Top Tips for Making Kids’ Screen Time More Productive
Children today are spending more time glued to their screens than ever before. Current recommendations are to limit screen time to one hour a day for kids aged 2-4 years. This increases to 2 hours daily for 5-12 year olds, but many children are spending far longer than this on devices.
According to Associate Professor Leigh Tooth, only 23% of Australian families meet these guidelines. This is largely due to the pervasiveness of screens in everyday life.
Rather than shaming parents for kids’ screen time, Professor Tooth believes guidelines need to be updated, and families require more assistance to help manage technology: ‘We would like to see current screen time guidelines modified to accommodate families with multiple children and more policies and resources with practical tips and strategies for parents.’
These tips can help make screen time healthier and more productive for your child.
Set Clear Limits
Without clear time limits, it’s very easy to lose track of your child’s screen time. It’s important to set guidelines and stick to them. One simple way to do this is to make certain hours of the day screen-free. Encourage your child to get outdoors and exercise during this time.
It’s also essential to establish rules around screens at the dinner table and at bedtime. Some parents don’t allow kids to take devices into their rooms as this makes it easier to monitor screen time. There are apps available that allow you to see how much time your child is spending on their devices, and limit access if needed.
Encourage Kids’ Creativity
One of the problems with screen time is that much of it is spent on passive consumption. Kids spend a lot of time watching other people’s content and this does little to enhance their skills.
Encourage your child to become a creator rather than a consumer. They can do this by learning about digital animation and coding or by making their own videos. Kids can also create art on their devices and use google docs to co-write stories with friends. The possibilities for creativity in the digital world really are endless.
Provide Educational Content
There are many wonderful educational games and apps that can expand your child’s skills and help with critical thinking and problem-solving. Take an active part in your child’s screen time by ensuring they have access to quality games and content.
Encourage your child to read books on devices as well as view documentaries and films. Help them find channels and creators who share positive and uplifting content which inspires them to think about things more deeply.
Enjoy Screen Time Together
Screen time today is often a solitary activity, and this can affect kids’ social skills and confidence. The best way to combat this is to spend time with your child watching content and creating your own together.
Spending screen time together helps kids view this as a fun social activity. It also allows you to talk about the content they view and answer any questions they might have. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bond with your child by becoming involved and present in their online world.
Create good habits for the future by making your child’s screen time more productive today.