This piece was originally published in Today on October 5, 2020.
As a professional, how many times during the last 6 months have you wished you could hold that meeting in person, see people’s faces and bodies, and truly read the room? And as a parent, how many times have you needed to jump on a work call (read: screen) and – desperately – put a separate screen in front of your child in order to occupy them?
Of the 13 years I have been developing and delivering social emotional programs, the last 5 have been through a screen. The good news is that a pandemic didn’t force us to completely upend our program’s delivery model. The bad news is that video is the form through which we at Move This World cultivate awareness, expression, connection, and belonging, and now video is providing its share of frustrations. We realized it was time for us to ensure we’re incorporating a variety of modalities to help us all identify, express, and manage our emotions with ease.
As a mother of toddlers, I’ve always had a no-screen policy. That said, the pandemic has forced me to integrate some intentional screen use for my oldest toddler in ways that help provide guided movement or breathing, or to help her practice letter recognition while I need to make a phone call. When I consider what I need most as a parent during this time, it’s opportunities for my child to play, connect, and express herself independently. The content that we develop is created with the hope that students, families and their school communities feel liberated, connected, evolving, groundbreaking, and uplifted. We know that it’s time to bring those qualities to new modalities of engagement and learning. That’s why just last month, we introduced the Move This World Audio Network, which provides screen-free opportunities for learning and play. Interactive audio experiences engage listeners in practices that foster social and emotional wellness.
As we move through these uncertain times and navigate new ways of leading, parenting, teaching, working, managing and learning we must use this moment as an opportunity to reimagine ways of connecting and expressing ourselves. Following are three ways parents and teachers can help children – and themselves – take a much-needed screen break.
Instead of consuming TV shows and movies during downtime that only stack on our already overloaded screen time, listening to a podcast or an audio book allows you to engage with educational content independently by simply listening. With the introduction of our Audio Network, we will offer content in the form of two podcasts that serve two different purposes. For adults, The Saracast: Conversations in Social Emotional Learning invites listeners to a deep-dive into the field of social emotional wellness. Featuring interviews with researchers, scientists, educators, and experts in the field, The Saracast connects the science of social emotional learning with the practice of applying SEL to your daily life. For children, The Emotion Motion Podcast takes listeners on a journey through storytelling designed to engage children and their families in movement and creative expression.
Name your feelings
Instead of using a TV show or video game to calm your children, try having a discussion about their feelings. Help your child express and name how they are feeling in the present moment. They can use words, movement, drawing or sounds. As an adult, knowing how your children are feeling provides helpful information in navigating how you move through your day together.
Instead of translating everything we do online, how can we ensure there are lots of avenues for us to explore, to connect to ourselves and those around us, to play, to learn, to grow? For Move This World that meant the launch of an Audio Network, opening up evidence-based social emotional learning content, making it more accessible, and providing more avenues for kids and adults to engage.
We need to come together as entrepreneurs and educators and get creative about how we bring educational content to kids, educators and families right now- and that will likely look (and sound) different, and that’s an exciting moment to be a part of.