With so much content being produced and shared in apps like TikTok and YouTube, kids are spending more and more time interacting with their laptops, tablets or video game consoles, which can affect them getting a healthy balanced lifestyle in these formative years. As a parent, we have a responsibility to encourage healthy habits when it comes to screen time for our kids. Here are a few good ways to get started.
Set the Rules
First off, it is important that, due to the prolific use of these devices for schoolwork and what devices like the Lenovo kids computers range can offer as educational tools, you make a point of differentiating between educational screen time and leisure screen time.
The first step in encouraging healthy screentime habits is to make sure there are set rules in place, and you don’t give in to the inevitable requests from your kids begging to bend them for a few more minutes of Roblox. You’ll want to set rules for where your children are allowed to use their devices, when they can use them and what they can be used for. Implementing these rules is often enough for kids to recognize the importance of balance, and gently encouraging the reasons why devices shouldn’t be used at certain times or during certain activities like mealtimes will help reinforce this.
It is also helpful to have steady internet like the kind you get from one of the HughesNet internet plans. This helps keeps your boundary on times clear. It is hard to enforce a 30-minute rule if your internet was not working for half of that time.
Encourage Shorter Screentime Sessions
Taking frequent breaks from screens and computers is encouraged no matter how old you are. Encourage the habit of taking these breaks often and limiting screentime to shorter sessions. This encourages a healthier use of screens at a foundational level so that as your kids age, that habit is already set. It doesn’t have to be done forcefully, either. You can encourage these breaks without making it a hard rule, like encouraging them to do a quick dance to celebrate a victory when they finish a level or round of their video game.
No Screentime Before Bedtime
It’s well documented by many medical professionals and child development psychologists that your kids need between nine and 11 hours of sleep every night. The use of electronic devices and screens leading up to bedtime can drastically interfere with not only your child’s quality of sleep, but also be disruptive to the bedtime routine and affect how long it takes for them to fall asleep. Anyone who has tried to get a child to put away their screen for bedtime will know how difficult it can be.
Devices and screens must be put away at least an hour before bedtime to encourage good sleep hygiene. Ideally, they should never be taken to bed with your kids too. The best practice is to put them on charge in a different room altogether. This will prevent your kids from picking it up once they’re settled in bed.
It’s all about balance and encouraging rather than enforcing a healthy relationship with screen time from a young age. These devices are powerful educational tools to help develop many different skills, but they should still be used responsibly.