In today’s digital world, many of us spend hours staring at digital screens. While there are health risks for all of us, when it comes to young children, the development of our brains could be at risk.
For parents, it is important to limit our children’s screen time watching videos, playing games and texting friends. John Meulendyke, principal at Immanuel Lutheran School in Crystal Lake, points to research showing a direct correlation between increased motor skills, cognitive skills and brain development. Meulendyke says it is critical we increase motor and cognitive skills and decrease screen time to improve proper brain development. At Immanuel Lutheran School they are studying new ideas to improve activity while children are at school.
Outside the classroom, Meulendyke suggests the following for parents to help decrease screen time and increase brain development.
- Play with your children
Sounds simple, but when did you last play with your child? Set aside time daily for an indoor or outdoor activity. This could be playing catch in the front yard, going for a bike ride or taking the dog for a walk. It keeps everyone active and builds relationships.
- Play a board game
While this task may require sitting, it will allow you and your child to engage the brain with critical thinking. Not only can it be fun and relieve stress, this will also help build relationships between family members.
- Have meaningful or intentional conversations
Our thirst for social media has us programmed to have short conversations with simple questions and answers. Meulendyke suggests setting aside 15 minutes each day for a more meaningful conversation. This will require children to think and explain their daily experiences in a deeper way. This development will help with future critical thinking.
Small things that can go a long way in helping not only build a relationship with your child but help develop their brains for better critical thinking and future growth.
Immanuel's enrollment period for school begins on February 5th. Visit immanuelcl.org/school to request a tour or find more information.
Immanuel Lutheran School
300 S Pathway Court, Crystal Lake IL 60014