Gadgets have become an integral part of our life. It is a common sight to find a child sticking to a tablet screen whenever possible. My child is no different. Whenever she gets time in the morning or after returning from school, she would want to watch television. After a long denial, I finally succeeded to reduce the screen time for her. I know, most of you who are reading this, have the same story to share. But you will be amazed to know how drastically you can reduce screen time for your child without a hitch, just as I did. Let’s take a look at what actually worked for me. But before that, we need to get into the depth of the problem.
Things will you read ahead
- What does screen time mean for your child?
- How increased screen time affects overall child development?
- How to drastically reduce screen time for your child? My story
- How to determine how much screen time is good for your child?
- Screen time recommendation by age chart
- Screen time can be educational
What does screen time mean for your child?
Today, kids are exposed to electronic screens such as laptops, mobiles, tablets, video games, and Television. A cumulative time that your child spends in front of a screen adds up to his screen time of the day. However, increased screen time may harm your child’s physical as well as mental development.
How increased screen time affects overall child development?
Extensive screen time for your child can harm his overall health. According to W.H.O.’s screen time recommendation, babies under the age of 1, should not be exposed to screens at all, and limited screen time for children of various ages is permissible. This is how it can affect a child both mentally and physically.
• Sleep Disorder in kids
Children need adequate sleep to keep up good health, consistent physical growth, and mental development. Due to extensive exposure to screen, children can develop the habit of sleeplessness. Even, I have come across parents who offer screen time before bedtime to their children. This is an adverse practice which can lead to insomnia.
• Concentration and remembering issues
A child goes through essential brain development within the age of 5. When a young child is exposed to gadgets for long hours, he tends to lose his concentration power and can also have issues with remembering what he studies.
• Behavioral issues in children
Do you remember a cartoon called “Sinchan”? It appeared on television and was a favorite of most children at that time. There were numerous complaints reported against the cartoon, as children were adopting his behavior in their daily life.
While kids are too young to differentiate between the real world and fantasy, they try and imitate everything they see on TV. Therefore, an extensive exposure to screen time for your child can lead to behavioral issues.
• Obesity at an early age
Today we see reports where children get obese at a very early age. Some of them develop a high insulin level at an early age as well. Extended screen time cannot be solely responsible for this, but it has a major stake in growing obesity in children.
• Exposure to violence and advertisement, at a young age
Young age is a time when a child develops his personality and he is heavily influenced by his surroundings. Therefore, they want to relate to what they see in front of them. Children are driven by emotions rather than logic.
How to drastically reduce screen time for your child? My story
Today, I will share real examples that helped me reduce screen time for my child. But before that, there is an essential thing we need to understand.
Practice what you want to teach your child
Our children learn from us, and parents apparently play a great role in building up a child’s personality at a very young age. No matter what you teach your child, they will follow you instead. Therefore, as a parent, you need to take the first step, by controlling your screen time.
Studies have shown that in 2019, Indian adults have spent at least 2 hours on their mobile. However, that makes up 75% of the total screen exposure. Other contributions are made through television, laptops, etc.
Unconsciously, we set an example in front of our kids when we practice something that we don’t want them to copy. But things cannot change until YOU MAKE A CHANGE IN YOUR LIFESTYLE.
Therefore, set a good example for your child by limiting your screen time.
Here are the tested tricks that will help you to reduce screen time for your child without a hitch
• Give them enough time
Do you recall how your child developed this habit of depending on gadgets? If you think deeply, you might land an appropriate answer. Increased screen time for your child is a result of your absence or lack of involvement in his life.
A child wants to talk, laugh, play and stay connected the whole time with a person. And for all this, they need a partner. For a child, the best partner is his mother and then a father. Therefore, do not spend most of your time on other activities, rater plan your day and keep yourself free during hour when your child is around.
For example, you can do most of your household chores when he is at school or taking a nap. Planning my day according to my child’s routine gives me a lot of opportunities to spend quality time with her.
• Do not use screen time for your child as a babysitter
This is the worst I have experienced so far. I have seen while traveling, most parents give out a mobile phone to their kids if they disturb the sanity of the parents. Many people use mobile and TV to avoid child whining. Please stop this habit if you are practicing this.
Do you know how I fed my child? When she was around 2 years old my mother-in-law and I danced and played around her to feed her meals. We never took the support of a TV to entertain her or to grab her attention in that matter.
Even today when she is 5, I try and indulge her in my stories while she quickly finishing her meal. Try this out and you will definitely succeed.
• Do not allow gadgets in your bedroom
I have only one Television set at my home, and that is placed in my living room. When my husband shows interest in setting a TV in our bedroom, I reject his thought outright. It is good to set a gadget-free zone in your house. But you as an adult should obey these rules and your child will surely follow you.
When it comes to mobile devices, make sure you don’t disturb your sleep or your child’s sleep by glaring at the mobile screen for long hours at night.
• Encourage playful activities
While you want to reduce screen time for your child, you have to find an alternative to mitigate that time gap. Play with your child and see the difference. Studies show that playing with your child at least 10 minutes a day can encourage the bond between the mother/father and child. Make a routine and sit on the floor with your child to play.
If you want to know about activities to engage your kids, click here.
• Keep your child engaged
Engage your child in your daily household activity to keep him occupied all day. You can let them help you in making the bed, assisting you to put the grocery in place, and so on.
Perk your child occasionally by rewarding them for helping you. This will keep them motivated. Another good this about it is, they will learn new things and the process can be educational as well.
• Arrange an interactive setup which encourages self-play
You might not have a separate space for your child to play, but try to convert the area which is dedicated to his play to be an interactive one. The theory behind this is to grow the attraction in your child to play with his toys. While you initiate a play with your child, he will find interest in the same and may not need your assistance after some time.
How to determine how much screen time is good for your child?
While there is a screen time limitation which varies according to age group. There cannot be strict guidelines, but this is a rough sketch which you must follow. According to W.H.O.’s recommendation, the screen time for kids has been segregated by age. Take a look at the chart.
Under 18 months
Toddlers-18 to 24 months
Preschoolers-3 to 5 years
- No screen time
- Limited to no screen time
- Only allow in case of high-quality educational content
- Up to 1 hour a day
- Guided screen time
- High-quality educational content
Screen time can be educational
Not every time screen time can be bad. With the development of technology, most education systems are largely depending upon E-learning. With that being said, technology can be a bane or a boon for your child, what matters is how you utilize it. Screen time can be educational and many parents are benefiting from the high-quality educational content that is available on the internet today.
Be a part of that community of parents who leverage the benefits of technology and build a healthy atmosphere for your child. Take your own steps and you will definitely succeed.
I hope these practices will help you to drastically reduce the screen time for your child. However, controlled screen time can be beneficial for your child if stimulated the right way. So, to make your child’s limited screen time productive follow these points.
- Closely monitor your child’s screen time
- Verify the content before you allow your child to watch
- Run educational videos and games on gadgets
Don’t forget to comment below, if you can relate to me and draw some benefit from these blogs. Also write back to me, if you have some queries or want me to write on specific topics.