How to Manage Kids’ Screen Time
Limiting screen time has become an essential duty for any parent. As kids are exposed to technology from a very young age, you’ll have to step in and control the content that your child consumes.
Too much screen time has been shown to limit social interactions and affect proper growth/development. Kids who spend hours on end watching TV (or using a computer) are more prone to mental and physical development issues. These include attention disorders, obesity, and unhealthy sleeping patterns.
As technology continues to become an essential part of our daily lives, how can you limit your child’s screen time without causing them to feel out of place?
1. Start By Setting An Example
Kids learn a lot from adults. If you spend hours scrolling through your phone or watching an entire Netflix series, your child is likely to follow your example. Be wary of how you use electronic devices in front of children. Keep your phone away when having meals and turn off the TV when your child is doing their homework.
By setting a positive example, your child will understand why being responsible with technology is critical.
2. Set Screen Time As A Reward For Your Kids
It also helps to let your kids know that access to technology is a privilege. If they appreciate the value of having a television or owning a tablet, they’ll be more likely to handle screen time responsibly.
You can make your child earn their screen time in many different ways. For example, have young kids clean their rooms or organize their toys before they can watch TV. Teens can also run necessary errands (such as doing laundry or taking out the trash) before you buy them a new phone. The idea is to make your kids associate their electronic devices with a sense of responsibility.
3. Stay Up To Date With The Latest Trends
Adults tend to remain stuck in time. Sure, the days of having few TV channels and playing outside were great, but kids these days are growing up in a different reality. This is why you should try to keep up with the latest technology trends. For example, be aware of what the most popular social media platforms are and any potential dangers they might cause.
You should also be able to read the ratings of video games to ensure that your child isn’t exposed to harmful content. Share ideas with other parents and consult your child’s teachers to find out what you may be missing.
4. Set Tech-Free Hours Of The Day
Children associate technology with fun and excitement. They may even feel as if nothing is enjoyable without technology. As a parent, you should break this stereotype by setting “tech-free hours” during specific periods of the day. This may be during dinner, right after school, or at another convenient time for the family.
Dedicate this time to having conversations and sharing experiences. Such conversations also allow you to find out more about your child’s interests, habits, and preferences.
5. Enlighten Your Child About The Consequences Of Too Much Screen Time
When telling your child not to watch too much TV, give them reasons why excessive screen time can be harmful. Share with them how other children have developed obesity, personality disorders, and depression from using too much technology at a young age.
As you explain, give your child enough time to understand the consequences. The same way they eventually get why eating with dirty hands will make them sick, and they’ll learn that too much screen time has adverse health effects.
6. Take Advantage Of Technology To Filter Content
Limiting screen time isn’t just about switching off the TV or phone during specific periods. You also need to filter the content that your child consumes while such devices are on. Parental controls are a great place to start. Many devices allow you to set limitations and keep track of what your child is watching or browsing online.
7. Expose Your Child To Other Activities
If you notice that your child associates fun and entertainment with technology, consider showing them what else the world has to offer. Sign your children up for the local little league competition, take them to the park on weekends, and purchase board games that spark cognitive reasoning.
You can also take your child to the library on specific days so they can develop a fondness for reading. The idea is to expose your child to multiple experiences that will reduce their dependence on technology.
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