What does this mean? 

It means acknowledging that there’s no “one size fits all” approach that suits all families. 

It means taking into account ALL of the aspects of the whanau: parental (especially maternal) mental health, parenting styles, family traditions, routines, tamariki’s play preferences, socio-ecomonic status, access to resources, parental self care, family dynamics, working parents, SAH-Parent(s)… the list goes on. 

We cannot assume that we are all the same and that all families will have the same approach to balancing ST and play. We KNOW that that’s not realistic.

Yet the voice of balance, the truly holistic voice, that accounts for all of the intricacies of home life and variations in all of our different situations – where is that voice? 

When I surveyed my audience, the majority said that they had had very little or even NO support or education about managing screen time for their children (215 out of 266 responders). 

The overarching message to parents that “less is best”, with very little follow up advice and support catered to individual families; this is what they told me was missing. 

Because for some families, it’s not as simple as just “turning off the TV/taking away the iPad”. 

  • How do we support parents with the inevitable meltdowns that come from tamariki afterwards?
  • How do we empower them with simple neuroscience knowledge that can provide answers? 
  • How do we help them to provide different play occupations for their tamariki? 
  • How do we gently share evidence based guidelines, in order to cut through the plethora of information out there that exists about screen time? 
  • How do we reassure them that they’re doing a “good enough” job, when they feel the screentime guilts?
  • How do we surround tired, overwhelmed parents with the practical wraparound support that they are crying out for? 

These are just SOME of the things we need to do.

And only THEN will we be providing a truly holistic approach to balancing screens and play. 

Stay tuned for more.

Rachel

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