In today’s climate, a child’s laptop, tablet, or personal handheld device has become a necessity for schoolwork, which means they’re spending more time in front of a screen than ever before. If you’re concerned about how much time your child is spending with their nose in their device, here are a few things you can do to manage your child’s screen time:
1. Set a good example
It’s no secret that children learn from example. Start healthy screen habits early by modeling good behavior. Don’t bring your phone to the dinner table, shut down all your devices before bed, and switch out scrolling on your phone for reading a book or taking a walk outside.
2. No screen zones
Have designated places in your home where electronics are off limits. The kitchen and dining room are good examples, which should be reserved for family time and conversation.
3. Keep screens out of your child’s bedroom
You won’t be able to manage your child’s screen time if they’re using their devices out of your sight. For this reason, keep all TVs, computers, and video game consoles out of your child’s bedroom. Also, limit smaller, handheld devices that may distract them at night and prevent them from getting a good night’s sleep.
4. Make screen time a privilege
Make it clear to your child that using their electronics is a privilege, not a right. If you use the disciplinary method of taking away privileges, your child’s phone, laptop, or video games could be included.
5. Encourage tech-free activities
Make it known to your child that the world is bigger than their screen! Instead of looking up information on their phones, direct them towards books or magazines. Encourage them to try out a new hobby, such as drawing, nature watching, or puzzles. Instead of a weekend family movie night, go on a hike or spend the day at a museum (just make sure to follow your city’s social distancing and health regulations!)
6. Use parental controls
Even with proper management, it’s impossible to watch what your child is doing all the time. That’s where parental controls come in. Most routers, computers, and TVs come with tools that you can use to block your child from accessing certain content. There are even apps you can download to filter what your child sees and what they have access to. You can block specific websites, web searches, and even keywords!
7. Limit screen time
Designate certain times of the day where electronics are off limits. This could be a few hours before bed or during family time.
8. Set up a rewards system for following rules
Keep your child motivated to follow the rules by giving them a reward—that’s not tech related! These can include:
- Extra allowance
- A favorite meal
- Staying up late
- A day off from chores
- Earn-an-item (basketball, football, a new book—anything that promotes learning or physical activity is a good option!)
Lastly, when it comes to paying for repairs due to accidental damage, the cost can be astronomical. A good device insurance plan will ensure you save money while also being covered against drops, spills, cracked screens, and more.