We live in a day where the internet and smart devices have entered almost every house. Although the internet is a wonderful place where we can connect, gathering information easily, shopping online or even work from home. But still has some side effects especially on the kids who still growing.
The American Academy Of Pediatrics recommendation:
The American Academy Of Pediatrics recommends children ages 2 to 5 be limited to one hour of screen time a day, with consistent limits for older children on the amount of time and place they get to have screen time. While children under 18 months should avoid screen time, other than video chatting.
What does (limiting screen time for kids) mean?
Limiting screen time for your kids doesn’t mean they should never use screens.
Screen time limits are about making sure your child enjoys lots of healthy, fun activities in real life without needing to screens.
It also means looking at the time your child spends on screens and making sure it doesn’t get in the way of sleep and activities that are good for his development. Those activities include things like physical play, reading, creative play like drawing, and social time with family and friends.
To make this possible, here are 10 tips to help you limit screen time for your kids to help them be healthier and happier.
10 tips to limit screen time for kids
1- Talk to your kids about the harmful effects of too much screen time:
The first step to help you limit screen time for your kids is telling them the side effects of too much screen time on their mind, behaviour, eyesight, and body.
2- start with yourself, be the role model for them:
I know that may be the most difficult step but it is very necessary. For many children, the most important role model in their life is their parents. Children look up to their parent to help shape how they behave in their life.
Try to postpone using your smartphone or tablet to the time your kids is not around you, for example during their napping time, when they are busy playing, in the night and early morning when they are sleeping.
If your kids are constantly seeing you holding your phone using social media or playing games, there is a big chance they will addict to the screens.
3- Set a passcode for your smart devices:
The first thing you want to do before you give a kid your smartphone is to create a passcode to enable restrictions. Use a code they couldn’t guess, and remember to write down the passcode in a safe place because it is a pain if you lose it.
I did this step with my two years old toddler and it helped. Because some times I’m busy doing my housework and forget my phone on a sofa, bed or somewhere else which is handy for my son.
I notice that my toddler is quite not, as usual, then I investigate his quietness and find him enjoying his time with my phone or even sending text messages with unknown words to my contact list.
So, setting a passcode to your smart devices is very very important.
4- Play with your kids:
The parents are the most important persons in their children life, so if you play with your kids they will be happy and excited more than playing video games or watching TV.
So get down on the floor with your kids and pick up a doll, truck, car or a ball and start playing with them. Or take them outside and let them play, run and even roll on the earth. They will enjoy their time and forget the phone.
5- Alternate reading an e-book with the real book:
By doing this step, you will reduce the screen time significantly and will prevent some eyes problems to your kids.
Print books are better for health. A Harvard Medical School Study last year found that reading a light-emitting e-book before bed interferes with the ability to sleep.
6- Initiate a digital curfew for the entire family:
It is important to initiate a digital curfew for the entire family, a time at which you and your kids turn off all electronic devices. Try setting the curfew at two hours before bedtime to help them enjoy a healthy sleeping.
But how can you actually get your kids to stop staring at screens in the night? Well, it is difficult to change a habit but it is possible. You should make them busy with something they interest and you should be consistent.
The first nights your kids will cry, but you shouldn’t give them the phone or tablet. Be patient, and within a few days, they will adopt the new routine.
Start now, the earlier you start, the faster the results you get.
7- Create technology-free zones in your home:
establish zones in your house where you just don’t allow electronics, like smartphones and laptops.
For example, the dining room can be a great technology-free zone that is reserved for meals and family conversations, and no screens in the bedroom or the bathroom, no exception.
Creating these technology-free zones will help limit the screen time and strengthen family bondings when you sit together speaking and looking at each other not just staring on the screens.
8- Keep a close eye on what your kids are doing on the internet:
You should always keep a close eye on what your kids play or watch on the internet. Be firm about not viewing content that is not appropriate to their ages like sex, drugs, violence, etc.
Movie and TV ratings exist for a reason, and online movie reviews also can help parents to stick to their rules. Keep the computer in a public part of your home, so you can check on what your kids are doing online and how much time they are spending.
9- Download a tracking app:
You should always be curious and investigative about what your kids are doing on the internet because children can fill in big problems if they didn’t use it the right way because there are many games out there that’s not good for kids and encourage tolerance and even suicide.
To make this job easier, there are many screen-time tracking apps that will monitor which apps are being used in the household, for how long and by home.
10- Give your child some control:
According to the saying (forbidden fruit is sweet), sometimes when you start limiting screen time for kids, they will want it more.
To avoid that, allow your child some choice about what and when he watches TV or uses a tablet, as long as he stays within your family guidelines about screen time.
try to avoid switching off the set in the middle of a show or shutting down his video game mid-level. Give warnings before time is up, and allow kids the chance to press the (off) button themselves.
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