limiting technology two little boys on smart phones

Summer’s here and for many of us that means more time with our kids. It’s the time of summer camp, sleepy mornings, and more time outside, right?

Not always.

Having the kids underfoot now that school’s out might mean you have less time to do the things you want to do during the summer, and with all that’s available, it’s easy to turn to electronic devices to keep our kiddos entertained. But be sure you know the cost of that kind of childcare.

Yes, technology for kids is a great learning tool as well as a form of entertainment. But try not to turn to it full time. It has some disadvantages that can have long-lasting effects.

Too much technology means added “blue light” which interferes with sleep. Both adults and kids are susceptible to this. Getting enough sleep can be challenging at the best of times, but when you add extra hours of blue light exposure from cell phones, tablets, computers, and television, it becomes a recipe for sleep deprivation. And kids, even more than adults, need those valuable hours of sleep.

Technology also impacts our ability to effectively handle person-to-person activity. We’ve all said it, “No cell phones at the dinner table.” But now you’re finding yourself saying it at all meals, even when you’re all just sitting around relaxing, chances are good everyone present has some kind of screen in front of them. Try to have “technology free” portions of the day when everyone goes out for a walk, a hike, to the park to play soccer, or gather around and break out those puzzles, board games, or cards. This is an essential skill for your kids to have in their future, so use their time off from school to help them develop this life skill.

How many of us notice that our kids seem to have a shortened attention span? Studies have proven that too much screen time has a direct correlation to this problem. Try teaching your kids to use their imagination instead of having everything figured out for them. One way is to read to your children. It doesn’t matter if they’re in kindergarten or eleventh grade, they all benefit from being read to. But have them close their eyes while you read and try to see the “movie” of the story you’re reading to them in their head. Share those experiences. Too many children today have an aversion to reading because there are so many words and no illustrations or videos to go along with it. Today’s kids need to be taught to use their imagination.

Try using time limits, but decide on them as a family. When everyone has a say on what changes are being made, they may not resist it as much. The benefits definitely outweigh the negatives. You may find that everyone is in a better mood as a result, better sleep, better exercise, and better family relationships.