Family routines and technology free habits at mealtimes give a great opportunity for you and your family to spend quality time together.
Sometimes there may be squabbles and arguments across the table. Learning how to manage these is a life skill and family time can be a ‘safe space’ to do this.
• Make a family plan about how you can be respectful and make sure everyone gets the chance to say how they feel, and hear how the other person feels.
• Make sure grown ups in the family set a good example and manage their disagreements in a healthy way.
• Learning how to disagree in a healthy way and reach compromise is an important communication skill.
• When it all ‘goes wrong’ and feelings are hurt - make sure children and young people know the importance of saying sorry and forgiving one another.
Older children still learn a lot during ‘play’. They still benefit from time playing with the adults in their lives.
They will enjoy joining in with other interests and activities with you; cooking, gardening making things together will give opportunity to talk and listen.
Children will also learn from playing with other children – this might be through after-school clubs or sports they enjoy. This will give opportunity to practice their skills in cooperation and being part of a group or team.
As children settle into school life they will be learning more about how words are formed. They will be learning how to read and spell.
You can support this learning at home by hearing them read and by pointing out words when you are out and about –maybe on the sides of buses, or in supermarkets.
Children still really enjoy and learn from being read to. Keep story time special – you may well find books that you both look forward to reading the next chapter of together.
Using tablet’s, game consoles, smartphones and computers is a part of modern life. Used with care children can learn some communication skills from them.
Many parents are worry about how to get a healthy balance between children enjoying technology and still learning and enjoying quality face to face time together as a family.
• Set a good example – make sure your child always knows you prefer talking to them than being on your devices.
• Use technology together – using apps and games together means you can talk through what you see and make the most of the learning opportunity.
• If your child loves a certain type of game look for something in the ‘real world’ that is similar. If they like football games take them to see local teams play at the park. Get them active joining a team.
• Help them understand how to keep safe online from the start. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has good advice on this.
Have family rules about how long and when your child uses technology. Internet Matters have some advice to help that takes into account the age of your child.
Who Can Help?
You can contact the Healthy Child Programme by calling Just One Number on 0300 300 0123 or texting Parentline on 07520631590. Our opening hours are 8am-6pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) and 9am-1pm on Saturdays.
If you are 11-19 you can text ChatHealth on 07480635060 for confidential advice from one of our team.
*Click Here* to speak to other Norfolk parents and carers on our online community forum.