I am so thrilled to share this guest post by our talented friend, Galit Breen, about teaching children about technology! I had the pleasure of hosting a workshop with Galit earlier this summer, and she is THE resource for helping our kids to use technology safely, kindly, and effectively. I’m going to give her the floor now– listen and learn! ~Stephanie
For the love of writing, technology, and children
By Galit Breen
It’s not a secret that there is so much to consider when it comes to our children’s learning. We want so much for them to:
- Be happy
- Love school
- Become a learner
- Upkeep their skills
- And so much more
I think at the top of many of our worry lists is that last one. The thought of our children’s skills “sliding” or diminishing makes even the least helicoptering of us cringe just a bit.
And when we’re faced with the thought of helping our children with this, many of us turn to the knee-jerk reaction of saying, “Do something educational!”
I know that I have absolutely said this to my children whether it was during summer break, sometime between sandy toes at the beach and bonfires after dark; or winter breaks, after sledding and before movie night; or even just on weekends, when my children have asked for more screen time (again).
I also know in my heart-of-hearts that none of us really know what that phrase really means or how to gauge if what they’re doing is really and truly flexing their brain muscles!
I want to share with you a system that we now use at our house that has helped us with all of the above tremendously. It’s our answer to my children’s, “What should I do now-s?” and my own, “How are their skills holding up here-s?” all in one and it is one of my favorite parenting “hacks” ever.
The basic idea is we pre-create a checklist of agreed upon activities that our children may do.
The list looks like this:
And the key to making this system work for us is this:
We fill this list with really specific ideas of what our children can do with their time within each category. That “Something Smart” section is where we get to add in ideas of what our children can do to upkeep their skills.
It’s also where we can incorporate smart ways to use technology as a tool rather than as entertainment. So a part of Something Smart may include typing a story, practicing math facts on an app, or even researching a topic of interest.
I created a checklist for this system for you to use with your own children—it’s the same one that our family uses! You can get that checklist right HERE.
This system has worked so well for us! It ensures that my children know exactly what to do when they’re bored, their time is filled with activities that we both agree have value to them, and they still maintain choices and freedom, within guidelines.
There are so many great ways to help our children access the amazing (smart!) things available to them at their (literal!) fingertips.
The Internet is where our artists can create, our writers can wordsmith, and our photographers can capture. The Internet is also the great equalizer between our extroverts and our introverts—everyone has a voice online, and that’s really powerful.
Our Goal When Teaching Children About Technology
So our goal isn’t to keep our children away from the Internet, it is to teach them how the Internet is meant to be used. And for those of us who are smitten with writing, our goal is to also help our children write! I have found this system to be the solution to all of the above for our family and I hope that it is helpful for you, too!
Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online and the TEDx Talk, “Raising a Digital Kid Without Ever Having Been One.” Her tech and writing friendly “What should I do now?” hack can be found right HERE.