One of my New Year resolutions that I have been keeping up with in the third week of the year, is writing more often. Whether that be blogging, using my writing prompt book, or just writing journals. I want to do a better job at my writing eventually. (This will also help these blog posts as well.) This writing prompt book I bought is probably one of my favorite books that I have bought so far. You can find them at Barnes & Noble for a pretty decent price. It is literally what it says, a book of prompts. It may sound silly, but it is actually rather helpful. It really gets you thinking about your values, what you don't think about, and gets you in touch with your creative side.
In case you didn't know, I work at a daycare in my full time job teaching a whole bunch of one- and two-year-olds during the week. These kids are sometimes the light of my life and then other times the reason I need some adult beverages after work. But, what kids aren't like that?
Now what in the world do those two things have in common? Well I came across a prompt one day and it asked me "You are a guest speaker at an elementary school and you're there to address a class of first graders. What will you talk to them about?"
First off, I had to remember what age it was to be a first grader to even think about what they could understand. Then, I had to think back to my seven-year-old self. What did I really remember?
The only thing I could really recall was that I was in Miss Joseph's class and that I got told on for drawing on the chalkboard "secretly" while Miss Joseph was doing circle time with us. I honestly don't even remember who told on me. I also remember we had a pen pal system with an inner city school and on the day we all got to meet up my pen pal was sick and I was really upset about it because I was the only kid who didn't get to meet their pen pal.
So, in conclusion, I was only able to remember when I felt an extreme emotion. How would I speak to a group of children that would remember me? I wouldn't really want them to remember the emotion of embarrassment or disappointment. I probably wouldn't be asked back.
However, I knew there was a topic that I really wanted to address the children about: technology and putting it down!
I couldn't tell you how many times I would be working at my serving job in college and see children "occupied" with iPads, phones, tablets, etc. I'm sorry, but children should learn to sit at a table without one, no matter what age. I understand that children are a handful. Like I said, I work in a daycare. That is absolutely no excuse to put a screen in front of your children just so they don't upset you. They need to learn how to function in this society.
It also gave me a reality check when I was working in the daycare one day, how technology is getting to children younger by the day. I had my phone sitting on a table because I was using it for a timer earlier for an activity. I completely forgot about it on the table afterwards. In between activities, we allow the children to play throughout the room. All of a sudden, one of the children had my phone and somehow got passed my lock code and was in my phone. The sheer fact that this child was able to know that you had to swipe right and then hit some numbers to open it astonished me. These children and TWO YEARS OLD!!! I don't even think I knew how to cut with scissors at that time let alone use a phone.
I just want to say after that entire negativity towards technology is that it can be used as a great resource, given the right circumstances. There are great teaching moments as well as letting their imaginations wonder (they could possibly invent the next technology item one day). So I am not completely dissing technology.
I believe that this is the time in a child's life to just be a kid. A kid that goes outside and makes their parents angry because they got grass stains on their new pair of jeans. A kid that breaks their arm because they fell out of a tree they were dared to climb by their friends. A kid that asks questions about the world that he sees outside his yard and not just from a television screen. Kids need the chance to go out and play and experience life. I couldn't thank my parents enough for pushing us to go outside and just go crazy with our imagination.
As a guest speaker for first graders, I would talk to them about the importance of play (physical play - not "using their fingers on a screen" play). I would integrate the idea of balance between outside play and technology play. The two are important in our children's lives. I would explain to them that exploring the world around us is fun and important to their growing mind.
Now, I ask you as readers to take this into consideration when raising children, babysitting children, teaching children, whenever you are an influence with children. Please don't just give a child a piece of technology to get them to stop bothering you. If you can, tell them to go outside and play. If it's terrible weather, give them a notebook and something to write with and have them "color." Be a positive influence on these children. You would be amazed what they can do and what they can learn by YOUR actions.
Please let me know what you think of this post and if you have any other suggestions or ideas for a post you would like to see from me.
Until next time,