Thursday, August 11, 2016

Learn with Joy: How I Helped My Daughter "Break Free" from Gadgets and Do the Things She Loves Instead

Nowadays that we are in the age of unparalleled technology, it seems hard for parents to manage and control its negative effects on our children. As a mom who is also struggling to be detached and free from these devices specially when I am with my daughter, I am constantly aware that my love bug is looking at me. 

Now when I say "break free", I am not saying that my daughter (who is just turning 5) has already been hooked on the gadgets. But there was a season when the 15 to 60 minutes iPad time or what she fondly calls "me time" had become two hours every. single. day. The effect: headache and watery eyes. I have finally put my foot down and told her this can't go on. So, how did I help her minimize the use of iPad or limit her screen time?

Get the support of the "authorities" she looks up to. 
Aside from dad and mom, one of the authorities our daughter looks up to is her paediatrician. When her doctor says, "This is good for you," she believes it. So, during one of her regular check ups, I brought this concern up to the paediatrician. She talked to my daughter and explained to her the probable cause of headaches and watery eyes. She then advised to stop using her iPad for a week and then told us (my husband and I) to regulate her use.

our love bug and her paediatrician 
Make a "house rule" together with her and stick to it.
From the time the pedia told us to regulate the use of iPad and other electronic gadgets, we establish a rule that all of us are subjected to: no iPhone, iPad or laptop on the table at mealtimes and on the bed before going to sleep. As parents, my husband and I always make sure that we set a good example to her.

Provide alternative (enjoyable) activities for her to be busy with.
We all know that when we remove a habit we should replace it with a new one. Just like any other kid, our love bug loves to play. That's one thing that she won't forget everyday of her life. But things change when her focus was on the gadgets. So I became more intentional in providing her with activities that I know she really loves to do.

What kid doesn't want to play sand...


playing sand
Or bubbles?

playing bubbles

Our love bug likes to extend help so we make sure we give her opportunities to do so.


cooking pancakes for breakfast
watering the plants

cleaning/washing the car

Childhood happens once; let her play pretend.

"Let's have a tea party, Mom!"

"This is my boat and these are the bubbles."

"Mom, I'm Rapunzel and this is my long hair."

"Let me cook your orders, Ma'am!"

"This is my boat."

"I'm on a sailboat."

Encourage her to be physically active.




Take her out and let her enjoy and explore nature, parks and museums. 

enjoying her swing ride
at the National Museum

Supply her with materials/tools/instruments that will challenge her creativity and imagination. 

watercolor painting

"Look Mom, I made a strawberry and tree!"
musical toy instruments

Enjoin her to workshops interesting and suitable for her.

pretzel-making workshop

Give her books that are fascinating to her and then read them together.

she loves books
For the first week, it was a struggle for all of us. But I'm glad that after several weeks of sticking to our rule and these activities, our daughter didn't look for gadgets as often anymore. Of course, we give her time to use her iPad. It's sort of a "treat" that she gets to enjoy only once a week. The result - no headaches and watery eyes. In addition to that, she is more physically active, creative and responsible. 

These days, it seems impossible to disengage our children from gadgets. But it can be done. We, parents should just be determined and intentional. Hope these ideas help you. If you have anything more to add, please feel free to write it in the comment box. I would love to hear your thoughts.

31 comments:

  1. This used to be my problem few years ago but I'm glad that we were able to correct it. My son can only use the Ipad every weekend even there is holiday, sem break or summer break. If he did something not nice, no Ipad on weekends pa. hehehe!

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    1. Glad to hear that, Michi! We do that too. Even if we give her a day for her iPad, if she's not been a "good" girl, then sorry but no more iPad. :) Thanks for dropping by!

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  2. This is currently our problem with our little girl. Before, when I didn't have work yet, no gadgets for her, or maybe just a few minutes at night though not everynight. But when I started to be a WAHM, I don't have any choice but to let her watch on her tab and it made me feel so bad. I had no time for my little girl anymore :( Right now though, medyo hindi na sya nag-gadgets. Hopefully tuloy-tuloy na!

