by Robert "Daddy" Nickell
With social media and gaming pounding down the nursery door, you have a right to be a little bit concerned about the future of your child. Kids these days are growing up while being constantly bombarded by the drones of social media and gaming devices. Thanks to smartphones, they are able to stay connected 24/7 exerting all of their time and energy into a technological device and falling short at life’s more exciting ventures.
Having six kids of my own, ranging in age from 6 months to 25 years, they’ve taught me a thing or two about the importance of staying connected while not revolving your life around video games and Facebook.
It’s important to monitor the amount of time your kids spend in front of the television, game controller in hand, with their personal gaming device or on the Internet socializing. Don’t get me wrong, these activities can be wonderful and enjoyable and provide a fantastic way to stay connected to friends, however, they only act as positives in your children’s lives if they are done in moderation.
Here are a few tips I’ve come up with to help parents manage the amount of time your child spends with social media and gaming.
Level one: Start when your kids are young. Set a limit on the amount of time they spend each day on the computer and playing games in front of the television. They will then begin to learn about time management while simultaneously learning that there are other enjoyable ways they can spend an evening or a Saturday.
Ring the dinner bell: I have always felt strongly that families should have dinner together. It allows busy families an hour to simply be together, talk and bond. Start the process by encouraging your child help with dinner preparations; give them a small duty like cooking the biscuits, stirring the sauce, fixing dessert, or even setting the table. Spending time with your child while preparing dinner and then while eating dinner ensures your child has something to do other than sit in front of the computer, plus you are able to sneak in some quality time together.
Alternative activities: Introduce and encourage your child to participate in alternate activities like: riding a bike, playing at the park, throwing the ball around, reading, picking up a new hobby, walking the dog, and even doing their homework! In short, motivate your child to try something new, and don’t forget to show your excitement and enthusiasm for their efforts in decreasing the amount of time they’re spending in front of the television or computer screen.
You too: It seems, often times, kids are bored, so they turn to alternative forms of easy entertainment. Participating in activities with your child is of the utmost importance. Plan afternoons together playing at the park or going on a hike. Family game nights at home are excellent. Board games and card games are always fun. And occasionally, video games and the Wii – but only if you can play with them!
It will take a bit of planning – but it will be worth it to show your child that there’s more to life than then ever-consuming world of gaming and social media. Encourage your child to try something new, or jump right in and try something new right along with your child. Show them the many enjoyable activities available to them daily.
by Robert "Daddy" Nickell