Is your distracted phone use interfering with significant face-time with your child? A recent Atlantic article discusses the importance of being fully engaged when interacting with children. This kind of mindful interaction is crucial for childhood brain development. Paying only half-attention to a child while they are chatting about their day can cause a parent to miss critical cues and lose opportunities to teach vital language and social skills.
Parenting author Erika Christakis explains the importance of “dyadic signaling,” the “conversational duet” between an adult and a child, and how essential it is for a child’s development. When one side of that duet is engrossed in a screen, that dyadic signaling is hampered.
What does this mean? What can you do to be more present with your child? It could be as simple as bending down and looking your child in the eye as you answer their question as opposed to replying while you swipe your screen. It could be turning the phone off for an hour and going to the park or sitting down and building a puzzle, reading a book, or playing peek-a-boo. What matters is that your child has your undivided attention at these times.
Screen-Free Time at Sugar Mill Montessori
Sugar Mill Montessori takes great care not to have any screen time in our schools, except for the rare movie day, which happens typically only twice a year. Our staff is always fully engaged and present and makes every effort to hear and pay attention to what our students are saying and doing. It’s an old-fashioned, person-to-person interaction that does not rely on a glowing screen for feedback.