We’re all guilty of looking at a screen a bit too much every now and again, whether it’s a phone, tablet, or TV. And despite even the best intentions it’s easy for children to slip into a routine of always being plugged in but there are ways you can encourage your child to switch off devices and get creative, outdoors, or active instead.
Previous surveys have found that almost a quarter of parents find it difficult to control their child’s screen use – even more than the number that find it hard to encourage them to do their homework. There’s no denying that tech gadgets are a convenient way to entertain children of all ages and there are plenty of games and apps on the market to encourage new skills, development, and education. But too much screen time can be harmful, leading to a sedentary lifestyle and can even harm some areas of development, such as social skills. While debated, some experts recommend that children should be plugged in to gadgets for no more than 2 hours each day.
If you want to break the current habits of your children using electronics and encourage them to get involved in other activities too there are some steps you can take
- Plan activities – If your child is used to using tech a lot they can become ‘bored’ when you restrict the use. But by planning lots of different activities you can create a diversion and keep them occupied. Think of things they’ll enjoy doing, whether it’s joining a sports club, having a family game night, or getting crafty.
- Create long-term projects – By creating a project that the children can do over weeks or even months can give them something to look forward to and create some structure.
- Get outdoors – It may take a bit of encouragement but many children loving being outside once they get out there, plus it’s great for their health too.
- Lead by example – Tech has become such an important part of our daily lives but if your children see that your constantly plugged in too it can harm your efforts. Try to have time when you’re completely free from gadgets, such as when you sit down for a family meal.
- Set restrictions – If you need to you can set a limit on the amount of time your children spend on gadgets. While it can be difficult to monitor, you are often able to set restrictions on devices with passwords or set them to disconnect after a certain period of time.