A bit more…week one in New Zealand

So yesterday’s post was a bit of a ramble of thoughts and I thought today I might try to sit down and put keyboard to screen about what it’s been like for our first week in a new country. First off, it was a very sudden and emotional goodbye to friends and family, especially for me and the girls, as we originally planned to only follow a couple of weeks after Edgar left.

 

But miracles still happen and we were blessed enough to travel together as a family instead of him first and us later. And after travelling for 28h30 hours with the four kids in tow, I am ever more grateful that we were able to do it this way. Edgar was more than capable to handle the older three girls requests and excitement while I could focus on settling Talia and taking care of her needs. The older three stayed up most of the night on the plane, we only boarded at 22h20, watching movies and playing games. We thought it might be a good idea to just let them do that as we were flying to a country 10hrs ahead of us and in retrospect I think this is probably what saved them from suffering from too much jet lag in the end.

Talia slept in the on board bassinet for a while, but after some turbulence I had to take her out and she stayed sleeping on my lap for most of the rest of the night. By the time we landed in Dubai the next morning I was exhausted, but the girls seemed in good spirits and not too tired. Luckily it was only a 2 hr stop over in Dubai, just enough time to disembark, have a loo break and find our next boarding gate. It all seems a bit fuzzy still to be honest…

From Dubai we traveled another 16 or 18 hours to Melbourne. Talia was getting slightly restless by now, having been sitting on my lap for most of the time and we thought it a good idea to put her on the floor by our feet to move around a bit. She was rather happy with this, until one of the air hostesses informed us that this was not allowed. We were both baffled. For some reason they deem it safer to put her in a bassinet that attached to the wall of the plane, no seatbelt, just a velcro fastener for when they’re sleeping, rather than sitting on the floor. She offered the bassinet for her to sit in, but we declined and my champion husband did a couple of laps walking around with her on the plane. She had a couple of hours sleep again and wasn’t too fussy or noisy during the night. The other three were behaving like well seasoned travellers, watching movies, playing games and sleeping on and off, no complaints. We had to disembark again in Melbourne and this time we were all a bit knackered. I tried to catch a couple of Zz’s before we boarded but didn’t quite get enough rest. Once on the plane to Auckland our whole family just passed out for the most part. I managed to have two breakfasts in between landing in Melbourne and landing in Auckland though, but was starving again by the time we landed in New Zealand by about 2pm. We were welcomed by friendly Kiwi’s all round and didn’t have any hassles getting our luggage. As we had so many carry on bags we waited for the rest of the passengers to exit before we disembarked and ended up having to wait for the crew bus to take us to the terminal – the captain of the flight even helped carry our hand luggage to the bus for us. And because we were on the crew bus we ended up getting to the baggage claim before the rest of the passengers from our flight anyway.

After getting our luggage we got everything balanced on two trolleys, Kayla managed to push the pram with Talia while me and Edgar handled the trolleys. As we exited the terminal an old friend from South Africa welcomed us with a warm smile. And then a Newspaper journalist and cameraman welcomed us with a barrage of questions about our feelings on the opposition party’s leaders’ new policies regarding immigrants! I must have seemed like a fish out of water, gasping for air and trying to find a way out, but they were persistent, probably having had hung around the airport all day waiting for a family of immigrants to pass through the gates. I asked them what gave it away – the amount of baggage or the dark circles under my eyes from travelling for 28+ hours. She smiled and carried on asking about my feelings about the proposed new laws – something I knew nothing about. Eventually Edgar came to the rescue with a more articulate response and the cameraman set up a shot and photographed the whole family. Two days later we were on the front page and inside the local Sunday newspaper.

I got sudden enquiries from friends around New Zealand, and even family in South Africa, asking if we were okay, were we deported, why are we in the Newspaper??? It doesn’t really seem that with the change we’d really be affected as we’ve got our visa’s for at least 5 years and after that we will see what the future holds. You can read the article here. I think they were hoping for more of a dramatic response, but we were way too tired to care…as you can tell by the lovely picture of me after 28 hours of travelling, no hairbrush or toothbrush passed my head or face in the past 18 before this picture was taken… We were then whisked onto a transfer bus, operated by another South African. The kids fell fast asleep on the way to the accomodation while the driver gave me full details on where to shop, where to stay, which schools to look at and general historical info about places and things we passed. My tired brain did not absorb much though….I do know to shop at Countdown and Pak ‘n Save though…

The first night here the kids all went to bed around 9pm and slept for 12 hours straight. Myself and Talia struggled to go to bed, and even Edgar struggled a bit. The first day after our arrival was relaxed at the AirBnb, with a short stroll to the nearest beach and then on the Sunday we faced the public transport system and caught a bus and a ferry to visit another friend in Devonport.

