Srinagar: After three years of lockdown, children in the valley were hopeful they might get a chance to attend school. But now since that hope has been extinguished with the announcement of winter vacation, how should children cope with this further disappointment? How do they go about this winter and digitally detox themselves?
The Kashmir Monitor caught up with Dr Zaid Wani, In-charge Child Guidance and Wellbeing Centre, CGWC, IMHANS to understand the ways parents can adopt and utilize this winter for the holistic growth of their child.
KM: What is a digital detox? Why is it important for the children in Kashmir?
Dr Zaid: Digital detox is a time frame where one makes sure to take a break from technology and the surreal world of digital media. It is a stress-free time where social interaction with the physical world is more important than spending time on social media.
Digital Detox is not something that should be considered lightly. It is very important that you provide this opportunity to your kids, especially in current times where children are always immersed in their screen. They forget about the actual world and miss out on making memories that last longer. Moreover, it is important for the holistic growth of your child.
As well as games and TV, even education has gone online. We have e-learning applications that can help kids learn faster and better. This is a wonderful thing; however, when it comes to your children’s health and wellbeing, making sure that they have a digital detox schedule is essential.
KM: What are the numerous ways that can ensure a child goes through a digital detox for better health and life?
Dr Zaid: First and foremost, a parent should lead by example. If you’re explaining that taking screen breaks is important, you won’t get a positive response if you’re scrolling through your own phone. Think of it more as a family digital detox – you’ll feel better for it!
Help children establish and help them follow a daily Routine: Prepare a regular schedule for your children and explain to them the importance of sticking to that schedule for their well-being. Help them follow a regular sleep and meal schedule. Also, create a schedule that includes fun and playtime and try to be a part of their game. As you are building routines, include exercise time. It’s good for both you and your child. Plan some fun activities.
Also, prepare a place as free of distraction as possible for children, encouraging them to take breaks between periods of work, and praising on-task behavior and task completion.
Empathise: Empathising with another person’s negative emotions helps strengthen the connection and also aids in processing these emotions rather than repressing them. This is especially vital for children as they need to learn about emotional intelligence. Rather than scolding them for every little mistake, try to engage more and understand their problems.
Get creative: Encourage your kids to write, draw, make and create. Do reading with them and display their handiwork. This will make them feel important, appreciated and valued. Further, have a specific time in your everyday schedule where technology is banned in the house. It can be an hour or two where everyone puts down their screens and spends time doing other things like talking, going out and playing, spending time together, etc. This will give more time for family bonding and making new friends as well as getting some exercise into your kid’s body.
Regulate Your Child’s Information Access: Parents/guardians should monitor a child’s screen time both for themselves and their children. With the threat of Omicron looming over us, children may get exposed to too many updates on COVID-19 or daily happenings may increase fear and anxiety for you and your children. Older children, in particular, may be accessing a great deal of information online, through friends or social media which may contain inaccuracies. So, talk to your child about factual information on the disease.
Encourage Good Food Habits: Explain to your child the importance of food and its role in building immunity in them. Tell them that they should fill their plates with fresh fruits and vegetables as they have vital nutrients to help their bodies build immunity and fight off infections. Encourage your child to eat whole grains and lean protein that gives them the energy to stay active all day long.