It may be particularly easier to calm the kids down when you allow them to have some screen time on your iPhone or an iPad especially when you have guests over. It could also serve as an educational and creative tool to enhance your child’s mental abilities. But when you have your kids growing up with excessive amounts of screen time, you know you might be having a problem. The very fact that you’re reading this article probably means you’ve encountered the flip side of that coin already.
This online and social media life has truly been an immersive part of our kids’ social group activities today. Hence, it can be pretty difficult to try and detach them from missing out on what everybody else is engaging in. Ultimately, it is still up to us to manage just how much our kids are submerging themselves. Otherwise, it could turn into a struggle with anxiety and depression coming from their increased false understanding of identity, built on a warped reality of social networks. In our efforts to combat this, we’ve come up with some concrete steps in limiting your child’s screen time.
1. Lessen Your Own Screen Time
We must always remind ourselves that children generally pick up after our behaviors first and foremost. When we’re on our phones for the weather updates, recipes, notifications, and what have you, our children might quickly pick up the importance of the cell phone and feel justified in allowing the phone to have such a deeply integrated role in their lives as well. Always set a good example!
2. Emphasize the Importance of Talking
We can’t expect our children to know everything but we also can’t expect them to listen when instructions become a lecture. It’s important to remember that proper and open conversations about how and why they should limit their use of technology should be the fundamental starting point. They should be able to understand how limiting their screen time would benefit them in the future in order for them to redirect their focus and energy towards more productive activities.
3. Provide Engaging Opportunities
To follow the last step, we should be able to make our children understand the importance of engaging in other opportunities. It is up to us to provide them with venues for sports, science projects, books, fitness, trips to the park, performing arts, and so much more. When we give them other options, we lessen the time they fill with television or phone use.
4. Parental Control
When the first three steps prove to be ineffective to your child’s excessive screen time, we may need to look into more technical solutions. Depending on their maturity, you should know when to put your foot down and know when enough is enough. Though there may be applications that purposely limit and manage your child’s screen time, it may be more fruitful to allow them a set amount of screen time per day. As such, you may run spot checks to keep updated with their usage.