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6 Ways To Help Your Kids Overcome Their Tech Dependency

6 Ways To Help Your Kids Overcome Their Tech Dependency

The Pew Research Center conducted a study in 2015 focusing on how much teens use technology, social media, and the internet in general. It showed that 56% of teens aged 13 to 17 go online several times a day, while only 6% said that they go online weekly, and only 2% go online less often. Kids are addicted to chatting, texting, and being online all the time.

Going online, searching for various information, and playing games is actually good for them and their development. However, the problem occurs if your children spend too much time using technology. This leads to them having poor social skills, health issues due to a lack of physical activity, and bad grades at school, so you need to find the right way to help them overcome their tech dependency.

1. Have a tech-free hour during the day

Forbidding the use of technology is completely ridiculous. The best thing to do is to limit screen time, but do not label it this way. Just focus on having an hour with no gizmos turned on.

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You can reach an agreement where, for one hour out of each day, no one in the family uses any tech, which includes watching the TV. So, no TV, no computers, no smartphones, and no tablets. Use this hour to bond with your family and talk about your day at work or about something that is bothering a member of your family.

2. Only allow texting and social media scrolling on the computer while at home

As you shouldn’t just outrightly forbid the use of computers or smartphones, you can allow only the use of a laptop when at home for chatting, scrolling the newsfeed, and so on. Make it an experiment and take 4 days from one week and make them smartphone and tablet free when at home.

It is too harsh to take away your kids’ social lives by banning chatting, as this is how the world works today. Most common apps can be installed on your home computer. You can download WhatsApp for your computer, or other apps like Viber and Snapchat.

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Your children won’t find it logical at first, as they can carry their laptops with them around the house. However, when having lunch and dinner, your children won’t be holding their smartphones, and that’s a win.

3. Sign them up for a class they will enjoy

If your kids are teenagers, they’ll probably hate every activity that doesn’t involve them hanging out with their friends. So, you need to come up with something that they’ll actually like, something they will continue to practice. If your kids like painting, acting, singing, or dancing, you can sign them up for some creative classes. They’ll benefit a lot if they work on developing their creative side.

On the other hand, if they are sporty, talk to them about which sport they would like to start playing.

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Don’t expect them to be professional basketball players or Oscar-winning actors. Just encourage them to do what they love and to follow their dreams. This way, you’ll definitely help them to forget about their phone and laptop for at least an hour or two.

4. Offer small rewards for every book read

Many kids don’t like reading, but at a certain age, we all come across a book we fall in love with and we start really cherishing the time we have just for reading. If your kids don’t like reading, don’t think that they’ll never experience the magic of the world of books.

Think about what kind of movies they like and recommend a book in the same genre. You can even give them the book their favorite movie was based on. Once they read their first book (for the pure enjoyment, not because they had to read it for school), they’ll get addicted to reading.

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In order to ensure that they’ll continue reading, you can offer small rewards for every book they read. For example, after they finish one book, you can give them some extra pocket money. The reward system has always been successful, as it is a great source of motivation.

5. Organize 30-minute family workouts

Many children spend hours sitting in front of a computer and playing games or mindlessly browsing online. In order to keep them healthy and fit, you can organize 30-minute family workouts which will encourage them to exercise. After some time, doing these exercises will become their habit, and they’ll realize just how good they feel. If they are bored when working out, then you can go to the swimming pool or play sports like tennis or basketball.

If sports are not your thing, the whole family can take lessons. This way, you’ll introduce a new family tradition and some quality bonding time.

6. Plan hiking trips on the weekends

Today, the only nature many children see is on their wallpapers. This has to change. Plan some hiking trips, but make sure to add a place of historical value, a waterfall, a cave, or an amazing view to the itinerary. They’ll complain while hiking, but when you reach the main attraction, they’ll realize that it was all worth it.

These are 6 of the most efficient ways to make your kids leave their phones and engage in some other activity. You shouldn’t take away their tech, but you should introduce them to new activities which will help them develop some new skills, meet new people, and stay healthy.

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Katarina Milovanovic

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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