Parents want what’s best for their kids. They want healthy, happy, well-adjusted children. It’s a constant theme across generations. But raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids takes work. Hard work. And a village of helpers.
As a kid, back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, limiting screen time just wasn’t an issue. Of course we had TV, but only 3 channels, unless you were super lucky and could afford cable. Computers weren’t readily available and cell phones didn’t exist. It was safe to play outside or ride your bike, and reading a book was encouraged.
Now we have evolved. Cell phones and tablets are easily accessible. And the number of TV stations has skyrocketed.
That technology, which can be very helpful, comes with potential pitfalls – as do most things. Kids are now exposed to screen time an average of 7 hours per day according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). The increase in screen time has been linked to poor sleep, obesity, and poor grades. The recommended amount of screen time is less than 2 hours per day for kids ages 2 and up, and no screen time for kids less than 2, according to the AAP.
Strategies to Help Limit Screen Time
Set time limits – and stick to them! Screen time has its time and place, but like all things should be in moderation.
Keep screens out of the bedroom. They have been linked to sleeping problems, obesity, and lower test scores.
Offer alternatives to screen time. Check out Screen Free Resources.
Take part in Screen Free Week (April 29-May 5, 2019). Check out the link for some great ideas.
Encourage imaginative play.
-Get a Boredom Buster Box from Kidderbug Kreations and provide your child with hours of entertainment. Each box has a variety of quality handcrafted items that could include finger puppets, masks, non-paper dolls, and crayon buddies. Each box is unique and will bring laughter and joy to your little one.
-Bring out the finger puppets and let your kiddo use her imagination to create voices for the characters and make up her own little play. Imagine the scenarios she could create if you sat down with her and asked questions.
-Give your child a mask, providing a gateway into a whole new universe for your little one. He can become a superhero and save the world, or become a dinosaur while you read his favorite book about the T-Rex.
It takes a village to raise a child. Kids go to daycare, school, friends’ homes, and grandma and grandpa’s house. Screen Time Reduction Toolkit is a great resource for daycare providers as well as parents. Healthy Habits for TV, Video Games and the Internet has some helpful information as well.
There are some amazing things kids can learn through the use of technology and screen devices. Take advantage of those and use them. Just remember that with all things in life, moderation is key. Following the 5 strategies above will help you raise a healthy, happy, well-adjusted child.