The Pandemic has brought larger health challenges for families, parents who were earlier struggling to reduce screen time for children are now troubled more. As with digital learning methods, it has become almost impossible to separate children from laptop or mobile screens. Screen time can give a lot of relief to parents in the short run but remember this is affecting the physical and mental health of a child. While it may be the easiest way to keep the children busy, quiet, or sometimes feed them, children having more screen time have experienced thinning of the brain's cortex, it is that part of our brain which is associated with critical thinking and reasoning.
Considering this, we have identified 6 important ways to reduce screen time for kids.
1. Be a role model
Remember children see and learn the most. Model the behavior that you would want your child to replicate. Binge-watching a Netflix series or swiping stories is very tempting but someone is closely watching you and you are setting a wrong example. Something that you don’t want your child to do.
2. Use parenting control
There are several tools that will help you to protect your child from watching explicit content on the Internet and TV. Most systems will have filters that will allow you to block unwanted content.
3. Encourage outdoor activities
Try to involve your toddler in outdoor activities like gardening, taking them for a walk, or cycling. Outdoor activities will not only keep the child happy but also boost the physical and mental health.
4. Have screen-free areas
Living room, dining table or kitchen could be screen-free areas where phone, laptop, or other devices should not be allowed. These areas could be dedicated to family conversations, meals, and helping in cooking or other activities.
5. Explain the consequences
Children will not understand the problems until you explain them, simply saying don’t watch TV will not work. Give them a reason why you do not want them to watch TV or phone and how will it harm their brain and physical health.
6. Give them more options
Instead of just saying keep the phone away, tell them to let’s solve a puzzle or paint together. Give them interesting options to shut the TV or phones.
Have a schedule for your child, limit the screen time by setting a special hour for using gadgets or TV. By limiting the screen time, the child gets more time to explore his/her interests or develop new hobbies. Set them free from screens, it is tough but be persistent in having a routine and following it.