When we were kids, we couldn’t have guessed that the future would see kids spending their summer days with their faces buried in portable computers. I mean, our family's computer used to take up half...
We aren’t going to pretend that we did an ounce of research trying to prove that apps are in any way better than or equal to time spent playing. We didn’t start the research because we wouldn’t trust it if we found it. There is nothing better for your child than getting to run, splash, play, and explore.
From hands-on learning about how their favorite toy works to watching the way ants work together to build their home and feed their community, it’s all on your side of the screen. That’s why we made sure that our Wonder Bunch apps teach the lessons they’re designed to teach, while gently encouraging your child to set down the device and go explore for themselves!
Statistics show that children who are over-exposed to screens show a greatly increased occurrence of health problems. From childhood obesity to juvenile diabetes, the health implications are staggering. But what was more surprising was the reason. Our assumption was that children were skipping play time in exchange for the screens, and that the inactivity was leading to the health concerns. While the inactivity plays a part, there is something even more surprising eating away at children’s health.
We have mentioned before how frustrated we are with the predatory advertising directed at children. It turns out that half of that advertising wouldn’t sound many alarms at first glance. That’s because 50% of the ads directed at children are for sugary, greasy, and otherwise entirely unhealthy foods. No child is born craving deep fried chicken puree, but for many families, it’s all their children can dream of eating. When fast food chains target kids, they know exactly what they’re selling and who they’re trying to sell it to. And children are paying the price for it for the rest of their lives.
But the world children are growing into is taking place online. This leaves parents biting their nails down to nubs trying to decide how to teach tech without screens, how much screen time is healthy, and which apps deserve their children’s precious time.
First, we want to stop and remind you that you’re doing an amazing job. The fact that you’re even reading this means you care so deeply about your child’s development! That’s nothing to sneeze at, and we are excited to live in a world run by children so loved by their parents.
Second, we want to remind you that it’s all child’s play. All of it! And all you have to do is encourage it. And one way to start is by replacing some of your apps with hands-on play and learning!
I You know that the weather app on your phone is only right about 40% of the time, so skip it! Instead, leave a teddy bear by the door with a sweater, a swimsuit, an umbrella, a coat, and a hat. First thing in the morning, send your little meteorologist outside to do the weather forecast. Have them dress the bear for the weather they observed. This can serve as a cue for how they should get themselves dressed today, too. Giving them a responsibility to prepare the family for the day’s weather can show your child just how much you know you can count on them, which is an excellent way to build confidence!
Pull out your old Instagram account! The one your mother called a scrapbook. Show your children the love and care your family put into preserving memories, and try to start your own! Let your children pick the items most precious to them, and help them organize photos and memories. While Instagram is an easy share, the moment you touch a photo your grandmother lovingly placed with her own hands, you’ll remember that it’s very different.
Your child’s favorite programs and movies are right at their fingertips, but what if they were the star of the show? Instead of letting them watch another episode, try giving them props and asking them to act one out on their own! Get creative with costumes, lighting, and scenery. Ask them what their favorite character would do on a snowy day, if they were lost in a jungle, or if they landed on the moon to find it was actually covered in peanut butter! We promise it will be your new favorite program!
If you or your kids have gotten swept up in the Among Us craze, bring it into the real world! Write down age-appropriate tasks on index cards. They can be any task your children (and partner!) each know how to do.
On one of the cards will be a red X. Whomever gets the X is “the imposter”, and while everyone goes around finishing their tasks, the imposter tries to sabotage them. They may knock over the folded laundry, unmake a made bed, or put clean dishes back into the dishwasher without letting anyone know they are the imposter. If they are caught, the team wins and shuffles again. You might end up with a few chores done, but you will definitely have a lot of fun cleaning up with your family!
For a lot of families, meal time is the first moment they’ve had to sit down together and relax. It’s not uncommon for relaxing to coincide with pulling out a device or turning on a movie while the family eats. Unfortunately, that’s a habit hole you definitely don’t want to fall into! Not only does it significantly increase the amount of mindless eating your family will do long after they’re actually full, it stops you from truly sharing the meal together.
You’ve tried the standard “tell me about your day”, but that question has been proven to shut down conversation. The reason isn’t because your family doesn’t want to share, but because the question is too broad. They don’t know where to start!
Instead, try suggesting that your children and your partner ask you a question about yourself. But only one. If you tell them they can ask you one question, it will encourage them to truly think it out. It feels like a mystery or a game. You’ll be very surprised by what people who have known you their whole lives want to know. And in return, you get to ask them one question. You may be surprised by what you most want to know!
You can even throw in a game of Two Truths and a Lie or Never Have I Ever to get the conversation started!
Do you have any fun conversation games you play at the dinner table with your family? Let us know by emailing Hello@WonderBunch.Com so we can share them with our other families! There will be times when you let your child just explore online. Just like there will be times you let them ride a bike further than you can see, stay out late, and go on dates. It’s part of the process of them growing up and you trusting that you’ve taught them what is safe and healthy, and that they will make good decisions. But while they’re too little to ride further than you can see, it’s fair for you to be this worried about the content they are experiencing online.
We are always doing our best to bring you the latest research and expert advice that we trust for our own family. We are using that research to create a world where children can safely learn online, but that fosters their curiosity and energizes them to explore the world that you’ve built for them.
We are so glad that you are here, and so grateful for the children you are raising to be healthy, strong, and wise. Thank you for being part of our Wonder Bunch World!