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Technology is a boon. However, at times you need to exercise some control over our engagement with certain devices like mobiles, computer, and TV. More so, it’s the kids who get addicted to these devices and that adversely affects their health. As a parent, you should try to control and reduce your kids’ screen time. Here are some ideas to get you started and help your kids live a healthy life. ~ Ed.
There are times when you need to set some ground rules for how much time your kids spend in front of the screen, whether it is TV, computers, or mobile devices.
Your kids may moan and groan, but you know it’s for their own good. You’ve been warned about the harmful effects of too much screen time on your kids–it can lead to obesity, aggression, attention problems, and depression.
Because of this, it’s important for you to monitor your children’s screen time, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic when working and learning has to be done at home by incorporating monitors and screen devices.
So, instead of trying to win the battle of wills where you keep telling them to get off the device, and they keep ignoring you, try using some of these tactics to reduce their screen time.
5 Tips to reduce Your Kids’ Screen Time
Did you try to explain to your kids that more screen time harms them? If that didn’t work then you could try giving your kids some alternative activities. Here are more ideas to help your kids lessen their screen time.
Be the Right Example
Children will always imitate what their surroundings are doing rather than listening to what you’re asking them to do. As a parent, it is your job to be a role model by setting up the right example and reducing unhealthy habits.
That could be translated into a situation where if they see you scrolling to your phones endlessly, they will likely mirror your behavior or make it an excuse behind their iPad addiction. Try to find another activity when you’re around your kid, like reading a book or get into something physical.
Set a Schedule and Screen-Free Area
Just like how a school is operated, try to implement a schedule as a strategy in limiting your kids’ time on their iPad, game, or watch a show. This way, he or she will know the exact time they will be able to access their devices and prevent them from constantly begging or arguing with you.
Also remember to not make extra screen time as a reward for good behavior or other things, as this will make them resort to their electronic devices every time they’re facing unpleasant activities.
Another trick that blends well into the previous one is to set up screen-free areas in your house. This means that some specific areas should be free of TV, iPad, mobile devices, or any video game consoles. Out of your kids’ sight, automatically out of their minds.
Furthermore, it is advised to set aside certain times on the schedule for the whole family to turn off their screens. This rule can be applied during meal times and a minimum of one hour before going to bed. Eventually, if everyone’s succeeded in doing so, it will create a seamless family quality time during those hours.
Explain the Reasons Why You’re Limiting Their Screen Time
Instead of trying to enforce your term on screen-time limitation, allow your kids to understand the downsides of having too much time on the devices. This will make them likely to cooperate by following the rules you set and will not take your decision as a means of punishment.
Incorporate Other Activities That Exclude Screen Time
With a wide variety of entertainment provided through screen devices, it’s hard preventing children from the lure of digital technologies. In order to support your goal, seek other alternatives that do not include a screen or video display.
You could start by providing necessary resources at the comfort of your home, which could be board games, dolls, cars miniatures, puzzles, art activities, books, or even sports equipment to get their body move. Consider picking up some educational toys for a positive effect on their intellectual development as well as creativity, for instance, you can choose magnetic building blocks.
Encourage Independent Play
The reason behind why parents often let their children have more screen time is to get themselves some moments for me-time. I mean who can blame them, everybody knows that parenting is hard and exhausting, right? But as we know the goal is to reduce the use of monitors, thus it’s best to start introducing a method called independent play.
If your kids are new to this method, surely there will be some protesting and needs a bit of practice. You can start by providing toys or supplies for fun activities, then try to encourage them to play and explore on their own for ten minutes.
Remember that communication is the key. Give them some explanation and understanding that you have other things to get done, and that you promise to accompany them later on. You can gradually increase the time from ten to fifteen to twenty minutes until they become comfortable and used to play independently.
The advancement of technology is inarguably amazing and it enables us to be exposed to millions of ideas, information, entertainment, and thus make it an extremely useful instrument for our daily life.
But the increasing exposure towards technology will bring harmful effects for your child’s development as it should be a means of education not the substitution of real-world interactions, such as building friendships with other kids, being physically active and playing outside, or utilizing their imagination.
For your child’s own good, you gotta start somewhere to set the boundaries by implementing one of the above tips after another.
Over to You
Do your children spend too much screen time during this pandemic, or just enough? What strategies do you use to limit your child’s time to access gadgets? Share with us by writing on the comment section down below.