In this day and age, setting limits on screen time and sticking to them, can be one of the biggest challenges parents face. Not only are our children becoming more enthralled with screens, but we, as parents have a hard time keeping our own media habits and mobile use in check. It is important that there are screen time rules in place for everyone in your family.
Cut Down on Screen Time
It is helpful to note how much time everyone in your family is spending in front of a screen each week. Remember that screen time includes more than just TV and video games. Make sure you write down how much time is spent on tablets, computers, phones and e-readers as well. Once you have a general idea of how much time in a week has been spent with a screen and go over it with your family, you may be more motivated to make changes. Especially when you consider how much technology is too much for kids.
If your family is more likely to take part in screen time at certain points in the day, change the routine. Take an hour out of the normal time you engage in screen time the most and designate it for family time instead. Doing this can encourage your family to get outside and enjoy some active outdoor playtime, complete homework together, or even just play a board game.
Designate No Tech Zones
Having areas in your house that are designated as “no tech zones”, is a great way to encourage less screen time. Areas such as the dinner table should be designated for family time only. Spending time together, tech free, is a great way to stay connected with the people in your household, so collect all the devices and keep them stored away from the “no tech zones.”
Limit Screens Before Bed
Using a screen before retiring to bed can make falling asleep and staying asleep more difficult. A bedtime routine that doesn’t include screen time will lead to a more restful sleep. Encourage your family to turn off the screens at least an hour prior to bedtime. Instead, spend that time together reading, telling stories and snuggling. It is also important to encourage your children to hand over their devices for the night to discourage them from using them at bedtime.
Model Good Choices
If limiting screen time is a goal that you have for your family, it is important that you model good choices. If you give in to the desire to visit your favourite website or catch up on what’s happening on your social media site of choice in a “no tech zone” or when you are supposed to have devices put away, you can’t expect the rest of your family to stick with it either. Show your family how important limiting screen time is to you, and they will be more likely to want to participate.
Limiting screen time is a good way to spend more time together as a family and get a better night’s sleep. It is important that you stick to your screen time goals and work together as a team to achieve them. It is possible to spend less time behind a screen and more time together participating in engaging, exciting and fun activities.