IMAGINATION AND FREE PLAY IS ESSENTIAL TO CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS
A child without phones, TV’s, video games, etc. to fill up their time, will most likely develop a better thinking brain AND a healthy body: spiritually, physically, and emotionally. There’s only a certain amount of time before this open period comes to a close. Yes, everyone can still increase in learning new things, but the ability to think critically, to problem-solve, to know right from wrong, to be able to effectively talk to a variety of people (boys, girls, adults, younger children) and develop healthy relationships and leadership roles.
Here are the basic stages as given by Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Ed.D., author of Taking Back Childhood.
1) Birth to 2 years: Sensory-Motor Learning
Our youngest children begin learning by listening, and learning about their world with their body and senses. “At two…moving from pure action to symbolic thought - and from thinking they are the center of the world to realizing they are not."
2) A Prelogical View of the World: 3-6 years: Social skills are built during this time, as well as much exploration. It is during these years that we can encourage our children to “see other points of view by building new ideas onto how they already see things.”
3) A Shift Begins: 6-7 years
Children in this age group start thinking more logically and seeing that there’s more that meets the eye in many cases. REASONING. They also notice the impact they can make on others’ feelings - just to get a reaction. “We can use our children’s budding understanding of causality and underlying motives and feelings to help them make new and important connections, especially in the social arena. Doing this will support them as they play, help them consolidate a strong sense of inner security, and encourage them to build more positive relationships with us and with their peers.”
4. The World Opens Up: 8-10 years
Now they’re looking at and taking on the world with great energy. They still have their own views, but are more open to others now. They have deep conversations with us, learn the art of negotiation, etc. It is important that we support them at this stage by LISTENING to them when they want to talk about what matters to them. PRAISE them for accomplishments. INTERACT with them. It is important that kids this age feel confident and secure which will in turn create stronger relationships with family and friends.
So, for most of this time, it is best if both you and your children UNPLUG from too many activities, too much TV, video games, and even the cell phone. These things can (and often do) impact child development negatively. Grandparents: You are not doing your 7-year old grandchild any favors by buying them a cell phone. Yes, they’ll love you for it. But they would love interaction with you even more.