I’ve mentioned before my belief that it is incredibly important for children to be able to imitate and get involved in an adults daily activities as they choose to, in order to learn and grow up to be a useful and helpful member of the family. I firmly believe that children should be able to explore and be given the tools to practice and copy their elders.
However recently we have found a bit of a stumbling block. Something that I would imagine must cause an issue for many modern western families. You see, my “work” is not walking to collect the daily fire wood, nor is it grinding grains for the bread. It is not sculpting or weaving. Instead, in this modern age, an awful lot of my work is done on the computer. This leads me to a problem, because I am not at all comfortable seeing a child spending their time staring at a screen. Hypocritical aren’t I?!
But of course, as nature dictates, my son sees his mummy and daddy busy pounding away on the keys, staring intently at the screen and he wants to try. This is, after all, his families work and somewhere deep down he knows he must learn it. So he finds the laptop and before I know it he is downloading all sorts of things, the screen is upside down and he has deleted any number of important documents. And I take it away. Later I am typing and he is climbing up to see, grabbing the laptop and editing my work.
If I work from the main computer he is making off with the mouse, he is bashing the keys. Basically, being entirely disruptive to my work, all because I do not want him to have his own small computer. In any other type of work I would give him his own tools to explore. In my article on “Raising a Continuum child” I explain some examples. But I just cannot bring myself to get my child hooked on technology.
So what is the solution? Well, as a lot of my work is writing, I can choose to either write while he is asleep, straight on to the computer, or if not, I can write with a good old fashioned pen and paper. This way he can have his own pen and paper to explore and although it means typing it up later when he has gone to bed, it means I manage to get something done and he fills his need of being involved.
It also saves me from wasting my time procrastinating and not actually working. If the internet is on, it is so easy to get distracted by quickly checking facebook, following a link to a blog, looking something up… before you know it an hour has passed and you haven’t done any of the things you had intended to do!
The other thing I am striving to do, is to create more opportunities for my son to get involved in “work” and to learn from new experiences. I ask him to hand me things from the fridge as I make lunch, I chop vegetables for dinner on a board on the floor, so he can see and join in. I give him a bucket of food to bring down the end of the garden to feed the guinea pigs. If he doesn’t want to do it, that’s fine, I just do it myself. But he knows that if he wants to help, he can. Throughout the day we find so many opportunities where if we slow down, he can easily try to do something or help in a task in some way. It eliminates the feeling of exclusivity associated with the computer and stops him feeling frustrated and left out.
Some of the most tense moments of the day where I am getting stressed that I cant get things done and he is getting stressed that he cant touch and play with what I am using, have been when I am trying to use the computer around him. We have cut down the cause, and in doing so, we have greatly reduced the stress.
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