Playing video games can have terrible effects on children. You have to try your best to limit their screen time. It doesn’t mean you can’t allow them to play anymore. However, you can’t let them play for as long as they want. Overusing phones isn’t good for the cognitive and physical development of children. You have to help them in limiting their screen time. These tips are useful.
Be a good role model
Before you even enforce this policy, you need to be a role model. You can’t tell your children to stop playing video games if you are doing the same. You also can’t force them to stop browsing their social media pages while eating if you do the same. You have to be consistent. Otherwise, your children won’t believe in you.
Create a zone at home where technology isn’t allowed
It also helps to have a zone where you can’t let your children use their mobile devices or other electronic equipment. It’s a place where they can relax or read books. In doing so, they will realize that there are other things that they can do without using their phones. If your children are already going to school, they can use the space to study their lessons.
Give them other toys to play with
For children who want to play, you have to understand that it’s their nature to explore. Instead of allowing them to use their phones all the time, you can give them other options. The Playmobil Ambulance from Bopster is an excellent idea. They can have fun manipulating the toy, and it takes their time away from the mobile phone. You can also spend time playing with them. Perhaps, they need someone to play with. They won’t feel bored if they are with you. You can also find other suitable games if they become more mature.
Explain why you’re strict about screen time
You have to make it clear why you’re somewhat strict with limiting their screen time. Explain to your children the reasons for doing it. You can talk about the health implications of overexposure to mobile devices. You can also talk about being responsible. They have other things to do, and it’s not good to always use their phones. You have to ask them if they understood your explanations and if they have questions. You may also open the table for negotiations. Perhaps, they have other ideas to help them limit screen time. Allow them to be part of the decision-making process. When setting rules, they can also get involved.
It also helps if you ask them why they want to play video games. They might have a valid reason for doing it, and they’re also learning from the experience. If you believe that the reason is acceptable enough, you can let them extend their game time. If the only reason is it’s fun, it’s not good enough.
Use parental controls
There are ways to control your children’s screen time by doing it on your end. Modern technology allows you to see what your children are doing and stop them if they already spent too much time. If you don’t want to be too controlling, you can ask them for their password. Once you see that they already went beyond the allotted time, you can stop them from using their devices. The implication is that they have to be responsible enough in not going beyond the limitations. Otherwise, you will step in and stop them.
Set a “cheat” day
Just like when you’re on a diet plan, you also have a cheat day. During this day, you can eat whatever you want. You can do the same thing with your children. You can set a day when they can play as much as they want. However, it should come with a caveat. They can only do it after finishing all the tasks at school. Otherwise, you will revoke the opportunity to play for an unlimited number of hours.
Never scream at your kids
If you believe that scolding your children for playing on their phones all the time works, it’s wrong. You will only damage your relationship because of how you treat them. Make sure that you don’t scream or get angry all the time. Once you start doing it, things will continue that way.
Make your children accountable
If your children have other responsibilities like studying their lessons, you have to make them accountable. Allow them to play on their phones as long as they can get things done on time. You can also tell them that you will monitor their educational progress. If they’re not doing well, you might have to renegotiate your screen time policy. In doing so, you don’t dictate what they have to do, but you make them responsible for their actions. It’s not only helpful in limiting their screen time, but also teaching them to become more independent.
Take your children outside
Understandably, you haven’t travelled for the past several months due to health restrictions. When everything starts to open up, you might want to take your children outside. Spend more time with them. You can also go on a road trip to maintain distance from other people. In doing so, your children will forget to play with their phones. They have other fun activities to do with you. They also don’t want to miss the opportunity to bond during the trip. They will realize that their life outdoors is way more exciting than using phones all the time.
You can’t expect immediate changes to happen. These are gradual improvement in behaviour. You also have to understand if your children will be hesitant at first. They might not realize why you’re trying to limit their screen time. Eventually, they will feel better about your decision. When they get older, they will also accept more responsibilities. It’s good that you start at a young age.