Here are some helpful tips to get your kids away from their screens! Here’s the thing about screen time: It’s okay in moderation. Your kids need a little time to unwind after a busy day at school, so the opportunity to play video games or watch a bit of TV is perfectly acceptable. Your teens might want to talk to their friends online too, and this is okay. If you tried to eliminate screen time altogether, your kids wouldn’t be very happy and you would have the stress of their techno-tantrum to deal with!
Still, too much screen time can be bad for your kids. It can mess with their sleeping patterns, interfere with their homework, and if addiction sets in, it can also cause troublesome mood swings.
How To Get Your Kids Away From Their Screens
So, try to encourage your children, without nagging, to spend more time away from their screens. You can do this in the following ways.
#1: Set boundaries early
The sooner you set boundaries around screen time, the better. When your kids get used to the fact that they can’t have their phones at mealtimes, or that they need to switch their screens off a couple of hours before bedtime, they will be less likely to kick up a fuss.
Sure, you might face a little bit of rebellion first, especially if they have become a little too addicted to their screens. But be patient and firm, and they will get used to your new rules eventually.
#2: Do something with your kids after school
What about a visit to the park on the walk home after school? Or a playdate where they can play (non-video) games with their friends while you chat with your mom friends? If you plan to do something after school, your kids won’t fall into the habit of coming home, switching on the TV, or snuggling down for the evening with their smartphones.
#3: Spend more time with your kids at home
Okay, so there will be times when you need a break from your kids, and they will need a break from you too. It’s natural, as everybody needs a little me-time. However, you could still plan activities do with them on the weekend or after school, even if it’s only for a couple of hours.
You could play board games with them, for example, as these can be great for bonding as a family. Some of them are educational too, so you can also boost their learning in the process. We are thinking of Scrabble and Boggle, as examples, which can be played with a tool to unscramble hard words if your children need extra help.
You could get busy in the kitchen too, with baking or messy crafts. Or you could do treasure hunts in the garden, play dress up games with your kids, or any of these other activities.
#4: Get out of the house on weekends
The further you are away from wi-fi the better! So, go on family hikes or bike rides, visit local places of interest, or get your kids involved with outdoor hobbies, such as climbing or geo-caching. When they start to enjoy themselves, they won’t give their screens a second thought.
#5: Be a good role-model
Finally, don’t forget to switch off your phone, and don’t become a slave to your TV. Your kids will kick up a fuss if you’re a bad example to them, so be a better role model. Instead, find other things to do with your time, be that alone or with your kids, as you will benefit from reduced screen time too.
These are just a few ideas, but if you have any advice of your own to offer any frustrated parents, please leave us a message in the comments section below.