With online classes becoming the new normal for most kids and families worldwide, it’s impossible to limit your little one’s exposure to gadgets, including computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Kids are now getting record amounts of screen time, from jam-packed video conferences to watching read-aloud videos. Everything is currently virtual, making it harder for parents to place boundaries on their child’s screen time
So, how can we help our children adjust to spending increased time on screens? Many parents in Singapore encourage kids to get off their screens by buying educational toys and spending time with them.
However, if you’re having a hard time setting boundaries on your little one’s screen time, here are some ways you can help them adjust.
Separate Learning Screen Time and Play Screen Time
You can establish the difference between screen time your little one uses for learning or school activities and screen time for play activities. For instance, watching read-aloud videos, reading a book online, or participating in online class conferences is significantly different from playing games or chatting with friends.
Establish clear expectations with your little ones around what qualifies as ‘playtime’ and ‘learning time’ on their devices. For each learning and playing activity, be clear about where and when to do these screen times. Doing this limits their screen time and ensures your little ones finish one activity at a time.
Encourage Healthy Activities
Nowadays, kids and adults have more free recreational time than ever. After your little one finishes up with online classes, instead of letting them play on their gadgets, you can encourage them to do healthier physical activities. These can include fun exercises, meditation, or playtime with their toys. If you have a backyard, try to play football, tag, hide-and-seek, or run around with your kids.
Set Healthy Limits Around Using Gadgets
You can use a timer or parent control software to set and enforce time limits for your children’s gadgets, even when they’re using a computer, laptop, or tablet for school activities. Kids are used to having scheduled blocks of time when attending school, so you can also incorporate it at home. It also gives them a defined block of time for working on an English lesson or for watching videos about different experiments, giving your children a more apparent expectation, making screen time more manageable.
Play with Your Kids
Get down on the floor with your little ones and kick-off playtime. Participating in fun games with your kids can encourage them to play with their toys and spend more time with mom and dad. That’s because it’s known that young children tend to crave the attention of their parents, and this interaction promotes the development of their social, cognitive, and language skills. Besides, nothing beats having a tea party with mom or playing catch with dad, giving both parents and kids lifetime memories.
Encourage Them to Start a New Hobby
Encourage your little one to learn a new skill or start a new hobby, such as painting, reading, gardening, photography, or playing sports. You can also invite them to participate in cooking and preparing meals for the family to encourage them to try and learn new things while ensuring their enjoyment.
Make an effort to help your kids adjust with the sudden increase of screen time they are experiencing, as too much of anything can lead to several health issues. You can implement any of the methods above for the best results.