Screens and devices are everywhere we look these days, and while there are benefits to this electronic age we are living in, many parents find themselves wanting to make sure they spend quality, screen-free time with their kids. It is critical that we expose our children to opportunities to explore other interests besides what they are doing on screens. The benefits will be huge. Your children will find more connection in building relationships with friends, your family will be able to focus on things that matter more, your child can learn a new skill or hobby, and you will give their brains a break.
Here are some things to consider regarding lessening screen time:
- Model healthy screen use. Your kiddos are always watching and if you set limits for them that you do not follow they will catch on. Also as you are present in your time with them your connection will grow.
- Create “Technology-Free” Zones and times. Make it fun: have forts, comfy chairs, books, etc. Make dinner time screen free or turn off screens at a certain time every day so that your children have boundaries to force them to find other ways to be engaged and entertained.
- For older children involve them in the conversations about the dangers of too much screen time and have a healthy conversation on why you are limiting their time.
- Use Parental Controls- As far as safety goes there are plenty of apps that you can use that will monitor what they are able to have access to, and many video game consoles have an app you can put on your phone to limit the time for playing and control what they are able to purchase, etc. This is important because without some sort of parameter your child could get access to pretty much anything which is scary enough. Just because something may seem kid-friendly or kid-appropriate doesn’t mean that it is. Take time to review a game or app before you allow your child to play it.
- Depending on what your family decides is healthy limits for screen time, you can negotiate for when that will happen. For example, on the weekends you could say no screens until after outside play or creative play.
If you find yourself stuck on what to do when you take a break from screens, here are some suggestions for fun activities:
- Begin a garden
- Go for a hike
- Ride bikes
- Outdoor hide and seek
- Scavenger hunt (this could be inside or outside):
- Create your own comic book
- Draw with Sidewalk chalk
- Make Slime
- Come up with a new recipe and try it out in the kitchen
- Draw or paint
- Make friendship bracelets
- Visit the park/zoo
- Visit the Library
- Play a board game
- Have a dance party
- Wash the cars. If your kids are too young to help with this, have them wash their tricycle or big wheels.
- Play Hopscotch
So many fun ideas!
Screen-Free Week is April 29th- May 5th. This would be a great time to try living life more screen-free along with parents and families across the globe. Please visit us on Instagram @jonestherapyservices and Facebook if you wish to participate with us, we would love to have you join and see all the fun things you do when you are screen-free.