3 Tips for parenting in the digital age
Today's parents are raising children in a world unknown to the generation before them. Children are learning how to use tech before they learn how to talk, walk, or tie their own shoes. While the so-called screen time debate is nothing new in parenting circles; many parents are still confused about what their roles and responsibilities are when it comes to technology - should they embrace or oppose it?
Technology is here to stay. So, to reject technology can cause even more problems in the future. But the fact also remains that too much screen time can lead to health concerns like anxiety and disrupted sleep. In case you didn't know, disrupted sleep patterns can harm your child's growth and development.
Parents play an important role in teaching children healthy tech habits; on how to use these devices moderately and appropriately. The most efficient way in teaching these habits is by being involved in your child's screen time, setting the example, agreeing to rules, and raising your child in a space of unconditional acceptance. Below, we've listed some helpful guidelines.
Embrace quality time
Parents need to be present in their children's lives. A distraction-free moment spent with a parent fosters a sense of belonging and a feeling of importance in a child. Positive family experiences shape children's brains, build their self-esteem, and lessens the chances of a child seeking acceptance online or indulging in a bad habit.
Modify the environment
Back in the day parents and children didn't battle as much over screen time because in many households the only screen was the one in the living room. Today, parents are raging against all kinds of screens. So, what to do? Go back to basics. Limit the number of screens in your household and develop some rules with your family members on how you are all going to manage your screen time.
Children aren't born with an ability to self-regulate and practice self-control. Therefore, parents should be very cautious about their own habits and behaviour around their children. Fact is, your child learns by copying the behaviour of adults around them. If you don't want your child staring at a screen all day, then you better make sure you set the example.
“Modelling can be a very powerful influencing skill with older children as well as with the very young. If teens like the way you talk to them, they will listen to what you have to say. Of course, it’s important to start your modelling at the very beginning. It’s not realistic to expect brand-new modelling to abruptly change a teenager’s habits and tastes developed over many years." - Michelle Adams, Vice-President of Gordon Training International
The tech space describes today's children as the most 'connected' generation. While this is true in the online networking space; can the same be said about children in the family space?
Learn more: www.parents.co.za
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