Many parents rely on electronics to keep their children quiet, but this strategy is always backfiring. Too much screen time can lead to addiction and can make your child prone to the dangers of online predators. Limiting your child’s time with their smartphones and tablets has a lot of long term health benefits, so you need to learn how to keep the little ones off electronics without them throwing a tantrum.
Role model screen free time
Kids learn how to behave from their parents, so you need to be a role model when it comes to screen free time. Show your child that you don’t use the phone and you don’t check your emails during dinner time. You can also turn off the TV when no one is looking at it and put the phone in the bag when you are driving. By watching you doing these things and limiting your screen time, your child is going to learn how to put the electronics down.
Designate technology-free hours and zones
To keep everyone happy you should designate specific zones in the house where electronics are not allowed. Also designate technology-free hours and use screen time limiting apps for all family members to remind everyone when they need to put the gadgets down. Include your children in the discussion and agree on the offline hours. Take into account their opinions, as this will make them more responsive to the entire digital detox plan.
Explain them the dangers of technology addiction
Your child needs to know the risks of too much screen time, so talk to them and explain them why is dangerous to spend too much time in front of the computer, tablet or phone. The more they understand why you are asking them to put down the gadgets, the more likely they will be to accept the limitations and give up on the blue screen.
Organize fun activities
Most kids use their gadgets to have fun, so you can give them an alternative when you are asking them to limit their screen time. Involve the entire family in these activities. Go outside and play a game, go cycling or play Monopoly. After the initial reluctance, the little ones will begin to enjoy these moments when everyone is together, having fun. You will also benefit a lot from these moments, which enable you to unwind after a stressful day.
Parenting in the age of widespread use of social media and technology requires a proactive mindset. A smart way to disconnect your child from the phone is to take advantage of the biggest flaw of this device: it needs long and frequent charging. You can build a charging station in a corner of the house and when everyone comes home; ask them to put their phones there — out of sight and reach, both you and your child are going to forget about screens for at least a few minutes!
Smartphone addiction comes with a lot of health issues, from neck and shoulder pain to impaired learning ability to issues with sleeping, so limiting the online time is crucial for a healthy life.