Why screen based activity should not be part of a child’s morning routine
Whether your children are up at the crack of dawn or you have to drag them kicking and screaming from bed, getting ready for school is a busy time of the day. It can be tempting to pop on a screen to give yourself time (& peace!) to get through ALL those things that need to be done before getting out the door.
But does being inactive (ie playing on or watching a screen) prepare kids to be ready to learn? Whichever way you look at it, the answer is NO. So, what can we do instead? Here’s a few ideas that will help your child be ready to learn.
Get your children moving! Movement:
- provides the muscles and joints with the input needed to feel calm and focussed (this is called proprioceptive input)
- warms up their hands ready for writing (swiping a screen absolutely does not count, no matter how ‘educational’ the app may be)
- increase the flow of oxygen to the brain, which helps concentration and memory
- helps regulate impulsive behaviour
- helps relieve anxiety
- produces endorphins to regulate their mood
- increases opportunities for social interaction.
Ideas to incorporate movement into your child’s morning routine:
- Jobs around the house – make their own breakfast, pack lunch box, wipe the kitchen bench/table, sweep the floor, unpack dishwasher, peg out laundry
- Have a small tray set up with kinetic sand or playdough (hand warm ups)
- Jump on the trampoline
- Write a ‘have a nice day’ message in chalk on your sidewalk in huge colourful letters
- Get the binoculars (2 toilet rolls will do!) & ask them to spot 4 animals outside
- Animal walks to the car (Monday bear walk, Tuesday crab walk etc)
- Park the car a little further away at drop off
- Have your child carry their own back pack to school
- Most importantly, a nice, firm hug at drop off!
So, I challenge you to 5 days of a getting your child moving before school! We’d love to hear the results – and don’t forget to ask your child’s teacher about any changes that they notice too!
Written by: Bron Lucey. Mother to 3 children who share her love of the finer things in life like mud, the outdoors and general mess. Occupational therapist in her spare time.