Children growing up today belong to one of the first generations that does not know what a life without the internet or social media is. In addition, they have an ease of access to video games which we have never seen before. Back in 2018, the average household had seven screens that could be used for entertainment purposes. These include televisions, smartphones, tablets. e-readers, and handheld gaming systems. For children going through their everyday home life, it can require even more effort to keep their eyes off of screens then it can to use them.
There are entire books written on the harmful effects that media use and screen time can have on children and adults alike. Rather than harp on those negative effects, this blog will focus on ways that you can get children away from those screens and enable them to enjoy life in other ways! Here are a couple of points that you may have not considered before.
Set A Good Example
We get it— sometimes it is just as difficult to limit your personal screen time as it is to limit that of your children. Whether you are trying to stay up with your family and friends and get sucked into the black hole that social media is, or simply fall into a daze watching your favorite show, it is easy to get distracted by all of the screens in your life.
However, you must remember that your kids are watching everything you do, and the first step towards limiting their screen time is setting a good example through your own personal electronic use. Even though this will not be a foolproof fix, it is a good first step holding yourself accountable and achieving the results you are looking for with your children.
Tell Them Childhood Stories About Your Outdoor Places
Until kids begin to develop rebellious tendencies in their teenage years, they typically think very highly of their parents and want to mirror them in many ways. Telling them stories from your own childhood is a great way to inspire them to take after you. Thankfully, we as parents did not grow up with anywhere near the ease of access of technology and screen entertainment as our kids are. Telling them stories about what you used to do as a kid to entertain yourself, the forts you used to build, the games you used to play outside, the parks you used to go to, etc. is a great way to inspire them to put the screens down and use their creative little minds to find other ways to find entertainment!
Develop A Coupon System For Screen Use
A common solution for limiting screen time is to set a daily or weekly time limit on how long your children are permitted to use their devices. As good of an idea as this sounds, it will typically fade quickly as parents forget to hold their kids accountable. Another stipulation that you can add to this solution is to create a coupon-based credit system for screen time use. Screen time coupons can be given out for acts such as completed chores, good grades, not talking back, and other standards that you hold your children too. This system will not only limit your children’s screen time to exactly how much you want it to be, but will also lead to more disciplined behavior from them around the clock!
Find Apps With Built-In Timers
Screen time management has become a pressing issue with the proliferation of different devices, television shows, and video games. App developers and game makers have become aware of this, and in response to parental demands, many have implemented time restriction features. If your kid enjoys playing games on your iPhone, Apple has implemented a feature that sets a daily limit on how much time they can spend in certain games. Be sure to utilize these tools so that you are not having to constantly remind your children that it is time to stop.
Tell Kids To Stop At A Natural Break
If you are in a bind and your children have been very polite in requesting more screen time, an easy way to honor their request as a short-term solution is to tell them they can stop at the next natural break. For television shows, this can be at the next commercial break, and for video games, this could be after the completion of a level, end of a quarter, or completion of a race. Be sure to check back in with them after several minutes to make sure that they are not manipulating your agreement.
Get Help From Grandparents
For the most part, grandparents have two things in common— They have more time on their hands then we as parents do, and they love spending that time with their grandchildren. If you are fortunate to live close enough to the grandparents in your family, utilizing them is a great way to keep your kids busy and away from their electronics. Grandparents are loving and creative, and can think of ways to spoil your kids and keep them busy that never would have crossed your mind!
Bring Them To Jumpin’ Jamboree!
If you are out of ideas, and have a couple of hours to kill, bring your kids over to Jumpin’ Jamboree in Doral! Our obstacle courses, bouncy houses, slides, and arcade games are an affordable way to give your children hours of entertainment and encourage physical activity. We offer family memberships for our regular visitors, as well as walk-in hours seven days a week. An afternoon spent at Jumpin’ Jamboree will keep your kids away from their screens, as well as burn off some of that pent up energy that they may have. We look forward to seeing you!