Many parents are familiar with the frustration from seeing their children glued to their phone instead of studying for their exams. Say goodbye to the problems of the old days. Parents have to face a new, 21st century problem: technology! With smartphones diverting our kids’ attention away from studies, it is important that we know how to get them to put their phones away and focus! This article will give you 6 killer ways to do just that.
1. Clear communication
Possibly the most important thing to remember is this: clear, open and honest communication is the most effective way to reach an agreement! Parents tend to discuss the issue of phones only when they are angry. Although your anger may be justified, it is still important to keep a level head when communicating with your teen! When both of you are calm, sit down and set some clear boundaries! Which brings us to our next point…
2. Have clear boundaries
In order to reach a successful agreement, we need to make our boundaries clear! For example, we may enforce a time-out during dinner, studies, family gatherings, etc. In these time-out periods, no usage of phones will be allowed. It is important that the limits are expressed clearly and openly, and that both parties are willing to listen to each other!
3. Lead by example
During time-out periods, it is important that we as adults refrain from using our phones as well, not just our kids. It is difficult to make our children convinced of the downsides of phone usage if we ourselves are using our phones all the time! We have to practice what we preach!
4. Help your child understand why overuse of phones is bad
Instead of forcing your child to stop using his/her phone, a better idea would be to help him/her understand why overusing it is bad. A drop in grades, which could lead to inability to get admission into a good college, which could lead to … Help them understand that this supposedly small issue can lead to large consequences!
5. Organise other activities
Most of the time, kids use their phone because they are just plain bored. So it is up to us as adults to organise activities to keep them engaged! Organise a family gathering, play sports, the possibilities are endless! By keeping them engaged in other ways, we can help them ween off their phones.
6. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is getting worldwide attention from the secular world because of how effective it is. It is defined as being aware of our thoughts, through being in a state of open attention on the present. When people use their phones, it’s mostly because they have “nothing to do”. When we see people waiting in line, they have “nothing to do”, so they are always on their phones. Mindfulness helps us be ok with having “nothing to do”, by encouraging us to simply be present and enjoy the moment.
About the Author
Mr. Joel has been a Chemistry Tutor in Singapore for more than 10 years.