Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Since the outbreak of CoViD19 and the consequent closure of schools all over Rwanda, Ahazaza has turned to online lessons for kids using WhatsApp. School-Home connections have strengthened giving children a good chance for home education supervision and it is working! Teachers receive back from the pupils homework assignments and mark them. A feedback is be given.
Apart from school assignments given by teachers, parents can prepare a teaching program for their kids by making for them a daily activity list.
In fact, while seeking to ensure that children keep up with the academic work received from the school, parents should also use this time to teach children daily activities that are often overlooked like laundry, cooking, house cleaning and even financial tips.
This is a great time for parents to focus on teaching those adult-role activities. Younger kids can learn and usually enjoy helping their parents.
This also makes them conscious that they are an important part of their family units. Doing chores gives young children a sense of control over their own safety and it helps to build resilience and a sense of responsibility.
But what about recreation time? It is absolutely essential for young kids to be able to relax and enjoy: playing time is a necessity.
However, while staying at home, there is the big danger that kids spend too much of their leisure time with electronic devices such as the various video games, tablets, computers or cell phones.
Parents, if you want your children to succeed at school, if you want to avoid a reduction in their academic performance, please limit the time they spend with theses gadgets. It has been scientifically proved that playing more than an hour a day with these electronic devices already has a negative influence on the development of kids' brains. Widely accepted evidence also suggests that screen viewing before the age of 18 months has lasting negative effects on children’s language development, reading skills, and short-term memory.
In general, the media has a disturbing potential to negatively affect many aspects of children's healthy development, including weight status, sexual initiation, aggressive feelings and beliefs, consumerism and social isolation.
In order to contrast these scientific findings, companies that produce these gadgets are doing an intensive marketing to convince parents that these activities are good for their kids and for their development. So called” experts” are paid to publish relative positive articles as these companies cannot run the risk of seeing their business negatively affected by the brain scientists’ latest discoveries.
The World Health Organisation has declared the video gaming addiction a mental health disorder *. Unfortunately, game addiction is getting common amongst the youngsters.
Last century people were far from thinking how bad smoking is for the human health. Today, more and more people seem to understand it and smoking is phasing out.
Will it take a century to realize the negative consequences of screen misuse by our children?
Unfortunately, the words of the “experts” who prone the various benefits of the digital activities enjoy such a high publicity that too many parents still do not realize the possible negative effects of the screening and digital activities on their kids brain development and on their sleep, nutrition, socialising and education.
Screens can be and often are addictive and they are not always conducive to being active and observant of the world. It is well known and proved that kids primarily learn from playing, moving, talking, watching and interacting with other humans.
Parents, find the time to speak to your children, to play with them, to tell them stories and to read with them. But, first of all and before limiting screens, try to make them understand the terrible consequences of the wrong using of TV, video games, tablets, etc. Reliable scientific information will help you on this.
*The World Health Organization has released a new set of recommendations about activity, behaviour, and sleep for children younger than 5 that included specific directives about what it termed “sedentary screen time.” According to these new WHO guidelines, children between 2 and 5 should be limited to only 60 minutes of screen time per day (and the less the better). Children under 2, it says, should not spend any time with screens at all. WHO’s new screen use recommendations bear similarity to guidelines issued in 2016 by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommend that children under 18 months get no screen time, kids between 2 and 5 should limit their use to an hour, and ideally, any screen time should be spent “co-watching” with engaged adults.