10 top tips for reducing screen timeFeb 14, 2023
Screens can be so useful, can't they? We wonder what we could have done without them. We often fear that kids will be bored and won’t know what else to do.
We need to think of the screen as a drug – watching screens is very addictive and it’s hard to get kids to stop.
We need to help kids by managing their expectations and limiting the use of the drug!
Are they all bad?
TV/Screens are great – they can help children
- Learn stuff
- Programs are entertaining and funny
- It can be educational
- Keeps them busy!
There are downsides - they keep children inactive, they don’t help develop language, doesn't allow for creativity or for kids to develop reading skills.
Other forms of play will use children’s imagination far more.
Does this happen to you?
Here are some of the typical reactions we get when we turn off the screen:
- “Just one more episode”
- “Please please, please can I watch more”
- Screaming “NOOOOOO you can’t turn it off”
- Grabbing the phone or tablet from you
- Throwing the remote across the room!
10 tips on how to manage screens better:
- Preferably have screen time ‘earnt’, rather than children assume it is their right to watch. So if they do jobs like tidying up, they get to have screen time
- Have codes on everything that only you know
- Your phone is YOUR phone, not theirs to grab when they feel like it. Some parents have a rule that their kids can't use their phone at all. This does make it easier and vastly reduces the nagging
- Before the screen goes on, establish how long they’ve got, how many episodes and what they are going to watch
- Preferably have fixed screen times during the day which makes it so much easier
- Before you switch it on, ask your child what is going to happen when it’s time to finish - you need them to understand that you’ll switch it off (or they can) but get them to tell you in their words
- Press pause before time is up and ask child the question ‘What has to happen when it’s over….?”
- Set a timer on your phone to remind you – it’s very easy to forget!
- Be a good role-model - so put your phone aside and say "I'm not going on my phone now as I want to talk to you or play with you
- Draw up a list of alternatives activities that your child can look at if they don't know what to do
Get inspiration and ideas to successfully reduce the time your child spends on a screen with my FREE guide: '12 Creative Ways to Replace Screen Time'. Just click here
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