by Mia Von Scha, Transformational Coach, motivational speaker, children’s author, student to two Zen Masters (aka kids), avid cloud watcher and lover of life.
There’s a lot of grumbling amongst the parents of modern teenagers about their lack of communication skills and the amount of time spent ignoring their parents in favour of their technological relationships. And I’m really hoping there are some parents of little kids reading this too, because this problem inevitably starts when they’re much much younger, and it starts with you!
Kids learn by example. I’m sure you’ve heard that one before! So watch your own and your partner’s behaviour around technology. Do you switch on your laptop before you’ve even said good morning? Do you shut your kids out while you quickly catch up on some emails? Do you take calls when they’re busy speaking to you?
How about leaving your emails until they’ve gone to bed, ignoring the calls or even better, switching your phone off and giving them your full attention?
I think all families should have technology-free time and the earlier you initiate this, the less resistance you’ll have as they grow older and the better habits they will pick up. Make dinnertime a technology-free time for everyone in the family. This is one of the most important things you can do in terms of keeping an open channel of communication in your family – no phones, no laptops, no TV. And try to make at least one holiday a year a techno-free time too – go to the bush where there’s no signal and no electricity, go overseas without roaming, or simply insist on all technology being left behind.
We need to teach our kids how to communicate without these things, to really connect, and this can only happen if we do it ourselves!