Ways to Reduce Your Child’s Screen Time
One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic has sprouted remote learning models where children incorporate more screen time into their school day. While this advancement in learning is applauded and in line with today’s culture, it comes with its own ramifications. There are many evident health benefits related to reducing screen time, including improved physical health, decreased obesity and more time to play and explore. When the school day wraps up, come up with a plan to put away devices and get in some physical activity like a walk in the park where they can spot birds or even a treasure hunt in your yard.
Lead by example
Monkey see, monkey do, remember? Before getting absorbed into the world of Netflix, parents first need to be role models of screen use for their kids. Limiting your child and your screen time allows for more quality time together. Use this time to read a book together or catch up on what your child learnt in school that day.
Keep yourself updated with the latest technology
The generation of kids today are tech-savvy and most of them know how to navigate and use electronics better than adults do. This is why parents need to educate themselves on the latest trends, social media platforms, games, etc. When you’re well educated on the risks of social media and the effects of certain violent games, you can explain and teach these looming dangers to your kids.
Set smaller, realistic goals
Completely cutting down on screen time can be a huge shift for your kids. Start by setting smaller, more realistic goals. You can start by cutting their current screen time in half.
Create ‘device-free zones’ at home
Another method to cut down your child’s screen time is to establish tech-free zones in your house where any sort of electronics and devices are prohibited. These zones can include the dining area, the hall or any common area so that more time can be spent with each other.
Make use of parental control
Parental controls are your biggest defence against explicit content on the Internet and on TV. Thankfully, most routers, web browsers, and TVs parental control settings that allow you to filter or block unwanted content. You can also download apps on your kids’ smartphones that create content filters. Many also allow you to block specific websites, web searches, or even keywords.
Incorporate social and physical activities
Incorporate social and physical activities to make up for the reduction of screen time. You could arrange for playdates where the children can play board games together, paint or complete a puzzle. On weekends, take your kids along with you for a walk in the park, visiting a petting zoo or hiking — they would definitely love it.
Be more involved
Parenthood is challenging; we understand how it’s easier to turn on the television to keep your children entertained than to be actively involved. However, successful parenting involves putting your child first, observing their demeanour, listening, asking and parenting.
Notice frightening behavioural changes
Television and Youtube have an immediate and frightening impact on your child’s behaviour. Parents have reported that their children are irritable, aggressive, selfish and impatient after an overload of TV and video games. So, be alert and observe your child’s behavioural changes. Once you’ve experienced and seen the ill-effects first hand, you’ll be less inclined to put your kids in front of the screen.