Let’s encourage our kids to be present!
Screen time for kids has nearly doubled from before the pandemic, going from 3.8 hours a day to 7.7 hours. The more time our kids spend on their electronic devices, the less time they spend socializing, learning, and developing. While TV, tablets and other electronics can be used as a break for parents, excessive use of electronics can expose children to violence and unwelcome behavior. Too much screen time can lead to sleeping and eating disorders, obesity, attention difficulties, and academic problems.
We may ask ourselves, “how do we navigate setting boundaries to limit our kids’ screen time?” If you want to start setting boundaries with your children when it comes to screen time, here are some approaches you can take.
Hard Core (No electronics. Period.)
Some families deal with too much screen time by simply taking electronics away and not having them in the house at all. If it’s not in your home, then there’s no temptation to use it! This method may be difficult for us as parents, because even we like to unwind after work by watching a show on TV or scrolling mindlessly through social media. Another idea is to have a TV in the family room but not allow them in bedrooms. It can be difficult to monitor your child’s time in front of the TV or electronic screens when it’s in their bedroom.
Screen Time with Boundaries
If you don’t want to eliminate all electronic activity in your house, consider putting screen time limits on your kid’s electronics in the general settings. These limits can let you control how many hours a day/week and keep track of it. When the time is up, the electronic device should turn off on its own.
Turn the TV off if you’re not watching it
Even leaving the TV turned on as background noise can hurt a child’s cognitive development. Turn off the TV once you’ve finished watching your program and it will help you save on your electric bill as well!
Use a screen time schedule
You can limit screen time by allowing a certain amount of time during periods of the day. For example, you may want to cook dinner without having to worry about watching your children. Allow them to watch TV or use their electronics during that time.
Earn TV Time
Earning screen time may be the most rewarding for both you and your children. You may ask your children to have their rooms picked up before they spend any time on electronics. If they don’t get their room picked up, then there’s no screen time for that day. Another way you can have your kids earn screen time is encouraging them to read or spend time playing outside before they start their screen time.
Choose quality shows
As a parent, you have control over, and you’re responsible for, what your children are exposed to. Make sure the electronic activities are age-appropriate and developmentally-appropriate. Educational videos and games can help children learn more.
Some days, our kids may get a lot more screen time than we intend, and that’s okay! Screen time situations may be far from perfect, but the main thing we want to look out for is that we’re paying attention to what our kids are consuming on their devices!