3 Helpful Tips For Managing Your Child’s Screen Time
Both adults and children enjoy (and sometimes crave) screen time. Managing your child’s screen time has many benefits, however, including making bedtime less of a hassle, improving their emotional stability, and increasing their productivity. Not sure where to begin? Take a look at our 3 tips on reducing and improving the quality of their screen time:
Give them the illusion of choice.
Giving your child several screen-free options often makes it easier to curb the itch for unproductive entertainment. Next time they want to sit down in front of a screen, offer several options that will steer them in a creative direction. For example, instead of offering a flat, “no” to TV or games, try saying, “It’s time to do something different. Would you rather draw, read a book, or put together a puzzle?” This gives them the satisfaction of choosing their next activity. If your child persists, be firm but kind; offer to let them get started while you finish up your own task, and don’t give in when they begin to argue.
Try making ordinary activities extraordinary.
Making something as simple as finger painting into a magical event can transform the way your child views the world. If at all possible, spend time with them during these activities and try to create happy memories; if this isn’t feasible, make time daily or weekly to engage in family activities that everyone can enjoy together. Keep a few things in your back pocket, too — group board games, hands-on crafts, and special outdoor projects are easy to pass off as a special treat. Reserving these activities for the times when all other attempts fail can redirect their attention productively, without forcing you to compromise on your screen time rules.
Recognize that not all screen time is equal.
We all know how difficult resisting screen time can be, for both children and adults. Between online school sessions and communicating with friends and family members through the Internet, screen time is sometimes unavoidable. In these instances, the quality of the time they spend in front of the screen is more important than how long they stay there. Incentivize activities like educational videos or learning games by offering them as rewards for good behavior. If your child feels like they’re being given a treat, they’re far more likely to be excited about the activity, and may even begin to ask for them in the future.
Balancing a healthy lifestyle with the demands of modern life doesn’t have to be a battle, but it might not always be easy. Stay consistent, stick to your guns, and reward their good behavior, without shaming them for their impulses.