Screens, screens, and more screens. They’re everywhere! And while it’s important to show our kids some of their benefits, we also have to make sure we don’t allow screens to grab hold of their behavior.
Here are 5 ways to limit screen time and make sure you and child become significantly happier and healthier:
Consistently model how and when you want your kids to use screens. Kids are so much smarter than some folks give them credit for. Taking a “Do as I say, not as I do!” approach simply won’t cut it. As parents, we should set a good example by limiting our own screen time and using technology at the right times. Sneaking a peek at your phone at the dinner table totally sends the wrong message. Again, kids will do as we do, not as we say.
Get outside, explore, and play as much as possible. Sure, electronic games and certain TV shows can help develop your kids’ brains. But these screen-based activities can also overstimulate your kid’s little noggin. When kids get outside and play and explore Mother Nature, they get the opportunity to calmly engage their brain. The result is usually more relaxed kids who do better at home, at school, and in most other public settings. Sounds good, eh?
Read as many books as possible. I believe there’s something inherently healing about working your way through a good book. Encourage your kids to read more by giving them plenty of options. There are so many benefits to reading, including enhanced speech skills, improved reading comprehension, and superior critical thinking skills. I feel pretty darn safe in saying that we all want those things for our kids. Consistently diving into a book will help make that happen, so you know what to do.
Choose experiences over things. There are sooo many gadgets out there that our kids seem intent on getting. And like good parents, we often want to give them the things we think they want or even need. But the reality is that our kids don’t need more gadgets. They don’t need the latest and greatest phone, tablet, or television. Rather than hooking them up with these types of items, I think we should focus on giving them the gift of experience. Get out there and do stuff. See places. Meet new people. Your kid will be infinitely better off when you commit to giving them experiences instead of things. They’ll also have the type of lifelong memories that pieces of technology simply cannot provide.
Keep screens as far away from the bedroom as you can. Screens should be kept out of the bedroom at all times. Just like you, your kids need consistent, quality sleep to be their best selves. It’s simply impossible for them to get that type of sleep if there are screens in their bedroom. They don’t have the discipline to not use them – especially after you’ve gone to sleep. Remove the temptation by keeping all screens out of the bedroom. And remember: Ditch all electronics at least two hours before your kids turn in for the night.
I know that it seems like a monumental task to get your kid to cut down on their screen time. But by following the above tips, you can make it happen. There’s so much more out there than whatever’s bombarding your kid on a screen, so help them (and yourself) by giving them the tools they need to spend less time passively receiving technology and more time actively enjoying life.