Sunday, April 6, 2014

Celebrate Fatherhood: Parenting in a Digital Age | Guestpost by Daddy Ken, Childcare Recruiter

Sakura Haruka is not a blog just about celebrating motherhood. It shares the joys {& frustrations!} of parenting and of families as a whole. Inspired by my hubby's thoughts on being a dad, Celebrate Fatherhood is thus a monthly series where daddies from all walks of life share insights about what fatherhood means to them, and how we can appreciate their role in a family too.

I sincerely thank all those who took the time to guest post for me. Most of those I approached were very supportive and enthusiastic about this new series, sharing my belief that being an involved dad, and getting the dads involved, is important in building a strong family. If you have a story to share, please email me at sakuraharuka {at} live {dot} com.

Children have more technological diversion in today's world than we had growing up. In light of all of these gizmos and gadgets, how can we spend quality time with a generation that is driven by electronics? While you can force your children to spend time as a family without these toys, they may resent you for the attempt. Instead, why not make a compromise and meet the children half-way?

Video Games - Any time you spend with your child can be quality time. Have your child teach you how to play one of their favorite video games. This will put you on his or her level while allowing the child to play teacher for a change. Children love to "one-up" their parents and this gives them that platform to build confidence.

Personally, I enjoy playing online video games with my children. Not only does it give me a chance to interact with them in their world, but it gives me an opportunity to do my best to teach about cyber-bullying and sportsmanship. Although my oldest still doesn't play as a team very well, he is coming around and seeing my point of view about badgering those that are not as good as he.

Board Games - A few board games that we've enjoyed as children have taken on technological advancements. Monopoly has an alternative that uses "Credit Cards" to make digital transfers. Clue even has a talking electronic version of itself. This is aside from the many versions of trivia games that utilize DVD players and the television while you move pieces across a traditional table-top board. You're a parent in the digital age, why fight development?

My favorites are the DVD games. It's a bit unfair as two of the three we have currently are themed for James Bond and Star Trek - which no one in the family can match me at. However, it's nice to pull out the old Scrabble board or dust off Risk, which my older children love to play. Global domination is apparently an inherited gene.

Let Them Pick - If you schedule a specific day of the week to host family night, you can alternate who gets to pick the entertainment for that week. This allows the children to feel empowered as they too have influence in family affairs. Instead of feeling like merely children being governed by adults, they can feel like their input matters. As everyone gets a turn picking the entertainment, you can quell animosity towards anyone in the family.

There are a wide variety of games that I indulge my children with even though I'm not that interested. I do this because I just enjoy spending time with them. It no longer becomes a lack of entertainment from the game itself, but more of spending time with my kids before they no longer want to spend time with me.

Old School Console - After playing a few games with my children on their Xbox, we periodically play a few games on my Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis. The graphics are far different, and it can fill you with a sense of nostalgia as you play against your children on a console you grew up with. That is, if you still have one laying around. It's a fascinating feeling when you realize that your children are playing games that you remember playing when you were their age.

Stand Your Ground - After allowing your children to pick the venues for family togetherness, stand firm with ideas of your own. Remind the children that you played their games, it's only fair they try one of yours. After all, you don't want to turn into a doormat. The children need to learn how to compromise. You play their game for an hour, they play your game for an hour.

There have been a few times where the children didn't want to play the games I wanted to play when it was my turn. However, I reminded them that I indulged them when they picked and it's only fair that they do the same. Since I have always been a staunch advocate of "doing what you say" with the children, they understand and see my point of view.

Any positive activity you do with your child can be quality time. For the most part, the children simply want to spend time with you regardless of what you're doing. However, forcing your children to do an activity may present some resentment. Don't be afraid to compromise, but don't allow them to control every activity from here on out. They need to learn to give as well as receive.

Ken is a father of three and passionate about great childcare. He’s always looking for ways to help families find the support they need to live fuller, richer lives and runs a nanny-recruiting website. You can connect with him via @go_nannies on Twitter.

I do fear for such problems related to technology in children. However, I also feel that as with everything else, moderation is the key. We should not let the children be too addicted to technology, nor should we abandon it totally as well. There are a lot of educational software and apps that can help stimulate children’s thinking skills and benefit them to have better focus. We also take the opportunity to have parent-bonding sessions by playing simple 2-player games with Lil Pumpkin. In this way, we make sure she plays the appropriate games and enjoys some time with us too. It is hard not to acknowledge technology's existence, and to ban you kid from being in contact with it. Let’s instead, embrace the advantages it brings for our children.


1 comment:

An Apel a Day said...

I believe in moderation as well.

Isaak and Mica have 1 Nintendo DS that they share. They don't ask to play with it all the time, which is great!