3 Ways for Parents to Stop their Love-Hate Relationship with Technology and their Child.

How many times do you find yourself telling your child, “Get off that game and get outside!" BUT you pull out your iPhone whenever you find yourself with a few minutes to spare--like when you and your child are waiting for an appointment--and you wouldn’t replace those apps for anything!   This is a prime example of the love-hate relationship we seem to have with technology when it comes to our children.

So how can we stop this "battle" that seems to be happening when it comes to using technology in our child’s lives?  

1. Well, first of all, ask yourself what your child is gaining by using the app or software.
By “gaining”, I mean you are aware your child is getting something positive from working with technology, such as the ability to connect with people they love through a different platform. Or maybe developing a new interest in something they would normally avoid, such as writing. Even playing a game on a device can be positive if you are there with them -- to talk to them about what they are doing, or what they are creating or trying to accomplish in the game.  Why not try playing the game with your child, so you can have fun with them (and so they can see how bad you are at it--it’s okay, they won’t mind that you can’t do something well for a change!).

It’s all in ‘how’ it’s being used and the focus that is being placed on the positive outcome of it.  

2. Next, consider how you can set up your iPad or laptop so it can take on a more ‘purposeful’ role in your child’s life.  By purposeful role I mean helping them to complete tasks they need to do in school or life, such as increasing their interest in writing for the first time so they can communicate with their dad by texting.  Or using an app to help them review a subject they are learning in class right now. Or using texting or other platforms to learn where the letters are on the keyboard so they can spell their name or write a sentence to someone.  Or allowing them to create using video or picture software or apps.  

I could go on!  All of these purposeful activities allow your child to gain skills they need now and in the future.  And when you set up your iPad or laptop as a "working" or "purposeful" tool, you will be amazed at how your child will start to view it as that--and it will be used for great activities that will make a big difference in their lives (I have no doubt about that).

3. Finally, model the changes you want to see in your children by looking at how you use technology and how often you get outside or get active.  If you only use technology to play games and watch videos, guess what? That’s how it will be used by your child.  Technology is such a powerful tool for the future of our kids. We must model balance as much as we can -- it’s hard sometimes but not impossible.  Focus on what technology can offer.  Set it up to focus on purposeful activities. And then show kids how to enjoy life without it, too--by reconnecting to the outdoors and the people around them.  

Susan Schenk's company "Technology & Tools for kids" offers resources and support for parents and professionals -- so they can help kids gain skills at home and school in a step-by-step approach.  She uses technology and others tools to help kids learn and show others what they know.  These strategies allow kids to learn in a successful and independent way -- and who doesn’t want to learn that way!! Visit her at www.technologyandtoolsforkids.com  

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