Spending hours in front of a screen may not give your child square eyes, but it does leave less time for social, active, imaginative, and creative play.
A total television, tablet, smart phone and video game ban may not be realistic – or necessary. However, there does come a time when you have to introduce some firm screen-time boundaries. Here are five ways to help your kids enjoy a more balanced childhood.
- Set Rules & Be Consistent
It is easier to monitor and manage screen time when you have clear guidelines in place that you agree on as a family. Whether you set a daily limit on screen hours or make screen time a reward after completing chores and homework, make sure that you enforce the rules as consistently as you would in any other area of parenting. You are bound to experience a little (or maybe even a lot) of resistance at first, but the rewards are well worth it.
- Get Moving
A great way to get your kids out of ‘screen mode’ is to encourage them to get out and about. Let your child choose a physical activity, class or group that he or she will remain interested in for some time. Some kids prefer organised activities such as soccer, ballet or swimming classes while others are more suited to informal activities such as riding bikes, playing beach cricket, hunting for tadpoles, or climbing trees.
- Encourage Creativity
There are plenty of ways to keep your kids occupied on those indoor-days without turning to technology. A great way to spend time with your little ones while encouraging them to exercise their creativity and improve their fine motor skills is with an arts and crafts activity pack from Tower kids. With a range of products to choose from – such as mosaic by numbers, sand art, 3D craft kits, foam art and much more – there are hours of educational fun to be had.
- Play Dates
Another way to limit screen time is to encourage – or organise – more activities that involve socialising with siblings or other kids. This could involve giving your little ones a basket full of dress-up clothes and asking them to put on a play for you, arranging regular play dates, or simply taking your child to the park to play freely with other children.
- Screen Free Saturdays (or Sundays)
Cartoons are a convenient child-minder for Saturday morning lie-ins and Sunday paper reading sessions. However, weekends are a time when most parents are free from the work commitments that keep them distracted during the week. This is an ideal opportunity to unplug the TV and pack away smart devices for one full day while you focus on spending quality time together as a family.
For more tips, advice and hours of family fun, visit www.towerproducts.co.za/tower-kids/