With children as young as two and three years taking an unfathomable fancy to smart phones and tablets, digital devices are becoming staples in the modern day parenting. And understandably so. After all, isn’t it more effortless to launch a kid friendly application on your smart phone and amuse your children anywhere, anytime rather than to baby sit them? But what you perceive as a harmless way to educate, entertain or stimulate your child’s mind could be welcoming the newest trouble on the block for both you and your child.
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As long as children are not excessively reliant on digital gadgets, there’s nothing to worry about. But if they start crying, sulking, throwing temper tantrums or go on a silent mode every time after parents confiscate these devices, they may be suffering from ‘iPaddy’ syndrome. This extreme behaviour can not only leave parents worrisome but also impact children’s overall well being in the long run. Here are 5 tips to rescue your child from ‘iPaddy’ syndrome before it’s too late.
1. Set a restricted gadget play time
Remember, you are the parent and you set the rules in the house. So, have a small tech talk with your children and set your expectations clear regarding the usage of digital devices. Tell your children that they will be allowed to play video games or apps for an hour or two on the weekends only or during special occasions like birthdays and travel. But to do so, they will have to score brownie points by being on their best behaviour and completing the list of tasks assigned at school or home for the entire week. For example, they can earn a tech time of 5 minutes for each brownie point.
2. Use non – digital diversions
Encourage your children to find alternative ways to fight boredom by reading books, learning a musical instrument or signing up for hobby/sports/language classes. These activities would gradually minimize their exposure to the virtual world.
3. Take a tech break
Switch off all your mobile phones, iPads etc for a day or two and go on a vacation with your family. Or you can declare one day of the week as a tech free day, when every member of the family is restricted from using their gadgets. You can even set every day tech rules such as ‘No phones allowed during meal times’ or ‘no video games, only outdoor play in the evenings’.
4. Refrain from gifting or punishing
These days, tech gifts rank high on children’s wish list. Ideally, you should refrain gifting your kids such expensive devices before the age of 15-16. If at all you decide to gift the same, make sure that you keep the ownership and control what the child can do or play on it. Many parents also use smart phones and tablets as a means to bribe or punish their children to get a particular task done. This is not advisable, as will only make you and your child more dependent on tech tools.
5. Be a role model
Are you hooked to chatting or texting while munching on food? Chances are that your children will follow your footsteps. You should keep in mind that children often impersonate their parents. To develop good tech habits in your children, you have to make sure that you follow them first.
Does your child throw an iPaddy? Tell us how you handle the situation.
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