How many times have you popped your head in your “sleeping” child’s room only to see their face
lit up in the dark by the reflective glow of a cell phone? Many times it can be a challenge to
convince your child that lights out means electronic devices too. It is all too tempting to
grab the small handheld cell phone, tuck under the covers and continue communications with
friends, social media and more.
We all know that a good night’s sleep is critical to the physical and brain development of a growing child. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome in achieving this is cell phone use. As a parent it is important to set boundaries, restricting night time cell phone communications.
Too many kids are sleeping with a cell phone right next to their head, waking to the constant alerts and vibrations. This type of sleep interruption prevents your child from getting the maximum amount of REM sleep needed.
One reasoning that often arises for cell phones beside the bed is for the ever-useful alarm feature. As a parent, it will greatly benefit your child if you simply invest in an alarm clock for these early morning wake-ups. Even turning the phone on silent, it can still be a distraction as your child is too tempted to communicate when the phone is right at their fingertips.
An effective strategy is to set up a designated charging station for each family member’s cell phone. This charging station should be in a central location of the house such as the living room. At bedtime each cell phone needs to be placed in this charging station, where it is kept there until morning. Not only does your child wake up to a fully charged phone, but you are ensuring there is no texting until the wee hours of the morning.
At the same time it is important to set and maintain a bedtime for your child, particularly on school nights. Each night at a set time the cell phone is put to rest in the charger. By keeping the cell phone out of your child’s room at night you are eliminating the late night temptation to stay up communicating with friends.
Studies have shown that when electronics are turned off at least one hour prior to bedtime, this significantly improves sleep patterns and reduces insomnia. Consider not only setting a bedtime, but an electronics off time for your child. This will encourage them to also find some other form of entertainment beyond a screen, even encouraging your child to read a book for a set amount of time each night before bed.
Consistency is key here. Your child’s friends will come to know, and expect, that the cell phone is turned off at a set time, and communication later than this will eventually cease. Whichever route you choose to ensure that you child is not using their cell phone until all hours of the night, installing a tracking software like TxtWatcher can ensure that your rules are being followed.