Children don’t have their time anymore. This is precisely the consequence of cognitive problems at school, as well as hyper-attention, learning difficulties, poor concentration; these are all consequences of mistakes from early childhood. That is why children should not be enrolled in dozens of activities.
Mind you, someone can have expectations from a child and that’s okay. But excessive expectations burden the child. They can’t live up to them, they don’t process the information, they get stressed out and in future they will develop some sort of anxiety.
The first advice for parents is: let children get bored. Because then they will have to play. Just like us when we were kids, and we whined if we were bored. The only advice we received and that children should receive today is: go and play.
Winter break is coming, which is an extremely challenging period for parents. Children spend most of the day at home; on the other hand, we have screens everywhere and sometimes it’s impossible to hold your ground when your kids insist that you let them watch the TV or use the phone for hours. What to do in those situations?
Dr. Ranko Rajović, Serbian physician and neurophysiologist, with a PhD in sports medicine, says that the answer lies in our creativity, which parents need to awaken in their children.
- The research we did in schools in Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Italy showed that already in the lower grades most children have phones, as many as 80 percent of them, and in the fourth grade that percentage goes up to 100 percent. Compared to five years ago when we did the same study, the hike is dramatic, says Dr. Rajović and adds that there is no big difference between Serbia and some developed countries.
Children, explains Rajović, are used to and seem to have a conditional reflex to reach for the phone when they are bored.
- Therefore, here is the first advice for parents: let them get bored. Because then they will have to play. Just like us when we were kids, and we whined if we were bored. The only advice we received and that children should receive today is: go and play. Another important tip is not to buy your child a toy every weekend. Let them reminisce about themselves. When did they last get a present? A small holiday–a small gift, a big holiday–a bigger gift. And that is that. And today? Literally every weekend, parents buy a toy to their child, says Rajović.
He reminds parents of the period when they were children and that the joy of receiving a toy was much greater, even though the toy itself was of far less value than the ones we buy to our children today.
- The girls, for example, collected paper napkins. Well, each napkin had its own story and at least 10 characteristics–color, shape, number of layers, the country of origin, city, hotel… When my dad went on a trip, he had to bring several napkins so that his daughter could swap with her friends. She welcomed it with delight, because sometimes he would bring a really good one, for which she would get two or three others that she didn’t have. And the boys, they had marbles or those small cars–recalls Rajović and adds:
And indeed, when we think of boys and their happiness over special, “strong” marbles, it can hardly be compared with the joy that children show today when they receive a toy. In the past, it used to be of critical importance whether the marble was plastic or glass, a porcelain or a naphthalene one. And so boys swapped them, conquered each other and kept them as their greatest treasure. They didn’t get them every day, so their value to the children was priceless.
- Parenting is a serious business these days. We can’t say we don’t have time. How can we say that we gave birth to two, three, four children and now we don’t have time for them? We must have time. Especially in those first 10 years, if we are present in their life, then we can be calm afterwards. The other day I heard that a teacher gave As to all the students, to show all the nonsense of the system. Because we constantly say that each generation of children is getting weaker and weaker, and the grades are getting better. How is it possible? We made a mistake somewhere. We have to prepare children for life. And how do we do that? By letting them play, jump, develop deep attention, play board games. That’s exactly the job of parents, concludes Rajović.
The message to parents is to set aside two days a week, in the evening, for social games. It is important to teach children to play chess. Why? The child has poor attention in school today, he cannot study. It’s a widespread problem, and the cause is technology. And backgammon, backgammon and chess are games for developing deep attention.