to listen to someone who starts anything with the words, "kids these days" because it makes me sound old and curmudgeony (which I am) but hear me out...
If your child goes to a school that is even moderately technologically aware, they may have their own laptop to work on throughout the day.
They likely have computer time scheduled in somewhere.
Given all the excellent ways for kids to learn online - it stands to reason they will do some part of a science or social studies lesson on the computer.
Math? Very possibly done via IXL or some math-related program.
Reading? Ask your child if they have a program called "Reading Plus." Given that it can tell the child's teacher how proficient of a reader they are, how much they retain from reading a selection and the speed at which they are able to process words on a page - I'm thinking that they do. Which means reading does not necessarily mean screen-free-book-in-hands time.
This, this is not me knocking or mocking the school system. A school system that is taking advantage of the technology made available to help them teach and understand what their students are learning is not something to complain about.
This, instead, is me as a mom (and a former art teacher, don't forget!) telling you that when your child comes home from school what they could really use is a snack and a breath of fresh air. Or 1,572 breaths.
And as a resident of the Great, White North I do understand that getting fresh air is sometimes made difficult by Mother-what-is-your-freaking-problem-Nature but in those cases, what kids still need - is time away from a screen.
Do you have toys in your house?
Remember toys? The things you scrimped and scraped to give them on holidays and birthdays? The things that made their eyes light up when they received? The things now relegated to a storage bin in the corner because they see the light of day only when cousins come over?
Remind them of toys. Maybe show them where they are located. Then give them some space to move around, create something, use their imagination and muscles other than the ones in their hands/fingers.
The iPad - it'll be fine. The iPad can be the thing that comes in second. Second behind fresh air or time with friends or time playing with toys.
Toys and fresh air - that's the PE of after school time.
Ipad time - that's like art.
One can't compete with the other so it'll have to just resign itself to being second.
I'm lookin' at you, iPad. Cheers to you, like me, being okay with second place.