There are lots of reasons to reduce your kid’s screen time. Improved mood, better physical health, and more opportunity to spend time with friends and family are all benefits of reducing your kid’s screen time. Too much time on screens can also be a root cause of myopia (short-sightedness).
Unfortunately, encouraging our kids to spend less time on their screens is getting more and more difficult. Luckily, there are some ways you can reduce your kid’s screen time, improve their health, and spend more time with them.
- Engage with them after school
Giving your kids your full attention after school or work is one of the best ways to pull them away from their screens. We all live distracting lives, and it’s easy for kids to spend lots of time on their screens if they aren’t getting attention elsewhere. Set time after school to talk about your days without the distractions of phones or tablets.
- Set goals together
Too much screen time is a problem for adults too, with 73% saying they can’t imagine spending a day without their screens. Make reducing screen time a family activity where you all set goals together. This could mean having a no-screen afternoon every weekend where everyone, including you, puts aside phones and laptops.
- Explain why you’re doing it
If you’re asking your kids to spend less time on their phones or watching TV, it’s vital that you explain why. This will make your efforts more authentic and encourage your kids to see reduced screen time as a positive thing rather than a punishment.
- Spend time outside
Time outside is the best way to encourage kids to reduce their screen time. Take a walk together, go to a park, or plan an outdoor game like a scavenger hunt to make going outside and putting screens away a fun, family activity.
- Create screen-free zones
Having certain times of day, parts of the house, or activities where screens are banned is a simple way to get your kids off their phones. The classic method is to say that mealtime or the bedroom is a screen-free zone, but you can also set rules around times of day when screens are and aren’t allowed to set clear boundaries.
- Reward rather than restrict.
If your efforts in reducing your kid’s screen time are focused on restricting screen time, this could lead to frustration and even ‘cheating’. Make screen time a reward rather than something that needs to be restricted.
- Do screen-free activities
Going outside is a great screen-free activity, but bad weather can prevent this. Doing indoor screen-free activities such as board games, cooking, or arts and crafts is a fun way to spend time together that also keeps everyone off their screens.
Encouraging your kids to spend less time on their screens is no easy feat. We all experience the draw of our phones and laptops. But with so many benefits of reducing screen time, it’s an activity well worth pursuing. Most importantly, however, you should set an example for your kids and make reducing screen time a family activity rather than setting one rule for your kids and another for yourself.