Disconnecting to Connect

mother play and outdoor with child

My husband and I were travelling the other day. We were having a conversation about the ‘lost fine art’ of making a mixed tape. Do you remember the excitement of sitting next to the radio in anticipation of recording your favourite song? Hearing this, my daughter quickly informed us that a playlist on Spotify would have been a much easier option!

The reality is that we function in a world that depends on technology. Processing times and gigabytes are the lingo of today. We assume the ability to reach someone at any time. We have instant access to so much information at the touch of our fingertips.

It seems convenience has replaced connection – and it’s having an impact on how families interact. While this can feel disheartening, there is a simple solution: we must reconnect with the basics.

Human connection is necessary for both babies and young children to feel safe and secure and to thrive. Attachment and appropriate physical touch are important for positive mental health in babies and toddlers. Our children learn about our reliability and approachability by how we interact with them. Our interactions help children learn how to regulate their body and emotions. This can be by giving a hug when they are upset, or simply snuggling up on the couch and reading a book together. ‘Reconnecting’ can be achieved by talking while at the table or in the vehicle, or figuring out fun ways to get around by skipping, hopping or jumping. The sky is the limit – it’s about creating opportunities to connect.

Getting up, going outdoors and moving around benefits everyone, including children. It can help us relax and unwind. Playing outside can also stimulate our imaginations, creativity and our ability to solve problems. Children are able to better focus and regulate themselves after having opportunity to be active outdoors. Simply said: our ability to engage with our children is the very best thing we can do for helping them develop the skills they need for daily life.

At the end of the day: it’s okay to listen to that playlist. But let it be the soundtrack to everything else going on in life … rather than the focus.