Do you need to limit screen time in your home?
Saturated with information, entertainment, and images from every angle, our children have become connoisseurs of the digital age. Among games, videos, social media streams, and connections from across the globe, our young people have more options than ever.
While there are benefits in this digital age, we’ve started to disconnect with the here and now. Being able to transport our imaginations and friendships into the digital world, we may lose touch with the present.
As parents, we can fall prey to the coveted peace that overcomes a room when our children are soaked in tablets and smartphones. There is a necessity for balance in this life, though, and ways to help children limit screen time without a war of epic proportions.
Create a trade reward system
Many of our kids don’t get enough physical exercise. A positive way to combat this deficit is to require twice as much physical activity as screen time.
An example: Your child wants to watch a 30-minute episode of their favorite show, so ask them to choose a fun 60-minute activity, like jumping on a trampoline, playing outdoors, sweeping the floor, or jumping rope. Let them get creative. By enforcing this as a guide, you reap two-fold benefits–increased activity and reduced screen time.
Have a reverse curfew
We’ve heard of curfews, but have you heard of a reverse curfew? Instead of setting a time to put things away, a reverse curfew is when digital devices can come out. Before then, they aren’t allowed. Maybe your children’s bedtime 9 pm. Set the reverse curfew for 7 pm, allowing some game time to look forward to, and create a buffer so there are no screens right before bed.
Create a screen binge space
Sound counterintuitive? Keep reading. Allow your children to have what seems like an unlimited veg-out with their screens, but there’s a trick to it.
If Friday nights are your best option, reward good character for the week with a screen binge by setting aside a larger than a standard block of time. We have a Wii and it only comes out on Saturday afternoons. The children who’ve had strong character and completed all of their school work that week get to participate. We set the timer for 90 minutes and let them enjoy some game time.
You might allow this to be a 2 to 4-hour window of time. While it sounds excessive, the trade is that through the week, there’s no entertainment-based screen time.
Why not try these creative strategies, as well as some of your design to help alleviate excessive screen time in your home. Though an asset in some regards, screen time unchecked can become a detriment to our family’s well-being as we seek to rear our children in a positive environment.
How about you? What’s worked in your family?
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