Most of us have fallen into the trap at one point or another of giving our little ones a screen to keep them quiet. We all know that too much screen time isn’t good for anyone, let alone young children (particularly hard if they have older siblings who have games consoles, phones and tablets). This month, we thought we’d look at some top-tips on how to reduce screen time.
Firstly and probably most importantly, our children learn from us so as parents, it’s really important for us to be a role model for our children. This includes electronic use. Sitting at the dinner table scrolling through your phone teaches your child that it’s okay to do!
Whether your child loves sitting in front of the TV or playing on a smartphone or tablet, it’s important to create some ‘screen-free’ times – this is set time when the TV is turned off and everyone knows that it’s a complete ‘screen-free zone’. Another idea, if you have room, is to have a technology-free area of the house – one room that the whole family uses where technology is not allowed yet quality family time is spent in this room.
As our children grow up, they have more and more access to screens – at school, at home, at friends houses. Talking to your child about the negative side effects of too much screen time will help them to appreciate what screen time they do have. As children get older and become more exposed to the dangers of online predators, cyberbullying and inappropriate material, the world can open up into a place that you probably don’t want your children to see. Using parental controls and talking to your children from a young age about appropriate screen usage and content for their age will help them to appreciate and respect the time that they do have on screens.
In today’s society, more and more children are becoming dependent on technology for entertainment. Encourage children to get involved in activities that do not involve screens. Read a book, go to the park, encourage role-playing games, play in the garden! Make screen time a privilege rather than the norm and if your child does disobey you, then take away the privilege! Last but not least, keep screens out of your child’s bedroom. Screentime before bedtime is a big NO and can interfere with sleep