9 Tips To Help Your Child Kick Their Computer and Television Habits
Our society is undoubtedly in the middle of an information age. Computers and the Internet have brought with them the ability to access unlimited data, communicate with others and be entertained in ways never even dreamed of in the past. To be certain, there are many advantages and disadvantages to this. For instance, the allure of technology and the entertainment it provides can be quite difficult to overcome. This can be particularly true for children who are drawn to television and computers like insects to the porch light! However, this often comes at the expense of other critical activities such as schoolwork, physical exercise and play. Indeed, one of the more common questions I am typically asked by parents is what are some strategies I can use to help my child break their excessive computer and television watching habits? As with everything, the key is balance, but I have made a list of nine tips to help your child kick their computer and television watching habits.
1. Model Appropriate Behavior: Your children will look to you and will imitate everything that you do. If you spend a lot of time watching television or on the computer…so will they!
2. Put the Television and Computer our of sight: This is truly a case of “out of sight out of mind,” If your children do not see the television and computer all the time they will not be as tempted. You can invest in a television/computer cupboard which allows you to close the doors on the items when they are not in use.
3. Make a Schedule: It is not realistic to attempt to stop all television and computer time. However, by scheduling time on a calendar you can help your children prioritize their activities and thus only watch what they truly want and not just for the sake of it.
4. Avoid Using Television or Computers as a Babysitter: We have all been guilty of this. Sometimes we as parents need a break and the television or computer does wonders to keep the children entertained and provides some peace! However, this can be a very dangerous habit and this occasional break can turn into a habit.
5. Spend Quality Time With Your Kids: Nothing is better than spending quality time with your children. Take them out for physical activities, read to them, play board games. The list is virtually endless and you will both love every minute.
6. Substitute Reading for Television/Computer Time: The time that your children would usually be spent watching television or playing computer games can be spent reading on their own or as a family. To set a family “drop everything and read” time can work wonders.
7. Get outside: When children are outside the television and computer temptations disappear. They can play with friends, spend time with you, or become involved in organized activities.
8. Complete Homework Together: Homework is a reality. It often comes with the need to access the computer and Internet. As a parent you should recognize this and oversee the usage. Also, to be fair, this time should not be included in the regular ”computer for entertainment” time.
9. Go on Outings: A weekend trip to the zoo or park will get your child away from the technology temptations and provide long lasting memories that you can both cherish!
There you have it! 9 tips to help your children break their excessive computer and television habits. It is truly all about balance. Also, you will notice that the one prevailing theme throughout is spending time together. I do recognize that in this day and age that can be quite challenging, but my answer to that would be to capitalize on the time you have. It will work wonders.
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