When kids spend too much time in front of screens, it can lead to a variety of problems. It also can cause severe anxiety in their parents. After all, nothing makes a parent feel guilty faster than thinking that their children spend too much time in front a computer, television, tablet or phone.
Like most things in life, however, moderation is the key. The fact is, technology has done a lot to improve the lives of children and it isn’t all bad. Further, attempts to go cold-turkey when it comes to cutting off a child’s access to electronic devices are likely to backfire. The best methods for reducing screen time involve slowing curtailing it over a period of time.
What follows are some simple ways to reduce the amount of time your kids spend in front of a screen. What’s best, these methods are less likely to lead to tears and tantrums (for you and your child!):
How to Reduce Screen Time
- Schedule it. Kids like to feel as if they have a say in things so sit down as a family and map out a schedule for screen time. For example, cut out screen time for an hour before bedtime (which is recommended by experts to prevent sleep disturbances) or until all homework is finished.
- Keep screens out of the bedrooms. You will be able to better monitor your kids’ screen time if they aren’t hidden away in their room with their devices.
- Cut the (cable) cord. When there isn’t anything to watch on television, everyone will watch less of it. Canceling your cable TV subscription is a great way to save money, too. Money that can be used for activities you can do together as a family – like trips to the zoo or swimming.
- Get outside. Spring is in the air. After being cooped up all winter long, this is a great time to take advantage of longer days and warmer temperatures to hike or ride bikes on the many trails around Omaha.
Reducing screen time is often seen by kids as a punishment. That is why it is so important for parents to gradually reduce time kids sit in front of the screen and to replace that time with activities the entire family can enjoy together.
Finally, don’t beat yourself up every minute your kids are watching TV or playing online. Doing so just leads to a lot of guilt that doesn’t do anyone any good. If there are times when your kids want to watch a video or play a game online, try to steer them in the direction of more educational videos and games. That way they are learning at the same time!
Premier Academy offers affordable childcare in the Omaha/Elkhorn area. To learn more, visit us at premieracademyinc.com.