The question parents ask themselves is no longer whether they should get their child an electronic device, but when. Some kids are being given smartphones as early as elementary school. While such devices can be incredibly useful and beneficial, bad habits can quickly form through early, prolonged use.
When entrusting your child with an electronic gadget, you need to have a game plan in place. For example, you have to determine what rules and restrictions you’ll need to enforce. You should also think about the lessons you can teach your child as they use their devices. Consider these devices you may give your child one day and how they can be used to develop healthy habits and mindsets:
1. Smart Watch
One of the best devices for teaching healthy habits to both kids and adults is a smart watch. These devices are built for productivity, not for playing games and scrolling through social media. Few devices make a better starting point for introducing kids to technology.
Despite being rather more limited than something like a smartphone, a kids smart watch can still accomplish quite a bit. Better yet, most of the things a smart watch can do will help your child develop healthy habits. A common example is the step counter. Daily step goals teach your child to set and pursue fitness objectives to stay on top of their physical health.
Even though it’s a small, wearable device, your child can still make calls and send texts with a smart watch. They can develop a good habit of texting you every day when they arrive at school safely. Good, honest communication with parents helps to build a healthy, long-term relationship.
Reading is one of the greatest habits you can instill in your child. Consistent reading builds up their imagination, vocabulary, critical thinking, and dozens of other useful skills and attributes. Reading is also enjoyable. It doesn’t feel like a chore when you’re invested in a great story or immersed in learning about a new topic.
All these benefits — in addition to the fact that they forgo games and texting — make e-readers an ideal gadget to give to a child. An e-reader is a perfect stepping-stone to a more capable device, such as a tablet that contains e-books and other functions. By proving they can commit to a long-term reading habit, your child might convince you they’re ready for a device upgrade.
3. Tablet With Screen-Time Monitoring
Tablets are great devices for kids. First off, they are incredibly versatile. Kids can play games, read books, watch shows, and more. Part of that great versatility includes parents’ ability to implement and enforce certain guidelines and restrictions on their use.
Before getting your child a tablet, make sure there is a way to monitor their screen time. Some tablets have this as a built-in feature, while for others you’ll need to download an independent app. Screen-time limits will help you keep the amount of time your child spends on their tablet to a reasonable level.
With screen-time monitoring, kids will learn to use technology without letting it control their lives. They’ll begin to understand that there is a time and place for such devices and that too much time plugged in is harmful.
4. Smart Speaker
The device you get for your child doesn’t have to be one that they carry with them every day. A smart speaker will stay at home, of course, but it will provide plenty of opportunities for use. Examples of such devices include the Amazon Echo and Google Nest products.
There are a few habits that these devices can help instill in your child. They can get in the habit of checking the weather each morning before getting dressed for school. A smart speaker with an alarm clock will help them follow a good sleep routine. Even practices like making sure the lights are off before leaving the house can be accomplished using a smart speaker and connected devices.
A smart speaker is a device the entire family can use. While a smart watch or tablet will typically belong to a single person, a smart speaker will do anyone’s bidding. You can use it to practice better sleep and energy efficiency habits just as well as your child can. That way, you’ll be providing a good example for them to learn from as well.
5. Video Game Console
A classic and effective parenting method is to use electronic devices as the ends rather than the means to a teaching lesson. Video game consoles are perhaps the most common example of this. Many kids would play video games all day if you let them. Instead, use consoles as leverage to teach children valuable life lessons, employing game time as a reward.
What many parents have done is create a list of chores kids can complete to earn video game time. This teaches them that they must work hard and be productive before indulging in playtime. Making sure your child has a habit of working hard when it’s necessary will help them tremendously throughout life.
If you’re constantly on the lookout for teaching opportunities, technology can be a huge benefit to your family. If you focus on the best aspects of electronic devices, you can use them to instill healthy practices rather than become mind-numbing distractions.