5 ways to prevent technology getting in the way of childhood

Kinderling News & Features

We live in a day and time when technology is all around us. The fact is, technology is simply a part of life now. And as much as that is true today, it is going to be increasingly so as our children grow. So it is important that the implementation of healthy boundaries and habits around technology use and exposure is part of what we as parents take on for our children.

At the bottom of this post is a shareable infographic of the Top five strategies to change how technology is used in your home. Use it in a way that works for you – read it, print it, share it with a friend – and consider whether you need to make some changes to the technology habits in your home.

Drawing on the science of child development, and knowing how essential face-to-face human relationships are to healthy outcomes for our children, I have created a list of 11 ideas to put you out in front of the technology revolution, and in charge of your child’s healthy development.

1. Structured connections

Hold “together time” in your family as sacred. Reserve meals, time before AND after the hustle of the day, daily walks, reading, and playtime as opportunities to connect for real. Schedule all of this until it becomes routine.

2. Digital free zones

Remove technology from rooms that already have a primary purpose for rest and/or connection, including bedrooms and dining rooms.

3. Digital free times

Keep technology off during any time of the day that has historically/culturally been intended for togetherness, including mealtimes, evening, bedtime, and other typical family times.

4.Tech holidays

Turn it off, every now and then. Maybe a specific day out of the week, when you are away on family vacation, and/or during school holidays.

5. Structure and routine

Have a 'way' of 'being' when it comes to technology, including a set amount of time per day and set periods of the day. Actually track this visually to stay on top of it.

6. Emotional connection first - technology rules second

Connect with your child emotionally first in a caring and/or playful way. Then implement whatever rules you need to.

7. Introduce competition

Have there be other things you/your children love to do, including getting them outside into nature. Aim for 15 minutes per day (at least) of connected special time with your children.

8. Welcome boredom

Respond to boredom with … nothing! Wait for the spark from within to ignite an organic desire to do something.

9. Act in the service of your children

Avoid acting in the service of the world. Disapproval and rejection by others due to your family’s technology management is not of concern. Your relationship with your child is.

10. Be capable

Be sure to have some 'swagger' when it comes to your remarkable capacity as an adult. You might not be able to keep up in a video game or on social media. But do you have a hobby or skill? Own that and teach it.

11. Monitor content

The intense exposure of children to violent and aggressive images and themes is unsettling. Stay on top of that. Rely not only on industry ratings but also common sense and good judgement.

Read, print or share this infographic of five ways to manage technology successfully in your family. Introduce these ideas into your family routine, and ensure that technology use isn’t detracting from quality family and play time in your household.

This post originally appeared on Dr Vanessa La Pointe's blog.