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Family time must be nurtured

By Wangari Omondi | February 21st 2016

NAIROBI: The other day, my husband and I decided to take the children down memory lane and show them some of the music we used to listen to.

Thanks to YouTube one can find any songs of our time.

After watching a few videos they were amazed. They could not believe artistes were so talented. Our son was more captivated by the dance moves.

While I appreciate the conveniences this digital age has brought, I cannot help but wonder the impact it will have on the next generations.

I am realising that our family has evolved and we have new gadgets all over the house.

Our daughter prefers to listen to music on the ear phones as she sings along. She also likes to make ‘pretend calls’ just to mimic regular adults. She also likes watching pageant and bridal shows. Her brother is drawn to technology.

He lazily watches Sponge Bob, Ninja Turtle something...Dora which I do not mind because he gets to learn a bit of “Spanish.”

Their father is not quite a TV fan apart from his love of African music and the History Channel.

I am determined not to let these devices get a hold of me and so far it has worked. I use my phone only when I have to especially for downloading music, listening to music and taking photos.

I use social media once in a blue moon which leaves me with a lot of time to reflect.

But I am television lover and my absolute must-watch are documentaries — these I watch any time and I am always looking out for new ones.

I have realised that children generally will gravitate towards parents’ TV viewing habits. So I have had to set the pace by avoiding being a couch potato by engaging in meaningful activities that bond the family.

I am glad that our children are good students and engage in nurturing their talent without being coerced. Which is why I do not mind giving them the leeway to watch something they love.

However, it is striking the balance that is sometimes not easy.

I have discovered that when I am preoccupied with work or other tasks that the children lose their equilibrium. Thus, I brought up the topic so we can reach an understanding. We came up with ways through which to spend more quality time, especially during weekends.

When they were younger, we used to work out together.

They used to jog around the block with their father  or play football in the compound.

I also engaged them in walking races, long strolls or aerobics.

We are reviving these activities to stay fit and connected. Saturday morning is reserved for light exercises, homework and polishing their talents which they often display through art work or plays.

As for the gadgets, they now use them to a minimum to maximise on outdoor play.

They watch child-friendly and educational programmes on history, science etc.

We are carving out time to read magazines, newspapers and inspiring books as a family. But as the children progress in their journey of discovery, we have to ensure we balance the old and the new, and as parents we endeavour to lead by example by exercising moderation and much needed balance.

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