Parents might feel helpless during this technological age as it seems kids’ free play time is devoured by smart devices. While the constant glow of the screen might be harmful, in moderation, kids are engaging in skills they could use for the future.
Dr. Randy Kulman, LearningWorks for Kids founder and child psychologist, says playing games will not go away, but kids are using different cognitive thinking skills within these games. “We are looking for games that practice those specific skills and to help parents and educators learn how to (use) those game based skills,” he says.
He notes how kids are not only engaging in the games such as Minecraft, in which kids experiencing coding and planning, but they are also practicing their reading skills. Some kids who don’t typically want to do reading activities are seeking out additional information about the games through books.
As a society, our smart devices — parents and children — have an impact on our lives. For kids, they haven’t known a world without these devices.
“The best data suggests about an hour a day (of digital play) is healthy for kids,” Kulman says, adding parents should have a variety of opportunities for structured or unstructured play — whether physical or technological — to help children use their minds in different ways.
Here are some ways from LearningWorks for Kids to help your kids balance their playtime:
• Connect their children’s screen time to real-world situations and opportunities for learning.
• Set a balanced Play Diet — social, active, creative and free play.
• Choose the best games and technologies for their children.
• Create quality time by playing together and reflecting on experiences.
• Identify which thinking skills their children need help with.
LearningWorks for Kids is an organization that helps inform and instruct parents on how to enrich and enhance their kids’ digital playtime. Visit learningworksforkids.com