The times are changing so fast with the advancements in technology and these days, every Tom, Dick and Harry has a smartphone with them. Forget adults with smartphones – even 7-year-old kids have an iPhone with them. Not that there is anything wrong with being able to provide your kids with that but where do we draw the line? How much screen-time is good for kids? Is it any good at all? How do we get kids to spend less time on their phones and gadgets? If you are confused, we have a few suggestions on how you can ensure your kid does not get addicted to these electronic screens!
Get Them Outdoors!
Get them involved in a sport outdoors. For younger kids, you can take them to park or teach them how to fly a kite. You could try and get them to play games like throwball, hide and seek and games that require them to run. Older kids can try a sport that they like and even get trained for it. This could be basketball, cricket, badminton, tennis or even football. Sports can help a child develop him/herself both mentally and physically by teaching them discipline, teamwork and time management (when they have to balance school and sports).
Limit Screen Time
Completely banning television is not going to help anyone. They will fuss up about it and act out. You can instead set a limit on how much time they watch TV in a day. Put a check on the amount of time they spend on watching television or in front of the laptop. If your child is still a toddler (1-6 yrs), then you should limit them to watch very little to no television. Kids may start watching 30 minutes a day after they turn 2. This includes interactive games on the computer. If your intention is to teach them something by watching shows on TV, try teaching the same by talking to them and giving visual aids and getting them to participate actively in the learning process. Using toys and puzzles that encourage problem-solving skills can help.
Make Playtime Fun
Try something new every day to keep them interested in doing things apart from watching TV or playing video games. This means making an effort to play with your kids in your free time. You can invest in certain board games that are fun and help work the brain. Card games like UNO are also great for kids above the age of 3. You can even bring them into the kitchen and ask them to help you with certain simple yet fun chores – you could ask them to knead the dough, make round chapati balls/cookie balls or remove peas from the pea pods.
Get Involved With Them
Sometimes, just being a parent is all it takes to divert their attention from the TV. Set aside some time to talk to your child every day about their lives. How was their day at school/preschool? What did they learn? Is there anything that is making them sad? You could also talk about your own day and how it went. Make sure you focus on the positives of the day but as they grow older, you can start sharing more with them.
Set An Example
The best way to get your child to quit spending so much time in front of the TV is to stop doing it yourself! Reduce the amount of time you spend in front of the TV, and when you talk about your day, talk about how wonderful it is to be able to have time to just enjoy the world outside rather than wasting precious daylight hours indoors, in front of a screen. You could even tell them that successful people, including their favourite celebrities that come on TV, did not make it by watching TV all day – they did it by doing things that are useful.
So, there you have it – a guide to make your kid interested in the outside world rather than getting trapped in the confinement that is reality TV. If you found this helpful and informative, do share it with people you care about.