Tips to minimize Screen Time & Maximize Family time for Kids
12-09-2015 | Posted By: Admin | 1157 View(s)
Children who watch too much television or a considerable amount of time in front of the computer, or fidget with their mobile phones, iPads, Kindle or such gadgets can develop a lot of physical, mental and behavioural problems.
Some of the notable ones are:
i) They carry a much higher risk of juvenile diabetes and childhood obesity
ii) More prone to show aggressive and rough behaviour
iii) Are more likely to get into psychological problems when they grow old
iv) Have difficulty in concentration and, therefore, have a troubled time in school
v) Have less energy and might indulge in activities not suitable for a child
vi) Are more exposed to advertisements, propaganda and commercials? Therefore they create pressure on the parents to satiate their demands.
Other than these, they might have severe aberrations on behaviour if not monitored properly and curbed on time by the parents.
Here are a few tips to help you limit your children’s screen time and maximise the family time spent together.
1. Lead by Example
Children will gravitate towards the behaviour that they see themselves so if you are constantly glued to your laptop or iPad or continuously looking at the mobile screen, yet shouting at your kids to do away with them, it is virtually impossible. If you watch TV all the time in your free time, they will also do the same. So read a book, do gardening, and involve the kids in cooking, cleaning, some mind games or anything creative and not idly sitting at one place. You will not only connect more, but the screen time will also be drastically cut down.
2. Decide limited viewing time and be sure that the Kids follow it
If you do not want to earn the reputation of being a Tiger mom, or a Hitler dad and cut off-screen time completely for your children, try to control the amount of time they spend on the gadgets. Try to limit their viewing habit and make sure that the time spent on these is doing some value addition for them.
3. Give value to Family Meals and try to Spend more time with them
In most families, either the iPad or the television is on when they sit together for meals. This is very harmful because some of the most important and meaningful conversations take place at the dining table when all members sit together and dine. So make sure that your child is not busy with any gadget when he or she is sitting for the family meal.
4. Don’t get worked up if your child throws tantrums or missing part of group Conversations
Don’t be hassled if your child comes back from school with a tear stricken face, as he or she was unable to take part in the group discussion that day or regarding a particular serial or a programme that he has missed. He will misbehave, quarrel, even show his displeasure initially, but do not give in. Try to counsel him, tell him nicely that you need to spend more time together as a family instead of being secluded and only living in a virtual world. He will grow up to be a better individual in the long run.
5. Set a golden rule and Abide by it
Try to maintain a diktat of less screen time for the kids. And this should apply to the adults in the family as well. The excessive use of home computers, laptops, mobile phones, ipads, televisions, etc. can not only influence a child’s learning and concentration capacities thereby affecting his cognitive and academic skills; but it can also even affect his behaviour, action and development.
With the advancement of technology, many households are seeing a role reversal in the traditional parent-child relationship where a computer-savvy child is assuming the role of a guide and teacher to the parents. But this should always be within limits. Family bonding and spending quality time with each other assures that the child becomes a good human being in the long run and not some self-centred gadget addict.