Screen time is always a hot a topic among parents. Kids are playing games and watching YouTube clips from a young age and it isn’t uncommon to see primary school-aged children with their own smartphone.
Ever given your phone to your child so that he stops crying? You’re not alone. As a mum I’ve been there plenty of times of myself. But research shows that too much screen time leads to a decrease in physical activity and it impacts social skills. Here are a few tips to help you and your family reduce screen time.
1. Create boundaries and no-screen zones
Try and keep certain times or places off limits. Perhaps it’s dinner as a family without the TV on, or maybe it’s banning devices in bedrooms. Setting boundaries is key to reducing reliance on screens.
2. Establish viewing times Set specific periods of the day when screen time is allowed and stick to it. If you allow 30 minutes before dinner, use the oven timer so that the whole house hears it go off. It’s a good idea to limit using iPads and phones before bedtime - opt for a good book instead.
3. Use an app to help you You can also use a screen time app that unlocks during the times of the day that your child is allowed to watch videos or go online. Some apps such as Screen Time Parental Control will even let kids redeem more screen time in exchange for completing chores.
4. Hold off giving them their own device There’s no right or wrong age to give your kids their first phone. Some kids might need a phone because they have lots of after school activities. Others might just show more responsibility from a younger age. Still, generally, the longer you wait before you give your child their own phone, the better – if you can bear your kids begging about being the last one to own a smartphone. When you do give them one, make sure you put them on a prepaid SIM plan to avoid big bills.
5. Dust off the board games
Yes there’s Words with Friends, but how much more fun is Scrabble? Bring out the classics and play a board game as a family. Your kids might enjoy it more than they think.
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