Tips to restrict your child's screen time to 1-2 hours

Are you also worried about the excessive screen time your kids have? This is a concern for many parents nowadays. They don't know how to deal with the craziness of their kids. This article will tell you how to restrict the screen time of your kids to 1-2 hours a day.

The increasing screen time of children may be a cause of concern for many parents these days. Reasons could be varied but the children are getting disconnected from social and family life due to their craziness for phones, tablets, TV, and computers. The parents may try their best to keep the children away from their devices but it may only work out sometimes. Working parents, small families, and lack of communication may add to the reasons for the increased screen time of today's children. Yes, we can't also ignore the fact that the integration of technology into studies may also be a big reason for children's inclining toward devices. Still, a balance is a must between screen time devoted to studies and fun time. It's not easy to rip a tablet, mobile, or iPhone from their little hands once they get addicted to digital media. In some cases, the children get addicted to devices so much that they throw tantrums if you try to restrict their screen time and try to get a hold of them. What we need to understand is that the increased screen time is adversely affecting the growth of our children and needs to be taken care of.

What is Screen Time?

People spend a lot of time looking at screens such as televisions, computers, smartphones, and tablets, and the time used using the devices is called screen time. A right definition of screen time may also help you understand how to handle it. Playing video games, browsing the internet, or watching TV are all examples of this activity. Anything that is done using a media screen can come under this activity. No doubt, all of us spend a lot of our time in front of screens so the kids are not only to be blamed. It has become our lifestyle to remain glued to our devices for one or the other reason. This screen time is not only taking a toll on our physical health but on our mental health as well. Children remain the main concern since they do not know how to make a fine balance between all their activities on digital media.

How is Too Much Screen Time Affecting Your Child?

1. Child Development

There are several studies suggesting that increased screen time is hindering the growth of your child in many aspects. Most parents complain of delays in speech, cognitive social, emotional, and overall development of their children. And, in all most every case, the parents are advised to reduce the screen time of their kids for better growth. It also depends on what they are watching and learning during their screen time. The behavior of a still-developing child is regulated by the content they are consuming through digital media. Inappropriate content will be going to make a negative impact on their mental health and social behavior. It's better the longer you delay the exposure of digital media to your kids for their overall growth.

2. Physically Inactive

If the children spend most of their time on their couch or room watching phones, playing games, or watching TV, their social life becomes almost zero. They don't like to move out of their homes and be socialized which means no physical activities. This undoubtedly leads to several diseases with obesity being at the top of them all. According to a recent study, even toddlers may be at risk of obesity due to increased screen time. So, not only their social skills and behavioral development but their physical growth is also at risk. It is also to note here, that stress hormone is also triggered by the games they play online for a long a time without break.

3. Sleeping Issues

Taking your devices to your bedroom before sleeping not only adds to your screen time but may also cause you and your children sleepless nights. So, if your child is spending most of his time staring at the screen, it may not only lead to muscular degeneration or blurry vision but may also affect their sleep. In other words, it is also responsible for regulating your body's natural wake-sleep cycle. A hormone called melatonin is blocked by blue light emitting from devices which disrupts your ability to sleep. Even though all lights suppress melatonin secretion, blue light suppresses it more powerfully at night. So, less sleep means less focus on your work or studies and more irritation for any adult or kid.

Girl With Tablet

Important Tips to Restrict Your Child's Screen Time to 1-2 Hours Each Day

You might have a hard time determining which trick will work best for your children while restricting their screen time. You may have tried a few tricks already without success or may not know where to begin. So, here are some tricks on how to minimize your kid's screen time.

1. Spend More Time With Kids

It's a clear fact that the more time you spend with your kids, the more they stay away from their screens. Whenever you find time to go out with them to the park and other places, you should make the most of it. Have healthy conversations with them and teach them new things they will enjoy it. They love to play with their parents, especially the younger ones. When you play with them and teach them new things, they will be less interested in screen time. With this, they will turn more creative and social as well. The more active they are the more engaged they will be in what they are doing. Additionally, there will be fewer complaints from their side as well.

2. Set A Schedule

Making and setting a schedule for your kids for their day-to-day activities can always be useful. You can set a time or duration when they can use their iPad or mobile phones to browse social media and play games. Decide what time of the day is best for them in terms of screen time and create a schedule accordingly. Children over 10 will benefit most from this because they have a better understanding.

3. Restrict Your Own Screen Time

Parents are the best teachers for their kids. They do what they see their parents doing. If you spend so much time staring at screens, they will also learn the same. Read to your children instead of watching TV, so that they are engaged in activities that are useful for their development. In other words, if they notice you binge-watching your favorites, they are going to follow. Therefore, you need to restrict your screen time first other than work, and set an example for your kids.

4. Use a Tracking App

Screen time tracking and parental-control apps allow for monitoring usage, duration, and who is using which app in the house. Your kids won't be exposed to dangerous or age-inappropriate content by using these apps or programs. Furthermore, parents can specify how many minutes or hours a child can spend using a particular device and when. There are several Android and iOS prenatal-control apps. Some of them are free while some other charges subscription fees. You can start with a trial of some paid or free apps.

5. Never Give In to Their Demands

While setting a limit for screen time, you should be ready for the tantrums they are going to throw during this practice. Sometimes, they can make it difficult for you to set and follow the restrictions but you have to remember that you can't give in to their demands. Initially, it will be difficult to manage but slowly things will be on track. Once they feel that you will give in to their demands and the rule can be bent they will try taking advantage repeatedly. So, you have to be consistent with your rules. Before bedtime also restrict screen time to 1 hour or even less than this. Don't allow your children to sleep with devices in their rooms.

6. Restrict Devices in Bedroom

When it comes to reducing screen time overall, you should avoid having televisions and other devices in your bedrooms. Neither you nor your kids should have a TV in the bedroom. Being a parent, it's your job to turn off your phone a couple of hours before bedtime. Use your phone or laptop less if you are not using it for work or other obligations. When you are eating dinner or getting ready for bed, turn off your Wi-Fi signal. Make it your challenge to adhere to the two-hour daily screen limit.

How Much Screen Time Is Good For Kids?

The recommended amount of non-educational screen time for children 2-5 is one hour per day during the weekdays and 3 hours on weekends. American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued recommendations according to the age of children. According to AAP, kids under the age of 2 should not get exposed to screen time. While parents of children more than 8 years old should make them understand the right use of digital media. Healthy habits and screen-free activities are recommended for children aged 6 and older. Also, while on family outings and meals, turn off all screens.

Bottom Line

Indeed, we can't wipe out the complete use of screens from our lives. Thus, it's rather helpful for your children to learn how to use technology safely and effectively since screens will likely be an integral part of their future.

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