Why Parents Are Following Eva Mendes’ Screen-Free Summer for Kids

Eva Mendes has opened up about her summer plans for her daughters Esmeralda, 7, and Amada, 6, revealing she’s “bringing boredom back” for the school holidays.

In an interview with Byrdie, the actress, 48, said: ‘I really feel like when we’re bored – not energized by a phone, iPad, computer or TV – that’s where the ideas come in.’ After spending a few months in London, where his longtime partner Ryan Gosling was filming, the Coupling The star said she wants her kids to swap electronics for the outdoors now that the family is home.

“When we were in London we went from musical to musical enjoying being back in the theatre, we went to all kinds of museums, we went to Windsor Castle – I had planned a ton of field trips, which we did,” she continued. “Now I feel like it’s time to bring back the boredom, especially for the kids but also for me.”

While the thought of ditching the “square au pair,” aka TVs or iPads, to keep the kids occupied during the long, hot summer may seem daunting to exhausted parents, Mendes might be onto something.

Sofia Stigka, child psychologist from Dr Sarah Rasmi’s Thrive Wellbeing Center in Dubai, says: “Boredom is the basis of creative thinking, the condition that will trigger a child’s natural curiosity to discover the world around them and help them to channel his unlimited imagination and his need for movement and activity.

“It also helps them develop valuable executive functioning skills, such as problem solving, decision making, prioritization and flexibility. This unstructured game promotes self-regulation and promotes confidence, autonomy and independence. While getting bored, the objects get new features and innovative purposes, giving kids the opportunity to practice their pretend play skills.”

Parents and teachers talked about the benefits of opening the back door and letting their kids have fun outside.  Getty Images

Eleanor McAlister, mother of three, primary school teacher in Ireland, has experienced the benefits of her own ‘summer of boredom’ for her three children, aged 6, 8 and 10. For his family, that means opening the back door and letting his children play in the garden – with as little adult intervention as possible. “As a teacher, I’m very aware that children learn through play,” says McAlister.

“Having this freedom to play without rules is so valuable for building resilience, learning how to manage conflict resolution and building trust. I resist the urge to be prescriptive and let my kids deal with it and let them experiment and have fun on their own. I watched them get incredibly creative in creating their own games, with their own rules, and they started to recognize the value of having rules, without me being the law.

“They learned to settle arguments and quarrels with each other, while their sense of independence and confidence improved significantly.”

In addition to stimulating them mentally, physical play can also improve their well-being. “Hands-on play promotes body-eye-hand coordination, fine motor development, and sensory regulation,” says Stigka, who advocates going back to basics.

“The environment creates and provides different play opportunities. Three-year-olds, for example, have everything they need at the beach: sand, rocks, shells, water and of course their hands .

Conversely, overexposure to electronic devices robs children of what Stigka calls “the building blocks of a set of social skills: meaningful social interactions and communication.”

“Electronic entertainment limits a child’s motivation to use their own mind to come up with ideas for creative games, as they rely on the instructions of electronic games, unable to deviate from them, and only thinking within the confines of the software.Therefore, the social network and creativity are among the areas affected by electronic games, limiting the child’s ability to have fun.

For mother-of-two Chloe Billing, from the UK, the embrace of free play during lockdown has led to the launch of family business Me-shirt Kits, personalized t-shirt painting kits for children. “We started our business during lockdown when I was homeschooling with a new baby and wanted to focus on my five-year-old’s mental health during the pandemic.

“I didn’t think it would be beneficial for any of us if she watched TV all day and I wanted her to get something from her time with me and to have fond memories of lockdown that went on. extended beyond finding new things to watch. television.

“We talked about what she’d like to do that would make things more interesting in the limited world we’d been placed in and agreed on one art project a day which inspired her to learn more. about artists and techniques and experimenting with fabric painting, which led her to come up with the idea for our custom t-shirt painting kits and we started selling them to friends. online and she was able to sell to real customers and provide kits and party bags to friends as well.”

Stigka says, “Children need time for themselves, to daydream, listen to their thoughts, observe their surroundings and respond to the stimuli the world around them has to offer. Downtime without exposure to electronic devices gives kids the opportunity to discover their personal interests, experience the world with a critical eye, and come together with creative ideas.

Updated: July 21, 2022, 04:03

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