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Break Through: Helping Kids Succeed in a Changing World

Break Through: Helping Kids Succeed in a Changing World

     Times are changing…always changing. The biggest change in the parenting and education world that I’ve seen in my 18 years as a teacher and 17 years as a mom, is the access to technology. It’s EVERYWHERE! And it’s not always a bad thing. Shopping is so convenient! Access to news is at our fingertips. Reaching out to our friends takes seconds. Entertainment has never been so affordable. But with the good comes the bad. Because shopping is so convenient (curse you, Amazon!), are we spending MORE money? With the constant flood of news, are our minds overwhelmed with negative things going on in the world? Because it is so easy to reach out to our friends via texting, Facebook, Instagram, etc…, are we losing the intimacy of face-to-face connections with actual people? And most of all, with all of this amazing access to entertainment, are we losing important interactions with our most precious cargo…our children? In my experience, YES!   

     I’ve seen it in my own home. My 12 year old especially is addicted to YouTube and videogames. I have to set limits on his screen time, or he would do one of those two things ALL DAY! And don’t get me started on social media with my 17 year old. He’s given up on asking permission. I’m that ridiculously strict mom who doesn’t allow Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. But I also know my kid, and he’s SUPER dramatic, and is easily swayed by opinions of others. I just know it’s not healthy for him.

     But I’ve also seen it in the classroom. I’ve taught between the ages of 4 and 7 for my entire career. It is amazing to me the changes that I’ve seen over the course of 18 years. I’ve seen an increase in ADHD and learning disability diagnoses, as well as more of a need for physical and occupational therapy because children’s hand and core muscles are weaker. What can we do?! How can we help?

     I have been working on collecting ideas that are easy for working families and care providers to carry out. My hope is to get information out to families of children, from infants to elementary-aged kids, and beyond. Information that takes little-to-no money, and just a little bit of time. Time that we’ve decided is better spent in other ways. In front of our phones. Checking our emails, Facebook, Instagram, and so-on. Time that we say we don’t have, but we do! We all have 24 hours in our day. But how do we spend it? Can we afford to spend a little less of that time using technology, and making meaningful connections with our biggest treasures? I’m guilty! It’s hard to break these habits, but we need to try. The success of our children, who are our future, depends on it.

     Your partner in change,
     Charity Farrington
     Wife, Mom, & First Grade Teacher

 

N.B.    Be on the lookout for future “Break Through” articles and/or tips in the district newsletters, as well as in our principal’s newsletters, and teachers’ Friday letters. I have been collecting some great advice from pediatricians, psychologists, speech therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and counselors, and I cannot wait to share these with all of you!