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Kids of today

It's been a long day, you've just gotten home from work and you have very little physical or mental energy left. You have to start preparing dinner perhaps? Maybe you have to shower one of your young children? Before you even consider those have to think about the work you are yet to complete before tomorrow. As you gather your thoughts and whatever energy you have left to convince yourself that the day is not yet over - it happens...your child begins demanding your attention!

The attention grab could come in many forms. A polite question - "can you play with me". A lack of emotional regulation - random outbursts of excitement, constantly gravitating towards you wherever you go, causing havoc and creating mass destruction for your undivided attention for even a split second...these are all hypothetical by the way.

In that moment, your brain starts firing even more thoughts! How do I go about doing what I need to do for my household, my partner, my work and especially my child? Out comes the interactive device; this could be in the form of a smart phone, tablet or laptop. Peace and quiet at last! You take a sigh of relief as your child is quietly doing their own thing in front of the screen without your supervision, and you return to your focused and steady state; executing whatever task is required of you.

Screen time versus the kids of today. This blog post is not suggesting that all parents are the same, nor is it implying that all children have access to smart devices such as iPad's or smartphones. However, it is an increasing trend that many parents are battling with. From personal experience, a number of students who I have worked with find greater satisfaction in spending time on their electronic devices, rather than being active and moving around outside. Simply put, it's quite disturbing. As we notice more devices being brought to school, implications occurring between students outside of the classroom due to social media being manipulated inappropriately. The question is, where to draw the line? A child craving for attention will always act in unusual ways to get what they want, especially when they're young. If busy parents take that into consideration rather than instantly giving in to the handing over of a tablet or phone as a pacifier, what would the kids of today look like, sound like and act like?

The take home message is simple, without any judgement or criticism being targeted toward the parent(s) who regularly find themselves in a situation as such, and who may be reading this blog post - their is help out there. Strategies, tools and knowledge that you can apply to your child's life to not only limit their screen time, but allow for you to provide them with 'real time' where a greater bond can be created, a memory shared, a skill developed and precious energy expelled through constructive play. Organizations such as the Play Football Academy exist to help try and provide those parents who are struggling for an answer, with the support they may need in getting their child to become more active and independent. Emotional regulation is just one of the many focuses that we seek to teach our students who attend the academy, and it is simple strategies as such which will allow for a positive growth to occur in home and at school.


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