Children from very early ages are becoming too dependent on their electronic devices for information, entertainment, and stimulation. There have been countless articles, blog posts, and discussions regarding how to engage children, and encourage them to shut off their music players, gaming consoles, laptops, and smart-phones. There are many simple alternatives that include crafts, getting them to help with cooking, watching a movie together, or going for a walk. Those ideas require a bit of time, but no money. They are within any family budget.
Another way to engage the kids is to set an example. Parents can turn off their smart-phones during meal times and family time, and establish a rule that all family members must follow. Waiting until children are older before getting them a smart-phone is another way to encourage them not to rely on electronics. Providing one laptop for the family, instead of providing one for each member, is also a cost-effective way to limit electronics use. One gaming system for the family, rather than one for every television in the house will also save money as it naturally limits reliance on electronics fir entertainment.
Parents may also consider signing up their children for community sports teams, or enrolling them in music lessons. Those activities exercise the body and the mind, help develop social skills, and build self-confidence. If children have no interest in team sports, take them hiking, go to a park, visit the beach, or participate in a community event. Except for a basic cell phone for safety, everyone should leave their electronics at home during these outings to maximize attention and enjoyment of the day.
Other ideas that may engage kids include introducing them to a hobby, such as gardening, building model airplanes, participating in school productions, or photography that does not involve “selfies”. Parents can learn more information be discussing the issue with the whole family, getting input on ideas and interests, and trying new things that do not require electricity, batteries, or a wireless internet connection. Electronics are an important aspect of daily lives these days, but there are simple ways of preventing use from dominating the time and energy of kids.