Weaning Your Child Away From Electronic Overload
How many times have you handed your child an electronic device to keep them occupied? We are all guilty of using these gadgets to help us “babysit” our kids when we need to get something done.
In a report released by Common Sense Media, children ages 8 and younger reported to spend an average of nearly three hours on a device, while those between 8 and 12 years old spent almost five hours a day on a device.
For the younger kids, much of that time was spent watching TV or videos, where kids entering their teenage years spent most of their time on social media, also spending almost five hours a day on their electronic device.
There are mixed reviews when it comes to kids and the utilization of technology to help keep them occupied or as a learning tool.
Some child developmental experts warn parents against overusing devices such as phone or iPads as a tool for distraction or educational learning, and for children under two years old, the use of electronic devices has shown to cause speech delays.
What can parents do to ensure their child isn’t overloading themselves with screen time? Well, much of it has to do with setting reasonable limits and sticking to them.
When it comes to children under the age of two, the US Department of Health recommends no screen time at all. For those over two years of age, the recommended amount of screen time is no more than two hours a day.
One thing to implement is screen time is a privilege, not a right. Allow some screen time only after homework is complete and chores are done.
And if a full two hours isn’t in the books on a particular night, removing the device will help prevent any late night tech use when they should be in bed.
Once boundaries are established have other things available for your child to do instead. Whether it’s spending the day at the park, or going to a fun place to eat, having other activities lined up will help take their mind away from the video games and apps.
The trick is to remind your child there are other things available for them to do besides sitting on an electronic device. And remember, it is also healthy for children to be bored.
Boredom allows them to think, get creative, problem solve and learn to keep themselves occupied. It also gives their mind a break from all the gadgets surrounding them.