Create family times together that will be entertaining and enjoyable without a device in hand.
A terrific idea is a short break at a farmstay – there are plenty near Sydney. Highly educational but so very much fun to be had – they will not miss their Ipad at all! Showing the kids about another lifestyle – distinctly one that doesn’t rely on electronics – all the animals will keep them engaged & teaches them simplicity and kindness.
Farmstays offer a perfect time to teach kids about nutrition, and the food chain. Where does milk come from? Where do eggs come from? What do these animals eat, where do they sleep, what care do they need? Do your kids know that most vegetables are only grown in one season and this is the season they are best and most prolific so less expensive too!
Or would you just like them to see memes, pranks and cat videos.
Plan one weekend a month together, whether at a caravan park, by the beach, or our favourite choice at a NSW farmstay. Go bushwalking, plunge into a creek, walk in a village where people say “Hi” and smile at you – even though they don’t know you.
Decide what you want your family to look like. Then from this picture make a plan.
There is no perfect answer or a specific line to draw when it comes to technology and parenting.
But I bet your picture wasn’t a family all looking down into screens not communicating or engaging with each other at all. Kids aren’t little for long – take my word for it.
Remember your kids are watching you, and mimic what they see. Studies show that a high percentage of kids indicate that they would like for their parents to turn off their devices too.
Help them put down their Tech and Discover their creative side
How many times have you been taking a bath or gardening and come up with a great idea for something to make or a project at tne office? Quiet times allow our brains to be most creative. Teach your kids the importance of quiet by modeling it yourself.
Turn off your devices and go walk the dog. Walk across a paddock searching for mushrooms.
Resist always turning on the television as background noise – let your mind think. If your kids see you do these things, they are more likely to model your behavior.
Use “Captured” Time to Talk
Everytime you answer the phone when you are with your family you are sending the message that they are not as important as that call.
In the car, sitting at the dinner table, gathering at a restaurant – those times all represent “captured” time with your kids. For instance, kids are more agreeable to talk with you when you’re together in the car.
They do not have eye contact with you, especially if you are talking about a difficult or embarrassing topic. They can look out the window if they want and speak from their heart. So, consider making short car rides to school, to the shops, or to the grandparents technology-free. Take advantage of that time to talk. You would be surprised what you might discover about your kids while in your car.
Take a road trip into the country, show them that there are other ways people live. Make them enjoy engaging with real life, and then they WILL engage with real life. But its up to you as their life guide to introduce them to it NOW!
A Longterm Conversation point – a Memory Making Experience
A farmstay is a perfect choice as not only will they enjoy the weekend but you can talk about the things they will see before, or indeed what they saw after the weekend.
Create a Technology Basket
When your family comes in to the house put your devices in the basket as soon as you get home. Ask your kids to do the same. The devices only come out of the basket when homework is done, dinner is eaten and their little house jobs are complete – whatever guidelines you want to establish. This way, you have limited distractions during crucial communication time for both you and the kids.
Provide Other Options
Remember playing games in the backyard when you were young, remember cubby houses, books and board games.
Parents rely on technology to fill the void during the day not only for themselves but for their kids as well. Provide other options in easy reach. Put a few board games or a deck of cards on the coffee table.
Put a ball and cricket bat by the back door. Leave a volleyball net up in the back yard with a ball on the grass.
Lay out games or word search books on your bench or coffee table. If these things are in full view, kids (and parents) are more likely to take advantage of them rather than turning to technology for entertainment.
Broaden your platforms Mum & make Viewing a Family Event
Watch things together with your kids and then talk about them afterward. For instance, if your kids like watching a particular movie or even a YouTuber, then watch with them. Then have a conversation afterward. Consider how these things intersect with your family values. Not only are you doing something with your kids, but you also are teaching them how to use technology in a way that requires them to think about what they are watching rather than just wasting time
Put YOUR Technology Down
Yes, it is as simple as that. If your kids see you limiting your technology use or walking away for your screen to do something else, they’ll emulate these actions. Kids learn by example more than anything else. And, if you actively set limits on your own devices then they are likely to do the same.