Do you struggle to get your kids off their games and computers` And what rules do you have`in place in your family regarding time limits and technology`
Here are a few pointers to help you take back control and help ensure your kids have a greater chance of being able to regulate their own behaviour and time management as they grow up surrounded by the distractions of technology.
Start early from the moment your little one can swipe an ipad make sure they know there are limits to its use. We want to be able to take things away without a fight every time. `And while you will more than likely get one the first few times you interrupt their extremely important, almost at my highest score game, they will learn. Like all aspects of parenting, the earlier you start getting them used to the boundaries, the greater control you will have over their behaviour.
Follow through with threats when rules are broken and arguments keep going.` You as a parent do have the control over what gets used in your house and for how long. They may cry and argue and tell you `you`re the meanest mum in the world```..but they will get over it. And so will you!
Time Limits: Stick to time limits and have them in place even when they are playing nicely and helping you get other things done. Parents, having the final say.
Role Model: This is difficult when for many of us our business and livelihood revolve around the work we do on a computer and online. But it doesn`t mean our kids can`t see us having our own boundaries over computer use etc. have stricter timelines for yourself on when you can work and when you need to switch off to give something else (running a household) your full attention.
Do not put a TV in your child`s room.
Having a TV in the bedroom has been linked to a number of problems including lower test scores, sleeping problems, and obesity. When the kids are not watching a specific program, turn off the television. Keep it off during mealtimes and especially when they are studying or doing homework.
Talk to Kids About Risks
It`s important for kids to have a good understanding about the risks of too much screen time. Kids who understand, `It`s not healthy to watch too much TV,` are less likely to try and break the rules compared to kids who seem to think the only reason there are rules is because, `My parents are mean.`
Use Screen Time as a Privilege
Screen time should be a privilege and not a right. Take away privileges, such as TV time or computer use, as a negative consequence. Once you`ve set a limit on how much screen time is allowed, don`t allow kids to earn extra time as a reward. Instead, stick to the daily limit and offer other free or low cost rewards.
Like everything with parenting you need to make your decisions represent your family values and what will work for your situation. Your rules and boundaries, what you accept and don`t accept must be a reflection of how you want your family life to look. Remember too that the short term pain of enforcing some of these boundaries will always lead to the longer term gain`which for all of us should be a household of more joy and less stress.
Reasons for Limiting Kids` Exposure to Technology
- It may interfere with sleep. Getting enough sleep can be challenging enough for busy kids today who often have homework and after-school activities crammed into their weekdays and extracurricular activities and sports on weekends. Add to that numerous hours of TV watching -- which averages up to as much as 3 to 4 hours a day, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry -- and you have a recipe for sleep-deprivation in kids. Moreover, electronic stimulation, such as from watching TV or using the computer, has been shown to interfere with sleep (both falling asleep and staying asleep).
- It may cut into family time/person-to-person interaction. When we are using technology such as computers, games, and TV, we are not interacting together. And given how difficult it can be for families to find some good quality time to spend with each other, having technology cut into those moments is something parents may want to prevent as much as possible. While it can be fun to have a family movie night or play a videogame together, the fact is that screen time means less face-to-face interaction time.
- It may encourage short attention span. Studies have shown that too much screen time may be associated with attention problems.
- It may interfere with schoolwork. Children who watch a lot of TV are more likely to have lower grades and read fewer books.
- It may lead to less physical activity. More screen time has been associated with reduced physical activity and higher risk of obesity in kids.