I get it. We are in a world now that revolves around.. you guessed it. Technology. But why is it that people think it is okay to constantly be on it when visiting loved ones? We quickly jump onto Google to find quick information out, we like or love posts on Facebook, and we scroll for hours on Pinterest. Sure you may do that while taking a bathroom break, resting in bed, or when the kiddos are napping, but why is it when the kids are here?
The HCBM does not limit usage on tablets or television, clearly. We have SS11 who will decide to not visit his father due to our limitations. We have SD8 who tries to sneak the tablet in. And we have SS4 who will steal others’ tablets in order to get screen interaction. The children have always told us that they are given tablet and television time whenever-and-wherever. Why? To push the children off so that YOU can do things that you want to do? How is that developing a relationship with the child? I understand, cleaning and chores need done. Great. But when the use of technology is an all-day thing, how can you say you and your child are growing as a family?
Vent over. Phew, okay now to some logic here. Per the American Academy of Pediatrics, they “recommend no more than two hours of entertainment time per day for school-age kids, and no more than one hour per day before school-age.” My fiance gets the children for four hours during the week. That would mean half of the visitation time would be on electronics. Nuts right? On the weekends, we limit tablet and television time to being only an hour a day, divided into thirty minute intervals.
I know it is hard to steer the kids away from technology, but hopefully with the tips below, you can have a successful, unplugged visit!
When the children are becoming greedy and disrespectful about the time given on technology, issue “time outs” on the technology. Explain to them that they will not receive free time if they continue to act rude about the usage. In our home, if the children get ten stickers within the weekend (by doing chores, going above-and-beyond, or behaving amazing) we offer “free time” that can be granted further than the thirty minute intervals.
Coming up, winter will restrict you on the activities you can do outdoors. BUT!! You can always go to local museums or indoor-activities to keep all children interested in being active. Locally, we have a children’s museum that is open for all ages, so it is great for our youngest (two) and our oldest (eleven). You can also engage in board games or drawing.
Let It All Out:
Sometimes the children just need someone to listen. A good way to bond as a family, rather than divide into different rooms and on technology, is to sit at the dining room table and just let each other talk. Whether it be: what did you learn today at school, what did you have for lunch, what is on your mind that is bothering you, what makes you happy. Get the children’s mind going and let them open up. Reassure them that you ARE listening to their feelings, and that no comment is a dumb comment.
Family Tablet Use:
If you absolutely cannot find anything to do (such as a winter day), pull out the tablet. Not for individual use, but for a family use. We like to turn on Kids Bop and have a mini dance session. The kids do this for about an hour, then they start winding down. There are so many apps that could be downloaded as a family to enjoy.
To have an unplugged weekend, you also have to limit your phone usage. You expect the children to be there for their father and you, so you need to be there for the kids. You cannot develop as a family, if your noses are in a screen. Harsh I know, but I promise you one thing, the Facebook posts can wait. The emails can be checked on business hours. The text can wait after your visiting time. But, the bond and love for the children (and the love for you) cannot wait. It needs to grow, and remain strong.
I hope you have a great unplugged weekday or weekend. Give it a try, and see the change in the children. 🙂