By Tara Clark
Screen time. It’s a hot topic these days, and for good reason. With so many kids and adults spending hours upon hours staring at screens, it’s important to be mindful of the potential negative effects.
But don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you to ban screens altogether. That would be unrealistic and, frankly, a little bit silly. After all, screens can be a great source of entertainment, education, and connection.
Screen Time Tips for Parents
The key is to find a balance that works for your family. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of two have no screen time at all. For children ages two to five, the recommendation is one hour of screen time per day. And for children ages six and up, the recommendation is up to two hours of screen time per day.
Of course, these are just general guidelines. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what’s right for your child. But setting limits is a good way to make sure that screen time doesn’t take over your family’s life.
Not all screen time is created equal. When it comes to choosing what your kids watch or play, it’s important to be selective. Choose content that is educational, age-appropriate, and engaging rather than simply passive.
And don’t forget about the power of social media. While it can be a great way to connect with friends and family, it’s important to use it in moderation. Too much social media can lead to problems like cyberbullying, anxiety, and depression. According to a recent study, 80% of kids with phones sleep with them in their bedroom. This can lead to sleep, attention and focus issues.
Be a role model
Kids learn by watching the adults in their lives. If you want your kids to limit their screen time, it’s important to set a good example. Put down your phone when you’re spending time with your family. Don’t sleep with your device in your bedroom and encourage your children to do the same.
Talk to your kids
It’s important to talk to your kids about screen time. Explain to them the potential negative effects of too much screen time, and let them know what you expect from them. It’s also important to listen to your kids. They may have their own reasons for wanting to spend time on screens, like talking with their friends via FaceTime. Talk to them about their interests and find ways to meet their needs without relying on screens.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
It’s okay if your kids go over their screen time limits every once in a while. Don’t freak out. Just gently remind them of the rules and move on.
Use technology to combat technology
Most devices and platforms now come with the ability to disable notifications and to set screen limits in their settings.
Don’t be afraid to unplug
Sometimes the best way to enjoy your family is to put away the screens and just be together. Draw, read and play a board game instead.
In our house and in social situaions, we say, “people are more important than screens.”
The most important thing is to create a positive, productive and healthy relationship with screens. By being intentional, you can help your kids develop a healthy relationship with technology that will last a lifetime.
Tara Clark is an author, content creator, mother, and the Founder of Modern Mom Probs.