Managing kids screen time is one of the huge challenges of modern parenting. It was much easier for ancient parents since there were fewer influencing programs on our screens. In fact, when you missed a program, you had to wait for the following day.
Currently, we have smartphones, tables, video games, Netflix, PVRs and much more, which makes it even more difficult to keep up with them all, create reasonable limits as well as evaluate them. Furthermore, it is even more difficult for us, adults, to disconnect from these devices since they make our lives easier many time. Indeed, much has been published on this topic to make sense out of it all. However, it remains one of the huge subjects of conversions during parent’s meetings.
How do you manage screen period in your house? Do you have limits set? And how much is enough?
Have a Conversation With Your Family
Have you kids understand the importance of sitting less and moving more, especially staying within healthy weight limits. Explain to them that they will be more energetic, which will help them out in developing or perfecting a new skill, such as cycling and could create much fun with friends. Importantly, affirm them that you will do the same.
Lead by a Good Example
It is important for you as a parent to lead by example through limiting your time on screen to no more than three hours in a day. If your children observe that you are obeying your rules, then they will be more obliged to do the same.
Track Active Time versus Screen Time
Start logging time spent on the screen by your family, including activities such as DVD watching, playing video games as well as using the computer for activities that are not school or work related. Then compare it with the level of physical activity they take part. This way, you will grasp a sense of the changes needed.
Be Creative by Making Screen Time Active Time
Engage in an active activity when you spend time on the screen. You can do yoga, stretch as well as lift weights. Alternatively, you can challenge your family to see one who can do most leg lifts, push-ups or jump jacks during television commercial breaks.
Set Screen Time Restrictions
However difficult it is, make a house rule that bounds screen time to three hours in a day. Notably, put into effect the rule!
Make your Bedrooms Screen-free
Do not have any computer or TV in your kid’s bedroom. In fact, children who have a television in their bedroom tend to have about one and half hours more on the screen every day as compared to those who do not have. Furthermore, it keeps children away from the rest of the family by keeping them in their rooms.
Mark Meal Time as Family Time
It may appear difficult, but it is possible. Keep the TV off during mealtimes. If possible, have the TV far from eating area if there is any. Meal times are a good time to converse with one another. It is indeed true that families who take food together are likely to have more wholesome food. Prioritize eating together and plan family meals at least thrice each week.
Provide Alternative Options
Watching can become habitual, thus making it easier to overlook what is out there. Offer your family ideas or substitutes, such as having outdoor games, developing a new hobby or even learning a new sport altogether.
Deceased from using TV Time as a Reward or Punishment
Such practices are likely to make children perceive TV as important!
Understand TV Placements and Advertisements
Seeing fast food, snack foods soda and candy on the TV affects everybody, particularly children. Help your kids understand that since it is on television or favorite program does not mean a drink or food is healthy. Make your children think why their favorite animation character is attempting to getting them eat particular breakfast cereal brand.
Remove Your TV Cable
If you want a swift and effective way of limiting TV watching habits, cut your TV cable feed or remove it altogether. It will indeed change your family watching habits overnight. Luckily, it’ll impact your checkbook positively as well!
Lisa Ann de Garcia, MA, MEd.