Yes, we know. Bribing the kids isn’t Perfect Parenting 101. But when it comes to unruly tweens and sullen teens, you’re best to go with what works. And in this day and age, your most powerful tool is invisible: it’s the family Wi-Fi password.
Once upon a time you could pull out the cord from the back of the television, or simply take away the toy - but these days it’s not so easy to take back the power in parenting. The whole home is connected via wireless internet - Wi-Fi - and turning it ‘off’ and ‘on’ isn’t possible.
However, one way you CAN control your kid’s time online is by changing the Wi-Fi password. Here’s how to make it work for you.
Bargain down the chores
Without a doubt, you’ve had to negotiate in the past: clean your bedroom. Do your homework. Unpack the dishwasher. Take out the bins. These are the boring tasks that don’t come naturally to kids (or adults, for that matter!), and need a nudge in the right direction. So here is how you can make your family home Wi-Fipassword your greatest bargaining chip yet. By changing your Wi-Fi password, your kids won’t be able to access the internet. Promise them they can have the password once their chore is complete.
Control ‘screen time’
Between your kid’s tablet, computer, iPod, phone, and television - the old adage of turning your eyes square from staring at screens all day might just come true! Use the Wi-Fi to limit screen time. After all, they are using these devices for school now, too - give them allocated blocks of screen time, and change the Wi-Fi password once it is up.
Teach them about saving
Apply the pocket money method to your kid’s internet use. Like collecting nominal amounts for completing chores, let them also bank up their screen time. Using 15 minute or half-hour increments, keep a tally of their accrued time and let them decide when to use it. It’s a great way to reward good behavior and teach them the value of saving, without needing to involve money.
While some homework time will require internet connection, encourage your children to understand that responsible devise usage – during both homework and recreation time – is all about trust and balance. With most of the younger generations coming through unable to remember a time before devices like iPads or laptops, it is hard for them to understand the balance required in life between the ‘real’ world and the ‘online’ world. Have a set quota - especially on the weekends or school holidays - in which they are able to spend in front of the screens, and outside playing with friends. Explain to them why it’s important to have a balance between both.
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