Nov 10, 2022

How to Reduce Your Kids' Screen Time (Without the Hassle)

Kids often spend a lot of time online whether they're on their phones, iPads, or on the family computer. While online gaming can be fun for kids, it's important to remember that they need time away from their tablets, too. Here are a few key ways to reduce your kids' screen time (without the hassle).

Give Them a Designated Amount of Screen Time

Kids thrive on routine. If they don't know what's coming next, it can stress them out. This leads to meltdowns and frustration. Before your child begins playing, let them know exactly how much time they have for online gaming today. Without a set limit, kids can spend too much time playing online. They get caught up in popular games like Roblox or Minecraft, of which 200 million copies have been sold as of May 2020. Then, when you try to get them to put the game down, they get stressed out and upset. If you give them a designated amount of time, they know that they have that time to have fun, then they'll put the game down and move on to something else.

Play Outside With Them

One great way to get children to spend less time on screens is to have them play outside. If you live in an area where children have space to safely play, this can become a major part of their routines. However, there might be a lack of space or playmates to consider. One way to make going outside more fun is to go out with them. Buy outdoor toys and make a point of going out and having fun with your children. You'll all benefit from the fresh air, exercise, and quality time together.

Make More Playdates

When kids have friends over, they're less likely to be glued to a screen. Get together with some other parents and make a point of having playdates. Playdates will give your children new kids to play with as well as trips to other houses. By bringing in new experiences, you'll give your children more excitement off of the computer. If you already have friends you can do this with, get together and make some plans. If you don't, try to talk to the parents of your child's classmates and get to know more people in your community. These simple conversations and playdates can lead to much more connection, which can also be great for getting your children involved in more activities.

Encourage Reading

One reason children like online gaming and other activities on the screen is because of the storytelling involved. There are always stories being told in these games and your child can get hooked on them. This is even more true if their screen time activity of choice is television. If your child loves stories, encourage them to read as well. Get them some books that fit their hobbies, interests, and reading levels. If you want to experiment, use your local library to get some of these titles. By satisfying some of your child's love of storytelling through books, they'll be less dependent on screen time in order to get that during their day.

Don't Forbid It

It can be tempting to eliminate screens entirely. If your children are still young enough that they don't have any screen time habits, you might want to avoid it. However, forbidding screens in your home can have negative consequences. Your children might sneak time on their tech, damaging your relationship and trust in each other. Or, when they are exposed to other environments, they might lose control. Keep healthy boundaries, but don't prevent them from having any exposure at all. Consider using a screentime checklist to help your child keep track of time earned for screentime.

Reducing screen time doesn't need to be a battle. Use these tips to make screen time just one of the balanced activities in your child's schedule.

Guest Contributor: Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn’t lost in a book or writing, she’s busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.

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