10 tips for minimising screen time
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- Sep, 05th
Yes, we are living in a digital age. Kids are becoming more and more obsessed with technology (I even read an article the other day about a child who had learnt to do certain functions on an iPad before even learning to walk, how crazy is that?)
It is a big worry for parents… the amount of time their kids are spending on their computer, phone or games console. It can be hard to monitor them to know exactly how much time they are spending on them and they seem to be becoming ever dependant on them for homework, talking to friends etc. Here I have compiled a list of how you can help minimise the amount of time your child spends using a screen.
- Take the time to understand the complex causes of typical screen dependency (physiological, environmental, emotional and evolutionary causes).
- Accept that screen time will probably always be an issue in your family, and you will need to manage it carefully, sensitively and firmly. This problem is not going away!
- Be in charge. Be true to your values. Remember that children are very vocal about what they want, but we, the parents, know better. Even though we’re not perfect, we do have the experience, maturity, common sense and wisdom that our children and teens lack. So be willing to be firm. Resist peer pressure (which can feel as uncomfortable for parents as it does for our children).
- Be proactive. Focus on prevention and motivation, rather than reacting after the problem.
- Parents need to become a united front so that you both agree to uphold the family rules and routines. Becoming united often requires parents to compromise, which is not always easy, but it is possible. To reach a compromise, parents need to resist the urge to argue, complain or try to persuade their partner that they are right and their partner is wrong.
- Parents need to decide together how much leisure screen time is good for each child. (The amount of time children and teens use screens time for homework is not usually a problem.)
- Have one or more screen-free days each week. This helps to take the focus off screen time as a default activity. For many families. keeping Monday to Thursday screen-free simplifies life enormously. With this rule, school nights are kept free for homework (and revision), family time (see tip 14) and special time (see tip 15).
- Have screen-free times of day, every day. These times would include mornings before school, after school before homework and revision, before music practice, during homework (except for the screen that might be needed for that particular piece of work), mealtimes, family time (see tip 14), special time (see tip 15) and two hours before bedtime.
- Have screen-free parts of the home. Keep screens in public parts of the home, not in bedrooms (this applies to parents as well!).
- Lead by example. Children and teens are influenced by what we do much more than by what we say.
Is this something you are concerned about as a parent? Do you have any great tips for keeping your child less dependent on their screens? Let me know!