We set our alarms on our phones for the morning…
We read the news on our phones…
Read ebooks (or podcasts!)..
Scroll social media…
and catch up on all the latest celebrity gossip all on gadgets.
Heck, I’m writing this blog on a gadget right now!
It’s like our world is being taken over by robots that want to rule our life, and it’s happening so easily to us everyday (whoa, hello conspiracies!).
It’s honestly rare to ever catch someone reading a book, or writing something that’s not on the computer! This is the world we live in, for all ages, and that unfortunately includes the next generation, aka our babies.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a really old-fashioned kind of momma that prefers to have my kids to do puzzles, crosswords, and learn new things rather than play on apps or watch TV all day. I think it’s a pretty relatable topic for most parents to want their kids to be active with there mind and their body, not just sitting around distracted by gadgets all day (even for busy parents that look forward to keeping their kids distracted).
Because of this,
I want to talk about a few of my go-to ways that helped me keep my kids away from technology, and helped give them time to really grow up and live life the way they should. Believe me, I struggled with this with my crazy little beans, but my hubby and I made it through (just barely), and want to share with you the most efficient methods on how we did it!
Just like in our blog post on how to encourage curiosity in children, Angel, a children’s book author from ADKStoryBooks is also an advocate against technology and electronics for kids. As she says in her blog post about ways to inspire your kids’ imagination, that with the abundance and reliance that our kids have, our children start losing their imagination. I mean, there is nothing better than a child’s imagination!
Trust me, if your children are already addicted to technology, this isn’t easy (and there’s going to be a lot of tantrums. Like, a lot) So strap on your mom suit, and let’s get started!
From Gadgets to Games
1 ♥ Make A Schedule
If you need a little extra help with easing your child (also known as ‘Godzilla’ during tantrum time, right ladies?) off of technology, don’t panic!
There is another way!
You can start by allowing them only certain times of the day, or certain days of the week that they can use these gadgets. This may not be ideal, but this has been proven to be one of the best methods for kids that are already addicted to technology!
With my first born, we created a schedule that said she could only watch half an hour of TV per day, which allowed her the time to watch her favorite ‘Barbie’ show, and still left plenty of time for her to do other things.
Then, shorten the time…
After that, we slowly began to shorten the time to half hour every few days, then per week, and to zero per week.
And guess what happened?
She just stopped asking. This was a process that took a couple months to do, but was definitely worthwhile in the long run. And another way you can help them to get over it quicker is by showing them all the fun things around them they can do, or by simply just spending time with them.
Like TV, it’s all a distraction for them until it turns into a habit, which is why it’s important to prevent gadget addiction before it turns into just that!
And it might not just be an addiction to TV, it’s recommended to enforce this ‘scheduling’ for any gadget (Ipad, telephone, xBox/Playstation) that your children might be addicted to. For example, MomClone has another great alternative in her blog post, Setting Screen Limits, where she talks about how she sets the following for her children:
- One hour of reading /academic activity.
- One household chore.
- One hour of (preferable) outdoor activity.
2 ♥ Get Active With Them
As I was just talking about above, getting fresh air for any age is an excellent way to relax, recharge, and have fun! For your kids, it’s important to get them involved in outside activities to help keep them away from turning to technology when they get bored. This doesn’t just mean playing outside, this can also be fun activities for them to participate in with you or with friends.
For example with our son:
- My husband has recently started getting our son involved in his outdoor fitness regime.
- Our son goes outdoors with my husband and watches him start his new fitness journey.
- That way our son is out in the fresh air and playing with nature whilst my husband is also able to do his exercise.
- My husband has also bought some baby pretend weights as our son is starting to copy daddy now (so cute!).
- So not only is this healthy for my husband, it’s healthy for our son aswell which in-turn is healthy for our entire family.
For example with our daughter:
- We enrolled my second child in daily dance classes to help get her moving and help keep her busy!
- She actually really adores dancing now, and comes home in her tutu everyday and just wants to keep on dancing!
- By distracting her with fun activities, she has shown absolutely zero interest in watching TV or playing on the tablet, and has now developed a beautiful new passion, learned how to socialize with others (which she won’t learn properly online), and has also made friends along the way, which is something that you can’t do through TV!
- This not only makes us happy, but it also brings a huge smile to her face, which absolutely warms my heart!
For all children:
- Like we mentioned above, we are starting to research ways that they can get involved in ‘big people duties’ and start helping us around the house. We came across this chore chart for swapping chores for screen time on ryeandryebrookmoms.com. This means, that they can start getting involved in house-hold chores, in-turn for watching their favorite TV show or playing on the tablet. Plus, this instills responsibility and maturity in them aswell.
But more so, if you can get involved in your children outdoors, not only will you will learn more about them to be able to guide them more in life as they grow, they will also learn a ton from you, your interactions with others and what to do in certain situations. It’s actually interesting when you start reading what other parents do and interact with their children outdoors, and the topic of whether you are a helicopter parent is an interesting one. For what I mean, you can read Andrea’s blog, but in particular her awesome blog post here about giving your children freedom outdoors which is important for their independence and learning.
3 ♥ Distraction is Key
The easy (and oh so frustrating) thing about kids is that they get distracted very easily, and you can trick them into getting distracted with things that will help them to learn and exercise their brains, and they don’t even know (Muhahaha!). You can do this by
- Giving them a book
- Paper and pens
- Puzzle or
Simply, just buy them a new toy that involves hours of playtime and ways to encourage their curiosity and imagination.
I’m not just talking a fluffy animal or a toy shark, I’m taking toys like play kitchens, doll houses or train set.
I know what your thinking.
“But, Zoe, these are expensive?!” …But seriously they aren’t.
If you are a bargain shopper like me, you can pick these types of interactive toys for less than $40!
These types of toys will enable them to play for hours, but more so, it will enable them to role-play and ignite their imagination. Just like Amber over at nobreaksmama, I could literally watch my children play for hours. But I can’t watch them play with a tablet or watch TV for hours! Check out her blog post here for what I mean.
Honestly, any of these are better than them sitting in front of the TV all day! My first child used to love to watch TV all day (we never started enforcing the ‘no gadgets’ rule until child #2, which was a huge mistake!), so believe me when I say, it was definitely a work in progress to make the switch.
You know how I always talk about diapers on the walls? Well, during this switch, just imagine spaghetti. On the walls. And on the roof, too. Don’t ask…
But we successfully did this by incorporating ‘fun’ activities for her to do away from TV. For example, we’d go outside with her, and give her a picture book to look at, or a toy to play with. This way, she was not only distant from the gadgets in the house, but she was also getting fresh air while learning to have fun in healthy ways (and what’s better than that?).
Overall, making sure your kids don’t get addicted to technology at a young age is one of your jobs as a parent. You want to be able to make memories with your babies, especially when they are younger, and let them learn their passions, hobbies, and joys in the real world, not the virtual.
After all, in our society today, they are bound to be social media fanatics when they grow up, but let’s save that for just that: growing up. Right now, teach your babies to have fun, laugh, and bond with you in ways that technology can never do. You will not believe that amount of happiness that will come from you both when you do!