Too much screen time can have a negative impact on your child. From temper tantrums to social withdrawal, there are variety of negative consequences associated with technology. This isn’t to say that your child can’t watch TV or play video games on occasion, but it needs to happen in moderation. Here are some tips for reducing your child screen time.
Set Specific Timeframes for Screen Time
Pick certain times of the day that your child can watch TV, play on the computer, use an iPad, etc. The amount of time your child receives will depend on his or her age and maturity level. For instance, you may allow your 10-year-old to play video games for 45 minutes after homework is complete. You may allow your 5-year-old to have 15 minutes on the tablet after dinner. The specifics are up to you, but just make sure you have some sort of time frame in place. If you allow your child to have open-ended screen time, it’s easy for minutes to turn into hours.
Find Alternative Activities for Your Child
There are plenty of ways for a child to be entertained without a screen in front of them. Playing outside, building with Legos, coloring, doing crafts, and reading are just some of the potential sources of entertainment. Find activities that your child enjoys and encourage him or her to do them as much as possible. The screen will seem far less exciting when there are other exciting things going on.
Limit Your Own Screen Time
Children pick up a great deal of their behaviors from the people around them. If they see you consistently on your phone or watching TV, they are more likely to yearn for screen time themselves. When is the last time you read a book for fun? Do you have any projects that need to be completed around the house? If you show your children that you don’t need a screen to have fun, they will follow your example.
Recognize When Screen Time Is Becoming a Problem
If your child is consistently throwing tantrums about watching TV or playing a game, it’s time to re-evaluate his or her privileges. It takes a certain level of maturity to be able to handle technology because it is addicting. Your child may not be ready for that responsibility yet. Make adjustments as needed to ensure your child has positive behavioral development.
For more parenting tips, contact Perspectives Counseling Centers to schedule an appointment with a family counselor near you.