Children are natural mimics. They mimic our language, especially the worst aspects of our language such as swearing.
As American researcher and psychologist Martin Seligman found in his ground-breaking research into children’s thinking styles, they mimic our optimistic and pessimistic thinking too!
But it’s our habitual behaviours that really leave their mark. Our kids pick up good manners, money and saving habits, and now our technology habits. This means we have the chance to develop good or bad habits in kids by our own observable behaviours.
So now that digital technology is such in integral part of family-life it makes sense to do all we can to develop smart, balanced technology habits in kids. Here are some ideas to help:
1. Be mindful of how often you have a mobile device in your hand. Avoid constantly reading emails or texting while in social situations.
2. Limit your own media use when you are with children. Be available emotionally with your children rather than stare at a screen when children are around.
3. Create tech-free zones. Keep mealtimes and other family social gatherings tech-free.
4. Model face-to-face time. Let your kids see you engaging with ‘back-and-forth’ conversations with others. This is how kids learn conversation, negotiation and other relationship skills.
5. Consciously engage. Join with kids in games and other technological engagement but at the same time connect with kids in other ways too.
Media and digital devices are an integral part of our lives today. The benefits of these devices if used moderately and appropriately are almost limitless. Parents can use the ageless power of modelling to influence their children to be savvy but balanced users of digital technology.
NB: For more parenting tips and tricks from Michael, be sure to check out the Parenting Ideas website.
A popular presenter, Michael Grose speaks to parents, teachers and principals on a regular basis.Michael comes from an education background, and has conducted post-graduate research into what makes healthy families tick.He's given over 1500 parenting presentations, including the first parenting seminar in Parliament House, Canberra.Michael is married with three adult children who have all successfully flown the parent nest.