 

Once again the kindness of people just amazed. People we haven’t seen in over 8 years opened us with welcome arms into their home (after asking us kindly to take off our shoes – no one cleaning up after you here, so leave the dirt outside!) We sat chatting for a couple of hours and got given take aways as we didn’t manage to get to a shop to buy food for the evening or next day. With a packet of pasta and sauce and dessert under arm we got driven back to the ferry. Big hugs and smiles made us feel welcome and eased us into the new country. I will forever be grateful that our first couple of days were filled with familiarity and a general sense of welcoming.

Two or three days later my brain was fried. My memory was wiped clean and I suddenly couldn’t remember names of the suburbs we were looking at moving in to, names of series that I have been watching. Even my childrens’ names sounded unfamiliar in my ears. I messaged my husband the same message about three times and couldn’t make sense of some of the messages I sent him. Jet lag truly kicked in to full gear and I thought I had finally gone insane. Edgar told me to take a rest day, relax my brain and the next day I was almost back to fully functioning again.  I take my hat off to Edgar for putting his big boy pants on and going to work by the Monday, only three days after we landed. He’s been amazing in figuring out the transport system and catching the buses to and from work everyday. It’s been an absolute joy to have him home for dinner every night. Me and the kids have been settling in very slowly, having more of a mini holiday rather than starting our new life. Until we find a home we will be relaxed on the home front as we can’t enroll them in school until we know what area we live in.

Talia is struggling the most with the new time zone. Getting her back into a bed time routine has been the biggest challenge this week, with her being wide awake after 8pm and normally only going to sleep after 9pm. Myself and Edgar has been ready to pass out after 9pm most nights now, so I think we are now on Kiwi time. This weekend we will be looking at a couple of houses, hopefully finding one to call home. We do have accommodation booked until the 25th of June, but we would really like to settle in to our own place sooner rather than later. Schools close for holidays around 7 July, so if we can get ourselves settled before then and enroll the kids in school by then it would make things a bit more smooth sailing. Today is a week since we landed. Me and the girls took a 20 minute stroll to the beach yesterday, spent about 2 or so hours there, relaxing and taking it all in. It still feels like we’re just on holiday. A friend from school has lend us a car for the day. Such a blessing. We will be meeting up with them tomorrow and they’ve offered us a bed for the night as we move between booked accomodation. The kindness of people still surprise me and amaze me. We went for a drive today to get to another beach, had a bit of a walk around and then got caught in the rain trying to get back to the car. It was exhilirating and fun. And slightly damp and cold. After work we went for another drive to get some food and the freedom you suddenly feel with having your own transport is rather amazing and liberating. I think we’ll be purchasing a car soon. Having to get out of your car to put your own fuel in was also a new experience, and I had to smile as I thought if Edgar wasn’t with me I probably would have forgotten that I had to do it myself and would have sat in the car like some idiot waiting for a non existant petrol attendant. We have been a bit amazed at the price of things, but been told to stop converting to rands as it would drive us crazy. Earn dollars, spend dollars, think dollars.

As we close out week one of our journey I am grateful. Grateful for old friends, willing to pick us up, feed us, put us up and borrow us cars. Grateful for work. People willing to let Edgar settle in and allow him the time off to open bank accounts and get on with doing what needs to be done to start a new life. I pray for the perfect property in the perfect neighborhood to come along. The company Edgar is working for has kindly given us a housing budget for the first month as well as reimbursed us for money spent to get here, so we have a bit of play room with finances – but we do still have to refurnish a whole house. Luckily there are plenty of Salvation Army style stores here as well as Trade Me to assist in doing that affordably. I would like to say that it hasn’t been as stressful as I imagined it to be, and I truly believe that thus far it hasn’t – except for the temporary memory loss, it really has been uneventful and relatively ‘easy’. I imagine once we’ve settled into normal life the homesickness will catch up and we will truly start missing people, but right now, we are just so focused on doing what needs to be done to have a good life. Adventure awaits!!

 

We’re here!!

