Raising kids in the digital age is difficult. So, take a moment and give yourself some credit for doing a good job. We are the first generation of parents juggling social media, smartphones, and moody kids yelling to get more screen time. There is no rulebook or guideline to help parents find a balance and set healthy screen time limits.
If you are struggling to strike the perfect balance between screens and parenthood, know that you’re not alone. We have a few ways to help you find the much-needed peace of mind. Let’s get to it!
Make Screen Time Limits a Part of Routine
Fostering healthy practices of screen time limits may seem impossible as we live in an age of technology. However, exercising patience and persistence with young kids can help them develop better screen time management routines that last a lifetime.
Usually, parents develop a routine for kids from a young age. They eat, play, sleep, and work at specific times. Limiting screen time should also seem part of a routine. Parents can integrate rules on screen time limits into their kids’ schedules seamlessly from an early age.
You can get creative with these rules as kids grow older. For instance, you can create a no-screens tech contract in collaboration with your kids. Give them some room to share their ideas and opinions. It will help set clear expectations, and your kids won’t feel caged.
Encourage Tech-Free Activities
Kids typically go for screens when they’re bored and have nothing better to do. That means parents need to find alternate ways to keep them entertained. Try talking to them and find out what activities they enjoy. Suggest a few hobbies. They may pick a sport, play an instrument, join a dance or a karate class.
Parents can encourage their kids to join a student club at school. It will increase their opportunities for real-life social interactions and keep them busy. It is a win-win solution for everybody. Not only will it help you set screen time limits for kids, but it will also help them grow as an individual.
Discuss the Pros & Cons of Setting Screen Limits
When it comes to establishing screen time limits and rules, it is normal for kids to show some resistance. Typically, kids hop onto their social media apps to get in touch with friends or have fun. Educating your kids about the excessive use of social media and its potential side effects is the best course of action. Turn it into a fun activity. You can have a constructive debate on the pros and cons of setting screen time limits. Kids may argue against setting limitations, and parents can present their views on why they must.
Doing this will help your kids understand some of the major downsides of having too much screen time, such as,
- Fear of missing out (FOMO)
- Stress from watching screens for too long
- Negative effects on the quality of sleep
- Dry and irritable eyes
- Dependency on screens for social life, etc.
Instead of treating them like little kids, parents may try a different approach where kids feel like their words are valued. Ask them what they usually do on their screens. It will help you devise a better strategy. Most likely, kids use screens to counter boredom. If that is the case, tell them there are ways to counter it that do not involve screens.
Boredom Is Not a Big Deal
Boredom is part of growing up. We live in an age where we get instant gratification. Therefore, parents must help their kids realize that it is okay to be bored. Make them see that boredom can lead to something meaningful.
Kids can come up with creative and entertaining ways to counter boredom. Some create entirely new games, while others find a hobby to keep them busy. Kids must understand that boredom means they have the time to explore what they like or dislike. It gives them a chance to know themselves.
Boredom also gives them the opportunity to recognize their emotions and learn how to deal with them. On the other hand, staying glued to screens prevents kids from learning healthier ways of calming down when they feel angry or upset.
Try Screen-Free Alternatives
Once everyone is on-board with adopting the idea of setting screen time limits, you can stash away your devices and have some fun as a family. Some good old-fashioned family activities can help you build closer bonds. You can try some of the following options:
- play some board games,
- play a game of charades,
- have a phone-free pizza party,
- a picnic weekend,
- play a card game at the kitchen table,
- go for a walk outside, etc.
If none of this works, don’t get ready to throw in the towel just yet. There are still other ways to handle the situation. You can try using a parental control app, such as FamilyTime iPhone parental control app, with a good screen time limit feature. Let’s see how that works.
Strike the Perfect Balance with FamilyTime
You can find many screens time-limiting apps in the market. However, you can only get the freedom to set healthy screen time limits using schedules of your choice with the FamilyTime app.
FamilyTime offers customizable schedules, and parents can set different timetables for all their kids. For instance, you can allow access to only educational sites and apps when your kids are in school. When it is time to go to bed, you can simply push a button, and the screen becomes inaccessible for kids.