Did you know that according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, kids under the age of 6 spend an average of two hours a day in front of a screen? The effects of staring at the television or computer screen for an extended period of time are not good on your child. It has been seen that children who watch too much television are more likely to be obese and have aggressive behaviour. They are likely to have less energy and may have a harder time in school.
To help parents, here are five ways to help curb children’s screen time.
1. Set the Example
This is probably the easiest one to point out and the toughest one to follow. Children always model their parents’ behaviours and this one is no different. If children see that their parents are playing sports and reading books, chances are they will too.
2. Be the Parent
It is the parent’s job to encourage healthy behaviour and keeping a check on the unhealthy ones. This means that often parents will need to make decisions that will make them unpopular. Parents should go the extra mile in explaining to their child why they have made the decision – this will help the child follow through and perhaps make the decision independently someday.
3. Play with Kids
It is easy to tell children what they should do, but t
hey will do it more readily if they see their parents participating in the activity too. It takes some sacrifice on parents’ time for them to get on the floor and play with dolls and cars, but when the child turns into a teen, parents will be glad they made an impression on their children at an early age.
4. Be Involved
It is very convenient to just let the child watch some TV rather than take an active part in their life. Parents who open communication lines with their child from a very young age are the successful parents who will be communicating with their child when they are 16. Observe, listen, ask and parent and children will not feel the need of screen time.
5. Value Meals and Rides
A huge percentage of homes have their televisions turned on during meal times and car rides. That is a very sad statistic as it is during these times that a family’s richest conversations can take place. Don’t let TV steal this valuable time.
Limiting a child’s screen time often looks like an impossible task but it is worth the fight.