Teaching Your Kids Healthy Phone Habits

girl using phone in a healthy way to take a photo at a museum

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You pull out your phone to respond to a text and your kid sees it, immediately asking if they can play a game or watch a video.

Not again.

Healthy Phone Habits

Kids are naturally curious—whatever is in Mom or Dad’s hand is the most fascinating thing in their entire world. While an easy solution is to redirect their attention to a toy or coloring book, this is a chance to teach your child healthy phone habits and avoid phone addiction.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Have Kids Text Family on Your Phone

Involving your child in the process of texting reinforces that phones are primarily a tool for communication. Even before they can read, children can send messages with emojis or dictate the message to you. All of this with the added bonus of connecting with extended family.

Take a Photo

Teaching cell phone boundaries from the very beginning can help your child use technology in a healthy way. Nearly every smartphone has a state of the art camera and children love taking pictures. Take the opportunity to direct their attention to the target of the photo. We use photos to remember important events or people in our lives, and we can help children learn that people are always more important than objects—even an object as fascinating as a phone. We can also help them to know that taking a photo doesn’t replace the experience, and being present in the moment is best. Teaching children when and where to take photos/videos can start earlier than we think.

Use it For Information

Access to the internet is both a blessing and a curse for young parents. While the dangers are many and teaching our children to avoid them is critical, the Internet is also an expansive resource for information. Silly facts about whales, important questions about nutrition, or even the age-old question about the blue skies can all be answered with a few swipes.

Sites such as National Geographic Kids and Starfall are great resources.

Most importantly, start young so conversations about internet and phone safety are comfortable between you and your child. We can’t pretend smart phones don’t exist, so let’s set cell phone boundaries and equip our children with the tools to use them in a positive way.

And learn about whales. Always learn about whales.