Do you know how to get your children to detach from their cell phones?
Some tips to make it easier for the little ones at home to have a life beyond the screen.
We live in a society where screens have invaded our lives: television, computer, tablet and mobile phone.TV, computer, tablet and cell phone.
And not only that, it seems that we need these electronic devices in our daily lives to work, talk to friends all the time, pass the time.... We always have one on us, and this has led to the era of immediacy in which we want to have messages answered instantly, to be informed exactly where our online order is, or to make that work call. Not to mention social networks (which seem to be the only way to socialize nowadays), the overbooking of apps we have for absolutely everything, games, fitness trackers, etc.
What can you do to help your children disengage from their cell phones?
Who has not heard that the more connected we are, the more we disconnect from what we have around us? Well, it is true for some people who are always immersed in their screen, even when they are with other people. And this can create conflicts with friends and even family, for example, by being aware of Instagram during a Christmas dinner or answering work calls on days off.
So, dear reader, if as a parent you are thinking that your son or daughter is constantly updating Instagram, watching stories or uploading photos, as well as whatsapping with friends and sending audios, I bring you 5 tips for screens to interfere in your family life as little as possible.
Sit down and talk to your children in a serious manner. Don't be shy to approach them and convey your concerns. Be sure to inform them about the dangers of social networks, as well as the benefits.As a parent, you are responsible for introducing your children to the world and for warning, cautioning and teaching them about both good and bad things.
Make sure you explain it to them in depth and that they understand it correctly, connect with their emotions and don't cut corners with examples.
2. Agree on limits and schedules
Reach an agreement with them regarding the hours they spend on screens. Of course, they should be schedules adapted to their ageBecause a teenager, for example, will want to use the cell phone more (to talk to their friends and socialize on the networks) than a 7 year old child.
It is important that these schedules are not imposed by parents, but that the children's opinion counts; you will have to negotiate and think about what you may need the screens on some occasions to do work or look for information.
Also, keep in mind that sometimes you will be working or with your friends, and you will not always be able to make sure that they keep the agreed hours. I recommend that you do not get overwhelmed and do not try to always have it under control. It is not a matter of imposing strict rules, but of finding a balance and that they themselves learn to regulate themselves.
In this regard, remember that there are stages of growth in which the younger ones try to distance themselves more from their parents and relate more with their peers. An example could be: no cell phones during meals, or no screens before bedtime.
3. Spend quality time together
Take the opportunity to spend more time as a family and do things together.. Try to make sure that during this time you do things that you all like to do, that you can change your activities, that you reach agreements on the activities you will do and that you make sure that all votes and opinions count equally.
During these moments together, forge bonds, share your day-to-day life, your worries, etc. From watching a movie together to taking a hike, the possibilities are endless!
4. Offer alternatives
Think of the cell phone as an easy and convenient remedy for boredom.. Social networks offer us quick and varied entertainment. We can even look at stores, update the news, talk to friends from our cell phones. Remember that it is not a negative tool, even if we spend a lot of time with it, it has multiple benefits.
This is why competing with this device is so complicated, but if you keep your mind occupied with other entertaining tasks, the use of the cell phone decreases.
I recommend puzzles, reading and writing, painting, signing up for activities outside school hours, meeting with friends, going to museums, organizing social activities, board games, etc.
5. Set an example and be consistent
It is complicated to try to get your children to spend less time on their cell phones if they see their parents at home using it all the time.. So, it is important to introspect and evaluate what our children may be learning from our behaviors.
I know that sometimes we need the cell phone for work, but we must remember that the limits and agreed schedules are for everyone, it is not enough for my child to leave the cell phone at dinner if I answer work calls at that time.
We must learn to find a balance in the use of new technologies and social networks in family life, always adapting to the circumstances and being flexible.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)