If you are concerned that your kids are using their laptop too often, or if you feel as though they are always sitting in front of the TV, then you may be tempted to try and limit their time. If you want to help your child or if you want to try and limit their screen time in a healthy way, then this is the guide for you.
It Won’t Happen Overnight
The first thing that you need to know is that you cannot wean your kids off their devices overnight. It will happen eventually though. Try and think of it in the same way that you would potty training. It will take a lot of time, teamwork and a good sense of humour. You can expect ups and downs, and you will also need to use a lot of encouragement too. Potty training was worth it in the end, right? This will be too. Think of a time when your child will hear when you say their name, when they actually want to play outside, and when they respect their new boundaries. It will be worth it, so you should try and implement things like this as much as possible.
Keep them Busy
If you have lost your phone, then you will know what a weird feeling it is, when you realise you don’t have it. Your kids will probably feel the same way when you take their screen time away from them. The key is for you to distract them. If you are taking their device away from them, then you need to give them something that they can do instead. Swap out their tech for something fun. Believe it or not, the best thing that you can do for your kids is spend time with them. There are tons of free activities that you can do so try and explore them if you can.
Put your Phone Away
The best thing that you can do if you want to set your kids a good example, is for you to lead by one. You have to remember that you are in fact the main influence in your child’s life, so if you are able to stay away from your phone, then they may be able to as well. you may be surprised as well, at how nice it is for you to spend time with each other when you are not all scrolling through your phones.
Mix up the Routine
If you see that your kids are constantly rushing to the screen, then you need to mix up their routine. If they love to go on their console when they get home from school, then try and plan something else for them to do instead. It may be that you take them on a treasure hunt or that you try and find things in your neighbourhood that start with a certain letter. If you notice that the weather is bad, and you want to do something fun, then you can ask them to write their own comic strip. You can ask them to model it after their best day ever, for example.
Share a Laptop
If your child has their own laptop, then you may find it difficult to strip them of this. One way for you to work around this would be for you to have a family laptop that everyone can share. You can distribute the time equally and that they still have the chance to use it when it is suited to the family. If you have a laptop but it is super slow then you may want to free it up.
Keep them Busy
Sometimes you may find that the kids end up using the screen because you have something that you need to do around your home and they are occupying themselves. One trick would be to try and get the kids to help you, such as asking them to help with dinner. If you can do this, then you will soon find that you can then encourage them to do their part, and you can also keep them away from the screen which is always a good thing.
Make your Mealtimes Device-Free
If you get the chance during the week, you need to try and have a meal with one another. You do not need to make it a big deal and sometimes you may find that a simple sandwich is enough. You have to make sure that your mealtimes are device-free where possible and you also need to talk with your partner about how their day was so you can encourage family conversations. If you can do this, then you will soon find that you are able to make the most out of your time with your family and sometimes this might be just what you need.
Get a Play Bag
One great way for you to keep your kids both busy and happy would be for you to swap your iPad with a special bag that is full of fun things. It may be full of pens, paper or even Lego. You can also add some games for your older kids too. Either way, it is very easy for you to go wild here and make them the best toy selection ever. You can buy bags like this online and when you do invest in them you may find it more convenient to get one for each child. When you do this, you will see that you can customise them and you can even put some snacks in for them if you want. This is a brilliant way for you to keep them sane when they are away from their iPad, and you would be surprised at how much it could help them to relax and spend some time away from the screen.
So, there are many things that you can do to try and make sure that you limit your child’s screen time, and if you follow this guide, you will soon find that you can give them the best experience by doing other things instead.