How to get your children to unplug from technology
Grounding? Artful persuasion?
What’s the best way to motivate kids to give up their technology, even temporarily? Lisa Vaupel, a therapist at Washburn Center for Children, offers a few ideas:
Distract. Get kids interested in something else. “As a family, say, ‘We’re going to the park’ or on a bike ride. They’re getting off their technology and getting great interactions with their family.”
Enrich. Find something else your kids are interested in, from swimming to a book club.
Delay gratification. “Technology can be the reward in a limited dose, but have them complete tasks first. For younger children, say, ‘If you get dressed, brush your teeth and eat breakfast, you can have 15 minutes of screen time.’ With older kids, first they do chores, then they get the wireless password,” which means you might have to change that password tomorrow.
Read. Put down the phones and read a book together, “or have them read to you.”
Teach time management. Allot 30 minutes to screen time, which teaches them how fast time flies.
Role model. “At the park, do we pull out our cellphone after we’ve just told them to go play?” Instead, go talk to another parent.
Use technology wisely. “Kids need to use their technology, and we want them to use it and understand it. For example, technology is great for organizing. Have them use alarms to remind them to do their laundry. Or text your kid and say, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about you. I’m really curious about your day.’?”