How to Wean Your Kids Off Their Gadgets (Without Going Insane!)

Does your child suddenly speak with a British accent? Chances are, she is hooked on Peppa Pig. Is slime-making an utmost concern? Check how many hours she spent logged on to Youtube watching D.I.Y. video tutorials. Are you having a hard time asking her to put her gadgets down and have an actual conversation that lasts for more than half a minute? We feel you. It’s hard to raise a “low media child” nowadays when everything revolves around a screen. All the studies will tell you that too much gadget use for children will not benefit them, nor you in the long run. Is there still a way back to a time called B.G. or Before Gadgets, or would you just go insane in the attempt? Well we’re here to tell you that with a few changes, it is possible! Here’s how.

Baby and Breakfast: Parenting How to Wean Your Kids Off Their Gadgets (Without Going Insane!)

 

1. Control, Deny, or Quit.

Nobody said it was easy, and curbing screen time will surely bring on tears, pleas, and tantrums. But with the end goal in mind, start off with controlling the access to the remote control. I’ve seen kids below the age of two know how to operate Smart TV remotes; and while that may be somewhat impressive, it just reflects how much media has infiltrated their minds. Keep the remote control or gadget somewhere he can’t easily access it. For older kids, create a discussion. Talk about limits and parameters, and compromise on a time allowance for gadget use. Others may try to quit cold turkey, and if you know you have the guts to stick to your decision, then go for it. The point is, create a change in behavior.

 

2. Create the Toy Experience

For those with younger kids, experts really vouch for Montessori-type toys. Busy boards, sensory toys, and the like will help them wean off and be on their way to becoming a low-media child. It’s also advisable to keep the shelves and toy racks or bins low and accessible, so that they can easily find alternatives to their tablets and game controllers. Make playtime experiential! Eventually, you would have paved the way for self-directed play, wherein your child becomes less demanding and is then able to have independent playtime. This can reverse the altering effects of media, and instead encourage discovery, creativity, and imagination.

 

3. Music and Crafts

This takes some getting used to, as well as actual time spent getting your child to hone in on an activity. Teach him how to copy his favorite tune on the keyboard or guitar, and while you’re at it, chime in and be his backup maracas player! If your child is crafty, a good way to get him busy is through arts and crafts, and there are a million do-it-yourself activities these days. Indeed, slime-making is messy business, but it does do the trick, and there are many different kinds you can make together. You can also do painting-related activities together. And remember, celebrate the effort as well as the artistic output!

 

4. Outdoor Time

When you go through the weaning off process, try not to stay too cooped up at home! Take your family out to a park or take a hike. Yes, involving the whole family would do this effort good because it isn’t just your child who has to lay off on the gadget use. Everyone has to pitch in, and pitching a tent can do wonders for anybody who needs to actually flex muscles outside of playing video games. Set up playdates and hold them in a park where you and your families can enjoy a nice picnic. Or, you could always go on that nature trip you’ve always wanted to try but never had the guts or the motivation for.

 

5. Discover and Foster Interests

When you let your child stew inside the house with nothing to do, chances are, he will gravitate towards the easiest, most digestible form of entertainment. So why don’t you invest in his physical and mental wellness by enrolling him in a class? There are plenty all year long, and all you, as the parent have to do is observe what sort of things interest him. Would he be up for a painting class? Wall climbing? Football? Biking? Gymnastics? Singing and dancing? Whatever it may be, it would take some effort and time from your end, but this keeps your child’s mind from wandering off towards the latest video games.

 

6. Participate

The most important part in this journey is your participation. You can’t just bark off orders to keep him from using gadgets 24/7 when you are, in fact, even more glued. You also have to pitch in and try to have real face-to-face time instead of communicating via different messaging apps. You can also raise a low-media child through really sitting down with him when he wants to build a 10,000 piece puzzle, and pretend you have a clue where the next piece goes.

 

Part and parcel of parenting is guidance, time, and effort. If you’re reading this, then chances are, you are up for the challenge. Remember: You’ve got this!

 

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  1. #7 Parents should switch off too. Don’t use your tablet or phone in front of them. Switch off the tv’s and have family time.

  2. If it is a lifestyle for the whole household to not be using gadgets, no need to “divert” the kids’ attention by doing something else. nothing wrong with hiking, arts and crafts or other activities – in fact these are really good for children’s development. but there is no need for these to be used as a “distraction” for them to forget about gadgets. If gadgets are not prominent at home, they can just stay home all day without having to “avoid” it. And if gadgets are not available at home, even if you do not “entertain” your kids with activities, they will automatically be creative and create their own games and activities. You will be surprised with their imagination. They will make use of what is readily available at home (even used tissue rolls!) and be creative and happy with it.

    Wean the home first, and parents should wean too, then as a result, the kids will wean themeselves too. Tried and tested. My kids used to watch TV a lot and they have not watched for months now because we made it a lifestyle at home. Although, it meant that we too should not watch TV. Our kids go to bed early and that is our me time. That is when we watch TV. After all, everything is on demand now. So let us not be selfish, we can watch our favorite shows later when kids are not around.

    It’s like encouraging kids to eat vegetables. You serve them vegetables and you eat it with them.

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