While digital devices are essential in this technology-driven era, excessive use can be highly detrimental to a child's development. As parents, we must minimize our little ones' screen time and encourage them to engage in healthy activities. Here are six essential tips to help manage your child's screen time usage.
Educate your child
Instead of forcing your child to stop using their gadgets, educate them on the dangers behind excessive screen time. Your child is more likely to comply with your screen time rules if they clearly understand the reason behind them.
Use words they can comprehend based on their age, and be patient when explaining. If your child is older and needs to use the Internet for school-related tasks, teach them how to protect themselves from online predators.
Set boundaries at home
If you have multiple electronic devices scattered inside your home, controlling your child's screen time usage can be difficult. Establish areas where technological devices are prohibited, such as the bedrooms and dining areas.
Keep mealtimes technology-free to help facilitate more meaningful conversations with your loved ones. Forbid your child from using their devices in their bedrooms, as they may be tempted to stay inside instead of playing with their friends.
Be a good role model
As parents, we need to lead by example. You can't expect your child to put down their phones if you are glued to your devices yourself. Be mindful of the amount of time you use your electronic devices, especially when you're with your kids.
Scrolling mindlessly through your phone while you tell your little one to set aside their devices is not exactly the behavior you should be modeling to your child. Minimize your screen time usage and engage in healthy activities with your children.
Spend more quality time outdoors
Spending time outdoors is an effective way to reduce your child's screen time. Whether it's walking the family dog in the park, playing in the community playground, or building sandcastles on the beach, make it a habit to spend a few hours daily outdoors. Schedule fun open-air activities you can do with your child every week and prohibit them from using their phones during these times.
Provide other stimulating activities
Aside from going outdoors, you should also encourage your child to do other healthy activities. Provide them with educational and stimulating projects they can work on at home. For instance, if your child goes to preschool, you can provide them with the alphabet or letter A worksheets to help them better recognize and write the letter A.
Utilize parental controls
If repeated screen time limit warnings are ineffective, there are various tools you can utilize to control your child's usage. Research the parental control applications that best suit your child's devices and explore how to adjust the built-in settings on their phones. These parental controls can reduce conflicts, especially when your child refuses to follow the family's screen time rules.
Reducing your child's screen time doesn't need to be complicated. Take note of these tips, and focus on being present to your little one.