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October 28, 2017 12:20 am

Family Day – Time to Re-Connect

Monday, February 8, 2016 @ 3:58 AM

Screenshot_2016-02-05-13-18-34Prince George, B.C.-  It’s Family Day  in B.C. and Northern Health is hoping  families will spend the time re-connecting by  either  disconnecting from our  tablets and phones  or by  incorporating  the devices into  a family event.

A good way to engage with kids is by geo-caching” says Christine Glennie-Visser, Northern Health’s manager of special projects for healthy communities and schools. “Sometimes, it’s just  as simple as replacing that sedentary  time in front of the screen with spending active time together.”  Through geo-caching,  families can bring along their smart phones as they search for  items  hidden throughout Prince George.

Glennie-Visser says some families are starting to make it a rule that  tablets and smart phones are not allowed at the dinner table,  “You  are seeing an increase  in  times when families are together but everybody is on their separate phone.  They  may  all be together in the same room or at the table, but they are not ‘together’ they are not connecting with each other.  You have  such a limited time  there  so it’s important , health wise, to take that time  and maximize it  because the effects on one generation will  be visited upon the next.”

She says  studies have shown that  too much screen time can have an impact on a person’s ability to  concentrate.  The recommended  daily screen time for  children 2-4  is one hour a day,  aged 5-11 should have no more than 2 hours a  day.

We’ve become  so used to screens in our everyday life that we are not connecting, it’s not the same to  sit  side by side and play individual computer games on  your games,  as it is to shut them off and do something together,  even if its reading a book,  going for a walk,  even if it’s  making a recipe together.”  She says children are growing up without a lot of skills  because people aren’t ‘turning off’.

She says board games can be a positive way for  families to re-connect because people are communicating and learning from  the dynamics  presented  during the game. “One of the things I have found  is having different materials around  and getting the kids started on a project,  or  being outside in the backyard to play  a game.”  She says  when  you engage your hands, or  your mind on something else,  you begin to forget the screen isn’t there.

“It isn’t about turning them (phones and tablets) off for the  whole day, it’s about doing it gradually and setting goals to build towards where  you want to get to” says Glennie-Visser,  and  Family Day is a great day to start.


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