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How to Encourage Your Grandkids to Put Down Their Phones

Redhead preteen boy sitting on couch, watching videos or listening to music on mobile phone, using wireless headset, copy space. Modern technologies and kids entertainment concept

As the world becomes increasingly more connected through technology, it's easy for younger generations to become consumed by their smartphones and other devices. As grandparents, we have a unique opportunity to teach our grandkids how to put down their phones, engage in new experiences, and care for their mental and physical health. Our kids are becoming burdened by technology, and we can be the ones to help inspire new habits.

We’ve written this article to help inform you on why kids should unplug from technology as well as equip you with specific ways to support our younger generation along this journey. So, let’s dive in.

What Does Health Have to Do With It?

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association examined a group of 2,400 typically developing children. Researchers discovered that increased screen time from ages 2 to 3 was linked to significantly poorer performance in their development when assessed at age 5.

Another large-scale study involving 5-year-olds compared the attention spans of children who watched less than 30 minutes per day with those who spent over 2 hours in front of a screen. The results were striking. Children with the most extended screen exposure had a 7.7 times higher likelihood of meeting the criteria for an ADHD diagnosis. Similarly, a study in India discovered that preschool children with ADHD watched more screen time than the 1-hour daily limit recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for 2- to 4-year-olds.

These findings do not imply that screen time directly causes attention problems or developmental delays. Various factors are at play. For example, excessive screen sessions consume time that could have been dedicated to activities requiring patience and creativity. For children already susceptible to attention issues, screen usage can exacerbate the problem. It’s also interesting to note that boredom is typically the biggest reason kids pick up their phones. Mindlessly watching a screen can become a habit that keeps kids from using problem-solving skills or connecting with other kids “in real life.” 

How to We Encourage Healthier Activities?

With summer break upon us, this is the perfect time to inspire our grandkids to disconnect from technology and reconnect with the world in more meaningful ways. Here’s an extensive list of ideas for you to consider:

  1. Lead by Example: As grandparents, we are role models for our grandchildren. If we want them to engage in offline activities, we must demonstrate this behavior ourselves. Put down your phone as well, and spend quality time with them involved in healthy activities. By showcasing our enthusiasm for these types of activities, we can spark their interest and maybe even help them discover a new hobby!

  1. Foster a Love for Nature: One of the best ways to encourage your grandkids to put down their phones is to engage in activities that promote sustainability and a love for nature. Plant a garden together, go on nature walks, or even participate in community clean-up projects. By connecting with the environment, they'll appreciate the world around them in new ways and develop a sense of empathy and understanding.

  1. Become a Hometown Tourist: Take advantage of nearby attractions that capture their interest. For instance, organize trips to local museums, art galleries, or historical sites that offer interactive exhibits. Engaging them in real-world experiences can help them disconnect from their screens and foster a sense of appreciation for a new subject matter. These outings also provide a chance to bond and create lasting memories with your grandkids.

  1. Foster Friendships: Encourage your grandkids to engage in activities that involve other children their age. Organize small gatherings or playdates where they can interact face-to-face, fostering social skills and personal connections. You can also encourage participation in sports or community organizations that align with their interests. These activities not only offer a break from digital devices but also allow them to build valuable social skills and form lasting friendships.

  1. Rediscover Traditional Games and Hobbies: Introduce your grandkids to the games and hobbies you enjoyed during your own childhood. Teach them card games, board games, or even traditional crafts like knitting or painting. By sharing your interests, you pass down valuable skills and create opportunities for quality time and intergenerational bonding.

  1. Encourage Reading and Storytelling: Books can transport us to different worlds and spark our imagination. Encourage your grandkids to explore different genres and discover the joy of reading. Consider starting a mini-book club, where you choose books together and discuss them later. Additionally, storytelling is a beautiful way to captivate their attention and create lasting memories. Share your own stories or encourage them to write their own.

  1. Share Your Skills and Wisdom: As grandparents, we possess a wealth of knowledge and skills accumulated over the years. Take this opportunity to share your expertise with your grandkids. Teach them how to cook a favorite family recipe, play a musical instrument, or even repair something around the house. By passing on your skills, you empower them with practical knowledge and create opportunities for bonding.

  1. Find the Balance: Rather than completely shunning technology, we can help this younger generation find balance by using it more sparingly or for more creative endeavors. For example, they can use digital resources for research, learning, or pursuing hobbies. By incorporating technology as a tool rather than a constant distraction, you can help them develop a healthier relationship with their digital devices.

In a world dominated by technology, our generation can play an essential role in how our families approach life. We can lead by example, introduce alternative activities, foster more personal relationships, and help everyone find a healthy balance with phone use. This summer, let's seize the opportunity to connect, check in, and create lasting memories that will shape their lives for years!

If this article resonates with you, feel free to share it with others. We also have other great articles like this on our blog and social media channels. As a retirement community focused on worry-free living, we’re always sharing ways to help you live your best life. We suggest finding a community near you and following their Facebook page to stay connected and inspired.


Written By

Resort Lifestyle Communities

Resort Lifestyle Communities (RLC) develops all-inclusive resort-style communities to provide a relaxing and worry-free retirement lifestyle for residents. The comfort, safety, and enjoyment of our residents are our top priorities. For this reason, every community is staffed with live-in managers, a 24/7 emergency alert system and concierge service, gourmet chefs, housekeepers, maintenance staff, a full-time lifestyle director, and more. For more information about RLC, visit RLCommunities.com.


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