I just wrote a blog post about self-regulation, technology, and the importance of managing the environment to set our kids (and ourselves) up for success.
Here are 8 ways to reduce digital distractions and boost productivity:
- Cut out background media and discourage multitasking (the exception to this might be calm music for some kids) when your child needs to focus.
- Create a tech curfew and stick to it. Perhaps all cell phones get charged at night in the living room?
- If the phone isn't part of a homework assignment (or an important conversation with a friend or family member), turn it off or put it away.
- Get rid of alluring cues if they aren't central to the task. For example, close email and Twitter to reduce the "pings" and "beeps" that alert you to new information.
- If Instagram and Twitter aren't necessary for the assignment, use apps like "Self Control" to prevent usage for short, concentrated work sessions.
- Be realistic about how long your child can focus attention. Break tasks into 15 minutes of focused attention followed by deliberate breaks to get up, move around, or check out Facebook.
- When your child is online or using a tablet for school work (which is admittedly A LOT of the time) - use Internet history and/or monitoring software as a tool for your teen to reflect on his or her study habits. Which page visits were productive? Which were distracting? How might they improve?
- Change the norms around instant connection 24/7. Talk to other parents about the digital curfew in your house and ask if they have considered the same.