How to Minimize Kids' Screen Time
Even though the unlimited screen time keeps the kids busy, you do not want them to get addicted. Setting limits on video games, television, social media and other screen-related activities will help them both physically and mentally. Although limiting their screen time and keeping them occupied elsewhere can be a challenging task at the beginning, it will surely benefit them in the future.
Following are some tips and suggestions that can guide you in how to minimize kids screen time:
As a parent, it is your job to encourage healthy behaviour. At times, it is important to limit certain unhealthy habits like too much screen time and odd sleeping schedules. Although it can create a mess around the house, taking such tough decisions are important for your child’s health and active lifestyle. But, you can try explaining to your kid the importance of your decision and help him/her follow through.
Today, most routers, smartphones and web browsers come with a parental control setting/in-built settings and apps. These applications can help you block certain content and set up a filter to keep your child away from unwanted information. Through these settings and apps, you can block specific web searches, websites and keywords, which will also eventually limit screen time for your kids.
You cannot monitor your kids’ screen time if it is constantly out of your sight. You can make it a rule that computer, TV and video game systems are not allowed in the bedroom. You can also limit the use of smartphones at night by making them turn in their electronics before bedtime. This way you can keep a check on their screen time and also make their sleep cycle better.
There are a variety of electronic mediums available today that make it easier for your kids to access web content. With an abundance of apps, devices, TV channels and games at their disposal, it can be difficult to limit them all. You should start by encouraging your children to seek out and get involved in activities that do not require a screen. Activities like reading a book, playing outside, taking out board games, doing DIYs and craft related stuff or even baking cakes and cupcakes will not only limit screen time for children but also make them more active and involved in their surroundings. This will also establish a schedule around the house and make it a healthier environment. By making it clear to your kids that there is a specific time when they are allowed screens can help clarify your concern to them and prevent unnecessary arguments.
By setting a specific time for the whole family to unplug from their electronics will create more opportunities for lively interactions around the house. Dinner time or bedtime can be agreed upon by everyone to step aside from his/her devices and spend some quality time with family. You can also choose an appropriate television viewing window that will make it easier to limit screen time. For example, you can allow your kids to watch one show in the morning and one after school or in the evening.
Apart from making the bedroom a screen-free zone, you can establish an area in the house where electronics are simply not allowed, be it a smartphone or hands-free video game, tablet or laptop. For Example, you can decide on making the kitchen area or the dining room reserved for meals, conversations and lively interactions only.
Television or any other electronic device can have an immediate impact on your child’s behaviour. Too much television, video games or mobile phones can make your child aggressive, lazy, irritable and impatient. Monitor his/her behaviour and mood daily, and if you sense any inclination that the screen time is way too high and is noticeably affecting his/her health, then you’ll be inclined to limit his/her time in front of the screen.
Being cooped up in the house, in front of the television or in a room all day can impact your child’s mind, activeness and health. Make plans for a fun outdoor picnic or set a time for a walk in the park or playground each day. By making him/her interact with nature and keeping him/her engaged in more outdoor activities will help your child grow both mentally and physically. Sitting in front of the laptop or television all day can lead to various health issues in the future.
Asking the question “why?” whenever your kid asks to use an electronic device or see the television can help you ensure or keep track of why your child needs to use it. Be it for entertainment or schoolwork, asking him/her will encourage your child to think of different ways in which he/she can use his/her screen time. This strategy can open up conversations as to why we use screens and how too much electronic activity can be bad for our health.
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