National Communicate With Your Kids Day is an annual reminder of the immense value and need for open and ongoing dialogue with children.
December 5 is National Communicate with Your Kids Day. The concept promotes open and ongoing communication between parents and children, with a special emphasis on early childhood communication.
Modern American life is filled with distractions, especially of the technological variety. For many, there’s almost no waking moment that couldn’t be spent engaged in work, media, devices, you name it. Without any doubt, real person-to-person communication, including within families, has suffered.
According to Psychology Today, the explosion of technology has resulted in a “distancing” between family members. One study found that children engaged with technology greeted a parent returning home from work just 30% of the time, and 50% of the time that parent was ignored entirely.
Parents are equally to blame for distancing. Sometimes just as immersed in technology as their children, what used to be time for family interaction and play has been replaced by device-based entertainment. Increasingly, parents are “friending” their children on Facebook and through other social media channels as a means of staying in touch and “connecting.”
“There is little doubt that technology is affecting family relationships on a day-to-day level… Less connection—the real kind—means that families aren’t able to build relationships as strong as they could be nor are they able to maintain them as well. As a result, children will feel less familiarity, comfort, trust, security, and, most importantly, love from their parents.”
The degradation of family communication and the increased reliance on tablets and smartphones for adolescent entertainment is resulting in real, potentially long-term developmental consequences.
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine suggest that the social-emotional development of young children (under three years) may be impeded by routine device use. Further, that device entertainment may hinder the development of the mental abilities required for math and science.
The conclusion of these researchers is that there’s simply no substitute for “direct human to human interaction” with children.
With technological integration into modern life on a fixed and ever-expanding path, the only solution is to structure real communication into various facets of our lives. Make a point of carving out time to dedicate to communication with children. In the car to and from school, or en route to activities are great opportunities. Some families have designated times at home when devices are just not permitted as well.
You’ll never regret time missed with technology. If communication with your kids has hit a lull, use National Communicate With Your Kids Day to jumpstart healthy communication habits!