Parenting constantly changes and evolves, especially when it comes to the most challenging parts. It used to be that moms and dads only needed to worry about getting their children to eat their vegetables or regulating their little ones’ TV time. Parenting has changed yet again in this digital age where the need-to-connect society is ruling our lives. The Washington Post reveals that the average American child spends five to eight hours a day in front of a digital screen—preferring this over unstructured play. The same report points out, however, that this trend can still be changed with a little patience. Here are a few things that can help you raise good kids in the digital age.
Learn As Many Of The Platforms As You Can
You can’t protect your children from the dangers online if you don’t know which websites they visit or which social media platforms they’re on. Lifehack lists a number of apps and websites that every parent should know about, including Instagram, Snapchat, and Tinder, among others. But it’s sites like Chatroulette that you need to be wary about. It’s an online chat website that randomly pairs users for webcam-based conversations, encouraging candid conversations with strangers—not something you want your children to discover. Keep yourself updated by joining parenting forums and reading through digital news websites.
Establish Limits, Routines, And Ground Rules
In a parenting guideline on the New York Times, parent and digital mom Melanie Pinola suggests you should pay attention when your children say they’re bored without technology. This is the perfect time to set some ground rules and explain why it’s necessary to regulate screen time. Your smaller children might not be able to understand it immediately, but you need to hold your ground and firmly implement your rules. You need to be prepared to revisit this topic with your children again and again.
When it comes to your children’s screen time, there are parental control apps that you can use to help you set time limits and which content your children should have access to. Apps like FamilyTime are suggested by Digital Trends, which allows you to set homework and bedtimes or simply limit the time your children spend on their phones. Qustodio is also a great option, especially for busy parents. It sets time limits, tracks texts, and filters out racy websites.
Encourage Open Communication
Children aren’t always very open when it comes to their activities online, especially preteens, so it’s best to start while they’re still young. Cultivate a culture of open communication in your home before anything else. Learn to listen to your children when they want to say something. Trust their word and never dismiss their feelings.
Expose Your Children To Other Kids Their Age
Today’s Parent believes that you will see a dramatic shift in your children’s stress levels, self-esteem, self-regulation, and overall happiness when you give them enough time and freedom outdoors. Taking your children outside with other kids their age can also be good for them. Friendship is one of the best ways to make our lives happier. Good friends are also critical when it comes to developing self-confidence.
Taking your kids to play outside is also a good way to get them away from constantly looking at a screen, but more importantly, you’re instilling healthy habits early on that will prevent them from becoming sedentary as they grow older.
If you have very young children, you should invest time in taking them out in a pushchair, to gradually help them become more familiar with the outdoors. The best way to do this is by looking for a pram that enables you to take your young child to parks, forests, and anywhere else that will get them away from technology. The collection of single prams on iCandy shows how modern pushchair designs take into consideration the need to navigate different terrains. Whether it is busy streets, pavements, or even grass, these contemporary lightweight pushchairs will be able to aid you in getting your children closer to nature.
It’s important to remember that by teaching your kids to play outside and socialize with other kids you’re creating wholesome habits as well as social skills that will help them develop into well-rounded individuals.
How do you manage your kids’ tech use?