The toddler years are full of wonder. A child is learning to explore and respond to their surroundings. These years shape their future to a large extent. Children today have high exposure to screens from an early age, especially the mobile screen. Children are spending more time with devices than with their peer group. With access to screens, setting limits on screen time for your child can be a challenge. However, an excess of screen time can slow your child’s growth and development at several levels.
Here are a few smart ways that can help you reduce your child’s screen time.
1. Undivided Attention: When your child needs you to hear her out, keep your devices away and choose to talk to your child. This way, children realize their importance over the phone/laptop.
2. Engage & Involve: It is important to keep your child engaged in activities that involve touch and feel such as drawing, painting, reading, gardening, and singing.
3. Conversations are key: Talk to your children and ask them about what happened at school, their favorite song, what did they do together with their friends. Talk to your child about the impact of excessive screen time on their eyes, and what all do they miss doing because of that. Introduce your child to sports and help them take it up for long.
4. Plan family outings: Choose an interesting place for the weekend, for instance, a visit to the zoo, activity parks, museums or the library. This will encourage your kids to explore the world beyond the screens.
5. Set a schedule: Make a screen time schedule for your child. Follow this schedule consistently and persist no matter how much your child tries to avoid it.
6. Make technology-free zones in your house: Create screen-free zones in your house where you won’t bring in any electronics like smartphones, tabs, or laptops. For instance, your dining area can be a technology-free zone, which is only reserved for family conversations and meals. Your child’s room should also be in the same zone.
Just like adults, children get drawn to devices when they do not have anything else to interest them. You can ensure that your child develops new interests as s/he grows and is not stuck to a screen with these easy and effective tips.