Decreased Time on Electronics, Increased Usage of Imagination
Times have changed since we were kids. Nowadays kids have access to any type of electronic, phones, video games, tablets, computers, etc. We are seeing increase in negative behavior from our kids and studies are clearly showing an increase in negative behavior with increased time on electronics.
One of my clinicians brought up the idea that kids do not seem to have imaginary friends anymore like many of us did as children; their imaginary friends tend to be named Siri and Alexa. But our kids also do not imaginative play much anymore either. So as parents, how do we handle this situation?
I encourage all of my families that I serve at our clinic to have tight restraints on electronics. Here are some tips:
- Keep all electronics password safe that only the adults in the home have access to, this way in order for your child to play on an electronic, they must first ask you
- Set timers on the electronic device or elsewhere that allows the it to shut off after a certain period of time, such as 30 minutes
- Give positive incentives for getting off electronics calmly or for reducing their amount of time on them
- Require certain things be done first before any electronic time, such as chores, homework, or spending time as a family
- Require children to be on electronics in open area of home, such as living room, and not hiding in their bedroom behind a closed door
- Have one day a week be “electronic free day” at home; encourage your child to play outside, read, play with TOYS!
- End any and all electronic time at least 30-60 minutes before bedtime; this helps with transition to bed as well as begins to prepare the brain for sleep
By reducing the amount of time a child (or adult) is on electronics, you are allowing them the opportunity to learn through play, reading, etc. The brain is not overstimulated anymore, and can rest and do what it is designed to do.
At first you may have some difficulty with change in home policy for electronic use; but eventually you should see improved behavior from your child. Give you child the opportunity to allow their brain to be energized by natural play and imagination!
By Jen Edwards, LMHC