Screen time during school suspension?

With schools suspended for over a month, children are ‘trapped’ at home and some aren’t allowed to go out at all. What do they do with all that time? Older ones may end up spending more time online, and even younger ones may spend more time than usual on screens. There is often some guilty feeling involved in allowing kids to use their screens, but yet  in order to free ourselves to do what we need to do, or keep us sane, we may still ‘succumb’ to letting them use screens as ‘babysitters.’

As a Montessori educator, I personally discourage the use of screens especially for young children , who should really be using that time to develop MANY other areas of their personality, physical, social and emotional skills, because the earlier they develop these, the more resilient and better adjusted they will become as adults. Screens don’t help this way. They may be used to provide some educational value, but due to young children’s sensitive eyes still developing, it’s really best to avoid it as much as possible, because there is really not much that screens at this stage can provide that real life materials cannot. Real life materials allow the sensorial experiences that children need, to develop their neural networks that are essential for all kinds of associations they need to make in their daily lives.

HOWEVER, for older children, and for the rest of the world, actually, technology is becoming an essential part of our daily lives, so it’s not practical to totally avoid it. Therefore, we can perhaps learn how to use it to our advantage in a balanced way that won’t cause more stress between parents and their children, but instead let it become a means of bonding and mutual understanding.

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