The time kids spend in front of the television as well as on computer, Laptops, tablets and other screens are now making headlines. While too much of screen time in unacceptable, there is no standard definition for the ‘acceptable’ limits. It all depends on your family, lifestyle, and other such vital factors.
If you kids are using the screen for gathering information related to their studies or projects, then a little longer would be kind of acceptable. However, it is always ideal to restrict the time they indulge in gaming, watching cartoons, or playing video games to anywhere between 30 minutes to 60 minutes, depending on the age. Plus, if their off-screen activities are healthier compared to screen counterparts, then you could allot a bonus time, once in a while.
According to pediatricians, kids below 2 years of age should preferably refrained from screen time with the older kids restricted to a maximum of 60 minutes daily. Studies suggest that excessive use of these unhealthy seated activities could pave way for obesity, lesser sleeping durations, aggression, rudeness, lack of concentration, and other challengers. Strike a balance, that is the key.
Here are some tips that could actually come handy while dictating the screen time for your kid:
1. Curb The Exposure
If you take a look across the globe, most of the nations confine the screen time for kids below the age of 2, with the French government curbing screen time for kids below 3. The elder kids get a leisurely screen of 120 minutes, excluding their study needs.
2. Hold The Access Control To Yourself
Never let the kids switch on the television or computer or for that matter any screen device on their own. Kids who have access to these directly often showcase higher levels of aggression. It is perfectly fine if they come and request you. Studies suggest that kids who have been allowed PCs/laptops/tablets/televisions in their room are prone to higher levels of physical and cognitive issues.
Create a screen time protocol. Say no to screen time during mealtime. Create media-free zones in your home. Yet another important factor – you stay away from your digital devices, even switching off your phones if required, while communicating with the kids.
3. Justify Your Rules
Sit with your kids and explain to them about the reason behind you defining the screen time duration. You can tell them the good and bad elements of the factor. Kids above the age of 4 will surely understand the benefits of limited screen time and they would ease the daunting task pf making the younger one(s) understand the same.
4. Being A Role Model To Your Kids
In this hectic world, most of us do multi-tasking. We often tend to listen to our kids while browsing through our emails of chat apps or watching television. This, according to studies, encourage kids to glue themselves to the screen. So, start behaving yourself right away. It is always advisable to refrain the use of screen, especially while interacting with your children. Do not watch television or browse through your smartphone while eating. It will not just help you rectify your kids, but can do more good to your health.
5. Take Breaks
You can let your kid watch her favorite cartoon as you try to finish your chores, but it does not imply that she can sit in front of the screen for hours together so that your navigation is simplified. It is okay if your chores a little delayed, but do take a break. Your child’s brain needs a break to calm down from its interaction with the constantly moving screen. Sit down for a while and cuddle her.
6. Restrict Screen Time Before Sleeping
There are countless evidences that exist on the negative impacts of screen time on sleep. It interrupts with your circadian rhythm and prevents you from entering into a sound sleep. The case worsens with kids. Lack of sleep, in turn, adversely affects the physical and mental health of the kids, paving way to obesity and various cognitive issues.
7. Find Healthy, Off Screen Activities For Your Kids
Enroll them in their favorite sports or introduce them into a new hobby. You can also bring in some interesting activities into your life such as gardening. The whole idea behind this is to come up some interesting off screen activities that you kid will look forward to after switching off the screen.
According to a study published in Journal of the American College of Cardiology, “recreational sitting, as reflected by television/screen viewing time, is related to raised mortality and cardiovascular disease risk regardless of physical activity participation.” Remember a maximum of 120 minutes and that too for the kids above 3 years – that is the screen time you should okay for your kids!