Technology & Your Kids

It shouldn't come as a shock to any parent that we live in a technology advanced and dependent (and growing more so daily!) society. And while technology can be so helpful, it can also be incredibly detrimental... particularly in terms of the role it plays in our children's lives.

I'll admit, I'm just as guilty as allowing my son way too much screen time when I have work to accomplish. All too often we find ourselves at a means to an end with our hectic day to day lives that it feels easier to hand over our phones to keep our little ones distracted with some Angry Birds action so that we can have some time to ourselves to accomplish what needs to be done.

According to The American Pediatrics Society and Mayo Clinic, there are countless issues that can arise from too much screen time, including but certainly not limited to: eating disorders (namely obesity), attention disorders, school problems, sleep issues, behavioral problems and a lack of active play. 

If you've fallen victim to allowing your kids too much screen-time, the circle can be hard to break... But, not impossible... Here are some great tips to help bring your little one back to reality! 

  • Make a Screen-Free Zone: It's vitally important to establish boundries (and stick with them). Note where you would like to use devices and where you would like them to avoid them. It's best to keep an eye on what your children are viewing or doing, so consider having them play in areas close to you. And use play-rooms and bedrooms as tech-free zones (be sure to keep books and activities prevalient in these areas). 
  • Make Screen-Free Times: Once again, boundries are incredibly important as to avoid confusion on your child's end. It takes time for your children to wind down from tech-time, so consider dinner-bedtime as tech-free times which will allow for you to bond with your kids and also have them calm down and settle in before bedtime. Be sure to limit their times throughout the day as well, sure they can watch their favorite tv show, but after that send them to play outside or encourage craft or learning time as well. 
  • Use Technology Wisely: When my son discovered how amazing it is that you can find countless awesome apps on my phone, he was hooked. Legos, Angry Birds and Rachet and Clank GALORE. But, it started to take over and really took a toll on his behavior as well. I enforced what he was going to be playing by allowing him to have his one fun game, and the rest would be learning apps. As he heads into Kindergarten he's already a step ahead in his reading and math skills thanks to several fun learning apps that he absolutely loves. The same goes with his computer usage, he likes watching fun things on YouTube, but once he discovered fun learning websites with super-fun, he really took to playing those. It's important to make learning fun, and there are countless apps and websites to encourage that! 
  • Replace Technology: Who doesn't love Angry Birds, right? But, did you know there is an actual, physical Angry Birds game that the whole family can play at the kitchen table? Replacing app-based games with their physical counterparts is the perfect way to meet your child in the middle and reconnect as a family. Any child can build with blocks on a phone, but that in no way is as fun as building a space-ship with Legos. 
  • Be an Example: Children learn from what is around them. How can you expect your child to limit their screen time, if you don't limit yours as well. 

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