How to Limit Screen Time for Kids

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With technology, kids are now getting more screen time than ever. This could include watching TV and movies, playing video games, or even checking social media. In addition, due to the COVID pandemic and having to learn from home, kids are getting more screen time than ever.

This is acceptable as far as education goes. However, screen time should be limited for the rest of the day. The official recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics is that kids between 2 and 12 get no more than one hour of screen time per day. Teens and adults should get no more than two hours. I realize this is no easy task, and I, myself, have days where my children get more screen time than I’d like.

I understand that your kids are likely using a computer for online schooling. Therefore, this article will focus on restricting screen time outside school hours. I’ve got a list of how to limit screen time for kids.

Why Limit Screen Time for Kids?

First, we want to talk about why you may want to limit your child’s screen time. Studies show that exposure to violent TV shows and video games is not good for developing young minds. In addition, some of the online content is violent. So limiting screen time also means limiting your children’s exposure to violence.

If your kids are spending too much time online, they won’t be doing what they should be doing, such as homework, chores, and other responsibilities.

Also, devices, especially social media, can be highly addictive. If you want to avoid a screen addiction at a young age, limit their screen time.

In addition, cyberbullying on social media is common. If you are worried your child can’t handle interactions with other people, especially when it comes to bullying, limiting screen time is beneficial.

The more time your kids spend on their screens, the less time they spend with their family. Quality family time is essential, and limiting screen time will help produce more family time.

Then, there’s the child obesity epidemic to consider. Spending hours sitting down in front of a screen is obviously not going to help on this front. The health of your child is essential, and screens cut down on the time your child should be active.

How to Limit Screen Time for Kids

I have various tips or methods to help restrict your kids’ screen time. Using a combination of these methods, you should cut down on this time.

1. Keep Screens Out of the Bedroom

It’s challenging to monitor your child if they have screens in their room. Children can be pretty sneaky, hiding those devices in their room. Furthermore, many kids will be tempted to use those devices at nighttime after they are supposed to sleep.

This will interfere with their sleep schedule and affect every other aspect of their life. So a good tip is to not have any screens in your children’s bedrooms.

This means no televisions, computers, cellphones, or videogames sort. If your child is supposed to be doing homework or asleep, those devices just distract them.

2. Tell Your Kids Why You Are Limiting Screen Time

Explain why you are limiting screen time to ensure your children understand why you are doing so. You don’t want them to think you are being mean or cruel or that you are punishing them. If they believe that you are punishing them, they will likely push back.

Some children can be pretty reasonable, especially the older ones. However, you should include the drawbacks of spending too much time in front of the screen in this conversation. A serious discussion may prevent some of that pushback from occurring.

3. Make No-Screen Zones in the House

Another way to limit screen time for kids is to make zones in the house where screens are forbidden, starting with the dining room. The dining room is where families sit down and have a meal together.

More often than not, that doesn’t happen anymore because everybody is on their devices while eating.

A good idea is to say that there are no screens allowed in the dining room, particularly during family dinner time. Not only will this help limit screen time, but it will also help increase quality family time. Families don’t get enough time together anymore, and this is one way to help combat that issue.

How to Limit Screen Time for Kids

4. Create No Screen Times During the Day

Another tip is to set specific times of the day when your kids are not allowed to use these devices. For instance, the first few hours after school should be totally screen-free. This will give your child a chance to finish their homework without any distractions.

You could also say that breakfast and dinner time are screen-free. These are times when your kids should focus on family and spend quality time with you.

On the other hand, you can then set times when your children can use their devices. For example, you could establish an hour before and an hour after dinner, seeing as the recommended time for children is one to two hours.  However, the schedule you set is up to you.

If you create a routine like this, kids quickly get used to it. Remember, humans are animals of routine, and if we do something repeatedly, it becomes second nature. Your children can and will get used to that screen schedule.

5. Use Screen Time as a Reward

This may sound counterintuitive, but you can use screen time as a reward. Using screen time as a reward will encourage your children to take care of their responsibilities. Your children will know they will get screen time if they perform specific tasks.

In addition, it will make them look forward to the screen time that they do get. That said, you don’t want to provide your kids with more screen time than the recommended amount.

6. Keep Them Busy

One reason kids are often on their screens is because they are bored. This is really no different than for us adults. Therefore, an excellent way to limit screen time is to encourage other activities. For example, you can get your children engaged in sports, start playing board games, or read books.

Encourage your children to go outside, play sports, or do anything else of the sort. For example, if they read a book, they might learn something, and if they play sports, they will burn calories and energy.

Many activities don’t involve screens, and the trick is to get your child interested in them. Once they are interested in a particular activity, the rest will take care of itself.

7. Put Those Parental Controls to Use

You obviously can’t keep an eye on your child 100% of the time. For this reason, using parental controls is recommended.

This way, you can limit TV, internet, and device usage. In addition, you can block unwanted content and screen use at certain times of the day.

8. Be a Role Model

Kids pick up a lot of what they do from their parents. Young children are like sponges that suck up anything around them. Therefore, one of the best things is to lead by example. If your kids see that you’re constantly on your screen, they will see no reason why they should not do the same. A good parent always leads by example.

Conclusion

If you follow the tips above, you should have no problems limiting screen time without too much pushback. But, remember, there’s always something better to do than to sit in front of a screen.

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