I have written about boredom before however I have noticed a different issue over the last few weeks. It has mostly come to light because of the new craze Pokemon Go! This new app, as many of you are aware, has got many kids out and about as well encouraging the most enthusiastic home bird to venture outside. I downloaded this after being asked by the kids and I said we would open it up when we were next out for a walk.
Last week we were in the park and the kids were struggling to play. When we turned on Pokemon Go! their faces lit up and suddenly the real world was an exciting place to be. I have to say I have struggled to understand the craze (even though I am very technologically literate) since it seems to be a real divorce from experiencing the actual world by putting a screen between you and it. The problem seems to be that the game is perceived, at least my children, to make the real world fun. Even worse, playgrounds requiring imagination are no longer needed as Nintendo will do the thinking for you.
Our summer is, as usual, busy with varying activities and an interesting summer holiday coming up at the end. We have put together a wall chart showing what each day holds and what we can look forward to. It is helpful to us and the kids. What I was not anticipating was the gaps in between events. Holly so far just lies on her bed in the foetal position only asking about what has been planned next. Any activities which involve her entertaining herself are deemed to be too much effort.
My initial response is anger. What a nerve thinking that adults are only there you to entertain you! In reflection though, have we not made this environment, particularly for foster children? I have encountered lots of kids who were given treats and experiences because people felt sorry for their position. I believe that some kids find themselves in extended periods of time like this. Carers often not being aware of the negative effect it can have on the child’s development and personality and the young person entering into a very materialistic and ‘entertain me’ attitude.
As a long term carer I’m having to think through strategies of how Holly can be rationed in her use of tech but also how she can move from a place of expectation in being entertained. We are using 2-3 hours in the day which no provision is given from us as parents in terms of structured activity. I will let you know when we come out of the foetal position and a look of despair despite lots of suggestions about activities!
Have you found yourself in this position? How did you cope? Have you implemented strategies to build relationship and imagination? I would love to hear how you have helped kids move on from this position or whether you really struggle with this.