Recently the Barna Group published an article about technology titled, One-Third of Engaged Christian Parents is “Media Stressed.”
One statement, in particular, made me stop and pause, “When the world can fit in your pocket, problems become all but inescapable.” Let that one sink in. Does that statement apply to you? How does it apply to the children in your ministry or family?
Over the last months, families have been forced into a new norm. Screen time has become our social interaction, educational resource, playtime, news source, work tool, and communication source. It enhances our lives, yet it can overload us.
Data from the Guiding Children media article, “states that prior to pandemic Christian families spent ten hours/week in conversation or play, eight hours using media for entertainment, three hours each reading books, partaking in extracurricular activities and attending church, two hours searching for information online and one hour socializing with other children in person.” They found that media-stressed parents are more likely to say that their child uses sixteen or more hours of entertainment media per week. Just imagine how stressed these parents are now since so much of their children’s time is spent online!
We all wonder what impact this increased screen time will have on each of us. Social interaction is a fundamental part of the development of a child. It aids in a sense of identity, being part of a group, problem-solving, and learning to share.
Educators share that children learn best by doing. Remember that saying hands-on learning. Screen time is the polar opposite. Children and adults discover information by using multiple senses; visually, verbally, and auditory.
For adults, we have had to balance home, work, and homeschooling. If we were not tech-savvy, we sure had to learn quickly! How many of us had to set up a Zoom meeting for the first time? Are your families becoming media-stressed?
As Christian educators, we need to walk alongside families with resources to help them navigate this new norm. As one family asked, “How can I keep my family sane during the COVID -19 crisis?” Guide your families to connect with each other, play together, and share active learning:
- Go for daily walks or car rides. (Weather permitting.) Provide families with a Creation Scavenger Hunt or a God Sighting adventure.
- Have indoor or outdoor picnics as a weekly family activity.
- Provide family mission projects where families sit and create together.
- Encourage family storytime. Suggest books that families can sit and read together.
- Create a family Worship space.
- Learn a new hobby such as painting, coin, or stamp collecting. Weave in history lessons about these hobbies too.
- Act out a game of charades.
- Play vintage games such as hopscotch, marbles, jacks, yo-yos.
- Make cleaning FUN! Fill the tub and wash their toys. Be silly and dance as you sweep, vacuum.
- Prep, cook, and enjoy a meal together.
- Perform! Dance! Put the music on!
- Take up gardening.
- Prepare and set up for an indoor campout.
- Build blanket forts together.
- Sort through family photos. Tell stories about family members, past and present.
Families need the message of God’s hope and love. The pandemic has provided us an opportunity where families are spending more time together and time where they can grow together.
God’s word can be a positive impact that helps nurture growth and foster hope. Take this time to pick up the phone, call families, listen, and build relationships. Spend time with one another building lifelong memories.
- Helping Families Create Sacred Spaces at Home
- Using Your Social Media Platforms to Stay Connected to Your Families
- Celebrating Advent/Christmas-COVID Style