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How to help your child with electronic overload

Kid with cell 
Does your child face the screen of an electronic device more often than the face of another human being?

Yesterday, I went to lunch program where a bunch of mothers answered "yes!"

One mother mentioned that every time she tries to have a discussion with her child, he's looking at his cell, texting a friend instead of listening to her. Most of us experience electronics over-load in our family, including the pressure to buy the next, best , new device for our kids.

Parenting instructor/coach Maggie Macaulay, who hosted the lunch and learn, encourages parents to help our kids find balance. She pointed out the upside of electronics "Our kids are learning things they won't be taught in school but will help them in the job market." She also pointed out that the use of electronics triggers the same pleasure centers in our brains that are linked with addiction.

She suggested a few tips that I thought were helpful.

* The balance is different for each child. You as a parent, make that call when you feel electronic use is affecting your child's social life or physical fitness.

* Make agreements over electronics use. "Agreements are not dictates. Let your child have a say in the agreement," she advises.

* Make a list of priorities with your child -- homework first, cleaning room second, plugging in third.

*Poll your family on what each person likes to do and do it during a media free day or night.

* Kids are losing a connection with nature. Consider a nature tour at your local park or gardening as a hobby with your child.

*Pick your battles over electronics. Avoid unnecessary power struggles. Remember teens are hypersensitive to anything that sounds like a demand.

* Be a role model. (Sometimes, I'm so plugged in that I don't give my kids the attention they want from me. I decided I'm going to be a better role model. I'm going to say out loud, I'm powering down now to go for a walk with you.)

Maggie also recommended three books:

Last Child in the Woods; Unplugged Play: No Batteries. No Plugs. Pure Fun; Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect With Your Kids

Readers, do you feel your children are too attached to electronics? Do you find it challenging to get them to unplug? Do you have a hard time unplugging, too?