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It is OK to plug in and unplug

Written: 2020

I express often that the world we live in now has smart phones and tablets as the norm and is what I feel, a main occupation- the preferred method for communication, social interaction, and gaming for many individuals.

I grew up in the early 80s. I had a see through corded phone with an extra long cord so I could travel to all areas of my room. I played outside until the sun went down. I played kickball, paintball, and capture the flag with my neighborhood friends. I would write notes to my friends and fold them in cool, unique ways – totally awesome OT activity by the way

We engaged with each other more. We hung out in groups and figured out what to do for the day by talking to one another, face to face or talking on the phone/3 way calling. We looked at actual maps to get from point A to point B. We went on adventures. We did Werid NJ stuff (such a cool book). All without smartphones and tablets

We did so much thinking in creative and problem solving ways. And without us even knowing it, we were also building the foundations within our central nervous system and overall development through these connections and experiences, setting us up for success within the educational setting

Look, we watch TV and I give my 2 year old a tablet. And yes, he has his own kindle. For the most part, Luke uses the iPad/kindle for up to 10 minutes at a time. We use a timer and set it for 5 min and he is allowed to ask for more time when the timer goes off. This strategy actually makes transitions soo much better and he is much more willing to give it up after he has asked for more time

And then there are some days, we watch TV and play on our phones all day. Because we are tired. Why are we tired you ask? Life. Period. And when we watch movies and play games on the phone, we are all together as a family. We are asking questions about what we are doing, snuggling, sharing our moments together and just being a family

Luke has actually learned so many words and concepts via the TV that now I actually consider it a blessing in moderation and trust me, even though we are such an active family – always out in nature – I still feel guilty when I am on my phone. I am learning balance does not exist. It’s more like I never know what each day will bring so I just try to be as cool, calm, and mindful as possible when deciding how plugged in for the day we are going to be

The moral of my story is, unplug as often as you can and do not feel guilty for the times that you you plug in. Your brain does need a break and it is during these breaks that true creativity and problem solving thought bubbles can truly occur. Take some time for yourself but also get outside, go on adventures, play board games, laugh with friends. And when using technology, try to incorporate human interaction as much as possible

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