Often used by parents as a source of timeout from running after the kids all day, excessive screen time can be extremely dangerous for your children, in both, short and long term. Research suggests a direct link between excessive screen time and high chances of developing ADHD, Type II diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle, to say the least. The need for limiting your child’s screen time is now greater than ever.
While we all might be aware of the consequences, we often find ourselves asking HOW to actually get that done. Here are 5 simple tips you can follow to bring about an improvement in everyday routine of your kids.
1. Indulge in Physical Activities
The next question on your mind would be what to do with all the free time you get, if you’ll be putting a ban on all devices? The answer to this lies in sports and physical exercise. Not only does screen time adversely affect vision and brain activity, but lack of physical movement leads to abnormalities in cardiac functioning as well.
To keep your children from turning into couch potatoes, it is advisable that you take them to the park everyday, or sign up for a sport they like to play. Whether it is cycling or playing soccer, make sure they’re physically active. Not only does it make your children healthier but happier too, since physical exercise releases serotonin, which is responsible for the positive feelings your brain generates.
If you are having hard time motivating your kids to move, activity trackers will help get them moving. Kids love fancy gadgets and fitness trackers, like Fitbit, are one way to motivate your kids for physical activities.
2. 1-2 Hours of Screen Time is Enough
We know its hard to entertain your kids on your own at all times, but are the alternatives worth the damage they cause? Studies have shown that screen time for kids shouldn’t exceed 2 hours in a day. In order to achieve that goal, it is important that you allocate 1-2 hours of screen time for your kids.
This includes watching TV, using laptops and PCs, or playing games on mobile phones, tablets and play stations. If its a tough task talking your kids into it, you can always set parental control on all of these devices. This is vital to attain long term health goals for your children.
3. Set a Good Example
While you may be trying your best to establish a limit on the screen time exposure for your kids, all efforts are bound to go down the drain if you’re not setting a good enough example. Children pick up habits from their parents faster than we know, (explains how your toddler figured out to accept an incoming call on your phone?)
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you are not spending most of your time watching your favorite TV series or texting friends, or even working from your laptop for that matter, while setting limits for them. Try utilizing the time they’re at school or asleep, for your own entertainment or work.
4. Play Board Games
You can only spend a certain number of hours or days weekly in playing sports. To keep your kids from going back to watching TV, you would need a handful of activities ready on your fingertips. Children tend to get bored very easily these days, therefore the activity has to be interesting. (Good old days when playing Minesweeper made us happy).
This is where board games come in handy. Board games are fun, interesting, sharpen your child’s developing brain, and most of all, keep them away from mobile phones and xBoxes. Thanks to consumerism, there is a wide variety of them to choose from, or as a second option, get them all, even better!
5. Work on Your Child’s Inner Talent
Since our children are still in the developing phase, even throughout teenage, it is important to work on their grooming, skills and habits. While they may be doing exceptionally well at academics, studies suggest that children who actively participate in one or more extra curricular activity, end up being better off professionally than those who are solely good in academics.
Make sure your kids explore themselves and find their inherent talent. This could be anything, from a passion for cooking, to playing basketball, to becoming an artist or even a great musician. Luckily, you can find practice classes for almost anything these days, that too, near your residence. If you sign up for one of those things, you never know how big of a favor you’re doing to your child.
Not only does your child develop skillfully, but minimizes inhibitors that adversely affect nutritional growth and their overall lifestyle. It is important to be a good example to keep kids away from these devices.