The best way for parents to teach their kids healthy habits when it comes to using technology is to model those healthy behaviors. Kids will do whatever they see you doing. So if you tell your kids not to be on their phones all the time but you have a phone stuck to your hand for hours they will see that, and they will spend more time on their phones no matter what you tell them. Kids copy the behaviors that they see in their parents. So if you really want to make sure that your kids know how to use technology in a safe and healthy way you should be modeling safe and smart use of technology for them. The four most important habits you should develop to show your kids the right way to use technology are:
Phone Off At Night
Having your phone next to you at night can really interrupt your sleep and it makes it very tempting to be on social media first thing in the morning or last thing at night, which isn’t healthy. A lot of people leave their phones next to them at night out of habit, or in case of emergencies, but it’s not healthy to leave your phone right next to you all night. Get an old-fashioned cordless phone and a home phone line that you can use in emergencies. A great way to teach kids to turn off their phones at night is to have a family charging station in the kitchen, laundry room, or another central room. Every night have each member of the family, including the adults, put their phones on chargers and leave them there all night.
Phone Off During Meals
You can’t expect kids to understand the importance of meals together when you are on your phone the entire time that you’re eating. Show kids that mealtimes matter and put your phone in your bag or your pocket and don’t take it out at all during mealtimes. That will show kids that they should focus on their food and the company they are with and not their phones while they eat.
Phone Off In The Car
Being distracted by a cell phone causes thousands of accidents every year, some of them fatal. Texting while driving is illegal in many places but people do it anyway. And people are constantly distracted by phone calls when they are driving. When was the last time you almost got into an accident in your car because another driver was on the phone? It happened to me this morning. Teach your children to be better drivers and to stay safe while driving by putting their phones away while they are driving by putting your phone in the center console, in your bag, or in the glove box while you are driving.
Phone Off When You Are With Family
If you want your kids to value the family time you need to value it also by turning off your phone and putting it away during family movies, family meals, and other quality family time. Don’t use spy apps at the table!