In a world dominated by screens and sedentary activities, the importance of physical activity for children cannot be overstated. While technology offers numerous benefits, finding a balance and setting limits on screen time is crucial for a child's overall well-being. Adventurelore has a unique approach to therapy through experiential learning and cognitive behavioral therapy. Outdoor activities can have a profound impact on children's brains and bodies. In this blog post, we talk about recognizing the importance of a healthy screen-time balance, and providing parents with practical tips to navigate this modern parenting challenge.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other organizations/studies have indicated that parental restrictions on screen time and the absence of screens in bedrooms both significantly lower screen time. Ideal discretionary screen time limits are 0.5-1 hour/day for three to seven-year-olds, one hour for 7-12-year-olds, 1.5 hours for 12-15-year-olds, and two hours for 16+-year-olds.
1. Establish Clear Boundaries:
Start by setting clear and consistent guidelines for screen time. Define specific timeframes for usage, such as limiting screen time. Having well-defined boundaries helps children understand expectations and creates a structured environment.
2. Create Screen-Free Zones:
Designate certain areas in the home, such as the dining room or bedrooms, as screen-free zones. This encourages face-to-face interactions, family bonding, and a break from constant digital stimuli. Bedrooms, in particular, should be free of screens to promote better sleep.
3. Lead by Example:
Children often model their behavior after their parents. Demonstrate a healthy relationship with technology by being mindful of your own screen time. When parents prioritize face-to-face interactions over screens, children are more likely to follow.
4. Encourage Outdoor Activities:
Promote a balance between screen time and outdoor activities. Adventurelore emphasizes the benefits of physical activity, and encouraging children to engage in outdoor adventures fosters a healthier lifestyle. Establish specific times for outdoor play, whether it's a family hike, bike ride, or a day at the park.
5. Use Screen Time Wisely:
Instead of completely eliminating screen time, encourage its purposeful and educational use. Choose age-appropriate, educational content that aligns with your child's interests. This approach allows children to benefit from technology while minimizing mindless scrolling or excessive gaming.
6. Implement Screen Time Rules Together:
Involve your child in the process of setting screen time rules. Discuss the importance of balance and the reasons behind the guidelines. When children understand the rationale, they are more likely to cooperate and take ownership of their screen time habits.
7. Establish Tech-Free Times:
Designate specific times during the day as tech-free, such as meal times or an hour before bedtime. This ensures that important family moments are not disrupted by screens and promotes a healthier daily routine.
8. Utilize Parental Controls:
Take advantage of parental control features available on devices and apps. Set up time limits, block inappropriate content, and monitor your child's online activities. These tools can be valuable allies in helping parents manage and regulate screen time effectively.
9. Encourage Hobbies and Interests:
Foster a love for hobbies and interests that do not involve screens. Whether it's reading, drawing, playing a musical instrument, or engaging in sports, providing alternatives encourages a more diverse range of activities and minimizes reliance on screens for entertainment.
10. Communicate Openly:
Establish an open line of communication with your child about screen time. Encourage them to share their experiences and feelings regarding technology. By fostering a non-judgmental and understanding environment, parents can work collaboratively with their children to find a balance that works for the entire family.
Adventurelore recognizes the challenges parents face in navigating technology. By implementing these practical tips, parents can guide their children toward a healthier relationship with screens and family dynamic.
Maintaining a healthy balance for screen time in children is challenging. The addictive nature of certain digital content, designed to capture and retain attention, poses a tough challenge for both children and parents. Children may find it challenging to self-regulate and disengage from screens willingly. This emphasizes the importance of parental guidance and establishing clear boundaries, even as children grow older and gain more independence.
Written by: Jennifer Donnelly