Reclaiming Early Childhood: Balancing play and technology

Over the last few years I have seen a significant shift in the increasing amount of time young children are playing with and interacting with technology. Young children are spending increasingly more time with technological devices than in those activities that involve sensory and motor activities.

It is rare to see a young child without some form of technology, other than when they are on a playground, and sometimes you even see it there!

While technology is here to stay, it needs to be used in moderation and in accordance with guidelines. Over the last 5 years we have seen an increase in young children with a host of difficulties from self-regulation to attention. More and more young children receive related services (Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapy) than ever before.

For typical childhood development, it is so important for them to experience the natural, 3D world with all its ‘7 senses glory’, and even more so with those young children receiving services. Young children lose so much by not interacting with one another, not expressing emotions, and often not having fun.

Today, I see a considerable increase in childhood anxiety. Is there a connection to how young children play and their lack of exposure to consistent and age appropriate sensory motor experiences and these problems? I say YES!

Let’s reclaim early childhood experiences and return to more sensory and motor activities.

Granted, technology is here to stay. But, it should not be allowed to take away from (or replace) the time spent with other powerful sensory activities. These types of activities are so critical to the development of social skills and emotional regulation. It is important to find a balance in the time children interact with technology, and where and when it can be added appropriately to a child’s activity time.
By encouraging a greater amount of interactive play with others, we can see our children gain increased focus/ eye contact/attention, improved sensory processing, enhanced motor skills and greater self-regulation.

Children learn to take turns, cooperate, be creative and have FUN!!!

So start now! Take the time to revisit and possibly lessen the amount of time young children interact with technology and encourage more interactive play with others.

You will again hear giggling, laughter and sounds of JOY. I can’t wait to hear this again, it’s been too long.