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Ways to Reduce Electronic Dependence

Good morning everyone!

Having a hard time separating your kids from the iPad? Are you feeling like you've told them too many times that their screen time is up? Do you feel as though most of the time you are fighting a losing battle? Well first off, you are absolutely not alone! In this day and age, the use of technology is on the rise and will likely continue to be the case until the end of time. So, if we have the challenge of trying to find a balance with appropriate amounts of screen time, what are some great practices? Look no further than this week's Nanny Tip of the Week! I know that many nannies in our Chicago Collegiate Nannies community struggle with this so hopefully this week's nanny tip can provide additional pointers for our seasoned nannies out there! Give these few tips a try and work with your employers to find the best plan possible for the kids you work with.

1. Provide warnings of time running out - I cannot stress this tip enough and must say that it has been the most valuable one that I have used while working as a nanny. Essentially, providing 20, 10, 5 and 1 minute warnings up until the screen time is up gives kids a sense of preparation for what is to come and they will likely not go into crisis mode and feel as though they were blindsided if you don't give them a warning. Plus, the more you use this tip, the easier it will be because your kiddos will know what the expectations are.

2. Fill the time with an alternative activity - For kids that use screen time as a means of distraction or for when they feel bored, as a nanny it is important to provide an alternative activity that they can use for the time that they would have spent playing "Candy Crush." This can also be a great opportunity for you to engage with the child in some sort of hands on activity (i.e. science project, baking cookies, playing basketball, building a fort indoors). Whatever activity you choose, be sure that it is equally as interesting to the child as well as engaging!

3. Model the behavior you want - Whether you like to believe it or not, kids are absolutely always watching you. So take the opportunity to be an effective role model in front of your kiddos! If a child constantly sees their caretaker on their phone texting and watching YouTube videos, chances are they are going to want to mimic what you're doing because they look up to you. So be sure to use the time you're getting paid to watch kids to do just that: watch kids!

4. Offer incentives/praise when they choose not to use screen time - This is related to the point mentioned above with modeling the behavior you want. By giving kids a sense of independence and choice in the matter, when they take the opportunity to choose to refrain from a behavior that you don't want them to do, be sure to offer them an incentive for doing so! Whether it be staying at the park an extra ten minutes, getting some frozen yogurt after school, or setting up a play date with a neighbor, find what incentive they want to do and that motivates them to make the choice you want and follow through with it.

That's going to be all for this week's Nanny Tip of the Week! This is an ongoing topic of discussion so be sure to keep an eye out for any future nanny tips that may address this topic as we aim to provide useful tidbits of advice that we find helpful as an agency. Be sure to also provide feedback about what has worked for you as we love to be a sounding board for your ideas! Thanks for reading and we look forward to bringing a new Nanny Tip of the Week next week!


Samantha Carney

Photo Credit: Brad Flickinger (https://flic.kr/p/b9wcMV)