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Tips on How to Limit Screen Time in Your Household
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that the average child aged 8-18 “utilizes more than 7 hours of screen time a day“. While some of this screen time is used for educational purposes, much of it has replaced physical activity and ‘hands on’ activities. As parents in the 20th century, this becomes a bigger and bigger issue and one that likely our parents’ generation never had to deal with. It’s also difficult to deal with on a daily basis! Below are some practical tips that you can use to limit screen time utilization in your home.
- Log how much screen time your kids are actually using. This includes: iPods, iPads, TV, phones, video games, Netflix! Take an average over a few days. You may be shocked at how the numbers add up! Be sure to include a ‘typical’ weekend day as well as a week day.
- Set limits! Before you set limits, decide what amount of screen time and how much is acceptable to you as a family. Some things to consider are the age of child, whether or not the screen time is needed for an educational purpose, what type of screen time is it? Decide what works for your family, and stick to it!
- Have mandatory screen free areas of your house, or times of the day. For example, you might decide that the kitchen or dinner table is always off limits to devices. Or maybe try implementing a screen free Sunday! Where you do a new activity or festival as a family.
- A neat idea to is create a device ‘parking lot’ in your home. All devices (phones, iPods, iPads etc) stay in the parking lot when they are not in use. For us parents, that includes our phones too! If the device is in the parking lot, it can only be used in the parking lot, and must stay there until the next use.
- Be an example! Try to put your phone down as much as possible and try not be distracted. Your kids learn from your behaviors.
Navigating the ins and outs of the digital world feels like it can be a full time job. Do your best, and don’t sweat it!