Navigating Tech with Grandparents

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Grandparents are wonderful aren’t they?

But what do you do when they over indulge your kids with technology & allow them to spend too long on their devices?

Here’s a few ideas to help.

When approaching the issue of excessive screen time with grandparents, it’s essential to foster open communication in a non-confrontational manner. You don’t want to hurt or cause a major upset in your family.

So here are some suggestions on how to navigate this conversation that I hope you’ll find helpful.

Choose the Right Time and Place:

Pick a time when both you and your children’s grandparents are relaxed and able to have a focused conversation. Avoid bringing up the topic in the midst of a busy or stressful situation or when you’re cross. Choose a private setting where you can speak openly without interruptions.

Plan ahead & jot down some things you’d like to say to make sure they don’t cause an upset or a misunderstanding.

Start with a Positive Note:

Begin the conversation on a positive note to set a friendly and constructive tone. Express appreciation for your grandparents’ involvement in your child’s life and the love and care they provide.

For example, you could say, “We’re so grateful for the special bond you have with our kids and all the wonderful memories you create together.”

Express Your Concerns:

Share your concerns about the amount of screen time your child is getting when they’re with the grandparents. Use “I” statements to convey your feelings without placing blame.

For example, you could say, “I’ve  been reading all about the downsides to too much technology for the kids so I thought we could have a chat about how we can all work together so the kids don’t play us off against each other & end up too long on their devices’’ 😀

Share Information:

Chat about some factual information about the potential negative effects of excessive screen time on children’s health and development.

Chat about the importance of finding balance and moderation.

For example, you could say, “I recently read an article about the impact of too much screen time on children’s sleep and behaviour, and it got me thinking about our own screen time habits.”

Tell them that  they have your backing to say ‘No’ to too much tech.

Chat about what amount of time feels right for your family & agree to work together to put those boundaries in consistently as a family team.

Ask for Their Perspective:

Encourage your grandparents to share their perspective and feelings on the issue.

Listen actively and respectfully to their thoughts and concerns. Avoid interrupting or dismissing their point of view. Acknowledge their perspective, even if you don’t fully agree with it.

For example, you could say, “I understand that it can be challenging to find activities to keep the kids entertained, especially when they’re used to having screens as a source of entertainment & I know you love them & don’t want to upset them but I think it’s important that we work together to find a bit more balance for them’’

Collaborate on Solutions:

Work together with your grandparents to brainstorm potential solutions to the issue of excessive screen time.

Offer suggestions for alternative activities that they can do with your child and emphasise the importance of quality time spent together.

Encourage grandparents to share their ideas and preferences as well.

For example, you could say, “I was thinking we could come up with a list of fun activities that don’t involve screens, like going for nature walks, doing some art or some cooking or playing some board games. What do you think?”

Set Clear Expectations:

Establish clear expectations regarding screen time limits and guidelines when your child is in the care of their grandparents.

Be specific about the amount of time allowed and the types of content that are appropriate.

Collaborate with your grandparents to develop a plan that works for everyone involved. For example, you could say, “We’d like to limit screen time to one hour per day and focus on more interactive activities instead. How do you feel about that?”

End on a Positive Note:

End the conversation on a positive note by expressing gratitude for your grandparents’ willingness to discuss the issue and work towards a solution together.

Reiterate your appreciation for their love and care for your child.

For example, you could say,

“Thank you for being open to discussing this with us. We really appreciate your commitment to XXX’s well-being, and we know that together we can find the right balance.”

By approaching this important issue with empathy, understanding, and a willingness to collaborate, you can foster open communication with your grandparents and work together to address the issue of excessive screen time in a non-confrontational manner that feels right for everyone.

Hope you found this helpful!

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