We made a decision as a staff a couple of weeks ago to declare our clinic waiting areas electronics-free zones for kids. As the summer progressed we began noticing many more clients, siblings, and friends, coming into our office with handheld games, laptops, gameboys, etc. Instead of exploring and interacting with things that required using their minds, the kids were spending their time waiting with their faces close to a screen and their minds absorbed in isolative games. In the spirit of wanting our entire clinic environment to be about growth and development, and to model for parents what we would like them doing at home, we have decided to not allow this to continue. We want our clinic to be a place where clients, their family members, and their friends can explore new things, use their minds, and enjoy each other’s company. We now have a big sign posted that alerts people to our “No Electronics” policy. There have been a number of grumbling kids over the past two weeks when they are informed that they need to find something else to do, but it has been great to see them find other things to occupy their time. Just this morning we had two siblings using the unifix cubes to make the longest line they could using all the blocks – and to see if they could make it through the doorway. We have lots of things around here to do and are happy to give kids access to them. So – next time you are in our waiting room we look forward to helping your children find new interests to explore!
By the way – there are many good articles available that discuss the negative effects of “screen time” on children’s development. Jane Healy is one of my favorite authors on the subject for those of you who would like to read more about this important topic.
Until next week,