How can I use media to teach my kid self-control?

In a world of instant gratification and instant access to just about everything, self-control is really important -- and can be really challenging.

You can use media to help strengthen kids' self-control by setting appropriate media limits (with their input), finding media that helps kids organize their schedules and sharpen their focus, watching shows that promote the value of self-control, and demonstrate the consequences of having no self-control.

Movies, TV, and Books:

  • Create an environment where kids can be consistent with their reading -- for example, a certain time of day or a certain place in the house.
  • Encourage your kid to stick with a book for an extra page or chapter before deciding he doesn't like it.
  • Read about characters who developed self-control.
  • Watch movies and TV that promote self-control.

Social Media, Apps, Games, and Websites:

  • Work together to create a weekly media schedule with a balance of activities and screen time.
  • Find apps and games that require focus and concentration -- for example, strategy or role-playing games.
  • Help your kids learn to self-regulate their own behavior.
  • Seek out apps that help kids with organization and routines.
  • Use accessibility settings such as Guided Access to keep tablets locked on one task at a time.
  • Encourage kids to think through the consequences of their online actions.
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