SingaporeMotherhood | Parenting

August 2015

Get your Kid to Disconnect from that Gadget!

Every parent has experienced this at some point: you call out to your child but he or she is just too absorbed in the world of their mobile tablets and other devices to even notice what you were saying. You snap your fingers, call to them, but nothing works unless you snatch the device out of their hands. Then you’ll be left with a grumpy kid and a finger-smudged iPhone.

Many parents are also guilty of handing their kids a device just to keep the little ones occupied while the adults indulge in rest time or catch up with work. Granted, devices can help — sometimes — but it’s too easy for children to develop an unhealthy obsession these technological ‘nannies’. Indeed, the link between children and technological devices has reached a rather worrying peak.

How can you handle your child’s use of mobile apps and devices? Here are six ways to break your kids away from the gadgets, give you quality time with your kids, and put them on the path towards a healthier lifestyle.

Introduce sports or hobbies

It has been proven that the earlier you introduce digital devices to your children, the harder it is to pull them away when they grow up.

So why not instil an active culture in your child’s life from the start by introducing hobbies and sports that are beneficial? Doing so, you open them up to advantages like better physical fitness, greater confidence, a stronger self-esteem and energy.

As a first step, bringing them to your local community club and enrolling your child in art, music, dance and other extra-curricular activities would be great. Your child may develop a passion for a certain activity and who knows, that could lead him or her far in life.

Leave the gadgets at home

There is no way we can expect our kids to ‘do it themselves’ when we ourselves are constantly on our devices when we are out. Do away with your constant need to be on your mobile device. Stay determined to give your attention to your kids when you are out with them. Let them know that they are priority for your time, energy and emotions.

Have movie nights in a theatre

It is a little known scientific fact that staying away from using electronic devices leads to increased mindfulness, lowered anxiety, better appreciation of one’s environment, and a more people-oriented outlook.

One of the most effective activities you can achieve a gadget-free environment is to take your children to the movie theatre. Nothing sends a message faster to your children than entertainment and media being presented to them in an old-fashioned way. Take away any devices from them, and soon, their expectations of video consumption would stretch beyond the narrow scope of a phone or a tablet.

children reading

Go to the library

Groucho Marx, American comedian and film star, once said: “I find television very educational. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

He’s right. There is no better way to communicate to your children a love for a more traditional medium like books than by bringing them to the book store or to the library.

Bring them to places where reading is the center of attention and soon you will be educating your child that real books aren’t in a computer tablet, but on tangible bookshelves. For maximum results, read with your children, as there is a high possibility they would be interested in books and reading eventually. That would, in turn, lead to a decreased chance of mental dullness.

Have gadget-free play dates

Arrange gadget-free play dates with your children’s friends. Make sure pretend play, musical games or building block towers are introduced, with no sign of devices, or even game consoles. Not only will you encourage the social skills in your kids, but you will also accelerate their intellectual development in ways you wouldn’t be able to accomplish alone or with your spouse.

Keep dinners gadgets-free

Make dinner time out a device-free period by imposing a ban on mobile phones and tablets at the dining table. Keep things fun and lively by creating a gadgets corner on the dining table to store your family’s phones, and impose penalties if anybody violates the ban.

By keeping phones away from the dining table, parents and children can exchange stories about their day and deepen their understanding as well as talk about current affairs. It is a great way to get to know your children better and deepen their interest in current affairs. Not only will this help you to grow closer to your children, it will also improve their conversational skill, which is a vital soft skill in today’s world. Studies have shown that kids who frequently engage in dining table conversations and post-meal activities with their parents are more likely to become more successful in the working world as they have a greater exposure to sustaining interesting conversations as well as a greater feel for human emotions!

Engage in water play

Lastly, bringing your family to an outdoor pool is one of the most effective ways to introducing an excellent cardio sport to your kids, while engaging your whole household in activity. It is cooling and fun, and your children will gain benefits from swimming: improved brain metabolism, concentration, and physical wellbeing. Best of all, there is zero chance that your child will be able to bring a digital device into a pool – score!

This article was contributed by local online shopping deals site ShopBack.

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Get your Kid to Disconnect from that Gadget!