How I helped my kid stay away from the screen?

I have often read this quote, “People are prisoners of their phones and that is why they are called cell phones“. Imagine making little children prisoners of the phone and putting them behind the bars of technology. The gadgets and the screen time limits their creativity, growth and you cannot even imagine the effect it has on their brain and body. There have been often comparisons drawn between gadgets and drugs. The effect the addiction of gadgets has on someone is almost equivalent to that of drugs.

Recently one of the leading newspaper of Mumbai carried an article that spoke about the turmoil of screen addiction, of a four year old. The article describes how unknowingly and as a one off parents introduced the child to the phone. It talks about the addiction to gadgets and how they attained freedom from it. You can read the full article here

As a parent I am constantly trying to better the things I do for my child. This includes focusing on his physical, mental and emotional development. Often I have been told that Zayan is a little ahead of other children and is well aware of his surroundings. He is curious and is always looking for answers which sometimes, results in him being aware of things before his classmates. Initially, I was happy that at my child’s expertise to operate a gadget, to be able to imitate the toy un-boxing videos he watched. Soon it turned into worry. I could see small signs of aggression and anger. I could see resilience to instructions too. I knew what I had to do. The use of gadgets had to be limited and then stopped completely.

We began with saying No to the use of gadgets. This was the most difficult part because I knew earlier I could hand him a phone to make him sit still while I finished some important work, but now I had to say No.This resulted in tantrums and I stood my ground. I began singing ,playing and making funny faces when he got upset on being denied a phone. I told him he could cry and not eat but we will not use the phone for eating. He eventually understood that he cannot use gadgets at meal time.

We read books and made stories while eating. We sometimes took the liberty of being fed and even drew or colored.

He was made the officer of the house by his aunt. His job was to make sure everything was taken care off ,everyone was well behaved and above all no one was using their phone. He was even handed a whistle. He had to blow the whistle when he saw the opposite happening. This became a fun game.He was rewarded for his good work too.

Being a mom blogger, I came across this wonderful Instagram account of Monika who does wonderful activities with her kid everyday.It inspired me to do so. We decided to do at least one activity a day.

The boy loves football as much as he likes watching it. We decided to go outdoors on a daily basis and practice skills and celebrations of his favorite footballer. We also decided to draw different kinds of football and color them.This kept him both busy as well as happy.All the physical exercise made him hungry too.

We also decided to arrange our toy corner that lay scatter most of the times. This helped me to make sure all his toys were visible to him.He would sometimes show reluctance to play, so his father and I would start playing something and he would join in.

It is very easy for us to introduce kids to gadgets, sometimes for fun, learning and sometimes our own convenience. The addiction is more harmful than we can imagine. It is indeed difficult to keep them away forever but you can control it and keep it to the minimum. When they are kids, its best that they stay away from it. The journey is difficult but not impossible for sure.

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