Thursday, August 23, 2012

Getting Your Kids Ready for School- Cutting down on Technology

The start of a new school year can be a difficult time for some children and young teens. The Summer Learn Loss theory suggests that most kids loose and average of 1-3 months of learning when on summer vacation, depending on household income and environment. Teachers for a while have noticed that summer vacation is a period of academic decline. It is no wonder why some children have a difficult time getting back into an academic routine. It is important for parents for help their child get ready for a new school year by establishing a healthy schedule.
Before returning to school, doctors strongly recommend a well-balanced breakfast and a full night’s rest that way your developing child has enough energy to pay attention in class. Proper nutrition is essential for developing children and young adults and can help them stay focused when they are sitting in on an hour long math lecture.

Cutting down on TV and Technology
Cutting down on technology may not be your child’s favorite idea but it is necessary for academic success. In the age of technology, it is easy for kids to become distracted from school work through the internet, TV and cell phones.
One research study found that TV’s effects on education were long term. The study found that watching TV as a child affected educational achievements at age 26. Watching more TV in childhood increased chances of dropping out of school and decreased chances of getting a college degree, even after controlling for confounding factors. [1] 
According to a study conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, children from the ages of 8 to 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day on devices.  This includes using a smart phone, computer, and watching television. The shocking reality is that the over usage of media devices can be very detrimental to your child’s academic development.

“The study showed that 47 percent of the heaviest media users-those who consumed at least 16 hours a day- had a grade point average of C’s or lower. They were also the ones to most likely report that they were bored or sad, or that they got into trouble, did not get along well with their parents and were not happy at school,” NY Times reported in a 2010 publication article titled IfYour Kids Are Awake, They’re Probably Online. 

Although the study did not determine if over usage of media devices directly contributed to the mental detriment of kids between the ages of 8 and 18, the study did; however, draw a strong correlation between academic success and technology use. Transitioning your kids out of this 8 hour habit may be very difficult but also may be necessary for your child’s academic success.  It is unrealistic for parents to try and eliminate all outlets of media but it is suggested that parents limit their child’s use of media devices.

Finding the Balance               
Every parent wants what’s best for their son or daughter and would do just about anything to make them happy. It is important for parents to realize that cutting back on your child’s media use could result in initial defiant behavior and rebellion but it won’t be like that forever.  Parents should first communicate with their child about the importance of academic success and help them understand why you are limiting their media use. Next, parents should seek input from their child. Ask them what they think they need to do in order to succeed this school year and what you can do to help them achieve their goals. Like with anything, the best way to start a new routine first starts with open communication then establishing goals, setting a plan, recognizing milestones, and most importantly-patience. 

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