In this day and age, technology and all of the knowledge of the world are accessible with just the click of a button. To parents, this can be an incredibly scary thought because anything can be looked up or your kids could do things on their iPhone that you might not necessarily agree with. Lucky for you though, there are now apps that you can download that will still allow you to track all of your kids’ usage and even block certain things you don’t want them on. Besides that, you have the ability to control what your kid does on their electronic devices and how long they are allowed to use them. Follow these tips below and you and your child will have a healthy relationship as well as maintaining a healthy balance between family time and electronic time.
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1. Don’t Be A Hypocrite
Children will always learn from whatever they see you doing. If you come home, make dinner, clean up, and then go right to watching TV or playing on your phone, your child will probably fall into the same routine everyday when they come home from school. Make sure that instead of you spending multiple hours on social media or TV, read a book or play a board game so your kids will see that if you can have fun without technology, they can too!
2. Set Aside Family Time
Everyday you should set aside at least an hour to spend time with just the family, away from all social media, electronics, or technology. As mentioned above, play a board game with your kids or take them outside and throw a ball around. Use this time for family bonding and talk about everyone’s day, and get in some quality time together!
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Don’t be afraid to get down on the floor and play with toys with your kids. Instead of using technology, they could be using their time to play with dolls, or cars, or anything of that sort. Not only is it keeping them away from all the electronic devices, it’s also influencing their creativity, which is never a bad thing to instill in them while they’re young!
4. Encourage Outdoor Times
While it’s nice out and they have all of the time in the world at such a young age, be sure to always encourage them to go outside to get some fresh air and sunshine! It’s always important for kids to be active and exercise while they’re young, but it’s also fun to get them outside where they can run around, ride a bike, or even shoot some hoops!
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5. Electronics In Designated Areas
A good way to keep your children from using technology too much is to only put electronics in specific rooms. If you only put a TV in the living area, and a computer in a designated room, you will be able to monitor your child’s screen time and make sure they’re not doing anything they shouldn’t be. Never put a TV in a child’s bedroom if you don’t want them to be up all night watching it or spend too much time with their eyes glued to it. Also, don’t a TV in sight of the dining room table because your child will be distracted and you’ll miss out on those important family discussions and conversations.
6. Get Rid of Cable
It’s a hard task, but it might save you a lot of trouble in the end. If you simply just get rid of the TV and cable altogether, your child will never even feel the need to watch the TV when they shouldn’t and it will allow them more time to go outside and play and spend more time with their friends. If you feel that you don’t watch a lot of TV to begin with and that your kids should be focused on more important things, getting rid of TV and cable might be the best option for you!!
7. Use Apps to Control Screen Time
There are multiple free apps on iPhones and Galaxy products that you can use and connect to your child’s phone so that they can only be on their phone for a certain amount of time everyday! For all of you Apple users, there are great free apps like Our Pact, Screen Time Parental Control, Family Time Dashboard, and Familoop. On these apps, you can monitor your kids screen time usage and connect your phone to theirs so it will lock certain apps on their phone and not allow them to use it after a certain amount of time. For Samsung Galaxy users, you can download apps such as: Screen Time Parental Control, Kids Place Parental Control, AppLock, and Funamo. With all of these apps, you can reassure yourself that your kids will not be on any unwanted sites and that you can tell how much of their time is spent using their electronic devices each day.
8. Block Websites
If there are certain websites that you don’t want your child to go on, be sure to block the website! There are many dangers out there on the internet and many things that kids should be using. You can block these websites so that they can’t use them, and you can even download special apps that will block websites from your phone and make sure they stay blocked.
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9. Know Their Passwords
Just in case you’re worried that your kids will get into something that they shouldn’t be, make sure you always know your kids’ passwords. If you know your kids passwords, they won’t be able to look up things that they shouldn’t and you can make sure they’re always safe.
10. Educate Them
If you educate your kids on the dangers of the internet and how you need to stay away from things like social media at such a young age. Let them know that these electronics can be used for certain things like games and learning apps, but that they should not go much farther into the internet until they’re at an older age. This will prevent them from going onto anything that they shouldn’t be on and they will also learn great things through educational apps and games.
A lot of these steps may be hard to do, but once you start and get the hang of it, you and your child will be able to build a healthier relationship. Watching your child’s screen time will increase their family activity and will decrease their chances of the effects of using electronics: childhood obesity, laziness/no energy, or even flunking school. These are 10 simple ways to build a stronger family, but will also allow the child to be a child while they can.