It’s a time of advanced technology and modern gadgets, kids nowadays are addicted to TV cartoons, video games, movies and many other online activities. “Television is the menace that everyone loves to hate but can’t seem to live without” Paddy Chayevsky. The more your kids watch TV, the more compelled they are towards it but opposite is also applicable; the more you turn it off, the easier to limit the screen time of your kids.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that screen time for preschool children, ages 2 to 5, should be limited to just 1 hour a day of “high-quality programming”.
Many problems are seen in children with more screen time like:
- obesity in young age
- physically less active
- slow learning
- late response
If your kids are glued to the TV then it’s time to make some unpopular decisions for them as soon as possible. Reducing your kid’s screen time seems impossible or seems like a debate that is too difficult to win but trust me it is worth fighting.
Do you want to curb the viewing habits of your kids? We have some methods and suggestions to help you, each of these are tried and realistic methods.
Introduce new games
One of the best and most helpful ways to limit screen time of your kids is to introduce new games and activities to them. For this you may know the likings and interests of your kids, give them little tasks to perform and engage them in different activities. This method requires both time and attention but it effectively works.
Both indoor and outdoor activities are equally beneficial. Give them necessary resources like books to read, board games, art material, and other useful equipment.
Be a friend not a parent
What happens in many cases, we hear from other parents that the more they are strict to their kids the more stubborn kids become. To implement a new rule you do not need a tough behaviour all the time, let your children be your friends. Do not stop them directly from TV but give them your time and play with them like a friend. Give them selfless love.
Sit on the floor, drag your kids toys around, play with their dolls or cars, serve them snacks in their kitchen sets. You can play with colors, paint brushes and crayons or anything that can make them happy. Make it sure that you are completely of their age at that time and having fun during the whole time. You can engage them in outdoor games to make them more active and attentive.
Give and take rule
It’s not easy to drag children’s attention from TV, so you can take a start with a tricky strategy. Being a parent you should be well aware about screen timing and all other activities of your kids so you can put some effort into balancing everything.
Note down your kid’s routine; physical and mind activities, study timings and screen time. Allow them to watch screen time half of their physical activities and third half of their study timings. For example if they have spent an hour for outdoor games or some mind games they would get only thirty minutes for screen time similarly in return of an hour of study for only fifteen minutes.
You can ask them to spend more and more time in other activities to get extra screen time.
You can use some tricky strategies with your kids to limit their screen time.
- Ask them to read a small story book and get time for one episode of cartoons.
- In return for reading one book other than their syllabus books they can watch a movie.
- You can give them a deal of 30 minutes daily for screen or a complete movie on the weekend.
- One who will reduce screen time will get extra snacks or chocolates.
- Note the screen time of all kids if you have more than one and the one with less screen time will receive a toy or surprise gift.
To cut off the snake’s head
It sounds a bit childish but it’s result is amazing. If you can not convince yourself or your kids to limit screen time then the best solution is to hide your TV. Put that into your storeroom or hide in some closet or cover with something but just take that away from eyes. If there is no bamboo then how would anyone play the flute.
Engage kids in households
The most common excuse of parents for more screen time of kids is their household chores. You can engage your kids with you, no matter how they are helping, take their help and appreciate them for that.
Table without TV
The reason behind more screen time of kids is lack of family time. Most of the families switch on TV during table time and this is really not good because almost every important conversation or discussion is done on table. To make a strong bond between all family members there should be no outsider(TV).
Bedrooms with no TV
You should not place TV sets in your room and in your kids room. A TV lounge must be the only place to sit together and watch TV.
Set an example
“Actions are much louder than words” it’s a well known proverb, being a parent you need to set an example for your kids. If you will stick to TV sets then your kids will gravitate towards it but if you would take a step to convert your habit to reading books they will attract to that. They will follow your footsteps. So instead of training your kids to watch TV, set an example of reading by yourself.
Discussion about TV programs
You can have a conversation with your children about their favourite TV programs to encourage them to think about what they are watching.
- What do they like in their favourite show and why?
- If they like advertisements then discuss market value, price or anything you know about that product.
- You can talk about the effort of marketers to sell their products.
Comparison of TV with reality
Always raise a question in your children’s mind to compare TV shows or cartoons with reality. Ask them to think about this or you can help them to imagine things in their real life; they can happen or not.
Providing kids an environment
To make things more smooth you may provide an ideal environment for kids; where kids feel free to express, play and learn. Give them enough space, freedom and guidance where they can grow. A TV screen should be optional or for entertainment purposes, should not be a part of their routine. Arrange outdoor activities or indoor games involving yourself in beginning to take their attention away from the screen.
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