Parenting can be challenging enough, then to add answering cell phones, checking emails and more only adds more wrinkles, and stress lines to our tired faces. We never take a break because we have access to more communicative devices then ever before. Our parents were not of this generation so there was no one before us to teach us how to wisely manage our lives with all the world of technology has to offer, so now it is our job to prepare our kids for the future. We want the best for them and who knows what there eyes will be like when there 20 with all the tablets and what-nots! Expert Jennifer Chung of Kinsights offers great tips to de-stress your entire household!
Our lives feel busier than ever - cell phones, tablets and laptops can certainly help us be more efficient, but they can also make us feel like we need to be accessible to everyone all the time. Kids are introduced to technology at a younger age than ever before. Is technology a good thing or a bad thing when it comes to raising our kids? Jennifer Chung, co-founder of Kinsights.com, has compiled some tips to help parents find balance and set some boundaries around screen time.
- Out of sight, out of mind: Having the TV in the family room can make the television feel like the center of your family activities. If possible, put the TV in a hutch and close the doors when not in use. If your space is limited, move it into your bedroom (or better yet, a spare bedroom) to help make TV time more structured. On weekends, the family can snuggle on the bed and watch a movie together.
- Set a predetermined time for use of tablets or video games: Rather than battling over it all day, set a time and duration for when your kids will know they can play - many tablets even allow parents to pre-program access time. Consider setting play time before dinner for 30 minutes. It gives the kids a chance to unwind while you cook dinner.
- Create off-limit times for all devices: For example, have everyone turn in their cell phones before mealtime. Use a dedicated drawer or box so that it becomes a habit for everyone to just drop their phone in before sitting down at the table.
- Monthly unplugged day: Why unplug just once a year? Every month, ask the family to take one day to "unplug". Have family members take turns planning activities for the day (go on a bike ride, a nature walk or visit a museum). Be sure to actually schedule the day every month and assign someone to be in charge of setting the agenda.
- Make learning fun: Since you can control what games/apps are on a tablet, pick options that are interactive and educational - there are lots of fun options that also encourage math, reading, and/or spelling skills.
- Curb the snacks: It's easy to munch on snacks while watching a video without realizing how much (and how badly) you've eaten. Try to avoid handing out empty calorie snacks while your kids are watching - a plate of fruit and low-fat cheese make a nice sweet savory combo for kids. And make sure you offset screen time with plenty of outdoor activities.
- Family game night: Replace watching TV with a family game night. Game night is also a great opportunity to invite neighbors and friends over with kids for some healthy competition. And its a great way to encourage good sportsmanship, team building, and cooperation.
For more informative tips visit www.kinsights.com.