It’s understandable. After a long day of work, dropping off and picking up kids at school, running back and forth from soccer practice, homework, and somehow trying to find time for personal care is exhausting. After a hectic day, it’s natural for parents to let their kids spend the rest of their evening on their screen of choice. However, this screen time may do more harm than good.
In fact, according to Time Magazine, “Growing data suggests that exposing young children to too much time in front of a TV or computer can have negative effects on their development, including issues with memory, attention and language skills.”
Unfortunately for us parents, screens aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. As technology continues to advance, avoiding screen time is going to become an impossible task. Learning how to bond with your children in today’s digital age is an essential skill that modern parents need to develop. Without further ado, here are some quick tips for bonding with your kids in this big cyber world.
Create a Media Use Plan For Your Family
Creating a media use plan can help your family navigate and stay consistent with their digital media goals. Some common rules found in a media use plan include:
- Having “media curfews”
- Keeping your computers and tablets in a pubic part of your home
- Having weekly or monthly lessons on “digital citizenship”
- Avoiding media that may not be age-appropriate for your children
Having your kids help you make the media use plan will get them engaged and more on-board with this new system. Additionally, it may be wise to gradually implement your family’s media use plan over time instead of all at once.
Make Screen Time Family Time
Screen time doesn’t have to mean alone time. You can find electronic activities to do with your family that can be fun, educational, and unifying. For example, there are several educational video games you can play along with your kids. If you and your kids are a fan of the Magic School Bus tv shows, you can invest in their video game. It will help your kids learn the basics of science and math while they have fun.
Streaming entertaining and engaging documentaries is another screen activity you can do together. For the most part, new documentaries are really well produced, and you can find one in any genre. You can even invest in a documentary streaming service to help your family stay on track.
While educational content is a great screen time activity for your kids, too much of it may become burdensome. It’s okay to watch traditional entertainment, like sports games, from time to time. In fact, some of my favorite memories are watching sports games with my dad and brother. If your family is full of football-lovers like mine, you should make sure your streaming devices support your family’s football watching habits.
Go On “Screen-Free” Outings
Sometimes, the best thing for your family to do is to unplug from technology completely. It’s really easy to become dependent on our smart devices and too much dependency can lead to addiction. Leaving your phones and tablets at home and hitting the town the good old fashioned way is a great way to reconnect and bond with your loved ones.
Each family is different, but try to cater to your kids’ interests. If one child shows interest in art, take them to your local art gallery. If your other child is more into physical recreation, you can go on a scenic family hike or attend a local sporting event. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to switch it up so that these activities can be memorable and educational.
Navigating family relationships in today’s digital world is not going to be easy. There will be days (or even weeks) where you will cave in and let your children have unproductive screen time. However, if you make an effort to bond with your kids, you’ll create loving experiences and happy memories that will last a lifetime.