Recently, the reliance on screens, such as: tablets, mobile phones, TV, and computers, has become an increasing problem. In order to raise children who are not completely dependent on these glowing screens, setting limits is encouraged. Children should not be exposed to more than 2 hours of screen time per day. An excess of 2 hours, may cause issues with: attention span, vision, and energy level, as well as several other potential risks.
Setting limits and creating boundaries for screens, can be endlessly helpful for your children and their development. Here are a few ideas to reduce over reliance on screen time:
1. Set realistic limits
If you manage your children’s expectations of screen time weekly, they will begin to know their boundaries. Setting a rule of 1 hour per day on weekdays, and being more lenient on weekends, allows the child ample time for their consumption. Occasionally, exceptions to the limits may be justified, such as: exemplary behavior, special occasions, or family trips.
2. Make the timer your friend
A timer can be a great way to get your child accustomed to the new time limits. When your child begins watching, set a timer for 1 hour, when it rings, they will know to turn off their screen.
3. Enforce a Rewards System
A reward system is a great way to enforce a positive relationship with screen time. If children see screen usage as a reward, they are likely to value their time, and optimize their usage. For example: if your child completes their homework, finishes all of their vegetables, or finishes a chore, they earn 15 minutes of screen time, with a maximum cap per day.
4. Be a good example
Children will always follow your lead. If you are constantly attached to your own screen, your children will exhibit similar behavior. Be aware of your own practices and habits related to your mobile device, computer, and TV.
Consistency with your screen time limits is very important for your children. Parents should equally enforce the limits, and inform other care givers of the rules. Monitoring of programs, and time limits, will be helpful for your children’s longterm development.