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  • Writer's pictureDr. Emi Garzitto

Helping Children Learn in the Age of Distractions

Electronic Culture:

n  Favours quick responses, quick results and efficient outcomes.

n  Does not utilize our bodies and movement, which is where social, emotional learning takes place.

n  Does not provide the repetitive practice required to help children learn social cues, emotional responses and collective behaviors such as sharing, taking turns and negotiating needs.

n  Homes need to put back in, what electronic time takes away:

n  Unstructured play, Outdoor activity

n  Quiet environments

n  Eye Hand Activities and Single Focus Activities

n  Human connection and interaction


n  Take small steps and Repeat them daily

n  Reinforce success

n  Create consistent routines

n  Do less

n  Have less

n  Engage the whole family in making changes.  Make sure everyone is resourced when having challenging conversations

n  Repeat material to mastery and honor the process of repeating material and learning from mistakes

n  Create intense learning opportunities – the greater the intensity the more impact it has on your brain

n  Repetition is important.  It takes 10-31k to create new neural pathways.

n  Have 3 minute high intensity aerobic/ movement breaks


n  Eat meals together with no electronic devices including the TV

n  Have 30 minute family time where all electronic devices are shut off and everyone is gathered in the same location

n  Initiate 20 minute family walks

n  Work together on a project – puzzles, Lego buildings, art projects, baking, ect.

n  All members of the household should have chores. Provide consistent expectations.

n  Morning and evening routines are the most important.  Make them easy and predictable.

Digital Guidelines for Children:

n  0-3 years – Everything except video chatting, high quality TV programming.

n  3-5 years – One hour a day, watch with child, avoid apps, fast paced programs.

n  6 years and up – one hour or more physical activity, 10-12 hours of sleep every night, No more than 20 hours of gaming/app play a week.

n  General Recommendations:

·      Avoid using devices as a way to calm child down,

·      No screen time one hour before bed,

·      Bedrooms/mealtimes/parent-child playtimes should be screen free.

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