Screen time or too much of it staring into screens are inevitable at this day and age. People are indoors most of the time. You have easy access to movies, you play video games, use tablets, computers and even your television sets are online. You may also be spending most of your working hours staring into a computer screen and the kids are using them at school. It seems like you are so connected with your gadgets and you can’t even bear to sell Samsung Galaxy S6 even if you have new ones already.
When we introduce our kids to the television or the iPad, we parents are happy to have a little downtime. The kids can enjoy watching animated kiddie programs while we prepare dinner or wash the dishes. But soon they expect it every day or every hour that they easily get bored when there is no TV or iPad to watch. Parents then relied on these gadgets to calm their tantrums or for them to just stay put and stare listlessly at a screen.
Before it gets any worse, you have to break the vicious cycle of these screen time. Give yourselves a breather and allow your eyes and mind to rest. Studies and researches are coming out with negative effects of uncontrolled screen time for children. We do not want these gadgets taking over the young one’s mind and life. It can be a challenging practice to start a screen-free week when the whole family seems to live and breathe wi-fi connections and constant screen time, but you really have to try.
Here are a few tips to help you out as you gear your family towards a screen-free weekly habit:
Discuss your challenge with the whole family and then decide on the necessary uses of gadgets or screens for work or school requirements only. If you use it at work or school, decide not to use it for leisure or for entertaining the kids as you rest or relax.
Seek everyone’s suggestions for activities that they can do such as coloring, drawing, building and do crafts. Ask the children about stuff they want to create such as bracelet making or building with Lego. Some kids may also prefer to stay outdoors when the weather permits.
During weekdays, keep your television set turned off and cover it with a cloth. Do not turn it on even to watch the evening news. Make sure to unplug your wi-fi connection as well. If you want your kids to develop a screen-free life, you should set an example and be aware of your own screen time too.
Keep books, magazines, journals and other reading materials around the house. Make sure that there are appropriate materials for the kids and toddlers to read as well. Create a mini-library or a reading nook with interesting decors to encourage kids to read.
And lastly, decide on a cheat day or days. Some weekend time maybe spent watching movies, updating and checking social media accounts, watching videos on youTube or Netflix.