Family Circle Magazine asks Lori Lite how she would unplug her kids. This full article was originally published in the September 2010 issue of Family Circle Magazine , 16 Ways Experts Cope With Stress by Erica Lumiere
Lori Lite has made it her mission to free kids from anxiety. As CEO of Stress Free Kids, she wrote books and produced CDs designed to help children cope with everyday ups and downs. But this upbeat mom of three is also the first to admit that her kids face their own challenges: “I see the effects of too much technology in their lives,” says Lite. “My 13-year-old often doesn’t hear me talking to her because she’s constantly e-mailing, texting, tweeting, chatting on her cell or blogging. The technology was wearing her down and making us both tired and irritable. I saw the same thing with my older kids (now 19 and 21).” Here’s her advice for stopping the madness:
Make age-appropriate choices. Kids should be exposed to technology in small doses to give them a chance to learn how to handle the responsibility. My daughter got her first cell phone at 11, which was the right time for her, but we still don’t give her Internet access or the ability to send photos on her cell.
Set clear limits. No electronic devices at the table during mealtimes in our house. I also have a strict no cell phone rule when my daughter does her homework. But every time she finishes an assignment, I reward her with a 10-minute break (on a timer), when she’s allowed to go on her cell or computer. Her concentration and focus has improved dramatically—she gets her schoolwork done in about half the time it used to take!
Tell your children to get a (real) life. It’s important for kids to balance whatever world they think they have on the computer with real interactions with friends and family. My older kids are away at college, and we have a pact that for every five texts they send me, they owe me an actual phone call.
Know when to shut down the fun. My daughter was having a tough time falling asleep. She would lie in bed playing video games after the lights were out. So I got her into the habit of unwinding with a 300-piece puzzle instead, which helps clear her mind and makes her drowsy. All electronic devices now have to go off an hour before bedtime.
Indigo Dreams CD Series makes bedtime easy. With 8 CDs in the series there is something for every age group. Bedtime stories with techniques or just relaxation music take the battle out of bedtime and help unplug the brain. Teens and adults too.
Stress Free Kids founder Lori Lite has created a line of books and CDs designed to help children, teens, and adults decrease stress, anxiety, and anger. Ms. Lite’s books, CDs, and lesson plans are considered a resource for parents, psychologists, therapists, child life specialists, teachers, and yoga instructors. Lori is a certified children’s meditation facilitator and Sears’ Manage My Life parenting expert. For more information visit Stress Free Kids and for daily advice follow Lori on Twitter and Facebook.