How many times have you looked up at the waiting room of the doctor’s office only to find three or four other people staring at you in disbelief?
You’re reading one of the cheesy magazines while your child happily watches Blippi on your phone right next to you.
With the way technology is constantly evolving, you’d think that the whole “screen time is the enemy” movement would have subsided by now. But au contraire, my friends.
Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely such thing as too much screen time.
However, there are ways for your child to use it without becoming completely addicted and you losing your mind about never having your phone.
Read on to learn the five essential tips for surviving screen time.
Screen Time Isn’t The Devil
Despite the looming stigma over the idea of screen time for kids, there are actually ways to use it to benefit your child. The new generation has grown up with technology as a part of their regular life.
Maybe it’s just the millennial in me talking, but it honestly seems wrong to completely keep them from technology when it’s such a prevalent force in society. Schools have even begun utilizing it as a learning tool, so you can’t really keep it from your child forever.
Studies have shown that screen time can actually help your child with their motor skills and hand-eye coordination. They’re also good tools for doing research for school as well as socializing and making friends.
So, how exactly do you go about screen time? Here are the five things we do to make the most out of screen time.
Don’t Lose Your Cool
When approaching screen time, it’s important to keep your composure even when your child has been nagging at you for your phone for what seems like hours.
Get creative if you have to. We are definitely not above fibbing to get kids to stop.
You know, kind of like this mom’s genius idea to make her kids think her phone is broken by switching your phone to grayscale mode.
Depending on whether you have an iPhone or an Android, the settings will be different but are still capable of switching modes.
Set Time Limits
As genius as the grayscale hack is, we know it isn’t going to be completely fool-proof.
When allowing screen time for your child, whether it be on your phone or a tablet, it’s important to set time limits to avoid overuse. As much as I’m for screen time, too much of it can lead to addiction (source).
For young children, limiting screen time to an hour a day is recommended. None of us are perfect though, so choose what you think is right for your family. We typically stay between 1-2 hours of screen time per day for our 3-year-old.
Monitor Their Usage
This one is a given. There is so much garbage on the internet that it’s really easy for your child to get caught up in it. All of those garbage apps and videos are what gives the idea of screen time a bad rap.
That’s why it’s so important to monitor what your child is watching or playing. There are ways to set up restrictions during your child’s screen time whether they’re on their tablet or your phone.
If you see something questionable while they’re using their electronics, don’t be afraid to be the bad guy and turn it off. They might hate you for a few minutes, but they get over it pretty quick.
I’ve found myself doing that on more than one occasion and I can confirm that my child does, in fact, still love me.
I’m going to be honest, I hate YouTube. I guess hate is a little too strong of a word, but it’s just so hard to monitor every single video our daughter watches when she’s constantly changing videos midway through.
Luckily she’s started veering away from wanting our phones so much since she got her own kids’ tablet. On her tablet, we use an Amazon app that filters and only shows age-appropriate games and videos which makes monitoring so much easier.
We don’t let our daughter download her own apps, if she wants a new one then she has to ask us first. This seems like a daunting task to teach a 3-year-old, but as long as you’re consistent it will all work out.
Spend Screen Time Together
Hear me out before you totally dismiss this tip. I’m not saying that every single time they’re using technology you have to be right there with them.
However, spending some time watching videos and playing educational games together can be beneficial in fostering your parent-child bond.
This is also a sneaky way to monitor your child’s usage since you’re right there with them.
Screen Time Is Your Friend
Whether you just need a minute to yourself or you genuinely want to find educational activities for your kids, screen time can help you.
It’s time we shoo away the stigma of screen time for kids for good. As long as you set boundaries and limits and you keep a general tab on the things your child watches or plays, screen time can be extremely beneficial.
What’s your approach to screen time? Do you have strict limits or are you go-with-the-flow? Comment below!