How to reduce screen time of your child?
This is an old topic doing rounds in media, among educators, and also parents who are concerned about their child’s overall development. Ironically, this write-up demands your screen time too. This suggests our dependency on browsers and social media platforms for all kinds of information, entertainment and enlightenment. Got a question, Google it! Got an answer, or an opinion, express it. You have got tons of social media platforms, and other digital mediums to convey your thoughts. The digital space is yours and it has been constructed to make you desire a constant presence on it. All the services are integrated in these small, big gadgets that demand our constant attention.
So much so that our perspective of the world has narrowed down to few inches of screen present within our homes, and with us in our pockets, all the time. The younger generation of 21st century, much below 18 year old, is the prominent user of mobile phones, PCs, and laptops. These gadgets have become the basic necessity for them in this era.
With the online education on surge, especially after the pandemic, kids have got the opportunity to stay more on screen and less with people and physical spaces around them. The outdoor activities have reduced to a distressing level and several case studies suggest that kids are now diagnosed with smartphone addiction. Its a routine of hopping from one screen to other. From mobile to television or a PC and so on. The impact of which has been alarming and severe on the mental, physical, and emotional health overall.
How to ensure lesser screen time when the surroundings don’t offer that liberty easily? How to achieve a constructive usage of these gadgets? You could be the one dealing with the same issue, then how would you improvise it for your child? Hopefully and practically, answers to these questions exist.
Activities that can replace screen time of your children :
- Increase engagement in outdoor activities – There are numerous healthy ways in which a child can participate in exterior activities, keeping the phones out of their gaze. Swimming, cycling, running, or any kind of sport that your child is interested in is the best activity to integrate in their daily routine. The health benefits of these pursuits are given. Each sport involves specific type of body movements and cognitive abilities which helps in activating the physical and mental state of a child. It enhances the problem-solving skills and a competitive spirit, necessary for a child’s personality development in future as well.
What if the child is not into any sports at all? Promote your child’s participation in other outdoor activities like visiting parks, museums, hiking, or treks that keep them away from gadgets for a while. Ensure that there is no need to capture every single moment of the event, because then the focus shifts more on collecting the memories, keeping the virtual record, than actually being in the moment and observing things around.
Organize family trips often. Ensure that you make the most out of those trips and as a parent you stay off the screens as well during the vacation.
Take the kids to shops, markets or places where you perform important household chores. Start with small things. It will make them understand the responsibilities that you are carrying. Assigning those tasks to them also works as many times kids love to feel responsible and imitate the adults. They feel the sense of maturity. The only point is to keep the headphones and screen off at that moment.
- Cultivate the habit of reading paperback books or any printed copies- In the Internet era, when almost every form of content is available at a click, the instant gratification mode has spiked up and we tend to consume everything digitally. The drawbacks of which are visible on our eyesight and inability to concentrate on one thing at a time.
It would be beneficial to imbibe the habit of reading physical printed content, where you do not hop from one tab to another and no notification bothers you in between the reading process. Most of the bibliophiles have stayed consistent with reading paperback copies, and it really helps in reducing the screen time for a while. If the child is reluctant to read textual content, engage them in graphic novels, comic books, and magazines filled with intriguing visuals.
- Play indoor games – The list is long in here too as many new innovative board games have come into the market that are attracting the adult audience as well. Monopoly, Scrabble, Ludo, and many more have become famous among Indian audience. Purchasing puzzles with different kind of difficulty levels is also interesting and will increase the patience as well as concentration of your child.
- Involve the children in household chores – This covers all types of work right from cleaning, laundry, cooking, gardening, and basically every other task that helps in keeping the house organized. Ensure that the child has fun while doing these tasks and not feel the pressure of being perfect at it. Their mistakes should be the way to make them improve next time and not being scared to do that again.
Manage your screen time well – Are you always up on a call, chatting or watching something on your mobile phones, Ipads, TVs etc. Pause and reflect on your screen time because your children are watching you and they imitate you. Keep a separate slot for activities mentioned above and ensure that you are present with kids when you are with them. They should not feel that you don’t have the space for them and lack of attention towards them.
Here’s a list of books and a documentary recommendation that will give in-depth insights about why and how to reduce the screen time for kids and adults overall. At VHS, We strive to keep an equilibrium in this extremely connected world and ensure that children would not become too much dependent on technology to seek any kind of knowledge. Rather they can trust their envrionment and educators with the information and experiment on their own as well. We support the advancement but look after the fact that students should know how to interact with humans and not just the technology provided in their hands.