We have landed in New Zealand! Okay, we’ve been here for almost a week already and it’s been rather chilled in a way – besides trying to find a home and Edgar starting his new job already, me and the girls have been having kind of a mini holiday. The fact is that we can’t enroll the kids in school until we find a house and finding a house takes a bit of time as we have to schedule viewings and since Edgar is working and I’m without a car we’re kind of limited to when we can view houses. The result is that thus far we haven’t really experienced too much of a culture shock or ordinary life in New Zealand yet – but it will come. We have been blessed with Edgar’s work covering our accommodation costs for the first couple of weeks, so we’ve been living in a very cute and comfortable AirBnB. I made contact with a school friend of mine who lives in Auckland as well, and he has very kindly offered us place to stay and a car to borrow until we find our own, if needed. At this stage my biggest task is to find a home…there are not many furnished places available so once we do find a home the next task will be to furnish with the necessities. And this is where it’s going to get interesting I think. I had a bit of a chat with the girls, asking them what they think is priority to get first, and I was pleasantly surprised by their answers actually. The 7yo immediately said beds or mattresses need to happen first! The 5yo said a fridge and blankets! And the 9yo agreed that we need beds and probably some cutlery and crockery. Second in line for them was couches and yes, of course not too far behind all that was a TV….which I told them we’d probably have to hold off on for a bit longer – maybe after some curtains and bedding. I have heard that there are plenty of Salvation Army stores around New Zealand where household things can be picked up at reasonable prices, so once we find a home we’d go hunting for these stores! Thus far the biggest challenge has been for Edgar to open a bank account. We were told that he should be able to open one online, but this hasn’t been the case. It took him two or three days to get it done, but he has one now, finally! His work has been good so far, they have given him time to get on his feet and today he has been doing some orientation, so nothing too hectic yet. My prayer is that we find the perfect spot for our “little” family, within the perfect area of a great school for my littles…they are rather excited about finding a school…and honestly I think that is going to be the most challenging exercise in this whole experience. And so, once we find a home, and a school, more updates will follow…For now, keep us in your prayers for the perfect home!!

That fine line…

Scrolling through FB can be fascinating, frustrating, infuriating and sometimes just downright depressing. Never before have we been so exposed and flooded with world news, fake news and biased opinions. It’s a platform for everyone to voice their opinions and thought, no matter how dumb or inspired. I read posts that make me smile and I hit the ‘like’ button…I read a post that makes my blood boil, type out a response and delete it…why waste time on negativity right? Some people will just believe what they believe without ever putting themselves in others positions. We advocate and fight for equality of races and genders at the same time we’re breaking each other down. Breastfeeding mothers get broken down for feeding in public whilst celebrities flaunt nipples everywhere and gets admired for being comfortable in their own bodies. People with questionable morals throw judgement towards people standing up for their beliefs and basic human rights. Minority groups shout “hate” everytime someone don’t agree with their choices or lifestyles, all the while spewing hate themselves towards the ones they don’t agree with. Hipocrisy is rife but we all fail to see it in our own lives. Basic respect for humanity is lower than low. Millions suffer daily because the governments meant to look after them are lining their own pockets. Propaganda fuelling hate and discord bombard us daily. Pop culture is filled with feuds and still using sex to sell. Only now it’s even more degrading, even more shocking, even more gross. Narcism is rife with celebrities focusing all their attention on themselves. Be famous for famous sake, not for having any talent. Social media is a two edged sword. Our constant longing for acceptance and connection gets somehow satisfied whilst also being torn further from reality. There’s subtext to people’s news feeds and if you pay close enough attention you can see who’s cheating, who’s thinking of someone they shouldn’t,  who’s happy, who’s just looking for the next person to break down. Never before have we been so exposed to other people’s opinions, feelings, talents or judgements. We are on a constant keyboard battlefield. We are computer cowboys, shooting down letters and words and sentences towards targets we don’t really see. There’s no getting away from it, short of cutting yourself of social media and then how would you know what’s going on in all your friends lives….right?! Pick up a phone, get in a car, see a person face to face. We see our friends and family’s lives and achievements on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, but hardly  face to face. We all complain live is so busy, but we spend hours upon hours on our devices, stalking people we hardly know, reading timeline feeds and fake news. I see you. We voice our opinions in the hope to get likes, to get laughs, to get a conversation started. We communicate with people on the other side of the world. We see places that we’ll never be, we hears stories that we’ll never live. We aspire to live the best of every Facebook timeline. We learn about tragedies in other people’s lives. We conect with people we haven’t seen or heard of in a lifetime. We keep updated with big events in friends’ and family’s lives. I love to hate social media, like we all do. It drains us, it informs us, it inspire us, it distracts us, it shows us new places and introduce us to new people. It shrinks the world. Keep it balanced. And every now and then – just take a break!!

