We live in a generation of screens. They have a strong appeal to our children: from apps to television to computer time. And it is not all bad. Our children complete part of their homework on the computer, and relaxing after school is a good thing. So what is the balance? I believe providing boundaries with screen-time will teach lessons of self control to our children. And it might just influence adults too.
Here are a 6 tips that work in our family:
Use visual tools
Without a doubt our two kids crave screen-time. For our child on the autism spectrum, he finds screentime predictable and calming. We use a visual timer and charts to give parameters for his screen-time. And he appreciates the rules and predictability.
Be a good role model
We can be a trigger for our children. My kids play contentedly until they see me clicking around on my iPhone. Consider making screen-free time a family affair. Meal time is also an excellent time to practice this.
Try screen-free rooms
Keep the playroom exactly that: a room for play. Bedrooms are rooms for sleep. We keep our television in the living room where we can watch things together and can monitor what our children watch.
On a nice day visit the park. Take a picnic, bikes, and enjoy the fresh air. Gloomy day activities could include a children's museum visit, library visit, dollar store shopping, bowling, or an indoor playground.
Pull out unused toys from the closet. Place board games at floor height for children to pull from. And books! Place stacks of books around the home. We keep our library books in a Pepsi crate on the first floor. Bedtime books in their room, activity books in the playroom.
Clear the family schedule
Our kids play the best, independently and together, when they are well rested and have free time. Not just an hour of "lets play now then hustle to the next activity" but actual large chunks of time to relax.
How does screen-time look in your home? I would love your thoughts!