28 Aug 2015 Limiting technology
by Brittany Gilbert
I get it. It’s so easy to keep kids occupied and out of trouble when you give them the iPad, video game or other avenue for technology.
It allows parents a moment to get things done or focus on one of the many things we need to do.
Technology can be used for so much, however as much good that comes from it, there is also so much bad. When used properly, technology can expand on classroom learning and help reinforce concepts you are teaching your children, including social-emotional development and family values. But how do we make sure our kids aren’t overdoing it on technology?
Ways to limit technology
Structure your day. From the time your kids wake up until the time they go to sleep, have an outline for all activities. It works better for our family to not have time limits on our day that way we don’t feel pressured to end one activity too early. The schedule is only there to help make some sense out of the day.
For example, a day’s worth of activities could be: wake up, breakfast, TV time, gym, lunch, nap, play time, learning time, dinner, play time, bath time, bed. If your child is at school, you can adjust the schedule for only afterschool activities.
Adding structure helps both kids and parents know what to expect. Of course, not all families work well with structure, so you will need to modify and adjust to meet your family’s needs.
Have a plan for boredom. One reason parents and children turn to video games and TV without planning to is because they don’t plan for the “B” word. Most parents hate to hear this word because without a plan, children start to get in to trouble. Boredom can happen even when you think you have your day planned out, but your kids run out of things to do.
Don’t worry though, imaginations and creativity can flourish in these moments. You can create a “boredom buster jar” filled with activities for your kids to do whenever they complain of boredom.
Limit parents’ time on technology. Here’s an opportunity to practice what you preach. If your kids see you constantly on your phone, it makes them want to turn to technology as well. Make dinner time a “no tech zone” and mean it.
When you have a plan to limit technology, you can use your limited technology time for your benefit. We are by no means experts at this as our children are very young, but we’re already seeing a need for improvement as well as the benefit of technology.
The TV shows that we allow our kids to watch have helped with social and emotional behavior, including sharing, potty time, anger, frustration and so much more. The apps and websites that we use with our 3-year-old have helped teach him skills that are important for him to know.
Our children are growing up in a generation that will be responsible for knowing how to use technology more than ever before, but as parents we can facilitate their use of tech to be the most beneficial for their future.
Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at [email protected].