As a result of the quarantine, new studies are starting to come out showing that being online all day can affect your health, make you anxious, give you headaches, affect your vision, and affect your sleep. Long before we were sheltering in place, Melissa Pandika in “The Unexpected Effects of all that Screen Time,” reported on symptoms shown by children, tweens, teens and adults as a result of too much screen time. Although the internet can allow for community building and connection, Pandika, quoting Delaney Ruston, a physician and documentary filmmaker who produced Screenagers, warns that social development can be … Continue reading 5 Things to Do Under Quarantine
It’s a challenging time for working parents with young children. If they are considered essential workers and must leave their homes, they may struggle with childcare needs that are difficult to meet. If they are fortunate enough to continue their jobs by working from home, they may struggle with the competing agendas of work while homeschooling and entertaining their children. Interestingly, with the cancelation of nearly all of children’s organized activities, children are being forced to occupy themselves, to learn to play independently without being directed by an adult. In the New York Times, Kate Rope, author of Strong as … Continue reading Play Under Quarantine
I want to say a few things about the effects of trauma and what you can do to help yourselves and your children through this difficult time. Children take their cues from parents, so it is vitally important that you take care of yourselves so that you can be optimally available, emotionally, to your children. In a Youtube video addressing COVID-19, Bessel van der Kolk, trauma expert and author of the book The Body Keeps the Score, says, Being in a situation where you cannot do what you always do, where you are basically rendered helpless, that’s the definition of … Continue reading For Parents During COVID-19
A 7 year old I know just told me that she got her first cell phone. She’s proud and happy, but the reality of a 7 year old with a phone gives me pause. I find myself wondering what she will be doing on this phone. Who will she text or call? What games will she be playing? How much will this phone take her away from direct contact with her friends?
I walk with my dog around a pond in my town. Sometimes I see kids there. They used to be fishing in the pond, skipping rocks, or just walking around and talking with one another. Now, I see 3 boys, probably around 12, sitting on a bench. Each is looking at his phone. They are not talking. They are not skipping rocks. They are not even looking at the beautiful pond or noticing the blue heron standing in the shallows on the far end. My dog sees all these things, even the boys on their phone. But the boys are watching their screens. Continue reading “A 7-Year Old I know Just Got Her First Cell Phone”
In an earlier post, I wrote about the contradictions we in modern society have about play. On one hand, we trivialize play and see it as a waste of time, only appropriate for children, not for adults who should be attending to more serious matters. On the other, we express nostalgia for an era when there was more time for undirected play.
The work of psychoanalyst Paul Verhaeghe offers a framework for understanding this ambivalence and our split views about play. Continue reading “Is there such a thing as too much play? Part 2”
The debate about how much play is enough is one carried out in the popular press, where experts and non-experts alike weigh in. Writing for the New York Times Magazine, Melanie Thernstrom reflects on the question from a personal point of view when her daughter is invited to the home of a friend from preschool, whose father has made a project out of being a free range, non-helicopter parent. Continue reading “Is there such a thing as too much play?”
I have written in an earlier post about how depriving human beings of opportunities and spaces for play leads to increased stress, anxiety and depression.
According to Ashton Katherine Carrick, a senior at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, stress that begins in high school, with the imperative to spend all available time preparing a college resume, follows young adults right into college. In a New York Times op-ed piece , reflecting on her experience as a college student, Carrick observes that stress is the cause of drinking to blackout. Continue reading “Drinking, Play & Identity”
Can we become who we are without play or is play is essential for the formation and development of human identity? I am particularly interested in how play opens up a space for creativity, a space in which we can potentially transform our identities. If we create ourselves, and play nurtures creativity, how might our identities emerge from a self-directed engagement with play? Continue reading “Play, Identity, & Mental Health”