Due to the pandemic we have had to go through a few changes in the past year which has affected our daily lifestyle. Some of which has been positive and some negative and some both. With the schools closed using digital devices for education has become the new norm for children and their families. Children are powerhouses of energy and due to the restrictions and being held indoors has led them to increased indulgence in the digital devices. Excessive screen time possesses health risks for both children and adults. Which is exactly the reason for this article by Podium School; “How to limit screen time for kids during online classes”.
The health risks caused by prolonged screen time can be both physical and psychological. Increase in screen time leads to less time spent doing physical activity, which hampers our sleep cycle. Prolonged screen viewing also causes itchy eyes and increases the risk of developing myopia. Additionally, Excessive use of devices for gaming, social media, and online streaming services; can lead to behavioral addictions like gaming disorders or ADD. Here, Podium has a few tips for both children and Parents to stay healthy while cruising through this phase of high dependence on online services.
Focus on the content rather than the duration
Keep a track of what your child is watching on the device. The sites being visited and the type of content in those sites matter the most, rather than rigidly limiting their access to the devices, parents need to notice their activities. Emphasize the need to generate creativity and connection via these devices. Sit down and make your child understand it. This makes them want to use the devices for their own benefit. Podium school has some great content that parents and children can look at together. We also provide one on one class for music and other art forms which children can benefit from in these tough times.
Schedule play times
It is essential to have dedicated play time for kids. Children crave attention and tend to become cranky if they do not get the needed attention. Have a set playtime, it promotes their cognitive and social skills. spending some time with kids can also be beneficial for the parents. It helps relieve stress. Due to the pandemic, we spend a lot of time cooped up in our homes with little to no physical activity; playing a game with kids would relieve that knot at your back and give you some time to relax. If nothing you can play a game of Jenga with your kids or learn to play a musical instrument.
Have device free family meals
First and foremost, the most important is to have your meals together with your family. Dining table is the best time to have conversations with your children. These conversations work in developing your child’s socio-emotional health. It also works in alleviating stress for the entire family. Also, keep in mind to not use any sort of device during these meals. Your child is to follow in your footsteps, therefore follow the same rule.
Encourage phone calls with Friends
During these difficult times when children are restricted from doing what they normally do, having phone calls with friends would relieve some of it. Phone calls offer a break from staring at the screen. Children are anyways put through too much screen time from having online classes and other such activities, a phone call with a friend would be like a breath of fresh air in these times of screen sharing and online reading.
The next tip under the question of How to limit screen time for kids during online classes is to encourage your child to pursue some hobbies. They could take up drawing, reading, playing some instrument, baking etc. Parents need to find some hobbies to do together as well to stay active when work, learning etc. are confined to the screen. Parents and children can take some of these up together. Hobbies like reading are special; as it helps you learn about various cultures and lets you visit places at the comfort of your home. It brings in knowledge. Learning music and drawing helps relieve stress and brings color into your life, literally.
No screen time before bed
Make it a rule to have no screen time before bed. Setting screens aside for an hour or two before bed makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up on time. Studies have shown that people who go through their phones before bed have poor sleep. They also tend to feel restless throughout the next day. Make reading a habit before bed. Read to your child which would create a habit and help your child in the long run. Have a scheduled reading time with the entire family before bed. This would create a positive atmosphere and parents would also get time to spend with their child. This helps in mental wellbeing.
Make devices harder to grab
Designate a particular place to keep all the electronic devices. The place must be unreachable to the child, so they can’t grab onto a device when bored. Instead, you can keep items like newspapers, comics, board games, puzzles etc. handy, which would help the child when bored. However, it is good to get bored sometimes, when children are bored, they tend to come up with imaginative ways to get through it. Developing imagination is productive for children. If children are provided with constant entertainment it becomes detrimental for their development.
Set a good example for your child
Act as a role model for your child to follow. If you want to limit screen time for your child, you need to do the same as well. Spend time with your kid and they wouldn’t need a device to get through their boredom. Set rules at home for everyone including you regarding the excessive use of electronic devices.
Set screen time but do not be rigid or extreme about them. It is quite okay if on certain days the set screen time gets extended. There is no need to panic about it. Make your child set up their own routines, they will tend to follow it if they set it up themselves. Have some faith in yourself and your child to get through these difficult and stressful times and come out flourishing.