Parenting in a technology-rich world is not easy! At Eduro Learning one of the new things we’re most excited about is our new series of online classes and resources designed specifically for parents. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be sharing some of those resources (for free!) to give you a taste of what our Parenting in the Digital Age online course is like, and we’re going to be doing a weekly Facebook Live session to share some of our thoughts, ideas, tips and strategies.

Kim kicked us off with our first FBLive “How is Learning Different Today?” last Friday.  You can watch the recorded version here and there’s still time to grab the freebie 7 Things Parents Need to Know About Kids and Tech. (You’ll need to give us your email address – even if you’ve given it to us before. Don’t worry, we won’t add you to the newsletter twice or spam you – we just want to know which resources are most useful for you so we can send you the right stuff!)

Teacher friends, you might find these resources and FBLive sessions helpful for those times when you’re having conversations with parents about these topics too. So go ahead and grab the freebies and watch the FBLive live or watch the recorded one later!  We’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and strategies too!

Next week it’s my turn to host the FBLive session (Friday 9am GMT+8) and I’ll be chatting about Technology Never Sleeps: Managing our Many Digital Devices. I’m taking a leaf out of Kim’s book, and sharing some of my thinking here as a mini-preview to the FBLive on Friday morning. (Plus it’s about time I started blogging regularly again!)

Our free resource this week, or freebie as I like to call it, is Top 10 Tips for Managing Screen Time

We know that our kids spend a lot of time online and often from multiple devices. From homework and listening to music to instant messaging friends and checking out the latest on social media, the reality is they’re probably using a screen every day. Also, sometimes digital devices can also be an easy option to keep our younger ones occupied in our busy lives. Even more challenging is the 24/7 access, the amount of screen time and the balance (or lack of) between online and offline. I know we say this all the time – the best thing we can do to help our kids is to have regular conversations that help build good habits and careful decision making when it comes to realities of having access to so much technology today.

When I think about digital devices and good habits I think about three things; Balance; Screen Time and Being a role model.  Here’s why (and how) …

Balance

 

It’s important to help our children (and ourselves!) maintain a healthy balance between online and offline activities.  Some ways to do this:

Have a “no screen” day
We had no screen Tuesday. No special reason it was Tuesday, that’s just the day we all agreed to and that included no TV on Tuesdays too!

Provide alternatives to screens
Having fun crafts, games, books, puzzles, puppets, and art supplies available with easy access lets kids see that they really do have other options other than digital devices. Outdoor activities can become a regular feature of weekends and something that every family member can enjoy and benefit from.

Manage Screen Time

How much screen time is too much? Ah, the question we get asked the most! There is no “right” answer because this one is personal – personal to you and your family and values.  A few ideas that may help:

Time Trade
My 15 year old son earns screen time by practising his basketball skills. Every half hour of physical activity earns him an hour on his xBox. If I’d been on-to-it, I would have connected his screen time to the amount of vacuuming he did for me!

Choose the better kind of screen time
Look for educational content which develops a range of skills: cognitive skills, early maths skills, early reading and writing skills, fine motor skills, creativity, imagination, language even understand more about the world.
CommonSenseMedia makes it easy to find great media (age-appropriate apps, games, websites, movies etc) for kids.

Be a Role Model

Remember that saying, “Monkey see, monkey do?”  

No devices at the dinner table
This has to be the best rule we ever made. Even our visitors comply! This works when we’re out too! Try The Phone Stack! It’s hilarious!

Be present
When your child is trying to show you something, or have a conversation with you, put your device down and they will be more likely to as well.

Final Thoughts

These were just three things that immediately sprung to my mind when thinking about building good habits for managing the many digital devices in our lives and our children’s live today . What do you think? Is there something critical that I missed? If you’re a parent, what do you struggle with? What habits are you helping your children build?

If you’re interested in continuing this conversation (or you know someone who might be interested), please join me this Friday (9am GMT+8) for another Facebook Live session on our Eduro Learning FB page and don’t forget about the freebie Top 10 Tips for Managing Screen Time!