Today, kids are spending more time with screens of phones and electronic tablets than they are on the playground. And let’s admit it the time they spend with the screen do get out of hand at times. Well, on a realistic note, most of the time it can get pretty out of hand. Children are always exposed to screens and electronic devices. Even adults are guilty of too much screen time. The big question when it comes to technology and children is, “how much is too much?” But until we find the magical answer to this question, the main thing here to remember is that it all depends on the quality of usage of technology, how involved you are with the kids during it and how it affects your family. The aim should be to strike a fine balance between screen time and family time for children.
We know firsthand how difficult it can be to get your eyes away from the screen and just do something that actually needs your attention or just take a nap and rest your eyes. The screen becomes the perfect villain. Harmful for us, but hard to resist, pulling us close and we’re just not able to let go.
We surely know how difficult it is to get eyes off from the screen and do something that needs attention. Join us as we take a look at some ways to balance screen time for kids:
First and foremost is to set clear but realistic screen time limits. Parents need to make sure that the screen time is not prioritized oversleep, outdoor playing, or completion of homework. Don’t set limits that your child will have difficulty to follow. Instead, give them screen time in parts rather than for one hour or one and a half hour at a stretch. You can divide it into 15 or 20 minutes twice a day. Though your child will resist the time restriction, you need to be strict about it.
Set Clear Rules
This is the most important tip we can suggest. Set clear rules about when and where the child can and cannot use electronic devices and engage in screen time. For example, set a rule that screens will not be allowed during any meals of the day and will only be allowed once all the chores and homework given are complete. Make clear rules about how the children cannot use devices in their bedroom, study room, or car and can only use the electronic devices in the living room.
Choose What They Can Use
Now, it may seem obvious but it is equally important. Children should be allowed to watch only age-appropriate content and should not be exposed to violence and inappropriate imagery content. Parents can use the child lock facility to prevent children from using apps that might not be appropriate for them.
Spend Digital Time Together
Use screen time as a way to spend quality family time together. Watch an age-appropriate movie with your kids or play a game with them. There are various interactive learning apps on the market that can be used to help children learn while having fun. Do your research and use the digital time to bond with kids.
Talk to children; help them understand how screen time is harmful to them. When you sit them down and patiently explain how dangerous screen time can be to their health, they are more likely to obey the next time you ask them to put the electronic device aside.
We understand that pulling children away from the screens can be an uphill task. Hence you must sign them up for outdoor activities that are of their choice and interest. Give them choices between playing a sport, skating or reading a physical book [not an e-book] or playing on the swings. You would be surprised at how giving children the freedom of choice in outdoor activities can reduce screen time significantly. Remember technology if used wisely, is an asset to our lives.