No one can deny the prolific use of gadgets in the modern world. The issue of children and screen time is still being debated upon by many people. How can a parent or a caretaker approach this matter? Here are some ways to help children regulate their gadget use.
Offer More Fun Alternatives
You cannot take away something without replacing it with another. Sometimes, children are into gadgets because they want something to pass the time. Take them out, instead. Have fun in a flying fox playground at a nearby park. Have a spontaneous snack at their favorite restaurant.
If you opt to stay indoors, you can try reading together or playing board games. Make them realize that there is more to life than swiping at their gadgets or staring at its screen. They will also appreciate the togetherness.
Be Clear with Boundaries
You cannot eradicate the use of gadgets. But what you can do is to have definite rules from the start. Give a time limit and specific days for when they can use their devices and stick to it. Also, agree with your children where it is acceptable to use their gadgets. Dining tables and bedrooms should be free from gadgets or devices.
Do not bend the rules because they have been good or you need more time for your chores. When children see consistency, it becomes more natural for them to follow.
Aim to Educate
Parenting should never be about being controlling without giving reasons. It is a very outdated practice to tell your child to behave in a certain way because “you said so.” Give your child more credit than that. Instead of just telling them that gadgets are not allowed, explain to them the reasons. Use language that they will understand.
Also, if they are old enough, you caninvolve them in choosing which apps they can use. Let them see the benefits or dangers of each. When you do this approach, you do not always have to look at what they are or when they are using their gadgets. You will be more confident that they are making informed choices on their own.
Show Them How It Is Done
At the end of the day, values are still caught and not taught. A very simple yet very effective way to control gadget use is to set a good example. You cannot give orders yet do the exact opposite. If you want your children to spend less time with their gadgets, then spend less time with yours. It also shows fairness and respect.
Strike a Balance
A creative way to let your children have gadgets or screen time is for them to earn it. Reward them with screen time upon completion of a certain activity. It can be a chore or schoolwork. The length of time will vary according to the difficulty of the task. For example, cleaning the room may equal 20 minutes of screen time. But making their bed equals to five minutes only.
This strategy has its advantages. They may start doing things to get the reward, but if they do it consistently, it will become a habit. Also, they may realize that there are more rewarding activities than being busy with a gadget all the time.
Gadget use in the house should not be a power struggle between a parent and a child. With proper communication and good strategies, it can be regulated well.