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Oct 08

Using Technology to Your Advantage: Helping Children Find Balance

Welcome to the October 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Technology

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about their families’ policies on screen time.

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I am a fan of technology. Wheels, flushing toilets, and child safety seats are all good in my book. You won’t hear me ranting about the evils of technology. The thing about technology is that it is a tool, meant to add value and ease to our lives. Like anything else, it can be used or abused. For example, a hammer makes putting together a house much easier or can be used in violence against another person. It’s all a choice, and just because you choose to use some technology doesn’t mean that you have to choose to abuse it.

The same can be said when it comes to electronics. While you will find some parents at either extreme of the electronic spectrum, most families want to use it for their purposes and help their children find a healthy balance. That is much easier than it sounds. In a healthy environment, one in which the needs of family members are being bet, children are quite capable of regulating themselves. Here are some things to keep in mind when helping children find balance with electronics:

  • Meet the needs. Individuals may turn to electronics for a myriad of reasons: entertainment, education, relaxation, communication, work, and more. When looking at electronic use, consider why it is being used and if there are more appropriate ways to meet those needs. If so, help with it.
  • Model the behavior. Children watch everything you do. If you feel your children are turning to electronics too much, it may be time to look at your own usage.
  • Offer an alternative. Children strive for and thrive on spending time with loved ones. If they are turning to electronics due to boredom or lack of attention, chances are they will jump when offered the opportunity to do something with you.
  • Talk to your kids. Explain your views, ideals, and beliefs to them. Listen to them.

photo credit: Amarand Agasi via photopin cc

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (list will be updated throughout the day on October 8):

  • Has Technology Taken Away Childhood? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama worries that technology is intruding on the basic premise of childhood – active play in all forms! Join her as she takes a brief look at how play has changed as technology becomes more integrated into the daily lives of our children.
  • Fostering a Healthy Relationship with Technology — Jenn at Adventures Down Under describes her children’s love of screen time and how her family implements their philosophy and policies on technology.
  • Kids Chores for Tech PrivilegesCrunchy Con Mommy shares how tying chore completion to iPad privileges worked in her house to limit screen time and inspire voluntary room cleaning!
  • Screens — Without the benefit of her own experience, sustainablemum explains her family’s use of technology in their home.
  • Screen Time – The Battle of Ideologies — Laura from Laura’s Blog explains why she is a mom who prioritizes outdoor natural play for her kids but also lets them have ample screen time.
  • The Day My iPhone Died — Revolution Momma at Raising a Revolution questions the role technology plays in her life when she is devastated after losing her phone’s picture collection from her daughter’s first year.
  • Finding our Technological Balance — Meegs at A New Day talks about how she finds balance between wanting her daughter to enjoy all the amazing technology available to her, without it overwhelming the natural parenting she’s striving for.
  • Raising kids who love TV — Lauren at Hobo Mama sometimes fears what children who love screentime will grow up to be … until she realizes they’ll be just like her.
  • No Limits on Screen Time? Is that Natural? — Susan at Together Walking shares misconceptions and benefits of having no limits on technology and screen time in their home.
  • Screen Time — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares what is currently working (and what hasn’t) regarding screen time in her household.
  • Positive Use of Technology with Kids — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells about her family’s experiences with early technology, shares helpful resources from around the blogosphere, and speculates on what she’d do as a parent with young children today.
  • why i will never quit you, TV — How Emma of Your Fonder Heart came to terms with the fact that screen time is happening, and what balance looks like between real and virtual life for both her toddler AND herself.
  • Technology Speaks — Janet at Our Little Acorn finds many uses for technology – including giving her child a voice.
  • 5 Ways to Extend Children’s Screen Time into Creative Learning Opportunities — Looking for a way to balance screen time with other fun learning experiences? Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares 5 fun ways to take your child’s love of favorite shows or video games and turn them into creative educational activities.
  • What parents can learn about technology from teachers — Douglas Blane at Friendly Encounters discusses how technology in schools enhances children’s learning, and where to find out more.
  • 5 Tips for a Peaceful Home — Megan of the Boho Mama and author at Natural Parents Network shares her favorite 5 tips for creating a peaceful home environment.
  • Technology and Natural Learning — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling writes about the importance of technology as a tool for natural, self-directed learning.
  • Babies and TechnologyJana Falls shares how her family has coped, changed their use of, relied on, and stopped using various forms of technology since their little man arrived on the scene
  • Kids and Technology — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about the benefits of using technology with her preschooler, and includes a few of their favorite resources.
  • Using Technology to Your Advantage: Helping Children Find Balance — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy discusses how technology can be used or abused and gives a few tips to help children learn balance.

 

4 comments

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  1. Susan

    I really like this post. Short and sweet and simple. Perfect. Yes, we can partner with our kids to meet there needs about all things, technology included.

  2. Lauren @ Hobo Mama

    “When looking at electronic use, consider why it is being used and if there are more appropriate ways to meet those needs.” Love this point — it makes it much clearer to interpret whether the technology is being used appropriately and in balance.

    I also love the reminder to look to myself. I do need to do more modeling of enjoying myself away from screens. Since my work is on screens, I know it can seem like all I do is stare at them!

  3. janafalls

    Those are all very good options for helping find balance again if things go too far to the technology side. I’ve made a mental note adding them to my toolkit.

  4. Dionna Ford

    These are the most helpful tips to help children self-regulate screen time that I’ve read. Thank you.
    ~Dionna @ CodeNameMama.com

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