How to Survive...Reducing Your Child's Screen Time

By Nicole Chia 2020-06-10 13:52:57

The world has been a bit crazy lately, and when things get crazy we parents use as many coping mechanisms as we can. These days, getting five minutes to yourself is made so much easier by our technology! What did parents do without iPhones, iPad’s and Netflix? Bang rocks together like cavemen?! Now that things are starting to find some sort of routine and normalcy, parents are finding their kid’s addictions to their screens all too real. So, before they turn into complete media zombies, here are some tips on how you can survive reducing your child’s screen time:

1. Make a schedule. Most human’s like structure and children are no different. Kid’s work best when they’re given some sort of plan to run with, like knowing when snack time, mealtime and bedtime will be. So, why not add in designated screen time? Sure, it will mean that instead of asking you a billion times if they can go on TikTok, they’ll resort back to asking you a billion times if they can have a snack instead (ahh the good old days am I right?) - but in the life of a parent, you’ve got to pick your battles.

2. Make screen time a privilege. Remember when our parents used to make us do chores? Ha! Your children certainly don’t – but they might feel differently once you hide all the charging cables and tell them they will only reappear once they’ve completed all their designated chores. Some of our precious little ones may have the luxury of having an Ayi around the house, but there’s no reason why they can’t learn the benefits of doing a little tidying in order to earn their screen time. You’ll either have a very bored Ayi, and a very tidy house, or your kids will suddenly become fascinated with the outdoors!

3. Learn how to implement parental controls on your family’s devices. Technology changes faster than fashion these days and keeping up with it all can be especially hard for a parent. Not to mention most parental controls are buried so deep into the system apps that we give up long before we’ve set up a password stronger than ‘1111’. However, one of the best ways to reduce your kids’ screen time is to have the device limit it for them! Set your tablet to automatically turn off after a designated amount of time then say to your child, “Oh no! It’s dead? GO PLAY WITH THAT EXPENSIVE NINJAGO LEGO I BOUGHT YOU THAT YOU JUST HAD TO HAVE!”.

Reducing screen time can be difficult for any parent, especially when you just need a really convenient babysitter after a long day. However, avoid ripping the technology out of their little zombie hands and instead explain why less screen time is a good thing. It reduces eyestrain, prevents headaches, improves sleep, increases focus, and improves social behaviours. Besides, it also means you regain use of the iPad so you can lock yourself away into the bathroom and enjoy some “me” time... for an hour or two!