These days, some of us are so attached to our cell phones, tablets, iPads, and laptops; that being without our electronics can leave us feeling like we’ve lost a limb. For some of us, our social media accounts have become such extended versions of ourselves that we begin to experience “phantom limb pains” when we haven’t logged onto Facebook or checked Instagram beyond a tolerable period of time. And to think, most of us grew up in an era where we only really found ourselves at the mercy of technology if we forgot to feed our pet Tamagotchi and it died – leaving us heartbroken and emotionally devastated…well, at least until it rebooted. Yet here we are, only a few years later, experiencing withdrawal symptoms if we haven’t been able to check our phones within the last hour.
If this is the experience of some adults today, then our children must be experiencing the same thing. Except their experience is version 2.0-trillion. Why? Because they know nothing else. Rope-jumping on the WGJS astro turf is a rare sighting. Our girls don’t know the joy of playing “3 sticks” or “ingle-angle” and many of them have never heard of games like “dominoes” or “go fish”. Nowadays their conversations are dominated by talk of “Paw Patrol” and the latest Whatsapp emojis rather than “girls, boys, fruit, veg” or “seetle seet” and “not yet”. We need to help them rediscover the joys of being outside and existing in the real world. We need to remind them of the thrill of games that challenge the brain and encourage physical activity. The start of Spring is the perfect time to do just that!
Helping our girls will require us to put down our technology too, and to remember what it was like to be a real child – a child of the 80’s and 90’s – before social media began encouraging us to amass “friends” we’d never meet or to live our lives one “like” and “share” at a time. We encourage you to dig deep into your childhood archives and to share some of your favourite childhood games with your daughter. Better yet, teach her how to play them. Invite the whole extended family over for an “Old School Games Day”. Relive the joy of tech-free quality time and teach your daughter how to do the same. Because those are the memories that will last her whole life through. That type of quality time is what matters most because the benefits will stay with her long after the latest version of Whatsapp has died out; much like our beloved Tamagotchis did….