Toys Can Replace Electronic Games

Question: Do you have any ideas about toys that can replace phones and tablets while my young children are waiting around at doctor's appointments or riding in the car?

Answer: Play is so important for young children. Likewise, the amount of time that they can devote to play seems to be coming in shorter and shorter increments. Obviously, there are apps that have games that can be played in a short period of time. This is good because they can be educational in nature. Nevertheless, it is not deemed to be healthy for children to spend all their free time on phones and tablets.

To get young children away from playing only with electronic games, parents should carry around with them small toys in the car or in toy bags. There are now starter sets of Legos that are reasonably priced. There are also many miniature collectibles that allow children to have opportunity for imaginative play. Plus, there are many appealing card games. Many of these toys are close to the check-out in toy stores. And for children who can read, there is no substitute for reading books - even on electronic devices.

Resolutions to Improve Family Face-to-Face Communication

New Year's is the time of year when resolutions are made to increase exercise or lose weight or one of a million things that people feel will help them to improve their lives. Resolutions focus on change! Every year as society becomes more and more high tech, families are spending less and less time communicating with each other because they are absorbed with their own electronic devices.

This year parents should make a resolution, along with their children, to turn off all electronic devices and select one or more of the activities below or one of their own choosing to do at least once a week to focus on building better family face-to-face communication:

  • Resolve to eat dinner together as a family.

  • Resolve to find a hobby to do together as a family.

  • Resolve to start a family game night.

  • Resolve to talk together daily about your everyday experiences. Make an effort to find out what happened that was especially enjoyable.

  • Resolve to learn a new skill with your children.

  • Resolve to attend a cultural event with your children.

  • Resolve to start reading the newspaper as a family. Then have family discussions about world affairs, weather, movies and sports based on what you've read.

  • Resolve to start exercising together, whether it is jogging, yoga or tai chi.