Technology has become a necessary evil not only to adults but to kids as well. It’s become an evil that we love to hate but cannot live without. Decades ago, cell phones were unheard of and families seemed to get by just fine without them. Today, however, things have taken another turn. Kids are spending more time looking at their screens more that they are looking at their books.
While your kid’s gadgets can be both educational and entertaining, they can also compromise their safety, security, and good morals. Less screen time means healthy minds, better sleep, improved social behavior, better performance at school, and reduced aggression. These are reasons enough to curb screen usage in your home because come to think about it, you don’t want technology running your home. With that in mind, below are five helpful tips to limit your kids’ screen time.
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1. Be the Parent and Lead By Example
Kids nowadays don’t want to be bossed around. They have a mind of their own and it will only make things worse if you become the controlling parent. Instead, become the role model they want you to be, show them how it’s done, and lead by example! As a parent, you should limit your own screen time whenever you’re in front of your kids. So, what is screen time? You might ask.
In a nutshell, this is the time your kids are spending on their devices such as smartphones, game consoles, television, etc. As a parent, you can use the same tech they are using against them when it comes to limiting their phone usage. For instance, for iPhone, iPad, and iTouch users, parents can utilize the Screen Time tracking features and use it to set usage limits on their kids’ phones.
2. Filling Their Time with Fun Activities
Malcolm Forbes, an American publisher, was once quoted saying that the purpose of education is to replace an empty mind with an open one. But when it comes to parenting, it simply means ensuring that your kids are spending their time actively and responsibly. One awesome way to limit your kids’ screen time is to fill their time with fun activities.
When you have other activities planned for your kids, it will help to ensure that they are not sitting around the home bored and wishing they were chatting online. To do this, however, you’ll need to find a balance with their after school activities, extracurricular activities, and personal time.
3. Making Screen Time a Reward
Instead of allowing your kids unlimited access to their devices, you should make them earn their time with these devices. While they might think that it’s their human right to own them, there are various ways you can remind them that it’s a privilege.
One way to do this effectively is to make your kids earn their screen time by accomplishing constructive, charitable, or creative tasks. Some parents may let their kids earn screen time after getting good grades in school, reading a book, or accomplishing a chore. This will send a clear message that there are other valuable things in life other than electronic media devices.
4. Setting a Time for Tech Activities
You, of course, want your kids to appear nerdy when they are with their friends. This means allowing them some time with their gadgets. Setting a no-screen time for your kids will only aggravate them more. And you know what this can do to your relationship, right?
Allowing your kids to set up healthy tech activities may work towards enriching them with basic tech-savvy knowledge as well as helping in updating them with the current tech trends. But then again, the idea is about keeping it to a minimum.
5. Become an Involved Parent
While this can seem like a far-reaching idea especially considering the economic demands and the fact that life has become busier than it used to, it’s important that you involve yourself in the life of your kids.
This means paying attention to what they are watching, the sites they are visiting, listening to what your kids are saying, asking relevant questions, and yes, parenting them. This is the sure-fire way to get involved in your kid’s lives. It can sometimes seem like a lot, but it will bear the intended fruits with time.
Finally, there are so many reasons why you may want to limit the time your kids are spending on their gadgets. It may be that they are developing problematic uses of the internet or it’s affecting their performance in school. Whatever your reasons, the above tips will go a long way into helping limit their screen time and in so doing, improve your relationship.