Tips For Limiting Your Child’s Screen Time
We’ve previously spoken about the negative effects screen time can have on your child’s health and development. Screen time is responsible for shortening your child’s attention span, limiting their social life, and delaying development of their social skills. Not only does it affect the development of their brains, but their physical health can suffer too. If your little ones are glued to a screen, tablet or smartphone they’re spending less time out and about physically playing, and hence more likely to be gaining weight.
Things have changed when it comes to where and when children are able to access TV and games. Rather than a household having one TV unit hence causing many a family argument, (we bet you can remember a few!) Nowadays, children are more likely to have their own smartphones, tablets or TV’s in their bedroom. All of this makes screen time very easy for your child.
If you’re worried about the amount of time your child is spending in front of devices, and the ole’ “your eyes will turn square” speech isn’t working, we’ve got some tips to help you limit your child’s screen time.
1. Don’t Give Them Their Own Smartphone/Tablet
This is the best way so it’s important to implement it with small children. From the get go you should make your child aware that they will not be getting a smartphone or tablet until they are a certain age. Preferably an age where you think they will be able to time manage their screen time. Interact and engage with your children instead!
2. Lead By Example
If it’s a bit too late and your child already has a device, you can’t really expect them to quit cold turkey. Instead, take a look at your own habits and make an effort to reduce the amount of time you spend on your phone/tablet. If you put down your device and engage your child, they’ll be forced to put theirs down too. Often children turn to these devices and games for stimulus. You now have to be that stimulus rather than a screen! You’ll cherish the extra time with your child once they’re all grown up!
3. Plan Screen Time Free Days/Activities
We realise it’s not always realistic for your child to be without their phone. Especially if they’re a bit older and independent, and you like to remain in contact throughout the day. If you feel time in front of a screen becoming a bit too prominent in your child’s life then a great way to counteract this is to plan an activity or a day out with no devices! Something as simple as a family game night, or a walk in the local park are great ways to spend time doing something other than sitting in front of a screen. You’re going to have to lead by example and leave the phone at home, or at least in your pocket!
4. Put Devices in a Communal Area
In order to track how much time your child is spending on devices, and hence start to reduce that time, put computers and TV’s in a family space. This is also a great way to monitor what sites your child is visiting, or games your child may be playing. You can cut content that you deem unsuitable easily if you know exactly what it is.