Adventure awaits…

It is now official. We are going on a cross ocean adventure! My BH got his 5 year work visa for New Zealand approved and now the reality of moving to another country is slowly setting in. The logistics involved is rather intimidating, and one of the reasons for this post. For anyone considering moving to a new country – don’t let the fear intimidate you. There are so much information available regarding what you need and what you need to do, you just need to spend some time reading and researching – which is recommended if you’re going to immerse yourself in another culture. There are licensed consultants who can steer this whole process for you and would be able to tell you exactly which visas to apply for and tell you exactly which documents you need when applying and they will charge you a ridiculous amount of money to do so. The least expensive price we could find was R13 000.00 excl. any visa costs.

No-one else is allowed to advise you on what visa to apply for, how to fill in the forms or what documentation you need. But if you spend the time reading and researching you will easily find all you need to know on Immigration New Zealand’s website .

Our experience has been amazing and from getting our kids Unabridged Birth Certificates, to getting our own Visa’s approved has really been a smooth process. The hiccups have been minimal and rather speedy once we actually started it. The main piece of advise I can give is not even got to do with visa’s. If at all possible try to find a job before you go. I do believe that is the biggest reason our journey has been so smooth. We started talking to a NZ company about a possible position for my husband almost a year ago and now we will all be going over within the next month. As soon as my husband had a formal job offer it was easy to start the visa process. We could figure out exactly which visa he needed and once his was approved it was easy enough to file for myself and the kids. As his position is quite high and skilled he applied for an Essential Skills Work Visa. I applied for an open-work visa, or Partner of a work visa holder visa, the three eldest kids applied for Student visa’s and the baby for a visitors visa.

All our visa’s are for 60 months and are approved on the strength of my husband’s job offer. His salary meets the necessary amount needed to be a sponsor for all 5 of us and because I’ve got an open-work visa I can work in any industry and for any employer. Which is also a bit funny as my husbands visa is quite specific that he can only work for the company that gave him the job offer. If he wants to change companies he’d need another visa – but the aim is to decide after 3 years if we would want to apply for residency class visa’s.

I could write a long post about what you need to do and how to go about ensuring your visa gets approved, but honestly all the information you need on what to do and where to go is on the website. It even has checklists for every single visa as well as a guide on how to fill it out. It tells you exactly what you need to do and there’s a help line you can phone if needed. I’m not sure I understand why there are Immigration Agencies. They seem to be selling a service that gets used often and I think that it might be that people just don’t have the time to go through the processes. Either way, if you do have the extra cash to pay an agency to walk you through it, by all means, use it, but we had to do it frugally.

A brief outline of what we did: Husband negotiated with a company in NZ about job/position/salary. That took the longest. Once he had a formal job offer things started happening faster. The whole family had to go for a medical and adults for chest X-rays. We also had to do urine tests and there was a bit of a glitch with my sample – a couple of times. For some reason blood kept showing up and after about 4 separate tests we eventually did a microscopic test and it came back negative for blood. Then my husbands’ medical had to be referred to a NZ health professional as he is on chronic medication, so they had to make sure it’s nothing serious. We expected a much longer delay because of this, but it was only a couple of days. After we received approval for his visa, me and the kids could apply for ours and did so a week later. As our three eldest are school going age we applied for Student Visas as this means they can go to school as Domestic students and benefit from no school fees and free health care. Our youngest are too young for school and thus only needed a visitors visa. Because we are using my husband as our sponsor, all our visas had to have certified copy of his approved visa attached as well as a sponsorship form. We got our visas approved within less than 2 days. Amazing. Now our biggest challenge is selling all our furniture and buying our tickets out of here. At this stage my husband will fly over first and find a suitable home for us so that when we join him two weeks later we can move in. We still have to arrange and pay for a small container to ship our necessities. And we still have to find a house that side that’s close enough to his office for him not to have to buy a car straight away. We have to get immunization records for all the kids sorted as they need it for school on that side…I’ve got three of the four…my eldest’s card got misplaced in one of the seven moves we’ve done in the past eight years. We are waiting for my husband and my unabridged birth certificates – just in case we need it on that side if we want to do residency visas. We need to fill out and get affidavits signed to allow me to travel with all four kids by myself out of South Africa. It all seems overwhelming when you start…but if you just do each thing step by step, before you know it you are in the final stages and the reality of the adventure before you sets in.

