The world of technology moves forward rapidly. Between video games, phones, iPods and tablets, it’s not difficult to see why the average kid is spending way too much time in front of a screen. Setting limits and boundaries are a must.
Deciding on these boundaries can be tough, but consistency is key. Both parents should establish limits together, agree on them, and enforce them. Everyone is different, so what works for one family might not work for another.
Time limits: Perhaps you want to restrict screen time to weekends if your kids have a heavy homework load or get easily distracted or rushed. Maybe your kids do better with a break after school, and a short period of screen time is a way to decompress before diving into their work. If your child is reluctant worker, a screen reward after a successful homework period can be a big motivator. Just be sure to cut off technology well before bedtime so everyone can calm down from the stimulation and it doesn’t affect anyone’s ability to fall asleep.
Location restrictions: Many parents choose to limit the locations in the home where their kids can use technology. Kids tend to sleep better when they don’t have a television or computer in their bedrooms or access to their devices in bed. They’ll spend more time with family if their tech time is in a central location of the home.
Having a variety of other options as alternatives to screen time will prevent claims of “I’m bored!” or “What can we do?” Reading and physical activity are two great ways that your family can spend time together without screens. Set individual and family goals with a plan to celebrate after goals are reached. Parent involvement – from reading and being active to following similar time limits and restrictions – will show children that you value technology for its benefits but also know that excessive amounts can definitely be too much of a good thing.