An email, a text, a FB post, a few minutes of work, a presentation, a call, a song I like on the radio, a child asking for something, a husband who doesn’t know where his socks are, the dog is whining – again!!!
Ahh yes, a typical minute in the life of a working mother. That’s me, mega multitasking lady. And I’m good at it, but, it turns out, multitasking (as we used to say in interviews, “I’m a GREAT multitasker!”) isn’t such a great thing anymore. In fact, multitasking is changing the way our brains work and making it less possible for us to focus, relax, process emotions, or obtain higher level thinking.
No wonder 93% of working parents have reported “some” to “an extreme amount” of stress. And guess who is modeling this behavior? And whose brains are even more susceptible to these changes? Yep, you guessed it- our children.
So, what do you think, are kids getting a chance to “just think” and process or might they be in a constant state of stimulation and multitasking?? With the average child getting 7 hours of screen time (phone, TV, video games) a day (side note: This statistic is REAL, but I really don’t know how kids fit that in unless they’re on their devices ALL the time, which I guess they ARE per these stats… L ), I would imagine that the latter is probably the most accurate.
Here is why is it important for children (and us!) to have this non-multitasking/non-stimulation time in our day:
- According to an article in Psychology Today by Victoria Dunckley, “excessive screen-time appears to impair brain structure and function.” “Much of the damage occurs in the brain’s frontal lobe, which undergoes massive changes from puberty until the mid-twenties. Frontal lobe development, in turn, largely determines success in every area of life—from sense of well-being to academic or careersuccess to relationship skills.”
- And without appropriate frontal lobe development, it is impossible to be able to pay attention, to problem solve, to make good choices, to manage emotions, to be reflective, and to think outside of yourself, i.e. have empathy.
Recently, my family went screen free during the weekdays and truly it has been the best thing. Truth be told, the girls aren’t big fans of this policy, but what has occurred, is that it gives them more time to think (even if it is just the thought that, “I’m bored!”) time to connect (i.e. playing without screens!) and to use their brains (reading, journaling, imagining, etc.).
What do you think? Would screen free work for you? How can you carve out some thinkin’ time for yourself and your kids?
Questions or comments or need some help getting your children there? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org