Ideas to Get Your
Child to Form
Healthy Habits

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Ideas to get your child to use digital devices less

Did you know that it can take more than 66 days to form a habit? Create a plan that includes incentives and education to get your voice heard and make it last. Here are some ideas to get you started. Tailor a plan according to your particular parenting style and beliefs. Use whatever fits, ignore what doesn't and add your own. Need more info? Read our article "How to Get Your Children to Sleep, Eat Better, Do Homework Faster & More".

Ways you can incentivize productive decision making:
Verbally praise or reward them when they put the digital devices down with ease when asked.
Verbally praise or reward them when they start to budget their own time on digital devices without having to be told.
Make playing with toys more fun by getting down on the ground WITH them. Interact, have a great time, build something and laugh a lot.
Hold off teaching them how to use the television, tablet and phones for as long as possible, so that you can control the content.
Make the devices boring by limiting the number of games on them and updating them less often.
Take them to children's museums, parks and zoos as rewards for good behavior. Verbalize staying home and going on the devices as the boring choice.
Fill digital devices up with educational games so that when they are on them, they are learning or doing something constructive with their time.
Let them to watch videos where other children play with toys to get them excited about them and show them more ways to play.
Let them buy special markers, pens and crafts that are going to make them discover the fun of building. Set up areas for them and draw with them.
Let them trade in unused Device Dollars for dollars that can be used towards toys or activities. This creates incentive to budget but also increases the value of toys over device time.
Set up technology free play-dates with other children. Their friends will add new excitement to your children's toys and vice versa.
Get your children out into nature for long periods of time. Go for a hike, take them fishing or go for a bike ride in a park.
Make it a point to put your phone away. As parents attach more and more to technology, they are detaching from their children. In the absence of parental attachment, detached children can attach to devices, which can result in addiction.
Create technology-free zones such as social activities like dinner or times of the day. Help them find fun alternatives so they don't feel bored.
Create a family online safety contract where you define the rules together and agree to hold each other accountable.
Gather up all devices at night and put them to bed.
Ways you can keep them accountable and on track:
When they want to play with a tablet, phone or game, have them give you a Device Dollar each time in exchange.
When they want to buy new games, make them use their allowance money to purchase them.
When they ask to use your phone, tell them that you are worried about the battery dying to make them get into the habit of seeking alternative ways to entertain themselves.
When you are in a social situation and they ask to use your phone, explain to them how you would be trading up a rare opportunity to connect with those you love for something that can be isolating and often unimportant.
Ways you can educate them for long-term intrinsic reasoning:
Teach them that technology can be quite useful for learning and keeping in touch with others. The concern is when we allow it to bring our life out of balance.
Teach them how addiction can hijack your brain and make you feel as if you "need" to use devices. You can't trust your own thoughts.
Teach them that brains grow rapidly and that early development is determined by what you put into it. The brain needs a variety of stimuli to be healthy.
Teach them that stimulation to a developing brain caused by overexposure to technologies has been shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to self-regulate, e.g. tantrums.
Teach them that movement enhances learning and understanding. Things like technical devices may restrict movement and cause cognitive consequences.
Show them videos that help tell the story of how technology can make you miss out on the moment, connect with others and sense of self.
Teach them that was a study  where children who were allowed a device in their bedrooms had a 30% increased incidence of obesity.
Teach them that high speed media content can contribute to attention deficit, as well as decreased concentration and memory, due to the brain pruning neuronal tracks to the frontal cortex.
Teach them that one in 11 children aged 8-18 years are addicted to technology.
Teach them that addiction to technology is a global problem. Crisis centers have risen up around the world to help adolescents who can't stop themselves.
Teach them that tech use can make you feel sad. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of adolescents who experienced at least one major depressive episode leapt by 60%.
Teach them about a subconscious process called social comparison, or stacking up their own life against someone else’s. This can result in a person feeling less satisfied with their own life.
Teach your children that their time should be limited to 1-2 hours a day depending on age according to the Technology Use Guidelines for children and youth recognized by the American Society of Pediatrics.
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When it happens...

verbally acknowledge, give expectations, educate, and write it down.

Look for Opportunities

Whenever the opportunity arises to educate around this topic, do so.

Repeat at Allowance

At allowance time, review, incentivize and repeat your messaging again.

Remember, habit change takes a long time so be patient!
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