Mindful Tech Use: Balancing Screen Time with Well-Being
In today’s fast-paced world, technology is an integral part of our lives, and its influence on young minds cannot be overlooked. At Awakening Spirit Homeschool Collaborative (AWS), we believe in harnessing technology mindfully, finding a harmonious balance between digital engagement and the serenity of the natural world.
When my daughter was in a local Waldorf school, our family dove straight in to the ‘no/low-tech world’. It was (fairly) easy to oversee and monitor a kindergartener’s access to tech. In our family, we reserved movies and games for travel days, and that worked perfectly to entertain a young child in the car or in an airplane.
As my children grew, so did their relationship with technology. We tried hard to make sure that once we started watching movies as a family, the content was age appropriate. I started to see the power of technology (videos and informational websites) to teach and engage. I am by no means a subject-matter expert in EVERYTHING ….. so I modeled tech use to research and teach subjects that I was unfamiliar with.
Once our homeschool grew into a microschool, we embraced technology as a way to differentiate lessons and make sure that each child was being challenged on their own levels. One of our core tenets revolves around fostering a healthy relationship with technology. We recognize its potential as a tool for learning and exploration but also advocate for moderation.
One way that we seek to balance our students’ ‘tech time’ mindfully is through nature. Our forest school sessions offer a refreshing contrast to screen time, providing a tangible experience that engages all senses. Nature becomes the ultimate playground, nurturing children’s curiosity and enhancing their well-being.
Moreover, therapy animals are an integral part of our ecosystem at AWS. These furry companions offer emotional support and contribute to creating a stress-free environment. Interacting with therapy animals encourages empathy, compassion, and a sense of responsibility among our students. They serve as a reminder of the importance of genuine connections beyond the digital realm.
In this tech-centric era, balance is key. We encourage families to establish clear boundaries around screen time, promoting moments of mindful engagement with the world around them. The fact that you HAVE guidelines is just as important as WHAT those guidelines are. We trust all of our families to make decisions based on their own beliefs and values. Our holistic approach integrates technology as a tool within a broader context of experiential learning, emphasizing the need for moderation and a healthy digital diet.
By fostering an environment that values nature, animal companionship, and mindful tech use, AWS endeavors to instill in students a balanced relationship with technology, ensuring that their well-being remains at the forefront while navigating the digital landscape. It IS possible to ‘have your cake and eat it too’ when the WHOLE child is being served.