7 ways to cut your kids’ screen time – without making yourself crazy
There is a great deal of research indicating the benefits of limited screen time for kids.
The American Pediatrics Association warns that too much technology time can lead to problems ranging from eating disorders to obesity and from attention struggles to school difficulties. The Mayo Clinic links an excess of screen time to sleep issues, behavioral problems and lack of active play.
But, as parents, we also believe in balance.
We understand that parenting can be hard, and navigating technology can be a huge struggle with kids. And if we are being honest, many of our kids beg us to use the iPad, play on the smart phone, or watch Curious George for the 30th time.
We get it.
Technology is an everyday part of our life. And that's okay. It's okay to embrace it. Many of our kids already know how to use our devices better than we do.
But, there are certainly a lot of good reasons to limit screen time. Here are a few tips about how to do this in your own home - without going crazy in the process.
Establish screen-free zones.
"The most important thing is to set limits and be consistent," explains Jamie Nordling, Ph.D., social developmental psychologist and assistant professor at Augustana University. "Then your child knows what to expect."
Think about where you want your child using devices and where you'd like to avoid televisions, tablets and apps.
For some parents, bedrooms and playrooms are natural tech-free zones. These are where books and toys prevail. By removing all screens from these areas, children won't expect to watch movies or play on a tablet.
Establish screen-free times.
Like creating screen-free areas in your home, it's also a good idea to schedule tech time into your day.
For example, make dinnertime to bedtime technology-free. During this time, you can simply be together - eating dinner, playing games, taking baths, and reading books.
Creating routines and rituals with your kids makes them feel safe and loved, so work technology into your day.
Find the best technology for your child.
If there's one thing most experts agree - it's that as a parent, you know your child best. Trust your judgement. Just like there's no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, there's also no one-size-fits-all approach to technology.
In fact, even two different children in the same household could need different amounts and types of screen time.
"If you have a good relationship with your children," says Jamie, "you'll know them well enough to make good decisions for them."
Replace screen time with other fun activities.
If you are struggli