By Lisa Smith, The Peaceful Parent
Setting technology limits for our kids is easy and hard at the same time.
We want to give our kids some independence but at the same time, they have underdeveloped brains and need guidance and help setting boundaries.
So how do we strike the balance in this day and age, especially when technology is such an integral part of our everyday lives?
I want to share 3 EASY steps that will help you set limits on technology that you can incorporate anywhere, anytime.
Step 1 – Assess your real concerns around too much screen time
You must have concerns about excessive screen time or you wouldn’t be reading this.
Take time to assess your own worries so you can discuss them with your child.
They might include concerns around properly resting the brain, brain development, down time to be creative and think, fostering strong face-to- face relationships with people, wanting to spend time together away from tech connecting and talking, or getting uninterrupted sleep at night so the brain can recharge. Once you have a firm grasp on why you believe technology limits should be set, it will be easier for you to enforce.
Step 2 – Include your child in the conversation
Once you understand your own concerns, help your child understand your concerns about too much time on the screens. Have a real conversation with them. Explain your concerns and your fears around excessive technology usage. Be open and honest; you are creating an atmosphere of cooperation and solutions.
Then brainstorm together to come up with ideas or input on how screen time can be limited. Talk openly about ideas that you want to try and gain their buy-in. Set a trial period, like 2 weeks or 30 days, and then check in together to assess the progress or success of the ideas. If it isn’t working, tweak as needed and try again, while keeping the dialogue open.
When kids understand the concerns, the method and the goal, they are more likely to buy in and feel cooperative.
Step 3 -Set limits and be very, very consistent!
OK, this is the hard part. To make this work, once you set limits by creating rules around technology, you must be very consistent. Consistency is the key to success. For example, let’s say you are frustrated that your daughter and her friends are texting each other all night. You are concerned because your daughter isn’t getting consistent sleep and you know her brain needs uninterrupted rest for an extended period of time to release the toxins that build up in the brain during the day (you can add this to your list of concerns if it wasn’t already). And you know this because you are checking your daughter’s phone regularly.