It seems that it is becoming habitual that families are all looking down, stuck to their mobile phones and devices, connecting to the network and ‘disconnecting’ from the family. It is necessary to set screen time limits in both children and adults, especially during summer vacations when the kids are all free to explore the world around them. Parents must learn to connect with their children face to face and children must learn that there are more important things to fix the look on the mobile.
It can be quite a challenge, considering that nowadays new technologies are totally involved in family routines and habits. There are studies that show that two-third of children between 8 and 10 years have rules regarding the time they spend with their mobile devices. Parents are responsible for setting clear rules so that there is some control.
The issue is not to prohibit screen time. Far from it, making intelligent use of mobile devices can take advantage of its great advantages, but as in everything, if used excessively or in an inappropriate way, the advantages become enormous disadvantages. Therefore, it is necessary for parents to know some strategies to reduce screen time in children.
Keys to reduce screen time in children
1. Set a time limit
The first thing that must be taken into account is the screen time that each family member accumulates throughout the day and week. Screen time includes time spent on phones, tablets, computers, electronic readers and any electronic device. A balance should be made to know the average time of each one. To create and implement the screen limits, parents can make use of the FamilyTime app.
2. Empower free play time
Empowering an hour of screen-free play time is necessary. You can create it every day during vacations, so your children will enjoy outdoor games or family.
3. No screen when it’s time to eat
At meal times it is important to connect with the family and enjoy a quality moment around the food. Eating or dining together as a family is necessary and essential to be able to be connected with each other, and without technology on the table! The devices must be outside the room where they are going to eat to promote good communication with their children.
4. No screen before and during bedtime
Television or smartphones in a bedroom is a bad idea. Even though children do not have television in their bedrooms, they can watch movies or programs in their beds through mobile devices. They can even spend hours chatting or playing video games… This must be totally forbidden to guarantee a good rest.
Mobile screens emit blue light that mimics daylight and contributes to insomnia. It is necessary to have a good routine before going to bed without screens to improve the quality of sleep. Therefore, all family members should participate in this to have good routines before going to sleep. Everyone should turn off their devices at the same time to go to sleep and create a good sleep routine.
It is important to break with the habit, establish a few specific hours each day to be able to use the devices in an intelligent way and above all, boost family time. Planning activities together free of mobile devices is a good way to really connect with each other without the need to have a Wi-Fi network within reach.