Our Screenless Tips For Your Children in 2020
This is probably not something you would find surprising, but it seems children are spending more time in front of screens which seems to be on the increase.
According to a 2010 study by Kaiser Family Foundation, more and more children are spending 50 + hours in front of a screen per week.
This also includes around 24 hours a week watching television and an additional 10 hours per week playing video games. The study also found that the rest of the time was spent using social media and browsing on the internet.
What was really surprising is the fact that those 50 hours didn't include the time children spend on the computer at school. That's a lot of time spent in front of screens during the week and for most parents a little worrying.
It's now 2019 and that study was done over 8 years ago, so we can only assume that children are spending more time than they were 8 years ago in front of screens.
When you break down the figures like this, it’s hard to come to terms with the fact children are in front of screens far too much.
So the question is, exactly what can we do about this problem?
Here are a few suggestions for you:
Lead By Example
This one seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it? The fact that adults are also spending a lot of time on multiple screens really doesn’t help.
If we want to be the prime role model for our children we need to practice what we preach. This means weaning ourselves off screens at certain times.
For example, trying to use our mobiles less at home, not constantly checking emails or notifications during dinner or watching TV. You get the idea :)
Get Children Outside As Much As Possible
The CDC recommends that “children and adolescents ages 6 to 17 years do 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.1 Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence is important for promoting lifelong health and well-being and preventing various health conditions like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.”
It’s so important that children get out and play as much as possible. Even though the CDC suggest 60 minutes, there’s no reason why children can’t play outdoors for a longer period of time. Especially taking part in after-school activities like sports etc.
They mention serious diseases such as heart disease and cancer. However, if children do partake in physical activities each day, then they can prevent a lot more diseases other than the most serious ones outlined.
Ban Electronics During Meal Times
Studies have been shown that kids thrive when they are able to talk and listen to parents at all times of the day. However, mealtimes is a particularly important time to do this since it’s one of the few times when both parents and their children sit down together.
To help with this interaction it is a good idea to ban any form of electrics at mealtimes.
Try doing this and you’ll be amazed at the types of questions and interesting conversations you can have.
Remove TVs and Computers From Their Bedrooms
More than half of UK households have 3 or more TVs which isn’t that much of a problem. However, it might be a good idea for children not to have a TV in their room.
This has a few benefits:
- You have the ability to control and monitor what they watch
- They are more likely to read a book rather than watch the box
- They will spend less time on social media or YouTube (two major attention sucking activities
- They will go to sleep earlier
- They will have more time for homework or choose to interact with you rather than watching the TV
Have Their Computer in Kitchen or Living room
This point carries on from the last point really. Even though you are removing the computer from their bedrooms. It doesn’t mean they can’t access the computer in another room.
This way, you can monitor their browsing activities whilst having a conversation with them or even helping them with their homework.
You can also take a quick peek to see what they have been working on without disturbing them if they have gone to bed.
No TV While They Are Studying
The difficulty for most children is the ability to focus on the task at hand. With the multiple of screens at their disposal, they find it hard to concentrate.
That’s why it is important that the TV is switched off while they are studying. It is also a good idea to ban mobile phones, smart watches etc too. That way they will find it easier to focus on their work without getting distracted.
Stay Strong and Don’t Bend
It’s sometimes hard to stand up to your children, especially if you haven’t been able to spend as much time with them as you would like. Even if this is the case, try not to bend or waver by allowing them to pressure into going against the points that are raised in this article.
There are plenty of hours in the day for them to play with their phones and watch TV. Just not in their rooms, when they eating, studying or have the chance to play outside.
What do you think? Is this being too strict and would you feel that you are being mean?
We would love to hear from you.