Let’s admit it. Using mobile devices and screens to keep our kids occupied comes in handy when we need to get through an extremely tight schedule. We let them stay glued to the TV screens so we can finish with meal prep in the kitchen. We let them get engrossed with online games so we can tackle household chores undisturbed. However, there’s also such a thing as too much screen time, and when it’s excessive, it can be detrimental to a child’s development. If you can relate to these scenarios, it’s time to take control. Read on for some ideas about managing kids’ screen time.
Set a good example
Teaching a child the healthy use of electronic devices starts with their parents. Be a role model for your children. If you want to curb the time they spend on gadgets, they should see you do the same. Don’t spend the majority of your free time scrolling through your phone or keeping the TV on all night.
Treat screen time as a reward
Instead of allowing a child to consider screen time as a right, make them feel that it’s a reward they need to earn. For example, give them a set of chores to finish before giving them access to electronics. During weekdays, instead of giving them the freedom to watch cartoons or videos on YouTube whenever they like, make sure they’re already done with homework. Or better yet, restrict screen time all together during the school week.
Establish gadget-free zones
Many children today have developed a bad habit of bringing gadgets to the dining table because parents allow them to. Create specific zones around your home where electronics are not allowed. The dining area, for one, should strictly be technology-free. This area should be reserved for conversations and meals. Your child’s bedroom should also be a gadget-free zone so that their bedtime routine and sleeping patterns don’t get messed up.
Do social media detox as a family
If you have plenty of spare time away from school and work, use this time to do a social media detox. Unplug yourselves from the TV and other technological devices and do other fun activities as a family. Spend quality time with each other and bond by playing indoor games, going to the park, or a quick visit to the nearest ice cream parlor. Doing this will make your children feel that they don’t really need a lot of screens to be entertained and happy.
Let them understand the reason behind screen time rules
It’s not enough that we tell children to not spend too much time on the TV or reduce the time they spend on electronics. We need to make them understand the dangers of too much screen time. Talk to them and tell them limits are being set so that they don’t get addicted to games and gadgets, and that there are many ways to have fun without spending too much on technology.
Encourage playtime and other activities
Indeed, children today define fun differently from how kids of previous generations did. Gone are the days when young kids would die for more time spent playing outside. Nowadays, kids have grown so dependent on technology that they’d rather stay indoors instead of interacting with other people. But it’s up to you to turn things around.
Get your little one to play outside by bringing them more often to the beach or park. Set up playdates and invite their friends over on weekends. Encourage more reading time by taking them to the library or bookstore. The important thing is they get to find enjoyment from other activities that do not involve screens.
Electronic gadgets might keep your little one busy for a while but too much screen is detrimental to their growth and development. It’s never too late to limit the time your child spends on technology to a reasonable and healthy amount, and these tips can be your guide.
Here at Early Childhood University, your child’s healthy growth and development are our priority. Make sure your little one gets all the support and help they need by sending them to the right school. Please feel free to give us a call for more information.