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The Great Disconnect : Dialogue Session discusses raising happy, creative, caring kids in the Age of Screens

In conjunction with their 40th Anniversary, Gymboree Play and Music , a global leader in classes for kids aged 0-5 years hosted a dialogue session to discuss positive and negative aspects of raising children in a technologically advanced generation.

The invited panellists were Ms Michelle Lim Chua, author of “The Mindful Mum”, Dr Chow Su Lin, consultant paediatrician and Co-Founder of the Baby and Beyond Child Specialist Centre and Ms Ooi Kim Koon, Managing Director of Gymboree Play and Music Malaysia. The dialogue session was held at the Gymboree Play and Music Bangsar Village outlet.

The dialogue session explored many aspects of raising children by moderating the usage of technology in their daily lives. Parents of young children have started using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to calm or distract their toddlers with a cartoon and thus giving them a break. Although it is easy to discipline or distract a child using technology, there is a risk of over exposing the child to the device. This could lead to dependence of the device resulting in a situation where the child can lose interest in other activities and show signs of anxiety, distress and behavioural problems.

The American Academy of Paediatrics’ (AAP) recommends that children aged between two and five years should not be exposed to screens for more than an hour daily because their brain will rapidly develop during these first few years, children should learn by interacting with real people to develop social skills. However, the AAP has advised in their guidelines that it is important consider the quality of the content instead of setting a time limit.

“0-5 years old is the time when your parenting efforts are most impactful in building your children's brain architecture as their social, emotional and cognitive development is exponential in this period. Invest in your relationship with them now and it will serve as a strong foundation for the rest of your lives. It is also the time when they are the most, incorrigible, interesting and magical creatures.” said Dr Chow Su Lin, consultant paediatrician and CoFounder of the Baby and Beyond Child Specialist Centre.

“Before we can even begin a conversation about raising children in the digital age, I think that we as parents, first need to look at our own relationship with technology and social media, and ask ourselves if we are modelling the kind of healthy, balanced behaviour we hope to see in our future generations." said Ms Michelle Lim-Chua, author of “The Mindful Mum” who shared her experience on creating guidelines for herself and her family when it comes to technology with the aim of being more present and more involved with her kids .

Gymboree Play & Music has become the global leader in early childhood development with more than 700 centres in 40 countries around the world. Its curriculum is developed by child experts to help parents understand and witness first-hand the vital impact play, music and art have on the development on the whole child. Classes are designed to be age-appropriate from  new-born to five with 6 monthly increment to meet children’s unique abilities and milestones. Gymboree Play & Music remains the place where parents can have authentic play experiences with their child and make remarkable connections for themselves too. Parents are also able to find:
 Music classes to enhance development through song, dance, movement instruments
 Art classes to inspire imagination and self-expression
 A variety of physical, social, pretend, problem solving and constructive types of play
 Cutting-edge equipment that incorporates research and learning aesthetics from different educational and cultural background to deliver a universal and timeless play experience

Gymboree Play and Music is celebrating their 40th anniversary worldwide from Nov 12th for 40 days. In Malaysia, Gymboree Play and Music will be celebrating in true Gymboree style for families with young children. Here’s just some of what is in store:
1. Free PlayGym for all kids below 6 years old from 12.30pm -2pm and 5pm to 6.30pm from 12 November 2016 to 21 December 2016 (except Mondays and when there is a private function)
2. Goodie Bags worth RM 400 and exclusive packages for all types of enrolment,
3. Mommy Meet Up Socials* where mums can chill and socialize with other mums
4. Mommy Meet up Panel*, a panel discussion for and with mums.
5. Meet and Take a Selfie with Gymbo*, your kids can meet our friendly mascot and get a picture with him.

“We are proud to celebrate our 40th year, a milestone for us. We are celebrating 40 years of fun and playful parenting in line with our founder, Joan Barnes’ vision of having an environment where children are free to move, play and explore safely as well as a place where parents can bond with their child. We aim to deliver a high quality standard that parents expect for their children and would like to expand Gymboree’s presence in Malaysia to greater heights.” said Ms Ooi Kim Koon, Managing Director of Gymboree Play and Music Malaysia.

These offers are available at selected Gymboree Play and Music outlets throughout Malaysia. Parents and kids can visit these outlets during their opening hours to enjoy these special offers. Terms and Conditions may apply