Studies warn of the large number of hours that children and adolescents spend daily in front of the screen. And also adults, negatively affecting our family time. So some parents have considered going back to the previous era to smartphones and abandon their mobile, both they and their children, also on vacation.
Like many of the trends, it also comes to us from the United States, where a new profession has begun to be sued: that of ‘paternity coach without screens’, which helps to remember what it was like to be a father before the arrival of the smartphones.
Do parents need a coach?
The fear of excessive use of phones begins to alarm parents a lot, and an article in the New York Times explains the reasons with which any parent identifies: the wild look our children cast when we ask them to stop playing already to the Fornite; the inability to take off from Instagram during dinner time or your dependence on YouTube in terms of trends and trends.
Although they believe that smartphones and tablets have always existed, the screens are still a relatively new technology and their effects on society are not well known.
Gloria DeGaetano was a parent coach in Seattle, where she worked to unhook families from the screens. But the demand was greater than he could handle alone, so as early as the year 2000, he created the Parent Training Institute, a 500 coach network with a training program.
Their rates are very succulent: in small cities and rural areas, they reach 80 dollars/hour (about 71 euros) and up to 250 dollars (222 euros), in large cities. And if we add that parents continue between eight and twelve sessions, we find a most profitable business.
The network has been expanding, and it has already created the Institute of Parent Coach International, which also offers PCI Certified Parent Coach, an official certificate in its program to future coaches worldwide. It already works in Turkey, Jordan, the United States, and Canada. Will you arrive soon in Europe? Do we need the work of these coaches? How do they work?
Objective: work creativity
Gloria DeGaetano’s philosophy speaks of “we think like machines and that children cannot grow optimally from the beginning of a mentality as mechanical as ours.” And to overcome it, the parents request above all “to cure them of their ‘addiction’ to the screens” and she ensures that their prescriptions are very basic: running, jumping, playing in nature… as a family.
Those are also the recipes of Emily Cherkin, a screen time consultant, which offers a play space for children who need alternative activities to screen time, such as playing with building blocks and paint.
Cara Pollard, a parent coach, says that his advice for those parents who do not know what to do an entire afternoon with their children is to ask them to remember what they did as children. And he says that, although it may be difficult at first, they will end up even watching the moon with their children.
Here are eleven alternatives to entertain your children without screens when we leave home.
“I promise not to use the phone”
It is not science fiction, but a reality. Because it is difficult to have the opportunity to give our son a phone “to know that it is okay” and resist waiting until they are at least 14 years old, as experts advise.
So, according to the New York Times, groups of parents join and publicly promise not to give smartphones to their children until they reach eighth grade (2nd of ESO in Spain). They meet in supportive communities and make friends without using a smartphone.
But of course, parents who make these promises should also lead by example, promoting the idea of healthy phone use. So they promise complete abstinence until their children reach eighth grade or even more.
But do parents really need the pressure of other parents or the training of a coach to raise our children? It is true that we do not give them good examples and that they throw us in the fact that we are too hooked on the mobile, even in front of them. And does that mean we are not able to teach them reasonable use of technologies?
I want to believe that no, that we can and we know how to play with our children without screens in the middle, although it costs us a few bad faces and many “now I leave it, wait for it to end”.
They love that dad and mom pay attention to them and traditional family games remain a resounding success (at least most of the time).
That is why, for the moment, I am optimistic. And if the time comes for technology to absorb us, we can always follow the example of US coaches and parents.