We keep hearing that we should restrict technology/screen time for children to X hours/minutes a day but what should they do instead?
All you have done is made technology/screen time this highly craved experience that’s sought after daily, binged at every opportunity until taken from their grasp.
They become obsessed.
What if you could allow your child to have technology/screen time but choose themselves when they have had enough and pursue a more worthwhile, beneficial activity?
“The Self Motivated Kid” points towards offering alternatives to your child and allowing them to choose which activity to pursue without force.
Here is an example I was able to put into practice:
It was a rainy Saturday and both my children Anna (aged 5) and Harry (aged 3) were sitting on the couch playing on their tablets. While trying to communicate with them several times and receiving nothing back I decided to put the concept from “The Self Motivated Kid” into practice.
I took some sports equipment (cones, agility ladder and hurdles) and placed it on the floor in a structured fashion. I then started to jump over the hurdles, stepping through the ladder and weaving in and out of the cones.
Anna peered over the top of her tablet curiously asking “what are you doing?”, quickly followed by “can I have a turn?”
She immediately starting tackling the obstacles and asking how to navigate the course. Harry quickly followed suit and the tablets laid on the couch without a second thought (a good opportunity to charge them up)!
We spent two hours playing different games, having lots of fun and getting exercise at the same time, some real bonding time together. Not only that they soon got their imaginations into gear thinking up all types of elaborate, fun games to play. This normally consisted of them collecting cones until the music stopped and the crocodile (played by the parent/carer obviously) trying to eat them!
So now the children will ask for exercises, obstacles, games as well as their technology/tv time depending on how they are feeling!
Technology is here to stay and kids will need to master it, however opening up their minds to other alternatives and letting them choose when and how long to devote to each is probably the winning formula.
The “Self Motivated Kid” compares different parenting approaches mainly the tiger parent who has a very rigid/structured timetable for their children to a dolphin parent who allows a bit more choice/freedom for their children within their schedule.
We would definitely recommend reading this book for some top parenting tips!