As parents, we want what is best for our kids. Unfortunately the question of screen time can leave us confused, frustrated and hopeless. Technology is here to stay, and it’s up to us to help our kids navigate the world of tech safely and develop healthy habits. Here are some ways to achieve healthy tech habits.
Be the example
The best way to teach your kids healthy habits is to practice them yourself. Then what your kids see, they will model. And let’s be honest, sometimes we are no better than our kids when it comes to screens! The other major issue with our tech habits is that it may leave our kids fighting for our attention. In one study, they found that nearly half of parents allowed technology to interfere with their interactions with their kids.
No screens at mealtimes or after 6pm. No more than an hour at a time. They need 2 hours of outdoor activity for every hour of screen time. No phones in bedrooms. Whatever boundaries you set, set them as a family and make sure everyone is sticks to them. In this way you not only teach your kids about the dangers of excessive screen time but also show them the importance of working together as a family to keep each other healthy and happy.
Harness the power
Harness the powerScreen time is not all wrong. There are some handy useful and valuable resources, videos and, programs that you can use with your kids. And who doesn’t love a good movie night?! There are also some great learning resources they can use by themselves. If you know there will be times when you need to rely on tech to keep the kids busy, consider enrolling them on an online language learning course for kids. There are many benefits to learning a second language for kids’ brains, and online courses will keep them engaged.
Keep work and family separate
It may seem that any work matters that pop up during time with your family need to be addressed right there and then. But when you think about it, most things could probably wait. If you have promised to hang out with your kids after work, put your phone down. The same applies to the weekend. Block out work time and lock yourself away if you need to. Make sure your kids know that you are working, and when you are finished, it’s their time.
Texting while driving or walking is a big no-nos. It is dangerous, but it sets a bad example for your kids. Yea, we all think we are multi-tasking kings, but it’s never a good idea when it comes to tech. Another major issue is that tech makes us lazy. It distracts us from outdoor pursuits and, most importantly, getting our bodies moving. Think about what you would want your kids to be doing and encourage yourself and them to choose the outdoors over screens.
The reality is that tech is not going anywhere. The aim is to find a balance that works for you and your family. Banning screens is unrealistic, and imposing hours of family time in the evenings and weekends is a recipe for disaster. It is inevitably as busy parents that screens may sometimes be needed. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Be flexible. Yours and your kids’ habits will fluctuate as they grow and their needs change. So revisit the topic of tech use frequently and be prepared to change the boundaries and rules you have set as a family.