10 Ways How To Limit Your Kids Screen Time
10 Ways How To Limit Your Kids Screen Time
As technology advances the amount of time that our children spend in front of the screen seems to increase. In our technology advance society it is vital for children to be able to properly and efficiently use technology, but honestly, is technology all that matters? And, in case you were wondering the answer to that question is no, technology is not all that matters even in our tech savvy society.
Studies show that children of all ages are being exposed to more screen time. Children under the age of 6 years old spend an average of 2 hours a day watching television of some sort, whether it is the television or a DVD or a video on the computer/tablet. And this number increases as children get older, as 8 to 18 year olds spend an average of 4 hours in front of the television, plus another 2 in front of some kind of computer or video game system. That doesn’t include the use of all media outlets though, if you were to look at everything combined outside of school children between the ages of 8 and 18 spend almost 8 hours in front of a screen.
Now if those numbers don’t alarm you maybe the negative effects this much screen time can have on children will. One of the biggest problems with that much screen time is children are not actively playing, which increases the risk of obesity. Spending most of their time on the couch rather than outside running around also affects school work, as well as energy levels. Not to mention other problems have been linked to too much exposure to the screen.
Now the interesting part is that many people agree that children are receiving too much screen time, but the problem is they don’t do anything about it. For many out there it is easier to just give up. However, if you are ready to begin the battle of limiting screen time with your children you are not alone. Here are some useful tips that you can put to use to start limiting their screen time now.
#1 Be the example.
One thing that you must always keep in mind is that children learn by example. So you as the responsible adult must set the example that you want your children to follow. Simply telling them to limit screen time is one thing; you need to show them what to do instead. Several studies show that children who have parents that simply watch TV are more apt to watch TV than children who have [parents that pick up a book to read rather than turning on electronics.
#2 Set limits on how long they can watch.
Now we are not saying that your children cannot watch TV at all, after all it’s not our decision on what you do in your house. However, if you want to limit how much television or computer time your child has you are going to need to set some limits that work for you. Not only will you need to set limits, you will also need to follow through on those limits. An example of setting limits is allowing them to watch one show before school and one show after school.
#3 Remember you are the parent.
One thing that I think many parents lose sight of when raising children is that they are the parents; they are not here to be friends with their children. As the parent it is up to you to set down the rules and regulations for your children, you need to encourage some things and discourage others. Many times parents let things slide because they don’t want to be the bad guy, but as the parent it is your job to set the rules even if they are not popular. When making the harder decisions always explain your reason behind making the decision to your children. Knowing why can help them understand, which makes them more likely to follow the rules and maybe even one day adopt it as their own.
#4 Play with them.
This is important no matter how old your child is. For younger children you need to get down on the floor and play with your kids, get them engaged in building a town or even play house or tea party with them. Whatever it is they like to do set aside some time and do it with them. The more you engage them in this kind of play the less they will want to spend time in front of the computer or television. Engaging older kids might be a bit harder, but it can be done and even if they whine about it, it is something that they want to do.
#5 Give them plenty of other options.
Children who have nothing else to do are more apt to sit inside in front of a screen of some kind. If you provide your kids with plenty of non-screen options they are going to have a hard time growing bored. Other options that your children can do include reading books, painting, coloring, or simply playing outside with friends in their own backyard.
#6 Sign them up for a sport or class.
The more active your children are outside of the home the less likely they will be to sit in front of a screen and zone. A great way to get your child active is to sign them up for a sport or class. These kinds of activities involve being away from home, where he lure of screens can be hard to overcome. And between practice and games or even classes and shows your children will not grow bored.
#7 Reduce the number of screens in the house.
Now this one might be a no brainer, but the fewer screens you have in the house the less likely people will be to watch them. One of the best ways to reduce the number of screens is to not allow televisions in the bedrooms, particularly children’s rooms. Having televisions inside of bedrooms increases the numbers of hours children spend in front of the screen, plus you are not as likely to realize that they are even watching it.
Not only can you reduce the number of televisions you have in your house, but you can cut out cable or television entirely. Now to some of you this might sound extreme, but by removing one or the other you are going to find less desire in both yourself and your children in terms of wanting to watch TV. Families that resort to this have found it to positively impact their families in just a few short days, plus they save all kinds of money on cable bills.
#8 Spend time together as a family.
In over half of all households in the United States, the television is on during meal times. So what this means for those households is that rather than talking to each other about their day or just having a nice conversation, they are absorbed in front of the television. Turning off the television and sitting around together allows you to get to know each other and communicate more effectively. It also teaches the importance of family time.
#9 Don’t feel guilty.
One thing that causes parents to allow their children to watch so much screen time is they are afraid that their children are missing out. After all you know at school children are going to get together and talk about the different cartoons that they watched the day before. You worry that by not letting them watch the same shows they are going to lose friends or even miss out on making friends, but that is not the case. Sure they might not be able to compare notes, but that doesn’t normally stop kids from jumping into a conversation. Most friendships are not broken over somebody not watching a television show, so don’t feel guilty about it.
#10 Be involved.
This one should be another no brainier, but sadly most parents find it easier to place their child in front of the television than be involved in their lives. However, that is the easy way out. You need to be more involved as a parent, especially if you want to raise successful kids. Listen to your children, be involved in what they are involved in, so them that you are interested and they will be far more likely to grow up and be successful. Teach and show them what you want them to be, not
Now at first glance limiting screen time might sound like a lot of work, but it is a job that you will be glad you took. When limiting screen time you don’t have to use all of the tips that we mentioned above, just use the ones that will work out best for you. Some parents find it easier to gradually reduce the screen time than cut it out all at once and that is okay too. Just remember you have to start somewhere and trust the longer you do it the easier it becomes!