By Sunniyah Tariq
In this day and age, it is difficult to keep your children away from mobile and screens. Children spend a lot of time on screens for their leisure and virtual learning due to the current situation of Covid-19, it is a challenging job for parents to keep their children away from Screens and what to provide as an alternative. Here’s how to manage screen time for kids and teens and the problems with screens can lead to the following issues:
Playtime is essential for a young child’s developing brain. Children younger than age 2 are more likely to learn and retain information from the natural environment than they learn from screens.
By age 2, children can benefit from some types of screen time, such as music, movements, and cartoon stories. By watching together, you can help your child understand what he or she is seeing and applies it in real life. However, passive screen time cannot replace reading, playing, or problem-solving.
As your child grows, keep in mind that excessive or poor-quality screen time has been linked to:
- Irregular sleep patterns and shorter duration of sleep
- Behavioral issues
- Loss of social skills
- Aggression / Anxiety
- Less time for play in the natural environment
Unfortunately, we cannot avoid screen time completely from our lives but by making a good routine with fun-filled activities in place we may limit screen time.
How To Manage Screen Time for Kids And Teens
Here are some ideas to share to limit screen time in children:
1- Make a plan to add physical activity to your daily routine. Make some physical plays and exercises a regular practice of your family’s schedule. Write it on a weekly calendar for the whole family.
2- Develop a habit of book reading. Book reading is a fun and engaging activity for children if you choose books by the child’s age and interests. So choose wisely.
3- Art & craft and Science activities. Make Art n craft boxes for endless fun crafty activities and other Science experiments for kids of all age groups to explore and expand their imaginations.
4- Spend quality time with your children. Experts say that kids need your time and attention more than anything. To give them that, don’t just let them play — join them to play! plan a set of activities for you and your family that are interesting and can be played indoors / outdoors and in any weather.
5- Outdoors activities. Make time to get the whole family to go out for a walk, cycling, grocery shopping, dining outs, parks and beaches for picnics, etc.
6- Limit TV, smartphones, computers, and video game time. Don’t position your furniture so the TV is the main focus of the room. Don’t allow kids to have televisions or video game devices in their bedrooms. Avoid rewarding them with TV or screen time.
7- Plan your screen time in advance. Make a list of shows you want to watch. Choose some informative yet entertaining programs to have a healthy discussion afterward. Turn off the TV after the assigned time limit.
8- Practice what you preach. If you have restricted the screen time to 2 hours for your kids make sure to follow the same time limit yourself. This will help your child to follow you as a role model.
All of these ideas might sound not easy to follow on regular basis but keep trying to take baby steps and stay consistent don’t back down. Always remember consistency and patience are real investments for your child’s growth and a healthy mental state.