From robot vacuums to 24/7 access to the internet, technology is all about making our lives easier—and we love it for that. For kids today, this life of tablets, laptops, and intelligent devices are all they know.
So how do we teach our kids how to be responsible, hard-working individuals when technology makes many of our daily tasks so easy?
How to Raise Responsible, Tech-Savvy Kids
by Melissa Reynolds
Here are five ways to help teach your kids responsibility and the value of work without sacrificing the benefits of the digital age.
Give your kids regular chores around the house
Chores have been a rite of passage for kids from the dawn of time. When they’re little, kids love to help around the house. As they morph into tweens and teens, however, that adorable trait seems to disappear.
Regular chores around the house—whether it’s making their bed every morning, taking the trash out, or feeding the family dog—actually provide important life lessons to kids that will help them become good citizens as they grow. They learn responsibility, the importance of pitching in to help, and the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing tasks.
Balance screen time with family time and responsibilities
Sometimes, the best way to connect with your kids is to disconnect from everything else. While it can be difficult to try to keep them from their devices, these tips can help start:
- Set a “no device until chores or schoolwork are done” rule. This will help kids learn to prioritize their responsibilities.
- Don’t allow devices during family times, like meals, outings, or family game nights. The focus should be on each other, not screens.
- Practice what you preach! One of the best ways to teach is through example; it’s not easy to do that if you’re always glued to your smart phone or tablet.
Teach online responsibility
It’s important to teach kids online responsibility and safety, too. As a parent, it’s your responsibility to make sure your kids’ accounts have the highest privacy settings, but kids who are old enough to have their own smartphones and social media accounts should understand basic internet safety and respect, such as:
- Never write personal information like name, age, address, school, or other stats where anyone can see it.
- Always tell an adult if you receive an email, photo, or message that is inappropriate or from someone you don’t know
- Be polite to people online; if you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t write it.
Reward responsibility with independence
The older your kids get, the more independence they crave. As kids get older, they can prove they’re ready for more independence with their responsible behavior. This might include letting them staying home alone for longer periods of time, giving a longer curfew, or walking or riding their bikes to school by themselves.
Use technology to your advantage
In this digital age, kids need to be comfortable and familiar with technology. More and more homes these days are equipped with technological advances that make family life more convenient and safe without compromising the value of responsibility.
Features like smart door locks, for example, give kids independence and peace of mind to parents. (You can set your smart locks to notify you when the door is unlocked, so you can keep tabs on who’s coming and going.) Tools like these are a great way to teach kids responsibility by showing them that you trust them not to give their code away or to come right home after school.
Raise Tech-Savvy Kids
Raising hard-working, responsible kids in a digital age isn’t as tough as you may think—at the end of the day, it’s all about prioritizing work with play. Set clear limits and reward responsibility, and you’ll have kids who you can trust to balance their screen time with their responsibilities.