I think we can all agree that parenting with technology is AMAZING (thank you Disney Plus™ for Mandalorian. Our Friday nights are better because of you). But if we continued to be honest (don’t stop reading here) we would have to agree that parenting with technology is also an exhaustive nightmare.
Many of my parenting consultations in therapy end up talking about managing technology (and vaping. but I’ll save that topic for later). So I thought I’d share how we manage technology at our house.
STRUCTURE TECHNOLOGY TIME.
85% of the time we reserve technology time (TV, Ipads, Game Consoles) for weekends (and we start our weekends Friday afterschool.) TGIF!. At first this was kinda tough. There were many many “I’m Bored” whines and I really wanted to give in. Stay strong Parents! Our daily parenting needs to reflect our ultimate goals for our kids. This has been wonderful in our home because the boys come home and they immediately go outside to play. Sometimes we do make exceptions They are just that: But typically, the rule is that we don’t do technology during the week. Because we were consistent, it is now what our kids expect.
ITS SOMETHING TO BE EARNED.
Completed chores during week = technology time Friday-Sunday. Our kids have chores that they do each week. Laundry, keep their room clean, dishwasher, etc. We give them a lot of freedom with their chores (for example we don’t make them put their laundry away right away). BUT if they haven’t done their chores throughout the week, or if they aren’t completed by Friday, they don’t get technology time. It works, y’all.
GUARD UNINTURRUPTED TIME
No technology in the car. I was so excited when we bought our suburban. I could trade in the head-rest contraption that we made to hold Ipads for SCREENS IN THE CAR. I was so excited!!!! And so were the boys. At first we watched a movie every time we got in the car. I am talking like a 9 minute drive, we had TV’s playing. Nope. Not any more. Car time is a gift of uninterrupted time! It’such a great time to talk to your kids, sing songs together, listen to audible books, talk about the day, find out about what is happening at school, etc.
Technology in the car is reserved for long drives or vacations. We keep books and magazines in the car and my Spotify station is always ready to Jam out to our favorite songs (which I guess could be considered technology…but we aren’t going to go that far 😊).
KEEP IT IN THE OPEN.
Technology stays in public place (charges in laundry room). Period. If you want it to be a rule in 5 years, start now. And we do not want technology in bedrooms during their teenage years.
When your kids ARE on their devices or technology, know what they are doing and watching. Play their games with them. Sit next to them when they play Minecraft ©. Watch the ads that pop up when they are playing a newly installed game that they just asked you for. (You probably will be horrified and hopefully will end up removing some games). Raise a red flag if when you get close to them on their device they flinch and hide their screen. Create transparency and safety around technology by really knowing what they are doing and seeing. Have fun with technology together.