We are a bit of a geeky family, the Smalls are exposed to a fair bit of technology round and about the house – from a Casio keyboard through to a Raspberry Pi.
This means that it would be all too easy to let the machines do the babysitting all the time. Indeed when I have been ill or really needed the Smalls out of the way whilst I did something (like make secret birthday cakes etc) then they have been plonked on the sofa with an iPad or iPhone and a film on the TV. It works a charm and I’m sure they are learning whilst they play – a lot of the games they play are letter and number based – and technology is going to be a massive part of the world they grow up in so the skills they are developing are important BUT I am sometimes afraid they spend too much time looking at screens and not experiencing the real world.
We have had to ban Arthur from the iPad a few times because he has a habit of becoming obsessed and being a nightmare if you say he can’t have it. A few days cold turkey and he becomes a much calmer and pleasant boy who is happy to play outside or with his train set rather than shout and whine for the TV or a device of some type.
We try our best to balance their play time between technology and imagination. Last weekend at Dom & Heather’s wedding the Smalls spent a fair bit of time on our phones because it kept them occupied and quiet during the services and speeches and when they got tired in the evenings, so this weekend they are being screen free and have spent their time playing outside in the rain, using Caius as a trampoline and getting imaginative with beads and buttons.
It is important to me that the Smalls have love and respect for the environment that they live in and that they don’t end up being one of the statistics of people who don’t know the difference between a bee and a wasp or a blackbird and a crow. I want them to be fit and healthy physically as well as mentally, I want them to be able to climb trees and swim and make mudpies as well as know how to use any smart device presented to them and, hopefully, how to write computer code.
I am doing my best to show the Smalls the best of life – both technological and not – but sometimes it is a balance that is hard to find and maintain. Even for me – sometimes I am far more likely to turn on the XBox than go for a walk, it’s an ongoing battle but one I am determined to win out.