Has screen time become an issue in your home?
If screen time has become an issue in your home, then we hear you.
It is the cause of many meltdowns and problems for so many of us.
We live in an age where everything is supercharged by technology and screens so trying to navigate that as a parent is really difficult. There is also a moral dilemma in the fact that screens are often the very reason why we can have a bit of time to ourselves. How many of us enjoy a longer shower or a lunch in peace while a screen does the parenting for us? Guilty as charged over here!
We all know the negative effects of screen time
. Psychologists, doctors and teachers are screaming it from the rooftops in terms of the effect it has on a child’s development. The reality is we could write the book on it too at this stage. We see first hand the effect that screen time has on our children and it’s usually a case of noticing it far too late or after the fact.
On a personal level, screen time directly impacts my son’s behaviour and during those particularly screen-heavy days, it is unbelievable to see the difference in his personality, attitude and even language skills.
Screen time has a direct impact on our children’s ability to sleep well too. This is a big motivator for a lot of parents as anything that increases family sleep is worth its weight in gold. If like me you want to reduce your child’s screen time but don’t really know where to start, these products might just help you. The idea of using a product to improve screen time
seems a bit ironic or something but the truth is they can really help.
1. A Physical Schedule
That’s right – pick up a little chart and make clear cut decisions about when screen time is allowed each day. It may involve differentiating between what is allowed for different kids and which devices are allowed to be used. It may also touch on what those devices are allowed to be used for. For example, during the week, a tablet or iPad use may be limited to educational games and tools. This works really well for a lot of families as it takes the questions and personal elements out of it. It is a strict schedule just like school or sports clubs.
2. Your Netflix TV Remote
Does it annoy you that after each Netflix episode another one starts automatically? Well, you can change the settings and stop this from happening making it easier to limit it to one episode at a time. Simple and effective.
3. An Actual Timer or Stop Watch
It can be an app on your phone, an actual stopwatch or an egg timer. Anything that clearly times and signals that this period of screen time is OVER is very helpful.
4. A Kindle
While this is technically a screen it might just encourage your child to read more and stay away from the TV shows, games and social media outlets that are causing problems in their behaviour, sleep or studies.
5. The Den
This one is pretty impressive and might do the trick for larger families who really want to clamp down on screen-time issues. This is a physical home for your children’s devices. It has a companion app that allows parents to control how often and easily they can access their devices. Devices are literally “locked up” in the Den and you can read more about it here
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.