Technology is a boon!. It helps us stay connected, learn at the speed of light, and makes our lives infinitely easier. I mean, the only reason you’re able to read this is because you’re connected to the internet!
Parents today face a constant dilemma – how much technology should we let our children consume? Unless you take a wilderness hike into the middle of nowhere, it’s a real challenge to keep away from smartphones, the internet, satellite television and other hand-held devices. The truth however, is that our children’s motor skills are developing very differently to our own. While we learnt to write with pencils, our kids learn to type on touch screens, sometimes even before they learn how to hold a pencil properly!
Read a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics on children and technology here.
Now, it is an undeniable fact that technology can be of immense help when wanting to distract children, or when travelling. The easiest way to keep them occupied is to hand them an iPad with headphones to play nonstop “Temple Run”. It keeps them going for hours, and you can finish off that book you’ve been meaning to get to.
You will also hear a lot of chatter on forums about ‘technology helping children’ vs ‘technology ruining children’. The key though, is balance. We must find a way to raise especially, young children in a way that they experience and learn from different stimuli – technology being just one of them. Here are some ways to do that. It’s not easy, so stay strong! Remember that the ‘Modern Family’ tried it too and they *almost* succeeded!
Schedule Tech Time
A good way to keep track of how much technology we’re consuming is to time it. Just like you time your children’s TV intake, also restrict time on tablets, smartphones, laptops and other devices. You can also assign one day a week that’s “no tech day” where the entire family stays off technology.
Talk To Your Children
Children are smart – they understand consequences when explained. Young children today are more aware of environmental studies, global warming, etc. than we ever were, so don’t underestimate their ability to grasp something when you talk to them. Tell them why you want them to restrict technology, and encourage them to come up with plans as well.
Plan Fun Activities
Children’s brains are like sponges – they will absorb everything. Plan family activities that involve teaching children something. Plan a gardening day, encourage them to grow vegetables, play with pets, have outdoor play dates, plan group activities, play board games, work on craft projects, or even teach your children to cook! Not only will these keep them occupied, they’ll help you as parents maintain a balance too!