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    1. Yes, it can be done. Making her busy with other enjoyable stuff will do the trick. Thank you for dropping by! :)

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  3. Struggle ko din ito mommy. Pero since we agreed upon following their daily routines, less time na ang TV and gadget. Mahirap sa umpisa pero with all the effort, sure ako hindi na nila namamalayan na hindi na sila into gadget. Kudos mommy for your first week :)

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    1. Thank you, Mommy Heart! Actually, it's been months already and I could say it's a success. Thank you for visiting. :)

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  4. Just love how you introduce those activities to your girl. And she looks pretty interested and happy playing pretend games and even helping in the house.

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    1. She does enjoy every activity, Momi Berlin! Thank you for visiting. :)

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  5. wow! With all the activities you gave her, there's no doubt she'd put that ipad down. Currently, my 2 yr old isn't into gadgets yet and I hope it continues to be that way. I really hope so. Physical activities are really the solution to longer screen time!

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    1. I believe it will as long as he's interested with something more fun. :) Thank you for dropping by. :)

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  6. Having some gadgets issues too with my kids, but am glad we are able to settle it somehow. We have set a rule which states that they can use their phones every weekend, 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon.

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    1. That's great! I'm happy to hear that. We've been doing this for months now, so I could say it's a success. Thank you for visiting. :)

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  7. I used to have so much energy to do stuffs with my boys before. Now that I'm in my first trimester, I am super exhausted all the time. They've turned to the gadgets tuloy. Waaa... I hope to regain my energy again soon before they become so hooked with the iPads.

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    1. Blessings on your pregnancy. I'm sure you'll be able to get back soon to your previous routine and make your boys gadget-free. Thank you for dropping by. :)

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  8. Love this! I'm not exactly, you know, against the use of gadgets because I let my son watch videos from time to time. Recently though, I've noticed that he barely touches his gadget and is more interested in playing with his blocks. I guess you just have to distract them with something more entertaining than technology!

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    1. Yes, you are right, give them "positive distraction", heehee! Thank you for visiting. :)

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  9. This is really a common struggle for parents these days. Our son also loves to use my iPad to watch videos and play games. But we try to limit his usage by encouraging him to do other things. He also loves to draw and build things with Legos. He also loves to ride his bike and scooter. So, we take advantage of every opportunity possible when he can do those other things.

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    1. That's great! I'm glad to hear that. As parents, we really have to be intentional in rearing our children. Thank you for dropping by. :)

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  10. God job mommy, I agree that this is the struggle of mommies nowadays. I am a first time mom and my little (just turned 1 last May) she loves playing with my cellphone, sobrang iniiyakan niya. But because I don't want her to be an gadget-addictive, I introduced reading books to her and she loves it.

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    1. Great job, Mommy! Keep it up! Thank you for visiting. :)

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  11. OmG! Thank you sis! this is so timely, this is my current issue with my 3 year old. It scares me how he is content with staying inside the whole day with a gadget. This will help!

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    1. You're welcome, sis! Glad to help. Thank you for dropping by. :)

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  12. I'm happy to see that you're little girl is into active activities now. My kids does a lot of running everyday. I don't lend them gadgets that much so they are into active playing most of the time.

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    1. That's nice! :) Yes, we are too, it's been months so I could say it's a success. Our daughter was given an iPad as a gift when we were in the US. She wasn't into gadgets before until she was introduced to the concept of "me time". :) Thank you for visiting.

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  13. I try to do the same. I don't want my son to grow up around gadgets. I want him to explore, and unplug himself from those things. He's only 1 but we're making sure he doesn't get into tech. We have big plans for him too :) Thanks for sharing this experience, momma!

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    1. You're welcome! That's really great! Keep it up. Thank you for visiting. :)

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  14. Nice! I also want my child to be addicted to gadgets so I try to read her books, play with her and bring her to parks or museums. It requires way more effort but I know it will all be worth it :)

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    1. That's right, it's all worth it! Thank you for dropping by. :)

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  15. Sa totoo lang, marami talaga silang magagawa kahit walang gadget. Diba we grew up naman dati na masaya, healthy and wise without these gadgets?

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  16. for Little kulit I am always looking for something that we can do together or for him to do like arts or play doh. I also minimize his gadget time no IPAD during school days and TV for 2 hours only per day

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  17. Encouraging our kids to do active play is really important. I also make sure my daughter explore other play options other than being glued to her tablet.

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