Friday, February 7, 2014
How To Get Kids Off Electronics
Isn't that an important topic for parenting this generation?
I recently talked about how to parent through apps and social media. In that post, we covered how technology and electronics are going to be a huge part of our kids' lives.
They live in a time when being on an electronic device is a normal part of everyday life.
In fact, to not know how to navigate these devices will hinder them not help them.
But with that knowledge, parents must be wiser than serpents and gentle as doves.
Wise with the technology available and gentle with our kids and how we handle their electronic use.
Electronics and technology aren't going away.
But, in embracing electronics in the generations to come, we will see a slow fade of playing outside, knowing how to interact in person with other kids, writing words on actual paper, and many other things that kids in past generations experienced everyday.
So how do we hang on to some of those rich childhood experiences while helping our kids utilize the technology available to them?
It isn't easy to do.
Technology is everywhere.
Even just letting your child have their iPod at the zoo to take pictures will present a massive temptation to engage in electronic play rather than fully enjoying the nature around them.
What are healthy boundaries?
What are creative ways of getting your kids off electronics?
How can we help our children engage in "real" life instead of technological play?
How can we teach our kids to interact with people rather than electronic games?
1. Set boundaries of time on electronic use. Include ALL electronics. TV, iPod, Wii...
2. Look up rule. Teach your kids to look up when someone speaks to them NO MATTER what they are playing.
3. Open spaces. Only allow electronics in open, family spaces. This will protect your kids from hiding their electronic use or even hiding what they are doing while on those same electronics.
4. Leave devices home. Our iPods stay home on Sundays because they don't go to church. Real Bibles only. Our iPods don't go out to dinner if there are other kids at the table. Leaving them home will force your kids to have free time away from their games, texts, emails and other electronic activities.
5. Family time. Pull out the board games. Go for a walk. Take a bike ride. Visit a park.
6. Set some boundaries for yourself too. Put your phone, your iPad, your laptop away and engage in fun with your kids.
7. Talk. Do your kids know WHY they shouldn't be on devices all the time? Talk about health, fitness, brain power, over stimulation, headaches... all the reasons you are concerned. Help them understand how to make good decisions for themselves.
8. Others first. From homework to friendships to respecting grandparents... putting things before electronic use reminds them that electronics are a privilege not a need.
Sometimes it seems like an uphill battle but it is a battle worth fighting and a cause worth supporting.
Electronics won't go away but we can guard our kids from the many pitfalls involved in technology. We can help them know the benefits, navigate their time on electronics wisely and be an advocate for quality family time.
We can play a part in teaching healthy electronics use in a day where electronics are necessary in every day life.
What kinds of things are you doing in your family to get your kids off electronics?
Fun on the journey,