Limiting the time your children spend on their electronic devices can be a challenge, but it doesn’t need to be a battle, leading to tears and tantrums.
Out of my three children, my 8 year old son LOVES electronics the most. He loves the X-Box, Wii, his iPad and would even settle for Minecraft on my iPhone, if need be. He could literally play for hours if I let him…with very short breaks for snacking and bathroom visits. If left to his own accord, he would play all day!
However, in our home electronic devices are only accessible to our children on the weekend (unless it’s for homework). From Monday to Friday afternoon all iPads, iPod Touches, etc. are safely stored in my bedroom closet and our kids know they are OFF LIMITS.
My husband and I made this decision about a two years ago when we found that our “family time” was becoming too limited and distracted. We would become frustrated when our game-night table was also littered with devices peeping and chiming every 30 seconds.
And, according to the Canadian Pediatric Society, “excessive amounts of time at a computer can contribute to obesity, undeveloped social skills and a form of addictive behavior”
When I was young I played Barbie, baseball, did arts and crafts and skipped rope. When did all this change??
It was clear to me that my children had begun to loose touch with the SIMPLE pleasures like: reading, playing cards and throwing around a ball.
My kids, especially my youngest, needed an ELECTRONICS INTERVENTION!
At first , it was a challenge to implement these rules and I have to admit I felt a little guilty. Was it really realistic to DEPRIVE my children from their devices? Would they know how to fill their free time constructively? Would they resent me? How would it affect them socially?
It’s been over two years and I have to say it’s one of the best decision that I’ve made as a parent. The limitation of electronic devices has allowed us to spend much more quality time as a family with very little distraction. My children have also learned how to be more productive with their time.
I can now often find my children,(yes, even my little video game junkie) playing cards on the backyard deck and working on their Rainbow Loom business. Our children respect the NO ELECTRONICS rule (most of the time) and I can see that the limitation has only encouraged them to be more creative, communicative and interactive.
Don’t get me wrong—TV, video games, and computers are excellent sources of education and entertainment for children. But too much time in front of a screen can have unhealthy side effects on a family.
So consider monitoring and limiting the time your children spend playing video games, watching TV, and on the computer. Just remember – everything in moderation.
What are your family rules about electronics?