With constant access to TVs, computers, and mobile devices, children are starting to spend hours in front of screens. This can be unhealthy and lead to development issues over the long-term if action isn’t taken. For those wanting to reduce their child’s screen time, it’s all about setting a strategy and implementing it. Summit Children’s Center is here to help with that strategy!
Tips for Reducing Screen Time for Kids.
1) Start with the Basics
Setting the foundation is important when it’s time to reduce screen time for kids.
If a child seems to be spending too much time in front of a TV, computer or mobile device, it’s important to make sure they realize this is a privilege. This can be done by creating specific times when they can watch television or play on the computer or mobile device (i.e. to watch a show, play games or watch YouTube) and nothing past that time slot. When they start to follow a schedule, it becomes easier to implement new changes with your screen time for kids.
One of the more common mistakes parents make is to focus on an immediate withdrawal. This is not the way to go as it can lead to issues between parent and child and make the change harder than it needs to be. Instead, it should be done patiently by focusing on setting a schedule and offering alternatives. When you do it right, your child is going to respond well and is going to try different activities to spend their time on.
2) Create Tech-Free Zones at Home to Reduce Screen Time for Kids
Start with a tech-free zone at home whether this is the dining room, playroom, or bedroom to reduce screen time for kids.
The idea behind a tech-free zone is to allow children to focus on other things that are not screen-related. This can be something as simple as reading a book, playing a board game, or doing something engaging without having to use a screen. This can take a bit of time to figure out because each child is going to have a unique set of interests. As a parent, you want to focus on learning more about your child’s likes and dislikes and what they respond to.
If you do this, they are going to enjoy spending time in the tech-free zone and it’s not going to bother them as much as you think. Sometimes, all a child needs or wants is a way to have fun and that doesn’t have to involve a screen.
3) Enjoy the Outdoors
Heading outdoors is one of the best things a parent can do when it is time to reduce screen time for kids.
Being outdoors is great because it allows the child to engage with the world around them and learn more about how everything works. This can be done by going on a walk to the local playground, heading out for a hike, or even visiting the local park. It’s not all about going on a big adventure whenever you step outside.
Even a simple stroll through the neighborhood is a good way to engage them and push them away from watching TV or using the computer all day long.
If your child knows they can have fun outdoors, they are going to be more than happy to enjoy their time at the playground or the local park.
4) Buy New Equipment
If you are looking for an alternative, then it may be time to invest. As a parent, you must make sure your child can try different things and it doesn’t always have to be as expensive as you think. Most of the items are affordable and it’s all about making sure you are picking up something that’s going to interest your child and make them want to move away from the TV or computer.
These items can include:
* Pogo Stick
* Roller Blades
* Board Games
Sometimes, a child doesn’t have the option to play a board game or jump on the trampoline because they don’t have the equipment to do so. As a result, they are going to go back to spending a lot of time watching TV or using the computer. Instead, you want to be a step ahead of them and make sure they are getting to play with a pogo stick or use the trampoline.
If they have access, they are going to have a far better time enjoying themselves. It gives them an additional option and can be a great source of exercise. This alone is more than enough in some cases to get them to spend time outdoors.
5) Lead from the Front
Are you leading from the front as a parent?
Leading from the front means doing things that you want your child to do. It’s about leading by example and setting the right tone, so your child knows what is right and what is wrong. This works in almost all aspects of life whether it’s about telling the truth, not littering or reducing the amount of screen time.
When a child sees their parents do something, it’s a lot easier to follow. They will be encouraged to follow along and that alone is a great way to reduce screen time for kids.
In this case, you want to take out the bicycle and ask your child to join you or you can set up a board game and put away your phone too. It’s these little details that are often ignored when it is time to focus on your child’s development. If you are not willing to put in the time, they are not going to respond well.
Sometimes, parents can end up ordering their children around without showing what needs to be done. This is when children ignore what is being said.
Focus on leading by example and you are going to notice a quick reduction in your child’s screen time.
These tips should go a long way in making it easier to reduce the time your child spends in front of the TV, computer or mobile device. Yes, they are still going to watch TV and use the computer but cutting down the amount of screen time for kids is a must. This is one of the best ways to make sure they are leading a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle. Summit Children’s Center is here to help with the start of reducing screen time for kids! Visit our website to learn more about our programs, and if you haven’t already, schedule a tour with us today!