child’s screen time
Screen time is not the easiest thing to monitor and control as a parent at the best of times. However, with many of us stuck at home with not much to do, it seems that screen time has increased and increased.
Screen time isn’t always negative. There are plenty of ways it can help to entertain and educate, especially with access to superfast broadband and data [packaged like those at https://halfcooked.co.uk/superdrug-review. It can have negative implications for our children too. This means that we need to do whatever we can to try and control it and limit it.
Finding it hard to manage screen time, need some pointers to get you in the right direction? Let us show you the way. We have put together some of our top tips on managing your child’s screen time with ease and why you need to try and reduce screen time at home.
Why reduce screen time?
The first question that you should ask yourself is just why you should reduce screen time. Understanding why it can have a negative impact is a key way to ensure that you make an effort to limit their use.
When in front of a screen, children are much less likely to engage with the world around them. Of course, this may be ideal if you want 5 minutes to yourself, but this is not a long term ideal. Interacting with family members. Not only this, but their activities form a crucial part of your child’s learning and will help them make sense of the world and feel a part of the family.
These interactions also form a vital part of our children’s communication and social skills for their everyday life. Something that they cannot learn by sitting in front of a screen and wasting a few hours.
Children who spend too long on devices are also much more likely to develop attention problems. The virtual world’s fast pace, designed to be in your face and eye-catching, will never lend itself to the real world. Children who spend long periods in front of a screen will find real-world interactions slow-paced and dull.
Blue Light & Sleep
The blue light that is emitted from screens can disturb our sleep patterns. This is primarily because it kickstarts your brain into thinking that it is time to wake up. This might not be too bad of a morning when you need to be able to get up and go. But in the evening, this can be incredibly damaging to the sleep patterns of children, which are incredibly fragile anyway.
Screen time can also discourage children from being active. Sure, there are apps and games out there that are designed to get your children up. Whether that be dancing or playing virtual sports, these cannot compare to the real thing. When presented with the choice of staying in on a screen on being out in the fresh air, children are likely to choose screens, which means that they are not getting as much exercise (or sunlight) as they need.
Also, screens present fun to us in a way that stops us from thinking for ourselves. If this goes on too long, then we can forget how to have fun for ourselves. This can then lead to feeling bored, which then exasperates the problem as we will turn to our screens more and more to entertain ourselves and keep ourselves from feeling bored.
Of course, it is essential to remember that not all screen time is negative, as we have already mentioned, but it is still a good idea to reduce the amount that children are looking at screens daily.
If you are not sure how best to approach this or worry, you may find it too tricky to do. Take a look at the best ways that we think you can encourage your child to have time away from their screens.
Use a screen time app.
While apps might be what you are trying to stop your child from using, you may find that they have the answer you as a parent are looking for. Screen time apps are a great way to monitor how much screen time your child is having and then set limits to turn off their access physically. These are available on a range of devices, so if you can use them, they are worth trying to see if they can work for you.
If you don’t have a screen time app, then you can write down the times that your child is on a screen and how long for. That way, you can keep a visible log of the timings, and it could show you just how much they are relying on their device on a day to day basis.
Remember that not all screen time is the same.
Screen time may seem like screen time, but the truth is, it is not always the same. The amount of screen time your child has will depend on what they are doing and how old they are.
Teenagers are more likely to increase screen time as they use their phones to speak to their friends and catch up with what is going on. This isn’t always ideal, and you will want them to step away from their screen still, but it is worth remembering when socializing isn’t possible, this could be the best way for them to interact with the people they are missing.
Set an example
Do you reach for your phone when you have 5 minutes of quiet time? If you do, then the chances are that your children may be learning from you. Of course, as adults, our screen time is different from our children, but we still need to do what we can to limit it. Not only is too much social media bad for our mental wellbeing, but when we have our faces in our phones, it can seem hypocritical to tell our children to stop using theirs.
Make sure that you as a family try to cut down on your screen time. Have a box that you put your devices in at set times of the day, and then make sure that you leave them alone. Not only will this encourage you to do things together as a family (more on that later), but it will also show your children that you too are taking the reduction in screen time seriously.
Plan some family-friendly activities
Sometimes the best way to encourage children to step away from their screens for a little while is to show them that there are better things to do out there. This means that you need to plan some family-friendly activities to do.
Board games, crafts, playing outside, going for a walk, maybe reading a few books. All of these things take children away from their screens and doing something else.
Not only this, but it is also a chance for you to spend some quality time together as a family, which everyone is going to enjoy more than they realize. Pretty soon, they’ll be asking you to play Monopoly instead of begging you to play on their Xboxes or for a turn on your phone, and things will be great!
Talk to them about it.
If you have an older child, then you may find that it is a good idea to try and speak to them about their screen time usage and why you want to reduce it. If they understand the negatives that can come with too much screen time, they may accept the changes. It also shows them that you want to discuss ideas with them, and they may even put forward some suggestions that you may not have even thought of on how to reduce all of your reliance on devices.
Screen time is not the end of the world for kids, and sometimes adults and children alike can benefit from a little time away from it all. You do need to do whatever you can to manage it and make sure that it is not taking over.
Manage Your Child’s Screen Time with Ease
Hopefully, these tips have helped you to work out the best way to do this. Suppose your and your kids are finding them hard to implement. In that case, it may be worth taking a slower, more gradual approach and implementing just one change at a time, Do this, and the kids will hardly notice, which is sure to make your life easier, and eventually, you will have them weaned down to just the right amount of screen time for their needs.