These days, the ultimate reward, or consequence, for kids is the use or loss of tech time. It rules everything in my household. I limit a lot of my kids access to technology and try to encourage them to play outside, be creative, read, and even just be bored, at times.
But it’s pretty hard to escape technology all together, and so we try to find ways to balance our kids summer days. In order to encourage them to be productive and let them have the flexibility to use their devices within set reasonable expectations and limits.
We’ve found ways to compromise and lower the struggle over constant requests to play on their tablet, on the Wii, on the computer, watch TV, and other tech time pleas. Today, I’ll share 5 tips to help your family avoid a tech struggle this summer, too!
This post is sponsored by TechDen. All opinions are my own.
5 Tips to Manage
Tech Time this Summer
1. Define Tech Time Limits
Plan a family meeting and discuss what you together as a family decide is a reasonable amount of time during the day to be able to use tech devices. You might consider factors such as:
- Child’s age
- Family schedule
- Extra curricular activities
- Types of activities and games they choose
- Other activities and interest you want them to pursue
For some families, a half an hour might be best for the child while in other homes 1-2 hours might be totally fine. Do what works for your family.
While planning for overall time allowance to use device, also be sure to set times of day / hours available so that tech doesn’t overrun the entire day!
2. Set Clear Expectations for Using Devices
We have very specific websites, apps, and games we are not comfortable with our children using based on their ages and history with tech.
For example, I don’t want my young boys on any online gaming platforms because we have run into issues with this in the past. So for us, that was an easy boundary to set in place.
Be clear in outlining what you child(ren) are allowed to use tech for and what they are not. Then, have clearly explained consequences that everyone understands for when any rules may be broken.
3. Determine any Pre-Requisites for Tech Time
One thing that has really helped our home environment is to have certain tasks each family member needs to complete before they can use any tech time.
What those tasks entail will be different for each child and each family. But some ideas could include: clean bedroom, finished with homework, backpack and shoes put away, put away items in one room of the home, sweep, unload the dishwasher, take out the trash, etc.
During the summer, my boys list includes read for 30 minutes, play outside, a clean room, and they each have one room of the house they are responsible for keeping picked up of all the items that tend to spread around the home.
Their task list doesn’t take them long at all, and then they are free to use their tablets at any point the remainder of the day for their allowed amount of time. For us, during the summer, we feel like 1 hour a day is a reasonable amount of time.
4. Use Tech to Help Manage Their Tech
While tech devices can be a huge struggle, there is also tech that can help you manage and regulate devices. It can be a game changer for parents to help you set those limits and expectations and let your children learn to self-regulate.
TechDen is a service that brings both the hardware and the software together to provide solutions for monitoring devices. It includes a central place to store tech devices like smartphones, tablets, or mp3 players that might need to be moderated.
The devices are plugged in and can charge between uses which also helps keep them out of sight, out of mind. Then, you can use the parent TechDen app to set up a schedule and time allowance for each of your children and devices.
You’ll connect the TechDen Junior app onto your children’s devices to help alert them when their time is coming to an end to take away some of that stress from you as a parent.
5. Teach Regulation and Moderation
You can use their tech devices to help teach the kids important life skills of self regulation, moderation, and help instill trust. Instead of devices always being a struggle to fight, you can turn them into a teaching tool and let your kids learn more autonomy.
With the TechDen app children are rewarded with points when they return their devices on time when their allotment is up. This provides positive reinforcement that helps children want to return their device on time!
Instead of making it about rules, regulations, and enforcement, with TechDen you can be teaching the children to start to self manage their use of technology so it becomes a healthy habit for their lifetime.
Since they get to make choices, choose when to use their tech time during the window of time you have set up and following your schedule, they will start learning those lessons of moderation.
This can really helps children to stop obsessing over device time the whole day and instead choose when to use their time, and move on with other interests throughout the day!
How TechDen Works
This quick video is really helpful to show how TechDen can be used as a helpful tool in managing devices.
Overall Thoughts on TechDen
As a busy mom of 4 young boys, I really appreciate what TechDen has created to bridge the gap that forms without solutions in place to help. As a family, we’ve resorted to locking up devices in a gun safe just to keep them out of the way, and far away as a temptation.
It was really inconvenient for us, as parents, to have to get the devices out and makes the process difficult for everyone. While their devices were secure, we didn’t have any good solutions for time limits and the nagging ensued.
It also meant our kids had to come to use each time they wanted their device and it was a constant conflict point. Which created more of an obsession for tech in our kids and as parents we found ourselves trusting devices and our children’s ability to moderate more and more.
There is a huge need for solutions like TechDen to help families manage tech time and find the balance between parental oversight and children taking responsibility for their choices.
Together, with TechDen, families can start to get back to a place where screen time can be a healthy part of their overall day.
Where kids can manage their own tech time, receive built-in positive reinforcement for their good choices, and start to overcome many of the negatives of devices. All while creating a more balanced uses of time, technology, and real-life connections.
What other tips do you have that have helped your family manage tech time?