My 'old-fashioned kids' have never played on an iPad

My children are playful kids, they love to be outdoors.
My children are playful kids, they love to be outdoors.  Photo: Shutterstock

My children love to play outside. They'll run, climb, jump, and splash around all day if I let them. They are fascinated by nature: animals and insects, plants and rocks.

They have no idea how to unlock an iPad though, nor have they ever played on one. We don't even have one in the house.

My children are playful kids, they love to be outdoors. They have imaginations that would rival even the best of storytellers. They live in a constant state of wonder, forever asking questions and learning new things. 

Sometimes they watch a bit of television, but overall, they are exempt from the virtual world so many people (both children and adults alike) live in today. They are old fashioned kids.

Think back to your own childhood. How much time did you spend playing outside, getting messy in the mud, building sand castles? How much time did you spend playing with your favourite toys, reading your favourite books, drawing, and crafting? 

In the early 90s when I was a preschooler, that's how my time was spent. I try to raise my children in much the same way. 

I'm not worried about them getting behind on "techno" knowledge, there will be plenty of time to learn all those skills when they are older. I'd rather they learn how to hold a pencil correctly and write their name on a piece of paper, before they learn to draw it with their finger on an app. 

Do you know that many kids don't know how to hold a pencil properly, who have no idea how to use scissors when they reach school? All because they've spent their early childhood zombified on a screen. 

Many children today lack the basic motor skills that their peers possessed only five years ago. A lifetime of swiping and tapping does not allow a child's brain to develop the same skills that are created by activities like painting, play doh, and craft. These are necessary activities in early childhood, and the more exposure children have to new experiences the more they will learn. 

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Most modern parents are quite happy to hand over the iPad for a just a few minutes of peace. As a mother, I completely understand the need for those moments of quiet. But you know, there are so many other ways to make it happen, and you can help your child develop critical skills while they do some traditional activities, skills that they can never learn using an iPad, no matter how many hours they spend on it. 

Sure, they might make a mess. They're kids, that's actually totally normal! Let them spend 10 minutes painting. You'll more than likely find that they'll lose an hour in their creations, enthralled by the mixing of the colours and the smooth strokes of the brush. 

Maybe you've just finished cleaning the house, and you just can't stand any more mess being made today. Why not read a book with your children? Get cosy and get lost in a story together. Teach your children the magic of reading, and as they grow up they'll never be lonely. Books are magical - teach them that. 

Maybe you're out of the house, at a restaurant or in a waiting room, and you need the kids to sit still for a little while. Take some paper and crayons along with you and let your children draw. Give them a few stickers, too. They will be just as well behaved as if you had given them the iPad, I promise.  

As parents, we all want what is best for our children, and we all have different ideas of what that is. Back when I was first pregnant with my son, I said that any children I had would be raised the old fashioned way, and that is what I have done. 

You might embrace this new, modern world we live in, maybe you have a smart phone, a smart television, even a smart car. 

Just remember, whatever you choose, that you are responsible for teaching your child about the world. It is you who is the master of the lasting memories you will make together with your family. 

Do you want to remember the hours your family spent on their iPads, oblivious to the real world around them, or do you want to remember the connection you shared with them, and the fun you all had together while they were young? 

That's up to you.