There have been several studies showing the harmful effects that gadget addiction can have on young children. A lot of parents rely on tablets and YouTube to serve as digital nannies to their kids so that they can have time to work and finish household chores.
However, earning money and maintaining a clean home must come second to your child. You have to nip this gadget addiction in the bud as early as possible and encourage your little ones to pursue low-tech hobbies or those that don’t need an Internet connection.
This will definitely prove to be a challenge because your kids will surely protest and whine and complain about not being able to watch their favorite videos online. Nonetheless, you should persevere if you want them to develop the right habits and values.
Here are ways to encourage your kids to have hobbies that don’t involve gadgets:
1. Spend Time with Them
The first thing you should do is to stop scrolling your social media feed and get down on the floor with your children. If it’s your day off from work, think of free things to do in your spare time that are child-friendly.
You can have them join you as you workout at home or walk around your neighborhood and explore places that you haven’t visited before. You can also go camping and allow your kids to experience their first night out of the house without the distraction they get from electronics.
Regardless of the activities that you plan, the most crucial thing that your children must see from you is your willingness to let go of your own gadget addiction and give them uninterrupted care.
While being offline may give you a major case of the FOMO or fear of missing out, the news you receive online will never equate to the milestones you witness and memories you create when you take the time to give your kids your undivided attention.
2. Change Their Routine
Similar to adults, some kids today wake up and reach for their tablets immediately. They start the day with digital nourishment instead of filling their tummies with a hearty breakfast.
One way to encourage your kids to have hobbies that don’t involve technology is to shake things up in terms of their routine. You can establish a “no breakfast, no gadgets” policy, as well as a “no screen time on the dining table.”
If your kids are heavily dependent on their phones, you may start by introducing these rules one by one. With this, they can let go of their addiction bit by bit and have a higher likelihood of succeeding.
Create a screen-time schedule with your kids and stick to it religiously. Talk with your child about why watching too many videos or playing online games too long can harm them.
3. Keep Gadgets Out of Reach
Another way to encourage kids to play outdoors is by keeping their gadgets out of reach. They may throw a tantrum at first, but you can just distract them with an offline activity to alleviate their frustration.
Again, it’s crucial that you are there to spend time and play with them. Your presence and full attention signal to them that they are more important than your work or business responsibilities.
4. Look for Fun Gadget-Free Ways to Play
Spending too much time in front of the screen doesn’t provide any benefit for your child’s physical growth. Encourage them to engage in sports and other physical activities to strengthen their bodies.
For toddlers, help them develop their motor skills by letting them scribble stuff on paper using pencils and crayons. Building blocks are also effective ways to boost the cognitive and physical growth of your kids.
5. Assign Household Chores to Them
Children who can understand instructions can be taught how to help out at home. You may be thinking that they’ll end up making a massive mess, so it’s better if you do the chores yourself.
However, when you take the time to teach them how to fulfill tasks correctly, you’re actually making them more independent. You may be investing extra effort now, but the rewards you reap in the future will be worth it.
Today’s digital age has exposed children to various types of technologies. While this would mean that information is now right at their fingertips, spending too much time in front of their screens can harm their physical, emotional, social, and cognitive development.
Encourage your kids to pursue hobbies that don’t involve gadgets so that they’ll learn the necessary life skills and knowledge the right way.