If you can’t beat them, join them!

Written by Joe Schafer 

Turn off that device and go outside and play! This is the sound that you can hear coming from many of the houses with small children. I remember growing up and playing outside from morning until night. The only reason to come home was for meals and when the street lights turned on (curfew) at night.

Now technology is such a big part of kids lives. What do we as parents do to keep our kids from becoming mindless robots that stare at a screen all day long? This is a question that many parents, including myself, continue to ask themselves.

The reality is that we live in a different time and things will not be the same as when we were kids. Technology is so much more advanced and our kids will likely need to use the technology to perform basic functions of life and to navigate their school work. The key is to develop some form of balance. Here are three things that I have tried with my kids to help maintain balance in this area:

#1- Screen time is earned– Kids can have screen time after they have completed all of your homework, your chores, or practiced your piano. This is a great way to motivate your kids to complete the things that you already expect from them.

#2- Screen time is limited– Kids only have a limited amount of time each day to use their devices for games and videos.

#3- Screen time is productive– Kids can do some things on their device that are actually helpful to them. The title of this post is “If you can’t beat them, join them.” Why not encourage your kids to have screen time when it is productive screen time. My son studies, practices his piano, and even spends time with God using his device. Having your kids use their device to do these things before they play games is a great way to motivate them to spend their time wisely. There are obviously a lot of apps that are designed for education purposes and the schools often recommend them for you. Let me recommend some of my favorite apps that will help kids get closer to God.

My top three apps for kids to spend time with God:

#1- Parent Cue This is my favorite because it is good for all age groups of kids from preschool through elementary. This app is designed for you to have conversations with your kids about God and it links directly to the lessons we teach every week in church. It includes a bible verse, video lessons, and discussion guides. It has elements that kids can navigate on their own as well as things that are designed for you to do with your kids.

#2- Bible for Kids– This is perfect for preschool and younger elementary elementary kids. It has a bunch of bible stories that are read to kids and the pictures are interactive. This is easy enough for even young kids to navigate on their own, but is also a great way to start discussions with your kids.

#3- Daily Audio Bible For Kids This is an audio podcasts that has kids reading passages of the bible. It is sometimes a bit silly, but it is a way for kids to hear the word of God directly from the Bible. It covers the entire new testament in a year with daily posts. This is something that kids can listen to on their own.

Joe Schafer has been married to Rachael for 13 years and has two kids. He has been serving in children’s and youth ministry for 14 years at Allison Park Church.