How to Limit Screen Time For Kids And Why it is Important
It is clear that technology is here to stay and the world is becoming more digitally driven. In many ways, that is a good thing. Technology can be empowering for kids of all ages, with tools that help children learn in fun and engaging ways, express their creativity, and stay connected to others. Once your child is running about and eager to learn new things, it will be hard to keep electronic devices away. Here is how to limit screen time for kids.
In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) revised its previous recommendation of no screen time for children under 2. The new guidelines were broadened a bit with recommendations for only video chatting for children under 18 months, co-watching high-quality programs, for children ages 18 to 24 months, one hour a day of screen time for children ages 2 to 5 years, and “consistent limits” on screen time for children ages 6 and above.
Why it is Important to Reduce Screen Time For Kids
Although some screen time can be educational, too much of it may have a negative effect on a child’s development and overall well-being. An excess amount can even increase the risk of:
Research has found out that toddlers who are exposed to handheld screen time are more likely to have delayed expressive language skills. It is only through real-life interactions such as conversations and play-time that children can think creatively and solve problems actively.
The more screen time a child has, the more likely they will have trouble falling asleep or maintaining a regular sleep schedule. Poor sleep habits not only affect a child’s mood and behaviour but can make it hard to concentrate in school, which makes learning difficult.
Children who spend lots of time in front of a screen are less likely to be active, which over time can lead to issues with obesity. Also, kids who watch a lot of TV will be exposed to advertisements for fast food and sugary drinks, which can encourage an unhealthy diet.
5 Ways to Reduce Screen Time For Kids
There is no doubt that reducing screen time is going to be challenging at times. However, even though your child may throw tantrums or get upset when their screen time is limited, it is important to remember there will be many benefits in the future. Here is how to limit screen time for kids.
1. Be a good role model
Technology’s irresistible pull draws in parents as much as it does kids. We check our phones every hour, log late hours working or surfing the internet on our laptops. Children are likely to not only copy our behavior, but they also can feel like they have to compete with devices for our attention. Use media and your devices the way you want your children to use them. By practicing what you preach. Let them understand that there are times for using technology and times to be present and engaged in the real world.
2. Set media rules as a family
Work together as a family to come up with a plan to use media thoughtfully, with limits. Whether it is letting your kids watch an hour of TV after their homework is complete or no more than 30 minutes texting with friends, it is important that you establish clear rules and limits for screen time. Even though it may be tempting to give in when your kids get upset or throw a tantrum, be consistent and firm. Here are some examples below:
- No TV or game use after dinner.
- Computer use after dinner is limited to homework.
- Television time or computer games is limited to one hour a day.
- No television or computer games before school.
3. Replace screen time with other activities
Try to think of fun and active things for your children to do instead of watching TV or playing video games. As a parent, you can help them re-discover play with the absence of technology. Try these activities below:
- Outdoor play or exercise.
- Play with pets.
- Going to the library.
4. Remove screens from your children’s bedroom
Having a TV or computer in the bedroom is a huge distraction for your children, especially when they are meant to be studying or falling asleep. So removing TVs and any other electronic devices from their bedroom is a priority. It is impossible to monitor a child’s screen media use if it is allowed in the bedroom.
5. Talk to your kids about the importance of reduced screen time
It is important to discuss with your kids if they are at the age to understand the importance of limiting their screen time. When you involve kids in regulating their screen time you are more likely to get buy in. Try to involve your kids in setting the limits and coming up with rules.
I hope you enjoyed the post. What are your screen time reduction tips? Leave your comments below.
Until Next Time,
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