Parenting is not an easy task. The widespread adoption of smart devices and the rise of social media have added a new wrinkle to parenting challenges. Today, one of the most highly debated topics among parents is screen time. The main concerns are how much is too much screen time and what impacts screens will have on children’s development. The World Health Organization issued a guideline on the ideal amount of time for children to spend in front of screens.
During this pandemic, there has been so much screen time for children. Of course, it’s by necessity. Increased screen time has taken many different forms from virtual classes, group play, and time spent with extended family, all happening in front of a screen. There are growing concerns about the growing number of hours that children are spending there. In addition, there are increasing cases of conflicts between parents and children around media use. To crown it all school year is about to resume.
As a parent, you must ensure that your kids are ready for actual physical school. Some benefits might come with extended screen time, especially when it’s a part of a healthy lifestyle and it’s balanced with other activities. For example, at Tizi, we have educational games that your kids can play on their smartphones or laptops. They will have fun while learning and benefit from their screen time. But, how can you manage their screen time in time for the resumption of the school year? Here are four steps to get started.
Empathize with children’s point of view
Managing your kids’ screen time will not be easy to achieve. Honestly, their engagement with the devices made it easier for them to cope with the harsh reality of the pandemic. That’s why you should work with your kids to create some strategies for managing screen time and screen use. The first step involves listening and taking into consideration your kids’ points of view. They will then be in a position to hear and understand your adult concerns. It will be easy for them to share with you what they love about their screens. You will then come up with different ways to replicate the same experience but without the screens.
Create family rules on screen time
To ease the process of managing screen time, you will need to create some family rules. These rules will help your kids understand the limits and your expectations. Agree on on-screen time hours on weekdays, weekends, and holidays. Establish tech-free days and binge days. In addition, agree on when the children will use the screens. Case in point, no screen time until after homework, and no screen time during meal times. Lastly, establish rules on where the kids can use the screens. For example, screens are not allowed in the bedrooms. Get the whole family involved when making these rules. Note that your rules should be flexible to account for the changing interests and needs as your kids grow. To ensure that the rules are followed, plan for some consequences for situations where rules are broken.
Set up a routine
Routines are the key to an easy transition to healthy and sustainable screen time. They help kids know what to do, when to do it and how often they should do it. With a routine, you will be able to minimize conflict about screen use and incorporate screen time into your family’s life in a way that suits you and your schedule.
Start transition from screens.
Finally, it’s time to implement your strategy and start the transition from screen to other activities. At first, your kids might have a hard time putting down the screens, especially if they are having a good time. However, well-planned transitions from screen time to other activities and schoolwork can make things easier. Set expectations, choose your timing, and give a timely warning to your children when it’s almost time to keep the screens away.