Wednesday, January 2, 2019

4 Ways To Keep Your Child's Screen Time In Check

We live in a digital world, so it stands to reason that at some point your children are either going to own or use tablets. Children love technology. If it sings, dances and interacts, and lights up, that's where children want to focus their attention. And why wouldn't they? Imagine being five years old and choosing pretty paint colors for a picture of a castle that will come to life at the end? Or being eight years old, and building something fantastic in Minecraft? These immersive experiences are exciting for children, so why would they want to stop?

It's for these reasons that it's harder for parents to say no to their children when it comes to devices. On the one hand, you want them to learn about technology and get digitally smart because they're going to encounter it every single day. On the other, you'd really rather they pulled out their toys by Shopkins and used their imaginations the old-fashioned way. It's all about striking a balance between screen time and playing with toys, and it's a balance that you can achieve with patience. Here are some of the best ways to keep your kids’ screen time in check.
Girl Sitting on Bed Holding Tablet Computer

Keep A Rotation Of Toys. Transitions are hard when young children come off of a device after some time. If you have other activities that are fun lined up, such as imagination toys and crafts, then the transition isn't so hard, and they can draw about what they've just been doing.

Visual Timers. Some children have zero concept of timings, so it's important to use visual cues to show them what comes next. Pop a digital timer on in their line of sight so that they know how much time they have left to play on their screens. This can help them to prepare themselves to come off their game and consider another activity.

Place Natural Breaks. If your children love to use tablets for Netflix and other streaming channels, allow them to play until their specific episode is over. Doing it this way can minimize arguments about when they're coming off, helps them to understand that they can see things through to the end and also allows them to understand what it means to have limits.

Discuss Consequences. Too much screen time is not a good thing. Blue light technology has proven time and again that exposure to screens long term is detrimental to a child's health. Not only that, by disobeying the rules about how long they can spend on their screens, your children aren't going to learn anything positive. Make it clear that tantrums will only serve to make their screens disappear for a few days, and foster the feeling of mutual respect. When they play by the rules, they get to have the time you've set.

Children do need to embrace technology, but not at the expense of them becoming walking zombies. Take the time to pull them over to the real world; they'll thank you one day.

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