IT was not the first time I called out my daughter, who recently turned 9, for carrying a backpack that was rather heavy. Well, to me at least, given her age and the weight of what she had on her young back. An Android tablet; a small towel to wipe off her sweat from an hour or two working the playroom; a small jug of water; a “vanity kit” with a comb and small bottle of baby powder; and, finally, an extra blouse to change in after sweaty play.
Yes, it would seem I’ve become one of those incredibly annoying parents who want to do
all the physical heavy lifting for their kid, this even when the young one keeps on insisting that, no, Papa, the backpack isn’t heavy. AT ALL. Complete with a slightly annoyed, obviously incredulous look.
I came upon a lovely Cath Kidston backpack during a recent trip to Japan and promptly fell in love with it. It was in a very pale minty green, strewn with classic English rose prints all over it, and the backpack was small enough to not allow too much to be stuffed in it. Regardless of my little girl’s assurances that she never carries a backpack load too heavy for her little-girl frame, I bought the Cath Kidston, which is now what she uses whenever we’re out and about on weekends.
Nonetheless, I still routinely ask her: “Is your bag too heavy?”
Apparently, I can’t unthink and unsee this Facebook post I came across some months ago, about a young girl who had to go through an incredibly delicate spinal operation because her spine had developed a curvature, which her mom—and apparently her doctors—attributed
to her having to carry a loaded backpack to school every day.
To be sure, the post could very well be yet another example of fake news that Facebook
has unfortunately become littered with. That said, it remains true that very young kids going to school these days need to lug around an incredible amount of weight for their young, still not fully formed bodies. There are the books, the workbooks, the notebooks, the packed lunch and so on. When recently I retrieved my little girl’s Grade 4 stuff for this school year, I felt my arm very nearly get ripped off by the weight.
This begs the question: Why are we making young kids carry such weight when they really don’t need to? Why are there these heavy materials still for them to lug around when technology now makes it possible to have these digitized for tablet use, thus considerably reducing the weight young kids have to carry every single school day? Beyond learning the basics of math, language and so on, is there some lesson they take away from having to bear such load at their tender age? My time in primary school is already some ways back that I can’t think of a compelling answer.
In this issue are some tech stuff that should be helpful to the students in your family. Most of the items included in the guide aren’t exactly kidstuff (a powerhouse smartwatch for a kid in primary school would be a bit much, wouldn’t you say?) but consider the Fitbit to monitor how active your prepubescent is, and the HP printer should serve you well when the little one needs to have school materials printed out.
Needless to say, whether your school-age child is in elementary or already doing college, the tools listed are helpful only when they are leveraged for academic learning. However smart the technology, your child spending way too much time on Snapchat or YouTube isn’t going to help in his or her exams. ✚