Some of us get a little uncomfortable thinking
about how much screen time our children are exposed to daily between school, homework, tv, a parent’s smartphone and gaming.
There’s a lot of reasons we are concerned. Kids
take in a variety of good and bad messages, can get addicted by smartly made videogames, and no one really knows about the long-term effects of holding screens so close to the body.
Children regulate themselves on technology in
varying ways. Some of us don’t like the small beast our child turns into after 15 minutes to an hour of play. There are kids that can easily separate from a device while others approach almost tantrum levels.
If you want a way to lessen the impact of their
gaming and/or computer use. First set time limits on the amount they get and stick to it.
Teach them to find things to do on their own,
don’t give into their, “I’m bored.” Say, “hi Bored, nice to meet you, you can go find something to do. We have a closet of games, LEGOs and toys here, some art/craft supplies in this drawer, plus shelves of books over there. Or, go outside shoot baskets or
run around the yard a few times.” If you must, give them a time when you’re free to read, cook, play cards or catch together.
Kids can be at a loss on what to do. Let them
fumble and search for something to do for at least
20 minutes. They eventually realize you’re not going to entertain them and will find something else to do. Don’t
feel guilty, give in and start to play with them immediately or let them have more screen time because you’re in the middle of something. It can be painful to do the first few times, yet it’s an important step in teaching them to amuse themselves.
If you can, sign kids up for an afterschool program.
Enroll them in a play or a sport. Get them moving. Kidizens’ LEGO based program is perfect for the screentime detox. Kids gain collaboration,
leadership, problem-solving skills while having a blast creating a city that they run. They are totally engaged in the play, plus collaborating and negotiating with other children in the program. If they were thinking of Pokemon or their Nintendo before they
get to that day’s class, they’re fully immersed, moving around the room and creatively thinking out of the box once they arrive.
Stay tuned for our next post on ways to help your child by managing screen time with adaptations from the book “Reset
Your Child’s Brain” by author Victoria Dunckley.