As an Occupational Therapist and a mom with three boys, I am seeing some trends in child development that I am becoming more and more concerned about. I stumbled upon the article (ironically, on social media) “Why are our children so bored at school, cannot wait, get easily frustrated and have no real friends?” by Occupational Therapist Victoria Prooday, and I felt a deep sense of obligation to share it with other parents and therapists alike.
It may strike a nerve since many of us, including myself, are guilty of some of these current parenting mistakes. I hope you can tuck away your guilt momentarily to allow the information to sink in and open your eyes… enough so to help your child one step at a time.
In the article, Prooday outlines what she sees as five main reasons why children are having a harder and harder time focusing in school:
- Technology: Graphic explosions and special effects from constant exposure to virtual reality make children unable to process lower levels of stimulation in a classroom.
- Kids getting everything they want the moment they want it: Reduced practice in dealing with delayed gratification prevents children from functioning under stress.
- Kids ruling the world: By giving children what they want rather than what is best for them, children don’t learn how to persevere through challenging situations to achieve their goals.
- Endless fun: The parental drive to endlessly entertain children makes them ill-equipped to function in situations they find to be “boring.”
- Limited social interaction: Occupying children with devices rather than unstructured outdoor play and social interactions does not set them up for long-term success in a world that requires social skills.
Prooday says, “The brain is just like a muscle that is trainable and re-trainable. If you want your child to be able to bike, you teach him biking skills. If you want your child to be able to wait, you need to teach him patience. If you want your child to be able to socialize, you need to teach him social skills. The same applies to all the other skills. There is no difference!”
She recommends the following changes to train children to develop skills needed to succeed in life:
- Limit technology and reconnect with your kids emotionally
- Train delayed gratification – make them wait or be bored!
- Don’t be afraid to set the limits. Kids need limits to grow happy and healthy!!
- Make a schedule for meal times, sleep times, technology time
- Teach your child to do monotonous work like chores from early years, as it is the foundation for future “workability”
- Teach social skills
To read Prooday’s full article on the topic, including suggestions on how to incorporate these changes into your daily life, click below!