Mellow Jello Time
Overstimulation surrounds us. Particularly, overstimulation inundates the littlest of minds. There are iPad, iPhone, iPod holding devices for the teeniest of hands. Even in the womb, mothers are encouraged to play particular sounds and music for their developing baby. Technology is a fact of the reality of our children’s upbringing. We cannot ignore it or act like we’ll leave our children in a non-technological world. It’s a fact we must face and face fearlessly.
So, my first encouragement is to embrace the realities of technology. Do not try to hole your child up in a closet without any access to what is the inevitable. That way, what you embrace can then be familiar, understood, and comfortable first in YOUR hands and then in your little ones’ hands. Embracing means knowing what you are providing your child access to and doing so with clear boundaries—rules, expectations, and responsibility. If it is helpful, check out a local specialist who can support you in navigating the technological world. Some examples with great online information are the Cyber Safety Cop and Integrity Computer Concepts.
Second, model what these said boundaries—rules, expectations, and responsibility—look like. Practice what you preach. Kids are going to learn from what you are doing versus what you are saying. So, if phones are not allowed at the dinner table, don’t sneak-a-peek under the table just because you have urgent work emails. Your child, regardless of the age, cannot discriminate by what is acceptable or not if there are simple, clear parameters of where, when, and how technology can be use. Things are caught not taught. Don’t get caught not modeling yourself what you are asking of your children.
Third, and honestly most important in this world of overstimulation in all its shapes and forms, create intentional interruptions from it. In our household, we call this mellow jello time. No, it is not the dreaded NAP time. Yes, it is mellow, low-stimulation time where age-old traditions of reading, writing, and dreaming are condoned, encouraged, and supported. Create intentional space each day to just be mellow. No noise. Keep it simple. Keep it mellow…jello. And yes, mom and dad, you too need to intentionally schedule in some daily mellow jello time too. What would “mellow jello” time in your house look like?