In today’s day and age, it’s impossible to escape technology. Even the way homework is done these days has a screen. Aside from going completely off-grid, technology and devices are a part of everyday life. Choosing how to use technology as a parent can be difficult. There really isn’t a benchmark for how it has been done before, as it’s constantly evolving.
Though learning to integrate tech into your parenting style can be a scary concept, it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to incorporate modern advances into how you work with your children. From taking advantage of GPS features to creating a plan for how your household uses devices, there are many options. This article will walk you through five ways you can integrate tech into your parenting style.
Does it sound crazy to get your kids a Fitbit or an Apple Watch? A device which is that expensive and advanced might be overkill for young children. But you can get some of the features you desire from those devices with safety controls for your child. A kids watch could be a great option for you. They can give your child a little more freedom but allow you to stay in contact with them.
Watches designed for kids let you set certain phone numbers that can text or call the watch. They also have a GPS tracker on them. This allows you to see where your child is at all times. You can set boundaries on the watch that sends an alert if they travel further than they are supposed to. There are multiple trackers designed for children currently on the market. When choosing the best option for your child, compare battery life, range, and how easy it would be to disable them.
The digital age allows global knowledge to rest in the palm of your hand. You can take advantage of that to learn information that would have been challenging to access when you were a kid. Growing up, you might have been limited to reading or listening to books that were at your local library. Today, many libraries have ways to check out ebooks or audiobooks from libraries around the world. Then your child can read them on your tablet or cell phone.
Remember when you hand your child a phone or tablet, even just to read, they might not stay on that app. It could be a good idea to set some parental controls. You could download books then turn off WiFi options. You can also lock certain apps with a password. Technology gives them access to more information than ever before, but try to avoid giving them access to too much.
Security is often top of mind as a parent. Keeping your kids in your home and knowing where they are helps you rest easy. Being alerted to an intruder is also important. Door sensors can send an alert to your phone if a young toddler might be opening the door. Window sensors on the basement windows can be helpful during those teen years to deter sneaking in and out.
Code key pads on the front door and garage door can help with kids who lose keys often. Smart devices like Alexa, Amazon Echo, or Google Home let you program your whole house. From when lights go on to turning on the television to setting the oven temperature, smart home features can make life easier. They can help with bedtime routines, for example, by having the lights dim a half hour before bed.
Being a parent can feel like you’re a project manager for your family. Not only do you track your schedule, you also have to keep track of everything for your kids. From dentist appointments, to spring break, to soccer games, it can be a lot to organize. A digital family calendar can help keep everything in one place and send you notifications when events are coming up.
Scanning important family documents as well as your kids artwork is also a helpful option. It can free up clutter, becomes searchable, and is safe and organized. There are fun ways to save memories for years to come. You can take digital photos each month of your baby’s life to make a collage. You could even save short video clips at different ages.
While many technological advances will be helpful, it’s important to set house rules for devices. This includes how the adults act as well. For family time, you might set a no phone rule. This could also extend to the dinner table. Pick times that everyone is required to be present with the family and times for using devices.
House rules can extend to video game consoles as well. If you have consoles, you might only allow games that aren’t connected to WiFi for play with strangers. There aren’t any right or wrong answers; it’s all how you choose to parent with technology. Setting expectations ahead of time is important, and these rules can apply to time limits as well.
The world is changing quickly, especially when it comes to technology. You don’t have to be afraid of it though. Integrating it into your parenting style keeps you in control. Don’t be reactive; be proactive. There are so many ways you can use tech to your benefit and keep your family safe and thriving.