Most of the population owns some sort of electronic device in today’s world. In fact, 98% of homes with children contain electronic devices. Many children are growing up “in front of the screen” in our advanced digital age—but don’t worry!
To help your children build healthy relationships with technology, follow these six helpful ways to reduce your children’s screen time.
Communicate With your Kids about Screen Time
The first thing you want to do to limit your children’s screen time is talk to them about the importance of healthy separation from technology. You might explain that while tech is helpful to society in many ways, they must understand how to be present in the moment.
Additionally, too much screen time may contribute to obesity, sleep issues, depression, and more negative effects on children and adults.
Communicating with your children before you begin the process of reducing their screen time can offset confusion and frustration. They’ll understand that it’s for their health and well-being, even if it means no more screen time before bed.
A great tip for helping your children understand the process is slowly transitioning. If your children have a habit of watching TV or playing games on a tablet when they come home from school, slowly wean them from the routine each day.
Try not to cut screen time all at once; a slow transition will help them get used to the idea and start to feel better without the electronics.
Next, try to stay consistent with the transition. Your children may cry or express frustration throughout the process, and giving in and letting them play on the devices may be tempting. However, showing consistency will help them build comfortability in the process.
Encourage Other Activities
You might consider encouraging your children to go outside or participating in arts and crafts! Creative, hands-on activities build a sense of achievement and confidence in your children that no electronic device can deliver.
Offer your children new and exciting activities that’ll make them forget about their devices. It might also be a great time to bond with your children and motivate them to be active and creative with you!
Set Aside Time To Unplug
As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. Putting the electronic devices away for a particular amount of time will encourage your children to use their imaginations and entertain themselves more healthily.
Set aside specific times throughout the day when your children aren’t allowed to use their devices and stick to the schedule.
For example, a common time to “unplug” in many households is dinnertime. Making dinner a sacred space for family bonding can help your children realize there’s more to life than the screen.
Lead by Example – Reduce your Own Screen Time
If you spend most of your day on your devices, your children will follow your actions. Model a healthy relationship with technology so that your children see that you value time, books, exercise, and more over electronics.
This can be especially helpful when you’re choosing your children’s first smartphone or upgrading their devices. They may be tempted to use these devices frequently, but when they see that you don’t use yours as often, they’ll begin to have less interest in their own devices as well.
By using these helpful ways to reduce your children’s screen time, you’ll instill a level of responsibility and appreciation of time in your child. Communication, creative activities, and leading by example will help your children spend less time on the screen and more time living life to the fullest!