While screens are a part of today’s culture and an easy way to keep your child busy, there are health benefits related to reducing screen time. That said, setting limits on TV and computer games for kids isn’t easy in today’s screen-filled world. But starting with just a few small changes, you can help to improve your child’s physical health, decrease obesity and encourage more time to play and explore. Let’s look at a few ways you can help your child limit screen time:
Establish technology-free zones in your house
Create zones in your house where electronics are simply not allowed. This can include your home’s dining room, the kitchen or bedrooms. These areas could be reserved for having meals, engaging in family conversations together or getting quality, undisturbed sleep.
Set aside times to unplug
If you’re not going to turn off screens completely, it’s a good idea to choose a time for your whole family to unplug from the TV, your phones or the computer. When you all agree to put down your devices, it’s easier for everyone to get into the habit.
Make screen time a privilege
A healthy relationship with screens can start with you establishing that screen time is a privilege. It should be something your child is happy to earn by taking some responsibility and following certain rules. As your child grows up, she will learn to finish important tasks first, such as doing homework, before watching her favourite series or spending time on social media.
Get active as a family
Doing activities as a family not only helps to foster a healthy and active lifestyle in your little one but also encourages positive bonding time. Getting active as a family can involve simple activities such as creating a scavenger hunt or taking the dog to the park.
Use parental controls
There are innovative tools you can use to filter unwanted content. These tools also allow you to set screen time limits that can lock your child out of certain apps after she has reached a set amount of time every day.
Make positive changes gradually to limit screen time
There is growing evidence showing the negative impacts of screen time on both adults and children. It can lead to sleep problems, chronic back and neck pain, depression and anxiety and even cognitive decline. Therefore, your family must find healthy and positive ways of cutting back on the amount of time spent in front of the screen.
Start with one of the tips on the list above and gradually introduce the guidelines to limit screen time. This way, your child will get used to the new rules over time and have a better time adjusting.