In this new era of technology, it is not an uncommon sight to see toddlers playing iPads and children being glued to their phones.
Even though technology has become a great source of fun and games for children, over exposure can be physically and mentally harmful.
Excessive amounts of screen time can negatively impact a child’s development, such as delaying their speech skills and causing short attention spans. If your kid prefers looking at their device than interacting with people, it is a concerning issue.
It is never too late for a digital detox. Simply follow these five easy ways to unplug your kids from technology!
1. Set a Time Limit
It is important to set ground rules for your children’s technology usage. Setting a clear limit on your child’s screen time is the first step to get them used to being away from technology.
According to the screen time guidelines by Media Literacy Council, device usage for toddlers between the ages 2 to 5 should be limited to 1 hour per day. Parents should monitor their child’s usage, and provide only high-quality programmes for their kids.
For children who are 6 years old and above, consistent time limits should be set for their screen time. Parents also need to ensure that their technology usage do not replace necessary physical activities and sleep. Parent supervision is also required.
Technology usage should not be encouraged as a solo activity! Ensure it is done in a group setting, either as a family or peer activity.
2. Setting Tech-Free Zones
Isn’t it common to see children staring at their mobile devices during a family dinner at restaurants or food centres? Such behaviour can be considered as impolite, and children will miss a great opportunity to interact with people closest to them.
By setting tech-free times, like during meals and when doing homework, you can help to bring your kids’ attention to what is important at hand.
Family meals are a great time to build bonds between parents and children. Not allowing phone usage at the table will encourage conversations at the dinner table. Kids can share about how their day went or if there are any issues in school.
A popular mini activity that can be played at the dinner table to ensure no screen time, is to stack everyone’s mobile phones in the middle of the table. The first person to reach for their device will have to do a forfeit!
No devices during homework time will also prevent your children from being distracted. Without devices by their side, they will be able to focus on their school work without any interruptions.
3. Get Involved in a Sport
Another effective way to decrease your kids’ screen time is to get them involved in a new sport! This will also ensure that your young ones are always active.
A huge concern for the excessive use of technology is the negligence of one’s health. Children who are constantly glued to their screens usually fail to complete sufficient exercise to keep fit. Participating in a sport will keep your kids on a healthy track, and away from their devices!
Swimming is a fun activity for children of all ages. It also equips them with a crucial life skill they cannot do without. In addition, swimming has been proven to be a great brain booster, which gives young swimmers a head start in school!
And of course, no one will dare to bring any devices near the pool, would they?
If you are still uncertain, register for a free swim trial with Swim it Right today!
4. Have Your Family Time Outdoors
Instead of staying cooped up at home when you are around your children, bring them out for a breath of fresh air, away from the TV and computer!
With the busy lifestyles that we all have nowadays, it is important for parents to seize every moment to engage with their children.
Staying in their rooms will only encourage kids to entertain themselves with screen time. Getting them out of the house for some family time will void them of any excuses to use technology to occupy themselves.
Plan some exciting activities that you can do with your child when the family is outdoors. A few ideas are cycling or going for a stroll in a park, playing badminton at a nearby sports stadium, or having a picnic!
Show your kids what a good time they can have without using technology!
5. Be An Example
You are the biggest role model for your children! Therefore, how you control your technology usage will be a great influence on your children’s usage of technology.
Young children like to imitate the actions and behaviours of others. Therefore, always try to set a good example for your kids to follow.
If you are constantly checking your phone during meal times, or using your devices when talking to your children, it is time to change those habits.
Children can get frustrated when they see their parents doing the things that they are told not to do. This could result in them not taking your words seriously in the future.
To build and maintain a strong relationship with your kids, you need to prove that you are always mentally and physically available for them. Don’t be swallowed up by technology yourself!
“Technology is a useful servant, but a dangerous master”.
Technology is indeed a life-changing tool with countless benefits for us. However, mis-using it could result in detrimental effects on our health and our lifestyle.
As parents, our children’s well-being should always be the top of our priorities.
It is necessary for us to look out for them, and educate them about the effects of excessive use of technology. This will ensure that they do not fall into the trap of being addicted to screen time.
There is so much more to life beyond the screens of our devices!
(Header Image Credit: Getty Images)