Since the onset of COVID-19 parenting has been flipped on its head. Regardless of age, children are expected to remain attached to some kind of device for most of their day. While we are starting the transition into the ‘new normal’, it is important to remember that too much screen-time is still a big problem for healthy development. Below are 5 easy ways to pull kids away from the internet so their free time isn’t spent attached to a device also!
Before you begin: Developing a habit can take many months, so it’s best to create a reward system. Aim for an age appropriate amount of additional time attached to a device (maximum 1-3 hour/ day, depending on your child’s age).
Make It Active And Age Appropriate:
Expect some resistance, but we’re all a little resistant after being stagnant for awhile! Send them outside… on purpose! Give them “outdoor clothes” to make it special and motivate them to get dirty. Throw out a shovel, a hammer, some cups, some seeds, a jar, maybe even a few blocks of wood. In a more urban area, finding a plot of green might mean you are are brining your work laptop to the park and tethering it to your phone. It’s worth it, though!
Older kids are usually more interested in building, creating, and developing something than imaginative play. You may have to do it with them a few times, or encourage them with your presence, but they’ll get the hang of it! Give them the resources to allow them to be creative without setting expectations. Cover your table with recycled materials and ask them to make something for the home (a decorative box, picture frame, pencil holder, etc). Throw out some magazines and ask them to complete a task that you wish you had time for! Tell them to create a vision board or a pictorial wish list, better yet- a visual journal. Buy some cheap tools, print off some basic instructions and ask them to build something.
Music Soothes The Adorable Child
The internet has created a generation or two of multitaskers. So many children are used to simultaneously flipping through multiple apps while watching a movie and texting a friend. Focusing on accomplishing a single task can seem boring to a lot of kids, and even adults! Adding music in the background can create the illusion of multitasking and contributes to creativity. Plus, music can put us in a great mood! Throw some music on when you are asking your child to do something offline. Baking, cooking, cleaning, drawing, building, creating (or destroying) is always more fun with music!
So many children lose interest in their childhood passions. There is always a time and a place to ‘push’ your child into something, but it probably shouldn’t be happening while a global pandemic is occurring. At this point, if your child shows the slightest interest in an activity outside of a device, what do you have to lose by encouraging them to explore it? Even if it means the classes are online, they can continue their skill and practice it offline. Offering two or three choices then explaining one can be selected or you will choose one is a great motivator.
‘It Is Better To Give Than To Receive‘
Devices make life very impersonal. Volunteering makes a person feel purposeful and connected. We Are Teachers and SignUp Genius have great articles offering options for volunteering with children. Remember: The more individualized the opportunity is, the greater chance your child will feel their self-esteem grow. That feeling keeps the ball rolling.
And, don’t forget:
- Let Them Be Bored! While you are transitioning into a less tech-focused environment, be prepared for groans and moans about how bored they are. Don’t forget, being bored is necessary for a child’s brain to develop!
- Tell Them Why This Is Important! Adding value to something makes things a little easier to accept.
- If At First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try, Again! Don’t give up! Research has proven how important it is to pull kids away from the internet. You can do it!
Interested in further support? “Two Heads Are Better Than One” is a parenting program designed by Focus Online LLC to support your family’s individual needs. Contact us today!