How to adopt healthy habits with electronics

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If you’ve noticed an odd quietness about the house or your latest Internet or mobile bill skyrocket, it can be a sign that the electronic usage has crept out of control. This is often the case after the holidays, March Break or summer vacation. Kids left to their own devices and unmonitored can lead to unhealthy habits. Here are some tips that Professional Organizers in Canada use to help expand the talking, doing and imagining and reduce the surfing, gaming and messaging.

You need a media plan

Create a Media Plan such as the one below, and keep it posted near your electronic charging stations.

If you want to build out a specific plan for each individual in your household create a family media plan. Thanks to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you can create a custom plan and use a handy media calculator to see how prioritizing activities can affect screen time. 

Part of developing healthy life habits includes keeping the sedentary activity in check. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology launched the first ever 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth (5-17 years) in 2016. It gives you a great visual to share with kids to help educate them on the amount of time they need to spend on sweat, step, sleep and sit -  keep it posted next to your Media Plan.

Top 10 Yes Media Plan 

Yes to homework and chores
before electronics

Yes to time limits on electronics by category (TV, music, games, computer/iPad)

Yes to educational apps and programs

Yes to keeping connected to family
far away

Yes to charging your device daily

Yes to treating electronics with respect

Yes to keeping personal information private

Yes to asking kids if it’s okay to post
pictures of them on social media

Yes to posting vacation photos after the vacation

Yes to downloading or purchasing online with parent approval

 

Top 10 No Media Plan

No electronics 30 minutes before
bed or when waking up

No electronics at meals

No electronics on play dates 

No electronics in the bedroom

No cyberbullying or sexting

No sharing personal information
with strangers 

No posting photos that could embarrass themselves or friends

No accepting friend requests unless you know the requester very well

No entering online contests and
free giveaways

No gossiping

 

Ease the transition period 

between on and off times
for electronics

Children experience electronic withdrawals when coming off devices. They might get agitated or let you know just exactly how boring life can be without electronics. This can happen if they are pulled off electronics quickly. A predetermined media schedule usually eliminates this. However, if and when it does happen, talk with your kids about it so they are aware and responsible for changing the transitioning behaviour. It’s also very helpful to have a transition activity planned. Consider reading “How to Unplug Your Child” for 101 ways to help your kids turn off gadgets and enjoy real life by Liat Hughes Joshi. 

 

Implement consequences

Electronics are a privilege. Given the highly addictive nature of electronics there’s nothing quite like the effect of an e-tox to turn poor behaviour around. A week’s ban off electronic does wonders for relationships, creativity and appreciating online time. After a serious ban, the threat of another ban is often all it takes to correct behaviour. 

 

Be a positive role model

Lastly you must walk the talk. Be a positive role model by practicing healthy media habits. If you are online and your child comes to talk with you, stop and give them the eye contact and focus they deserve. Life is short and a weekend can easily be blown away online. Lead the way… unplug, set and stick to media free times for family time.


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