There is an extensive list of first world problems. One of them is how modern distractions impact family life. A family dinner is not always a time to gather and talk about your day. Phones, tablets, and monitors provide plenty of ways to avoid discussions. Here are some steps to help raise children that are not technology hermits.
Getting a theoretical genie back in a bottle is difficult. Likewise, rolling back privileges as children get older is hard to do. Therefore, be aware of where high-tech babysitters will take your kids as they grow older.
Television has been used to entertain and distract children for years. However, recent years have added tablets and smartphones to the mix. It is easy and affordable to put a tech toy in your child’s hands and entertain them for hours. These distractions are more portable than ever. Leading to children that can lock themselves in their rooms for extended periods of time. Once you add the proliferation of wireless and low-cost televisions, endless entertainment can exist in every room of the house.
Nothing in the Bedroom
It is not uncommon for children to have a personal TV and computer in the bedroom along with cable access. Avoid going down this road. Once a child is used to having a TV in their room or a tablet next to their bed, it will be considered punishment to take it away. Set rules at young ages that technology stays in common areas or game rooms and keep the TVs in rooms for the whole family.
This approach will not only help your children learn to socialize in the real world, but it will also protect them. When your kids have the possibility of someone looking in on what they are doing, they are less likely to get in trouble. There will be an opportunity to read over their shoulder for conversations they have and watch what they see on various sites.
When kids get older, they naturally spend less time with their parents. It is part of becoming independent. However, the more you provide for them in their bedroom, the less they have to come out. Once you provide them entertainment and a mini-fridge they essentially have their apartment away from parents.
Practice What you Preach
This is a struggle I deal with regularly. I have a tech job and a schedule where I can work at any time. That has allowed me to insert work into almost any situation. My children grew up seeing this, so they are very comfortable bringing a device into any situation. They will be watching a movie on TV and playing a game on their device at the same time. So, I speak from experience. Set the tone and be an example by putting away devices during meals and gatherings. Define areas for work and devices in your life and leave them there.
Avoid a TV in your bedroom just as you do for the kids. Instead of buying multiple TVs so everyone can watch their shows alone, pool that money into a nice, big TV everyone can enjoy. Make it a point to have unplugged times and days worked into your regular schedule. This will end up helping you as much as it does your kids.