Stories about kids throwing tantrums for their parents taking away their smartphones or tablets are not uncommon. If you’re a parent, you may have seen or experienced it yourself.
Parenting in the digital age is certainly not easy. Screens are addictive and children can’t help but stay glued to the couch watching TV or playing video games. This is where screen time rules come in.
Too much screen time can be detrimental to a child’s healthy growth and development. It takes away the time and opportunities they should be spending for other activities and interaction with people. It can even impact their sleep, trigger behavioral problems and lead to obesity. Technology and entertainment media is everywhere and though it’s difficult for kids to put their devices down, it’s important that parents set healthy boundaries for their children.
Read on and learn effective screen time rules to use for your kids.
Set a time limit for their use of technology
The exact number of hours young kids spend on screens may vary depending on your family’s lifestyle. But it’s important that you don’t let them spend hours without limits.
As a parent, you should be the one to set the time limits and schedule your child’s use of technology. If they’re allowed to use the screen for a maximum of 2 hours each day, be sure to stick to it. Set a timer and give a heads up if their time is almost up. Also have it scheduled accordingly. Do not encourage or allow screen time use during meal time or before bedtime.
Determine screen-free zones
Screens should not be allowed just anywhere in the house. Make some areas in your home technology-free zones. For example, the TV should be exclusively in the living room. Kids shouldn’t have a TV in the bedroom nor should there be one in the dining area. Only allow them in the living room or play area.
By keeping the devices away from certain places around the house, you’re providing your little one more opportunities for important interactions with the family as well as other helpful learning activities.
Redirect use of screens for learning
The internet and technology aren’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, they can be helpful when utilized in the right way. Find ways to turn screen time into time for learning. Search for kid-friendly apps and websites that offer educational content. There are also online games and activities that promote creativity, imagination, and literacy, among other things.
No screen time before bedtime
If you’ve been struggling with putting your child to bed at night, you might want to revisit how they’re exposed to screens at night. Do they still have their tablet with them or are they still watching TV before getting to bed? If so, it’s time to change this habit. Stop screen time an hour before bed.
Find fun alternatives
Let’s admit it. Smartphones and tablets come in handy when we need to keep our kids busy while we are too busy ourselves. However, screens aren’t the only sources of entertainment. You can look for other great alternatives that do not expose kids to too much screen time. Encourage them to engage in other fun and exciting activities such as boardgames, books, arts and crafts, and their own toys!
Explore more outdoor activities
It isn’t healthy to allow children to live a sedentary lifestyle because they spend almost the entire day with technology.
Encourage physical activity by giving them more opportunities to have outdoor fun. Take them to the park so they can run around and play with other kids. You can also spend a weekend at the beach or play family games in the yard.
It’s important that children learn to love and appreciate the outdoors without TV or any screens or phone. They’ll have a happier and more memorable childhood!
Limiting a child’s screen time is one of the greatest challenges for today’s parents. Of course, we want to make sure that the growth and development of our kids isn’t compromised. With the help of these screen time rules, you can set healthy boundaries so they enjoy their electronic devices without it taking a toll on their development.
For more tips on parenting or if you’re looking for the best preschool for your little one, please visit Imagine Nation Learning Center.