My advise to anyone thinking about immigrating: Read, research and trust that you’ve got this! Don’t rush it. We started this process a year ago and we often got a bit despondent because things weren’t happening fast enough for our liking…but honestly – a year is a good amount of time to really go through the process and make that commitment. We’re not there yet…but we are almost there. The biggest thing about moving to another country is well, you just won’t know if it’s going to be the way you imagine it to be. Is it worse than you imagined – or is it better? We know it’s going to be different and our reasons for doing it is I guess another huge thing to consider when moving to another country. A lot of people move to other countries because of work, or family, or safety, or to explore and learn…Or for all those reasons. And once our feet touch ground that side life is going to be upside down – and that’s a good thing!

Time for an adventure…

Reality is setting in slowly, and time is speeding up towards a goal…Big life changing events…I always find myself counting down the years/months/weeks/days…and having had four kids, well, let’s say I’m getting quite good at counting down the seconds until the next life changing event/adventure. This one though…it’s daunting. More daunting than having four kids. Maybe because the reality of the responsibility of said event is felt a bit wider than our inner circle. But me being the introvert that I am, can’t really comprehend how this event would really affect those outside of this little circle of ours. I would certainly hope it affects people, but I’m convinced that that’s got more to do with my amazing husband and spectacular children. Me…well, let’s just say I believe it would affect more people if I stayed…like my husband and kids would be affected if I stayed…and if I went. Not so sure about anyone else really. My day to day interactions with people are limited to my children most of the time…and my husband. I’m not saying I don’t have friends that I truly love and miss and would love to sit and have a cuppa or vino with…but not to the extend that it would be life changing…The friends I do have – well, let’s just say that we can go years without seeing each other and when we do it’s like we just saw each other yesterday. Real friends. The ones you know you’ll always love and talk to and hang out with, no matter how old you get, how long it goes without seeing or talking to. The ones you are truly you with and they know you. There’s no pretense or unfamiliarity. There’s just truth and love. Those are the friends I do have and know that they’re not really affected by this – well, not to the extend that it’s life changing for them…So no. That’s not why it’s daunting.

So maybe it’s the finality of it? But it’s not a finality really…I mean, it’s a 5 year plan right now…which is yes longer than we’ve ever planned ahead. Ok, besides marriage and having kids, I mean that’s a lifelong plan…but I mean a plan for our and our childrens’ future. Besides having them, it’s tough raising kids. They keep changing. I suppose some people call it growing. It’s just fascinating to watch these little beings become more or less like yourself and your better half. My second eldest is a prime example of that. I realised that I got her figured out a bit later than my husband had her figured out…but you see he understood her previous “stage” or “phase” because he saw a lot of himself in her. And now as she’s entering a new “phase” of her growth I see more of myself in her than before. And she’s got me figured out! Which is amazing to me, because she’s known me for only 7 years…some people have known me for a lot longer and still don’t get me! 🙂 She has finally figured out where the line is, which buttons does what and for about 90% of the time she puts that knowledge to good use in dealing with me. But that’s not the topic…the finality…no. It’s not a final plan…it’s a 5 year plan, to explore a new way of thinking, a new way of living. Living and raising our family together. In one house for the most part. As a unit. And after 5 years. Well, then we’ll make the next plan, for the next 5 or 10 years…who knows. We might start planning ahead. Or we might not. I mean, I can’t tell the future. I can just live each day/week/month/year as it happens and trust that we are moving in the right direction. That we are doing the best, ABSOLUTE best for our kids, in a way that works for all of us in our little family.

And this brings me to the daunting bit I think. The right direction. What is the right direction? I guess that all really depends on your morals, your beliefs, your faith, your ‘north’. It’s dangerous these days to talk about our beliefs and faith without feeling that we might be judged for it. Everyone has rights! And we will judge you for using those rights! People shout hate-crime or hate-speech every time someone voices their beliefs to someone that doesn’t share those beliefs. So, suffice it to say that there are always differing beliefs within groups of people, but throughout this process my belief in God and His calling and His hand upon our decisions and within our lives have just been confirmed each step of the way.

