Our kids are growing up in a different time and different world than when we grew up. The added pressures of technology bring about a whole new series of problems. Not only are we faced with trying to teach our kids technology time limitations, but we also must educate them on cyber safety and issues that arise with technology. The bullying and self-deprecating that occurs on technology is causing suicide rates to increase and overall self-worth to decrease. In order to help manage your child’s screen time you can do these 5 things:
- OPEN COMMUNICATION – It’s important to chat with your kids up front about the pros and cons of technology. Use age appropriate language and discussions. The more open you are with your kids the better. If your kids refuse to discuss with you, then you will need to open the door to communication by starting slow. Ask one question from time to time. Don’t be forceful or pushy, you don’t want to push them away.
- SET RESPECTFUL LIMITATIONS IN ADVANCE – Once again limitations need to be age appropriate. If you have a toddler or young child who is always wanting to use your phone, TV or IPad, then it’s important to set boundaries and limitations in advance. Communicate with them your concerns about technology and let them know limits are not being set to be ‘mean’, but rather it’s in their best interest. They may not agree, but you are the parent and do know best. When setting limits it’s extremely important to be fair. Some limits that are fair and meet the needs of both parties are: “once your homework is done each day you can watch the television.” “When you finished cleaning your room, then you can watch TV.” You can also set up long-term limits. Such as no technology when your at the table or in the car. “From now on no one, including mom or dad will be using technology in the car.” Also you can set up a nighttime phone basket rule – “all phones are checked in to the Night Basket before everyone heads upstairs for bed.” Keeping boundaries in place will give your kids time to live life away from screens. Younger kids will have opportunities to play and use their imagination. Older kids will be forced to build their friendships face to face and not based on Facebook and Instagram.
- OFFERING CHOICE – Give you kids choice around when they can use technology. For example: “do you want to watch your show after school or before bed?” “Do you want to use your IPad time before breakfast or after?” Giving choice will take away some of the pushback. It will give your kids a chance to have some power and control over their own world. This will decrease the battles drastically.
- FOLLOW THROUGH – If you set a boundary in advance you must follow through. Consequences that are fair will be highly effective if you follow through. To learn more about this read ******
- MODEL WHAT YOU TEACH – Do what you want your kids to do! IF you want to respect your kids and your kids to respect you, then you must be fair. If phones are not allowed at the table, then you must not be checking your device either. If technology is a problem in your home, then the first step to fixing this issue is YOU. Make small changes. Stick up sticky note reminders around the house to remind you to put your phone away. Let your kids know that you’re making changes as well and together you can work as a family to re-connect by dis-connecting.
Remember to log the amount of time each person in your home is currently on screens each day before you begin implementing the 5 changes above. This way you can track your progress and note the positive changes that will soon occur. For more information or one-on-one consulting to decrease screen time in your home or to help solve other parenting struggles – Let’s Start Talking! www.tiaslightham.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org