By: Dilini Dharmawardana, LMFT
Oftentimes, what happens during the summertime is parents allow their children free reign over technology. Then, when school starts again in the fall parents struggle with limiting the use of technology. I have worked with many parents who struggle with getting their children to complete homework due to TV watching or video game playing. Let’s consider how you can best limit the technology use of your child once school starts!
One good way to prevent tantrums when the school year starts again is to keep the same no technology rules over the summer as during the school year. Think about how hard going from having limitless technology to having almost none would be for us as adults. I’ve heard from many parents that I’ve previously worked with that their child watches TV after school and when the time for homework comes their child throws a fit. If your child has difficulty with the prospect of no technology after school then I suggest completely shutting off and unplugging devices. You might even find that you enjoy the time too.
Sometimes your child needs access to the internet or TV for a homework assignment. If you absolutely must allow your child to be on electronics during homework time, consider limiting access until those homework assignments are done. These rules and limits may lead to tantrums, however, think about how when you were young and there was no internet and you were able to complete homework assignments and still pass. If we encourage children not to use the internet for homework, we can encourage them to engage in reading more.
One way that you may be able to successfully shut off technology is to set up timers for the wi-fi, unplug the TV, and set-up automatic timers on video game systems. Most children love to do what their parents are doing, so if you limit the amount of time you spend on video game systems and the internet. I have also spoken with many parents in my career who let their children watch TV or sit on the IPad before school or at night before bed. This can oftentimes lead to tantrums at bedtime when the time to shut off and go to school or go to bed comes. Allow at least an hour technology free before bedtime during the school year and at other times as well too. The light from technological devices tricks our brains into thinking daylight is still there. You may find that your child doesn’t sleep right away at bedtime if they have just finished using their technological device. In the morning, technology can make leaving on time for school difficult or eating breakfast difficult. Consider having your child focus on eating their breakfast without the interruption of technology.
School and the struggles of starting a new school year is difficult enough without technology. Consider the difficulty that is added when your child wants to stay on the device a little longer in the morning or at night before bed or even when they’re supposed to be doing homework. Follow these pieces of advice in order to minimize as much hassle as possible during the school year as well as throughout the entire year!