Screen time is a hot-button topic in the parenting world. Whether you believe that screen time is good or bad for children, managing their screen time can be difficult.
In this article, we are going to discuss 6 steps to managing your child’s screen time and give you some ideas on how they can spend more quality time with technology!
Do You Have a Problem in The First Place?
This isn't exactly a step, but it might be something to consider. Why do you want to manage your child's screen time?
Is it because they are spending too much time with screens or is there an underlying issue causing the overuse of technology?
Ask Yourself How Much Screen Time Your Child Should Have?
Screen time can be a good thing, as long as we use them in moderation.
The The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children spend no more than two hours each day using various types of media, but this will vary from person to person and family to family.
It’s important for parents to set boundaries on what their kids may watch!
Step 1 - Plan Ahead To Make Sure You're Not Going Over Two Hours Daily
Setting up a plan ahead of time helps us regulate our screen-time habits and not go over the time limits.
This should be done with your child so they can set their own boundaries as well!
Step 2 - Plan Activities That You Can Do Together
A great way to spend quality screen time is by doing activities that you and your children enjoy together.
Watching TV, playing a video game, or anything else such as reading books that are in line with what interests them will help both of you have fun while managing screen time!
OK, here are the steps:
Step 3 - Set a screen time limit for your child
The most important step in managing your child’s screen time is setting a limit on how much they can enjoy their devices.
If you and your children are having difficulty figuring out what the best amount of screen time is, try to start with less than an hour per day for kids under age 12.
For older teens, aim for about one hour or two hours max after school each day.
Keep in mind that this rule may vary depending on factors such as where you live, if there are any extenuating circumstances at home right now (such as illness), etc.).
Step 4 - Create an agreement with your child on what they are allowed to watch and how long they can use the device
In order to set limits on screen time, it’s important to create an agreement with your child about what they are allowed to watch and how long the device can be used.
For example, you might agree that TV shows will only be watched after homework is done for a maximum of 30 minutes.
This way both parties know their responsibilities in managing screen time.
Step 5 - Keep track of their usage by setting up a timer or app
For some this might seem a little extreme, however, if managing screen time is a problem for your family, it might be helpful to keep track of how much they can use the device.
There are many apps and programs out there that help you set limits on their devices or show you where they spend most of their screen time- take advantage!
For example, an app called “Screen Time” by Apple allows parents to monitor what content their kids have been viewing. You select from things like games, social media sites (such as Facebook), videos/television shows, educational websites and more. Then a list will pop up with all of the times that your child has visited the site in question over any given period of time. This makes it easier for both parties to see what they’ve been up to!
Step 6. Reward them when they have reached their goal, but don't punish them if they exceed it - just reset the timer!
Rewarding them when they have met their goal can go a long way in managing your child’s screen time.
There are many ways to creatively reward them, such as baking their favorite dessert with them or giving them some extra computer time if they follow the rules!
However, it is important not to punish your children when they exceed their allotted amount of screen time. It might seem logical that you would limit what they get to do for a few days (or weeks), but this could make managing screen time even more difficult than before! Just reset the timer and start over again - all work and no play isn't good for anyone :)
Bonus - Being realistic about how much screen time is appropriate and necessary in today’s world
Screen time is an integral part of today’s society. It helps children keep up with what their peers are doing, as well as access much-needed educational resources.
But managing screen times can be tough! Fortunately, there are many ways to do so without compromising your child's education or the healthy development of his/her social skills (things that go hand in hand!).
Take some time to figure out a plan and develop strategies for managing your child’s screen time. You will find it easier than you think - and they will love meeting their new limits ;)
So there you have it, managing your child’s screen time doesn't have to be hard!
Research has shown that children who watch more than two hours per day are less likely to get enough sleep and have trouble concentrating in school.
The risk is even greater when teens consume four or more hours per day according to new research from San Diego State University's Brain Development Lab which found that teen brains were still developing until about age 25!
As parents we need to be aware of these dangers and manage screen time for our children as best we can.
Remember, being realistic about how much screentime is appropriate and necessary in today's world will make managing it easier on everyone involved;)