Electricals are incredible. We have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips, entertainment and books all just waiting to be accessed. With children though this can be a sticky situation. Whilst screen time is beneficial in many ways, it is easy to become engrossed and forget about all the other things available to us. It can be easy to let the kids just watch Kids Youtube, or play games, so we can get some peace. Or perhaps it helps calm them down, especially neurodivergent children. Either way balance is what is needed and it can be difficult to din.

Routine

screen time
Photo by Sonja Langford on Unsplash

A great way to reduce the amount of screen time our kids have, is to set a routine. This can be done in a number of ways. From earning screen time by doing homework, chores or showing good behaviour and right choices. To having set times that screen time is allowed, or even alternating screen time with other activities.

Many devices have alarms and timers on them. Get the kids to use these apps to set times when they first go on. For example, they can have an hours screen time, then need to go in the garden, read, draw or do something that doesn’t involve a device.

You could limit screen time throughout the week, using the earning method throughout that time to gain minutes for the weekend. Perhaps making their bed gets them 10 minutes screen time, tidying their room an hour and so on.

Offer Alternatives to Screen Time

Half of the battle is that kids can become easily bored. They often need prompting and encouragement to try new things or even remember they have that Lego set to build. Having plenty of alternatives on hand will help you to encourage them to get invested in something other than screen time.

Hobbies

screen time
Photo by Paul Schneider on Unsplash

Finding a hobby can be beneficial in many ways. Whether it is playing football, making clay models or drawing, taking the time to find an interest that grabs your child’s attention can be rewarding.

Hobbies come in all shapes and sizes, so it is about finding that one thing that interests them and running with it. This them gives them something they are invested in to turn to when screen time isn’t available.

Screen Time Balance

screen time
Photo by Christophe Hautier on Unsplash

There is nothing wrong in children spending time on iPads, consoles or watching TV. It can enrich their lives, give them knowledge and enjoyment. The trick is finding that balance that allows them to decompress and relax with their favourite Youtuber and spending time in the real world with loved ones and fun activities.

It can be a challenge finding this balance and at times we do need to pick which battle to fight. If they are having a tough time, playing a game might help them leave their worries behind for a time. There is an opportunity here to offer playing a board game instead and chatting about their feelings. Everything depends on the child and situation. You know your child and what they need, whether to press the issue or give them space. Trust your instinct and keep that dialogue with the kids open.

You can find lots of information and activities to try with the kids throughout The Wonderment.

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About Author

Erika is bright, bubbly and friendly. Studying to be a counsellor, she is committed to helping others in the pursuit of better mental health. Having suffered from mental health issues herself including severe anxiety and PTSD, she wants to show others that the light at the end of the tunnel is not just a cliché!
Erika enjoys spending time with her little one, friends and family, crafting, reading, writing, music gaming, cooking, creating art, cacti and llamas.

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