Parenting in this age of modern, ubiquitous telecommunications has brought a lot of new challenges – managing kids’ screen time included. Whether we like it or not, our children are born into a world where they grow up with computers, tablets and smartphones. And while these electronic devices benefit young kids in terms of learning and entertainment, too much screen time can be detrimental to their development in a couple of ways.
Research says children who spend too much time on screens are more likely to have behavioral and sleeping problems, are at a higher risk for obesity, and may have a hard time focusing on education and learning.
These findings highlight the importance of screen time rules.
Screen times rules have to be established to ensure kids only use their devices in healthy and reasonable amounts. Here’s a guide you might find useful to effectively limit your child’s screen time.
Set a daily limit in terms of hours
As a parent, you should be the one to decide how much time your little one is allowed to spend on screens on a daily basis. You should set the schedule, too, for what times of day their devices can be used.
For example, they can only be allowed to spend a maximum of 3 hours each day watching TV or playing video games. And this should only be allowed after they’re done with their homework and school projects. Or as long as it’s not during meal time or when they’re about to sleep at night.
Determine areas where screens are prohibited
Create technology free-zones or determine areas around the house where no devices are allowed. Kids shouldn’t be given a 100% liberty to use their smartphones or tablets anywhere they want. For example, they shouldn’t be using electronics while at the dinner table or when they’re already in bed. Make sure the television is only installed in the living room and not in their bedroom.
The less accessible the electronics are, the easier it becomes to prevent their addiction.
Be a role model
There’s no better way to teach young kids about healthy electronic use than by setting the right example. Your screen time rules are not going to be effective if your child sees how you spend the entire night binge-watching Netflix or checking work emails while having dinner.
You have to set your own boundaries for yourself when it comes to using devices. Your words will mean nothing if your actions speak otherwise.
Let them earn their screen time
Another excellent trick for establishing screen time rules is to let your child work to earn their screen time. If they’re old enough to handle household chores, use this opportunity to teach them basic skills such as cleaning, cooking and organizing their stuff. You can create a chart to keep track of the chores they’re assigned as well as the corresponding minutes or hours they earn for each chore they finish.
For example, helping out with cooking is equivalent to 15 minutes screen time. Or making their bed corresponds to 10 minutes of screen time.
Take a digital detox
Young kids today may be exposed to a lot of technology and electronics. That is why now is the best time to teach them that these things aren’t the only sources of fun and entertainment. This is where your time and attention are needed the most.
Carve out time for your kids and family. No matter how busy you are, be sure to always spend quality time together doing screen-free activities. Instead of spending the weekends watching a movie marathon from the couch, do other fun family activities.
Play outdoor games, take a trip to the nearest beach, or take them to the park. Also encourage your kids to enjoy more outdoor play or engage in fun learning activities. Not only will this keep them from using electronic devices too much, it’s also beneficial to their growth and development.
Screens and electronic devices have been extremely useful to our lives in many ways. But as the old adage says, too much of something is bad. Make sure these gifts of technology don’t take a toll on your child’s development. Establish effective screen time rules with these tips.
For more helpful tips on parenting and raising kids or if you’re looking for the best childcare center for your little one, visit Cornerstone Learning Center.