Wean the Screen: 5 Ways to Limit Your Child's Screen Time
Parents are facing one of the biggest fights they have to witness—their children's screen time. Unfortunately, the parents are losing the fight and screens are taking much of the time of these children. Screen time management is increasingly becoming a difficult task among parents. The main reason of which is the availability and accessibility of various screens in the household.
There is no doubting the benefits of technology have brought us. But we should also be aware of the damages it inflicts on our children.
Did you know that kids six years old and below watch an average of 2 hours of screen daily? And the effects of these including watching TV are not good. A child who watches too much TV:
- has a higher risk of being overweight or obese
- is more likely to develop aggressive behaviors
- is more likely to engage in risky behaviors
- has less energy
- has a harder time learning
How to limit your child's screen time
Apparently, the habits that our children formed today have adverse effects on their future. Now is the perfect time to curb the habit and create new albeit more constructive ones. Let's start with ways on how to limit your child's screen time.
1) Set the example
Be the parent that you have to be. A child gravitates toward the modeled behavior of his or her parents. If he or she sees you reading a book, the child will grow up a booklover himself or herself. Consistency is the key here. You can also explain why you are specific activities such as turning off the TV at 8 pm or the mobile phone at least 2 hours before going to bed. This will help your child follow through.
2) Limit viewing times
Rather than counting the hours that your kids are in front of the TV, you may instead choose to let them one 30-minute show in the morning and another in the afternoon. That's after doing their homework. No TV inside the bedroom too. On the other hand, you may allow your kids to break the one-hour screen use daily to give them some autonomy. When you do this, be ready to offer your kids alternative activities during the lull period. Provide the resources they will need such as books, toys, board games, art supplies, sporting equipment, etc.
3) Be involved
As a way to pacify their children's tantrums, some parents let their kids watch YouTube over and over. Don't be like those parents. Such activity does not foster good parenting skills. And it doesn't give your kids much learning value either. If you are going to give your child a diversion, make sure that it's worth their time. Read: Play with your kids. Get down on the floor with them playing their favorite game. It requires intentionality, but your kids will surely remember this than their favorite YouTube video later on.
4) Value family time
The richest conversations happen during a meal when all the family members are there at the dining table. Sadly, 64% of the young people eat their meals while watching TV. Be different by not letting any screens ruin this beautiful moment for the entire family. Prioritize your child's enrichment by choosing quality family times. You can schedule screen time when you need them to be preoccupied like when you are preparing dinner. Alternatively, you may waive this and ask your kids to help in the kitchen.
5) Don't give them a gadget
Handling them a device is the easy way out. But that is not going to be sustainable because, in the end, you'd want them to stay away from the tablet even just for a while. So if you really want to limit your child's screen time, don't give him or her anything at all. Watch your gadget use and limit your use also so you can easily get your child off the screen.
Today, screens are taking over our children. Gone are those days when children go out to play games with their friends without talking about any gadget. As parents, you have the responsibility to limit their screen time. Pry them off those screens with the tips discussed above.