Tips for Screen Time Rules
Today we hear a lot about screen time and limiting children’s exposure to technology, but in a world that is so built on electronic devices, determining what screen time restriction means can be difficult. This is why it is essential to consider screen time rules when your kids are young to set a standard.
Here are some tips for following your family’s screen time rules.
Be Smart About What Screen Time Means
Not all screen time is terrible, and if you are working to limit screen time to encourage your kids to become more social, video games can be an excellent way for kids to connect. Non-violent problem-solving games can help your children develop essential skills, and when they play with friends, they are also improving their social skills.
Today there are a lot of learning-based games for kids of all ages, so limiting screen time doesn’t always have to mean no technology at all, it can also be a time for specific activities involving electronics that will benefit your child’s growth.
Watching a movie together as a family may still be using technology, but that doesn’t mean it is bad. Many movies teach essential life lessons, history, and more that can be turned into valuable teaching moments.
For example, you could watch a movie about a historic event, but before watching, give your kids a brief overview of the history it is about. Then, when you finish watching the film, you can have a more in-depth conversation about what happened and how it has impacted the world today. Something like this is a great use of screen time.
Consider having different kinds of “screen time,” meaning that some screen time is used for learning activities, and the rest is free time. Then you can designate certain parts of the day to be completely shut off from screens.
It is essential to designate some time of the day to be wholly logged off of your children’s devices. This could be the same time every day, such as in the morning before school and at night an hour before bedtime. It could also apply to different activities you are doing, such as visiting the grandparents in their senior living community or at dinner time.
Some kids don’t react well to rules sprung on them, so before implementing these, give them an idea of what to expect, such as all meals will be technology-free or visits with family are no phone zones. Communicating your rules regarding technology will make it feel more reasonable for your kids and give them the sense that it is a group effort, not arbitrary restrictions meant to annoy them.
Lead by Example
Children can quickly adapt to change and rules if they can see you follow them. It can be hard to tell your child they have to do something just because you “said so,” and reducing screen time is great at any age. So, when it is time for the kids to turn off their devices and find something else to do, you can be right there with them, ready to play a game or watch a movie together.
However, this doesn’t mean you should feel guilty whenever you cannot join your kids during their offline time. It is also essential for kids to use this time to learn how to entertain themselves without using the internet and social media or being glued to a game that is not educational.
You can help inspire your kids to enjoy activities like reading, drawing, painting, exercise, and more. After introducing them to these activities or helping them get started, they should also learn to enjoy them independently.
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog enthusiast, and avid beachgoer operating out of Southern New Jersey.