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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    Advice for Kids and Screen Time Limits

    Kids today are growing up in a world where technology plays a huge role in their everyday life. With the increase of smartphones, tablets, televisions, and other devices, many parents have difficulty determining how much screen time is too much – or even how to manage their kids' screen time. Without guidance and discipline when it comes to kids and screen time, it can lead to a number of serious problems.

    It is important for parents to be involved in their children's screen time decision-making, as research has linked excessive screen time to weight gain and obesity, sleeping patterns, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and even academic achievement and behaviour. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children are engaging with age-appropriate media and using it in a healthy and productive way.

    One of the first steps to take is to set specific rules and boundaries around the usage of devices. For example, having a "no screens after 8 pm" rule or allowing certain types of content during the day, like educational apps. If a child is showing signs of problematic or obsessive media use, then stricter limits can be put in place. Having consistent and parent-defined rules can help to provide structure, allowing kids to learn to self-regulate their own behaviour when it comes to media usage.

    When establishing limits, it can be important for parents to provide explanations for why the limits should be put in place. Simply saying "no" does not provide a satisfying answer for many children, and can make them feel like they are being unjustly treated. Offering explanations usually helps children understand why something should be done, and helps them learn to respect authority figures.

    Another important factor to consider is providing alternative activities when screens are not an option. Books, crafts, games, and outdoor activities can all offer both distraction and stimulation for kids. By making sure that kids have other options available, it can help to reduce screen time and improve overall development.

    It can be helpful to provide positive reinforcement if kids stick to limits and follow instructions. Praise and rewards can be excellent motivators in this regard, and can help kids better understand why following rules is important – while also encouraging them to stay on the right track.

    Increasingly parents must confront the difficult task of managing kids and screen time. By setting age-appropriate boundaries, providing alternate activities, and offering incentives, parents can help ensure that their kids remain safe and healthy – and build lifelong positive behaviours.


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