Tablets and smartphones have replaced televisions when it comes to entertaining or pacifying young children. Some studies even show that 1 in 3 children are using devices before they can talk, and this is leading to some potentially harmful behavior. Parents that are ready to wean their children off of tablets should keep these few tips in mind for a smooth and stress-free transition back to reality.
Every parent should be able to distinguish between the normal use of electronics and when they have become a problem. Primarily, children will show signs of an actual addiction such as losing interest in other activities or becoming irritable when they are not around electronics for a short period of time. They may also go out of their way to seek out and use tablets and smartphones even when being told specifically not to. Finally, any attempt to limit or reduce the amount that these devices are used will result in arguments or drastic mood swings.
One of the most difficult aspects of a tablet is the fact that it can be taken anywhere to be used. Instead of a family computer that can only be used in a public area, an iPad can be carried off to another room which makes tracking their use nearly impossible. If children have their own devices, then a good place to start is limiting where they can use it. Kids that are using your tablet or smartphone should stay in the same room with you or remain close enough that you can track the amount of time spent on them.
Password protecting your devices will not solve this problem by itself, but it is a great way to immediately start some damage control. Passwords should first be put on any app stores or programs that allow credit card purchases to be made. Parents should then password protect all of their other devices throughout the house. You should remember that children may spend quite a bit of time trying to guess your password if they are feeling particularly mischievous, so make it something that they will not easily guess.
One of the most effective ways to wean a child off of electronics is to give them a long-term project of their choosing to accomplish. These projects can last for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months so that they can mentally “reset” from electronics. Some of the best options include building projects in the back yard or upcoming competitions in a sport or hobby that they like. The more interesting the project is and the longer it will take to accomplish, the better it will be for them.
If none of these other options seem to be working, then it may be time to consider an electronics detox. Many specialists suggest that adults take a vacation from electronics at least a few times per year, and the same methodology can be applied to children. There is no set amount of time, but parents will want to ensure that this vacation from mobile devices takes place for at least two to three days. The children may act out or become cranky, but this could be the only way to get them back on the right track.
The way that a parent offers approval will affect how a child performs in almost every task in their life. If you have begun to notice any progress or that your child is making a real effort, then show them approval and consider a kind word or a reward. This entire process will require hard work, and parents need to ensure that their child knows when they are taking steps in the right direction.
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