Children today are becoming more and more dependent on mobile devices, even at an early age. It is your job as the parent to monitor their gadget use, so they still find physical and creative activities as fulfilling. However, it has been proven that simply taking away their gadgets is not effective in changing behaviour in the long-run. To encourage less screen time with kids, here are five things you can try:
1. Family game time.
Spending quality time with all members of your household will encourage children to put down their phones and tablets and to join in on the fun. So, every week, have a family game time when you all gather to play charades or board games, to solve complex puzzles together, or to play football in the backyard. Not only will this lessen screen time, but it will also allow them to exercise their bodies and minds.
2. Dedicated reading time.
Books help improve a child’s vocabulary and comprehension skills. They also sharpen creativity and lengthen a child’s attention span. So, start creating the habit of reading while they’re still young and read books to your kids before they go to sleep at night. As they grow up, they will develop the habit and continue reading as a pastime. Check out these hot deals on book sets (and other activities for kids) from The Works so you can curate a child-friendly library in your home.
3. Enrol them in classes.
If you notice a particular skill or talent in your child, embrace and encourage it. Enrol them in classes that will unleash their full potential. For a kid who sings or plays an instrument, there are music and voice lessons. For a kid who likes to paint or draw, there are art lessons. There are also dance lessons, acting and theatre lessons, gymnastics lessons, sports training, writing workshops, etcetera. The time they spend in these classes is not only productive; it is also time that they spend without looking at their phones, tablets, and other gadgets.
4. Go on walks or hikes.
Going on a walk or a hike with your kids, even if it’s short and just around your neighbourhood, will allow you to bond and connect with them. While walking, you can ask them about the school, their friends, and their interests. You can also tell them stories about you when you’re at their age. Plus, don’t forget the physical aspect of hiking. Quality time, exercise, and less screen time in one? Try it.
5. Give them chores.
Lastly, you can give your children chores that will earn them gadget and internet privileges. This solution will teach them discipline and hard work. However, only give them tasks that they can do. For small children, that may be as simple as putting their toys back in storage. For tweens and teens, they can help clean the house, do the dishes, and keep their rooms clean.
These small steps can effectively change your child’s behaviour towards gadgets and internet usage. You can try them all at once or start with one step at a time. Either way, these tips will surely help your children develop healthier habits in the long-run.