What should we, as parents, actually do?
Updated: Mar 18, 2020
⬇ coronavirus update ⬇
While our family is together all the time, staying (isolating...) at home - already or soon - I think that we all should get back to the basic principles shared here below. Then maybe, just maybe, our time together and with the different screens - big and small - in our hands and around us - will even have some positive impact on us parents, and on our kids.
⬆ coronavirus update ⬆
Here's the original text from the times when the corona was mainly known as a beer brand:
So, having covered some of the theories and concepts needed to enter the parent-kid smartphone arena, it's time to ask ourselves, "What should we be doing on a practical, actionable level?" Well, here are a few recommendations. But I would like to remind you first that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to parenting. Mix and match these suggestions so that you can reach the right solution with your own family.
Have an agenda - Don't be like a falling leaf that's guiding by the wind (society, experts, school, peer pressure and of course, your own child). Take control by thinking through your own agenda and implementing it. As long as you have an agenda, you are 90% ready.
Positive approach - No, I don't think that everything is rainbows and unicorns when it comes to children and smartphones. This suggestion is more of a general vibe. "...the best way to fight the darkness is to enhance the light," is one of my favorite A.D. Gordon quotes and I've based my own parenting agenda on it, as well as that of the startup I co-founded (Dynamo).
It all starts with us - When was the last time your kid saw you enter the house all sweaty after some outdoor activity and leave your phone on the kitchen table or read a book and talk about it with other family members? If we don't behave the way we want our (young) kids to behave - at least on a high level - we can't expect them to behave that way.
Setting expectations - This begins with analyzing your own desires and your expectations from yourself. Then define and share your expectations from your child. I recommend to keep it short in the beginning, just one sentence for each expectation and no more than 3 expectations.
Patience. Tons of it - Your kids will test you every day, sometimes numerous times a day. Be patient and keep in mind that if you want something very much, like a certain smartphone-related behavior from your kids, over-motivation might be counterproductive.
Balance - Explain to your kids that the smartphone isn't good or bad, it's the usage - quantity and quality - that matters. Once your kids understand that you are asking for a balance between different activities rather than prohibiting smartphone activity, you're on the right track.
Sign an agreement - Having an agreement with your child serves several purposes, like giving everything and everyone involved a sense of seriousness. It can help you to "blame" the agreement for an action your child dislikes ("take your phone off the dinner table. We all signed the agreement, remember?").
Get a ticket to their world every now and then - Your kids are probably going to be far more digital and tech-savvy than you. As such, they can teach you a lot about their world. Ask them to explain a new game, feature or app they're excited about. Show them that they can teach you something about the world.
Technology is here to stay. Let's analyze it, define its boundaries and implement our thoughts and agenda in the best way and at the best pace for our beloved family members.
One of the technologies we invented ourselves for ourselves - as the Dynamo teammates have 12 children in total - is our Dynamo Kid app alongside our Dynamo Parent app.
Direct iOS and Android links for the Dynamo apps