Letters to the Editor

Unplug; connect with your own kids

These days, whether at a restaurant, park, school or church, it’s impossible not to see parents or their children buried in a smartphone or tablet. Rapidly evolving technology and the demands of everyday life have forced us to rely more on digital devices for everything from work to leisure.

However, this increased dependence on digital devices is taking precious time away from important family activities. It’s also causing our children to miss out on one-on-one human interaction so critical to their development.

Recently, France attempted to address the issue by passing a labor law that gives employees the right to disconnect from email or electronic leashes once their work day has ended. This was done to ensure more balance between work, personal and family life.

The Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, a local nonprofit committed to helping young children reach their full potential, is calling on parents to make a pledge to unplug from their mobile devices and connect with their children every day.

Eighty-five percent of a child’s critical brain development occurs by age 5. Because of this, it’s important for a child to not only have access to quality early education, but also engage with their parents and family outside of school hours.

Putting down your mobile device and spending quality time talking, reading and/or singing with your child helps them grow emotionally, intellectually and socially.

As we kick off 2017, my top resolution is to put down my phone and spend more quality time with my children. I invite other parents in our community to take the Early Learning Coalition’s pledge to Unplug and Connect at www.unplug.elcmdm.org. Sharing quality time together will go a long way to helping your child achieve lifelong personal and educational success.

Adrian Alfonso, board chair, Early Learning Coalition of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Coral Gables