Part of this update should have been posted months ago, but now that we are about halfway through summer, many parents have probably heard the refrain, “I’m bored,” from their kids.

Back in May, the community school hosted a watch party titled, “A Conversation for Families About Digital Wellness and Mental Health” with FamilySmart, an organization that has been helping families for more than 20 years in BC. It serves parents and caregivers of children, youth or young adults aged 0-24+ with a mental health and/or substance use challenge, and offers parent peer support in 32 communities across BC and Alberta with provincial wide support in areas that don’t have a dedicated peer support worker.

The purpose of the watch party was to foster awareness and discussion about screen time and how much is too much for children.

Photo of Carolyn McCarthy introducing FamilySmart
Carolyn McCarthy helped guide discussion on screen time for kids and their digital well-being.

Participants watched a 35-minute video on the topic, followed by some guided discussion. Readers will be happy to know that there is no scientific consensus on how much screen time is too much. Instead, what parents and guardians should be mindful of is when the use of digital devices starts interfering with other life functions such as eating, sleeping, exercising, and interacting with friends and family. That’s when you know it’s time to set some boundaries.

Watch the video to learn more about the concerns and challenges surrounding the use of digital devices and strategies for regulating the screen time of your child. It’s 35 minutes well spent.

All of the participants admitted their children are probably online more than they should be, but a key takeaway from the video and discussion is that when you hear, “I’m bored,” you should take that as a win. As a parent of guardian, it’s not our role to keep kids constantly occupied. Once you’ve established boundaries with using digital devices, it’s OK for kids to be bored as this will help them reconnect with the real world and make them start thinking creatively about what interests them.

In other news, if you’ve been by the school, you may have noticed that the outdoor learning area had a new concrete pad poured! The daycare at the school is already putting it to good to use. You can actually hang out and relax in this space without getting dirty.

The new concrete pad in the outdoor learning area is a huge improvement!

The new concrete pad is part of a plan by the community school to do some maintenance and make some improvements to our garden spaces to turn them into useful places. The community school was awarded funding in May but we’re not allowed to officially announce anything until we’ve been given the green light to do so. (What a weird rule.)

Be on the lookout for more construction and activity in the garden over the course of the upcoming year!