And as I sit here typing this, an e-mail comes in, confirming that my and the kids visas have all been approved. Unbelievable. I’ve lost count of the amount of little miracles we’ve experienced in this process. We only applied for our visas the day before yesterday. It normally takes up to 25 days to process. And we heard back in ONE day! So all these little miracles just adds up to solidify that we are moving in the right direction. Which is daunting – but mostly so exciting!!!! So yes. Adventure awaits. In a new country, with a different way of being and doing. And we are saddened by the thoughts of leaving friends and family behind, but we are excited to live this life as a family unit. After 9 years of parenting, 12 years of marriage, countless moves back and forth from city to city within South Africa, we have finally found a place where we can focus on our family, whilst still pursuing our passions for our chosen careers.

 

 

Minecraft – a SAHM’s view

I’ve read and heard various opinions about the video game, Minecraft, and it’s varied from good to bad to downright horrendous. There’s been instances of sexual abuse within the gaming platform as well as a report of a kid going into a comatose state from playing Minecraft. It’s scary stuff. The comatose kid had to go for therapy to get him off his addiction to this game, and the sexually abused kid had to also receive some kind of treatment as the gaming reality seemed so real and she physically felt abused. Some truly horrible stuff yes, and as a mother of four daughters it scares me to even contemplate either one of those possibilities. But can I voice my opinion…my humble no doctorate or phd or fancy degree, just staying at home 24/7 with my kids opinion? Because boy I really hate having to listen to everyone else bashing something that I truly find useful and helpful. Firstly, my kids are 5, soon to be 7 and 9, and the youngest too young to care. They NEVER play any online games, so the risk for sexual predators on these gaming platforms are null. And they NEVER play alone. They are not allowed to play games by themselves, because yes, inherently video games are anti-social. So, if they want to play, one of their sisters must want to play with them. And most of the time they’re only allowed to play an hour at a time, take a break, switch partners, play for another hour and then go play outside, draw, colour or do something other than stare at a screen. I’ve watched my kids play more often than not as well and if they do play unsupervised it’s while I’m around in the house busy with well, all those fun SAHM stuff we do….(yeah that’s right, we actually have other stuff to do besides entertain our kids) If they argue or fight over anything within the game it gets turned off. If they react negatively after being told it’s time to turn it off, they get banned from playing it for a couple of days. If they nag to play, they don’t get to play at all. They’re mostly, excluding weekends and some holidays, only allowed to play after 3pm. And they have to make turns. It might sound like a lot of co-ordinating, but they’re pretty good at keeping each other in check and balancing their times. We also give them tasks to do within Minecraft. Me and my husband plays as well, as I’m a firm believer that you should know what you’re allowing into your kids lives and minds. We started a “Dream house” world, where everyone had to design and build their dream house. Then we create tasks for them or create ‘treasures’ for them. A task might be something like having to build their dream playpark/restaurant etc within this world. My BH is busy building an underground railway to each house and we tell the kids there’s a secret within the world to go and discover…so we make it interactive and a family activity.

Besides playing Minecraft they also play various Kinect games. We opted for the Xbox 360 with Kinect because of the physicality of the games and I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised at the variety of games available for this. We’re busy trying out a couple of demo’s and there’s dancing games, Star Wars fighting games, Boxing and of course all the athletics and adventure sports games – and it’s fun to watch them play, as well as joining in with them. I walked into the house yesterday after telling them they can try out one of the dance demos and they were just bouncing and laughing and getting a good work out to boot.

So yes. My humble SAHM opinion is that if you’re going to leave your kid to their own devices and not monitor their activity then you’re going to find trouble – or rather they more than likely are. Do I use the gaming console as a babysitter? No – if it was a babysitter I could leave my house. I don’t do that. I think irresponsible parenting is causing more issues than games and screens, but instead of monitoring and being present with children while they are using these devices, it’s easier to point the finger at the games or videos or whatever and say how bad they are for kids. Do we really need to read about the fact that there might be sexual predators in these online games to not allow our very young kids to play online games? Surely it’s naive to think your kid is safe online, in any game…or that letting your kid play games or stare at a screen for more than 20% of their awake time won’t have an influence, especially if you’re giving them free reign on where and what and when they’re playing.

Be more involved with your kids screen time, interact with them, play the same games as them or play the games with them. Don’t let it be something that creates a barrier, use it to create a stronger bond…yes to some people playing video games might seem silly and a waste of time, but if this is the technology our kids are growing up with, then I see it more as an investment of time into my kids than a waste of time.