How can you limit your child’s screen time?
These days, kids are getting access to smartphones and iPads at an early age. According to the AACAP, on average kids ages, 8-12 spend 4-6 hours a day using screens while teens spend up to 9 hours. This can cause negative side effects. Research suggests that excess screen time can be linked to obesity, irregular sleep patterns, behavioral problems, and impaired performance at school.
To prevent these outcomes, it’s important that you teach your child moderation when it comes to phone usage and screen time. Below we’ve outlined some tips to help you do just that.
Be a role model
The best way to teach your kids to moderate their screen time is by being a role model. If they see you constantly on your phone, watching TV, or on the computer, then they’re likely to imitate that behavior. This is why you need to practice healthy screen time habits yourself.
To help limit your own screen time, you may want to set app time limits and embrace more fulfilling hobbies to fill your free time. This way you can set a good example for your kids.
Establish tech-free zones
One way to limit screen time is to establish rooms where technology isn’t allowed. Maybe you designate your dining room or bedrooms as tech-free zones. For tech-free zones to be effective, however, you have to be consistent. If your kids catch you breaking your own rules, they’re going to follow suit.
Educate your kids
Let your kids know why you’re limiting their screen time. Educate them about the negative side effects of overusing technology. If they think that you’re just limiting their screen time to be mean, they’re less likely to follow your rules.
Do your research and explain how too much screen time can inhibit sleep, and creativity and lead to anxiety. When they understand that your rules are coming from a place of love and care, they’ll be more likely to work with you rather than against you.
Plan fun activities
When kids use technology, it’s usually for entertainment. They’re either playing video games or watching stimulating videos. When you fill-up their time with exciting, outdoor activities, however, they’ll be too busy having fun to think about booting up Candy Crush on their smartphone
You might also want to encourage your kids to join sports or play a musical instrument. Fulfilling hobbies will keep your kids busy in a way that’s better for their growth than browsing on a smartphone.
Make screen time a privilege
Make it clear to your kids that screen time is a privilege, not a right. This means that screen time is something to be earned. Allow your kids to earn screen time by doing chores or getting good grades. If they act up, you might reduce their screen time as punishment.
This way, you can keep your children’s screen time in moderation while also using it as an incentive.
Limiting your child’s screen time can be easier said than done, but it’s worth the effort. Excessive screen time can be damaging to your child’s development otherwise. To help moderate their screen time, be a role model, establish tech-free zones and make screen time a privilege.
To learn more about smartphone dependency and tips to regulate screen time, check out Clario’s infographic below.