Creating expertise like curiosity, kindness and emotional intelligence at a younger age will assist children succeed as adults. However there’s one talent that folks aren’t instructing their children sufficient of at present: self-regulation.
When children be taught to self-regulate, they higher perceive the significance of time and easy methods to handle their very own behaviors and actions.
This was one thing I prioritized instructing my daughters once they had been younger, and it contributed to their success. Susan is the CEO of YouTube, Janet is a health care provider, and Anne is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe.
All three rose to the highest of aggressive, male-dominated professions.
Children have to be taught self-regulation now greater than ever
Twenty years in the past, youngsters would meet up with mates in individual, play outdoors, do puzzles and browse books.
Issues have modified lots since then. We’re continually on digital gadgets. And children are tech-savvy. I’ve seen second graders demand cell telephones from their dad and mom to take pictures or go on social media.
However it’s not a lot the entry children have that worries me. It is the dearth of self-control and self-efficacy concerning the entry. How a lot time ought to children have on a digital machine? How usually ought to they use it? What ought to they be doing on it?
Self-regulation is not nearly display time. It finally helps them develop into extra succesful and assured in all facets of their lives.
Self-regulation begins to develop quickly within the toddler and preschooler years, so the earlier we begin instructing it, the higher.
1. Mannequin a wholesome relationship with know-how.
Consider the final time you had been consuming lunch whereas typing an e mail whereas listening to a podcast and checking your cellphone every time it dinged. We have all been there.
Kids can have a tough time self-regulating as a result of their dad and mom mannequin this conduct. Bear in mind, our children are continually watching and copying us!
Even worse, a survey of over 6,000 participants found that 54% of kids thought their parents used their devices too frequently. Thirty-two percent of kids felt “unimportant” when their parents were on the phone.
Unimportant. That makes me sad. How many of us adults have felt that way when someone checked their phone during a conversation? Yes, phones are addictive, but for our children’s sake and ours, we must set boundaries.
2. Teach them to be patient.
Self-regulation is made up of many skills, and one of them is patience. A study on delayed gratification found that kids who are able to wait longer for rewards tend to have better life outcomes.
Here’s the opposite of teaching patience: letting a kid be online for the entire day — in the car, in restaurants, at the dinner table.
For my girls, waiting and saving were part of our lives. We didn’t have much money when they were growing up, so we saved for what we wanted. They each had their own piggy bank, and they filled them penny by penny. We even cut coupons from the newspaper every Sunday.
When they were able to purchase something they wanted because of their patience, they felt a sense of accomplishment.
3. Let them be bored.
As a teacher, my students would sometimes complain to me that I couldn’t hold their attention during lectures. But I never got upset or offended.
I seized it as a learning opportunity and said: “I want you to go home and ask your parents if they are ever bored at their jobs. If you come back tomorrow with the answer that they are never bored, you can skip my lecture.”
That got their attention. “Being bored is preparation for life,” I told them. “You are practicing right now.” They laughed, but they all understood. Life is sometimes, or often, boring.
But you can learn a lot during those moments. You can either go straight to your phone, or you can dream: What are your goals? What are your next steps? What obstacles are in the way? Where do you feel the most excitement, the most hope?
4. Set tech rules.
This is a no-brainer, but surprisingly, many parents don’t establish the ground rules.
Here some of my top rules for technology:
- Set up a plan with your kids, not for your kids.
- No phones during meals, whether in your house or someone else’s.
- No phones after bedtime. Explain the importance of sleep for brain development, and remind them that their bodies grow when they sleep.
- Use discretion with small children. Younger kids, starting at age four, should be taught how to use cell phones in case of an emergency.
- Children should come up with their own cell phone policies for family vacations, or any kind of social activity where they need to be present. Be sure to choose a penalty for disobeying their own policy (e.g., losing a certain amount of time on a device).
- Discuss what pictures and audio are appropriate to share online. Explain that whatever they post leaves a digital footprint.
- Help them understand what cyberbullying is, and its negative impact on others. I always say: “Laugh with your friends, not at them.”
- Teach them to not give out personal identification information.
The goal is to empower them and teach self-efficacy. When kids can self-regulate, they are more likely to have more successful relationships with themselves and with others.
Esther Wojcicki is an educator, journalist, and bestselling author of “How to Raise Successful People.” She is also the co-founder of Tract.app and the chief parenting office at Sesh. Follow her on Twitter @EstherWojcicki.
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