Technology is such an integral part of everyday life that it may seem impossible to escape. Despite its many purposes and benefits, you may find your children spending too much time with electronic devices and not enough time with other activities or each other. You can reduce the use of gadgets by following these three tips.
The first step is to devise a plan on tech usage in your home. You can use the tools from the American Academy of Pediatrics to find the appropriate quantity of screen time for your children. The goal is that media should not take away time your kids need to spend on sleep, play, exercise, extracurricular activities, meals, unplugged downtime, and family interaction. Once those needs are met, the leftover time can go toward using electronic devices. Part of the plan is also setting up hours and places where technology is not allowed. For example, make a rule of no gadgets at the dinner table or in the bedrooms overnight.
When your children do engage in media, know what they are doing. Be familiar with the sites, games, and apps they use. Teach them how to be safe and to make smart choices. The best way to do this is to be involved in your children’s screen time. Play games with them and watch videos with them to encourage communication and connection.
Avoid using electronic devices as babysitters or emotional pacifiers. Children need to learn how to entertain themselves without technology and manage difficult emotions in a healthy way. Handing your child a gadget may be a quick fix, but it can set up dependency and compulsive use down the road. Although teaching emotional management takes more effort now, it will lead to easier parenting in the long term.
Children often watch what parents do more than they listen to what parents say. You can set the tone for your home by regulating your own media use. The more your kids see you put down your device and participate in something else, particularly face-to-face interaction with them and others, the more likely they are to follow suit. Examine how much time you spend with a screen and adjust accordingly. Consider practicing an old hobby or taking up a new one, especially one you can do as a family.
A beneficial alternative to screen time is educational programs. Enrolling your children in a program at Best in Class Education Center will help them develop both academic intelligence and life skills. Check out our programs to find the right fit for your kids.