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There is little doubt that the world we live in now is nothing like the times we enjoyed as kids. It’s highly digitalized where even a one year old can easily access an iPhone without any help. Kids nowadays are addicted to playing games more than ever on any device they can get their hands on, be it iPods, iPhones, iPads and a myriad of other devices. The constant nagging of kids asking for mobile phones is one thing that drives most parents to the edge of desperation.
It’s not only kids who are addicted to mobile phones now; adults, teens and kids spend hours at an end on mobile devices too. As parents, we find it hard at times to restrict our own mobile phone usage and find ourselves reaching for our mobiles just because we’re bored. So the question is – how do you find the balance? How can you balance allowing your kids time to play on mobile devices without it taking over?
It must be remembered that mobile devices are not all that bad and they can be fun and educational. The American Association of Paediatrics used to recommend that kids only get two hours of screen time a day. They have recently revised this advice saying that screen time can be educational. They also emphasised the importance of kids being physically active and not only spend their time exercising their thumbs.
We, as parents need to understand that it’s still possible for our kids to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle as well as use mobile phones within moderation. Here are some quick and easy ways to help your child control their mobile phone addiction:
Make sure your kids do something active frequently. Even if it’s just running about, getting busy with some arts and crafts activity or jogging for a few minutes every half an hour, motivate your kids to get up and about. It’s good to break their screen time rather than allow the kids to sit there for hours and hours with their mobile phones.
If the kids have homework, reading or house chores to complete, make sure to make them complete it first before getting on their mobile phones.
Simple rules like making sure that kids behave well during the week or not squabbling with each other to be allowed the chance to use their mobile phones will help them control their addiction. Make sure to turn the mobile phone off when their time is up too. What you have to do is set rules and stick to them.
Kids get frustrated when they have to stop a game in the middle of a level. So give them a five-minute warning before they have to stop. When that time is over, make sure your kids know that it’s time to turn off their phones. And if they don’t, set a rule to deduct ten minutes from their next allocated session.
Kids need sleep and mobile phones can keep them awake for a long time. Besides, artificial light can interfere with sleep patterns.
When kids start nagging, it’s easy to slip into letting them use mobiles for longer periods of time. Make sure to set limits and make the kids agree to it and understand that there will be no allowance beyond the set limit.
Spend your weekends doing more family activities that the kids love. Simple things like playing with educational toys or activities like going for a swim together can make a huge difference. Having fun and being active together allows your kids to get into healthy habits and also makes them understand that there’s much more than just the digital world.
If you have older kids who are more in control of their own phone, it’s good to teach them to have some mobile-free time to show them that the world does continue even when they aren’t hooked up on their phones.
Get your kids to involve in creative activities. Getting into arts & crafts, outdoor play, pretend play are few other things that you can practice.