Over usage of electronic media in our day-to-day lives has many people questioning the long term and potentially detrimental effects that these items have on our personal development and relationships.
Recently, researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine have raised questions around using a tablet or smartphone to calm or distract a toddler, suggesting that dependency on the devices could impede a child’s ability to self-regulate their emotions.
Additionally, Canadian statistics have shown that the average family clocks in a whopping 30 hours of television a week and a similar amount of time on social media. With such a substantial amount of our time being spent plugged in, it is reasonable to question how much time we are truly dedicating to the wellbeing of our families.
As Family Day approaches, it is both timely and helpful to think of a few things one can do to reconnect with family away from the distracting nature of electronic media. Designating a no-technology time in the household is a great way to start – instead of sitting down to watch television after dinner, consider shutting down all devices and spending time together to discuss the events of the day.
This time is also a great opportunity to reconnect in a healthy, meaningful way through physical activity. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada recommends that children and teens get 60 minutes of exercise a day and adults 30 minutes. Exercise is proven to reduce stress, increase energy and to improve sleep and digestion, so replacing screen time with physical activity can be transformational for a family.
Healthy Roots seeks to encourage traditional modes of wellness, so consider participating in some of the recreational activities that our ancestors might have enjoyed together – take a hike through the wintry woods and reflect on the seasons, observe maple trees that are ready for tapping, engage in a game of lacrosse or arrange for a hunting or ice fishing trip. Be mindful and present in all activities by leaving the distracting elements of life – such as your smartphone – at home or in a locked car.
There are many free ways in the community to get active as a family:
Spend this Valentine’s/Family Day weekend getting heart healthy at the Woodland Cultural Centre’s Annual Snowsnake Tournament as either a competitor or spectator. This event begins on Saturday February 14 at 10:00 am for the School tournament. Men’s Mudcat is on the same day at 1:00pm. Sunday February 15 features the Men’s Longsnake (all classes) at 12:00pm. Warm up inside the museum by viewing the Centre’s current art exhibit, A Colourful Life: Bringing Home The Art Of James Beaver, or take a tour of their permanent collection. Call 519-759-2650 for more information.
Six Nations Health Services, in partnership with Healthy Roots, is offering a free evening of social and powwow dancing, music and a Healthy Roots dinner. Instructions and demonstrations on the dances will be provided. All are welcome at this event on Wednesday February 18 from 5pm to 8pm at the Six Nations Community Hall.
If you’re feeling like a day trip, Six Nations Health Services will also be offering a free Snowshoeing Trip to Crawford Lake on Saturday February 21. Transportation, admission fees, lunch, and equipment are all covered by Six Nations Health Services. A bus will leave the White Pines Wellness Centre at 8:30am and return the same day at 3:30pm. Space is limited, so you must register beforehand by calling (519) 445-4779.
Six Nations Child and Family Services and Primary Prevention Services offers a regular Family Fun Night. This drop-in program is free. Snow tubing is scheduled for Monday, February 23rd at 6-8pm at Social Services. For more information call Primary Prevention Services at 519-445-2950.
Regularly disconnecting from electronic media can help us to restore balance and connection in our homes. Partaking in physical activity with the family not only benefits the body, but the mind, heart and spirit as well.