14 Jan 5 tips for getting kids off screens
In a new survey, Action for Children asked parents “Which behaviour do you find most difficult to control?” The results, rather predictably, point towards getting our kids to put down their tech.
The research found that almost a quarter of the parents who completed the survey agreed that getting children to disconnect from technology was their biggest headache. While that might not sound too surprising, the other behaviours parents found easier to get their kids to do included eating healthy food, going to bed and even doing their homework!
According to Carol Iddon, Managing Director of Operations of Action for Children, “Technology is an often necessary part of the lives of children and parents alike, but it’s important to maintain a balance with other activities and quality family time. We know from our extensive work with families that strong relationships with parents build resilience in children, making them less susceptible to bullying or abuse outside the home, and encouraging them to speak to their parents about any fears or concerns.”
If you’re a parent struggling with the thorny issue of how much screentime is too much screentime, here are five tips to help you get your kids to log off:
1. No screens in the bedroom
Insist that no screens stay in bedrooms overnight. This is a great habit to instill in your kids (and into you too!) as it encourages healthy sleep, as well as ensuring that they don’t both start and end their day with screens.
2. Digital detox together
Do things together as a family that don’t involve technology. This could be anything from picnicking, playing cards or simply going for a walk. Detoxing as a family is something that we feel passionate about.
3. Build on screen interests
Draw from your kids own interests and bridge the gap between their virtual world and reality. For example, if they love playing puzzle games online, build old fashioned puzzles together, or if they’re hooked on FIFA, get them outside with a ball.
4. Lead by example
If you encourage your children to put down their iPhones, then you should put yours down too! Make sure when you’re together as a family you’re modelling healthy behaviours around technology.
5. Look for inspiration
We would highly recommend having a look at the National Children’s Hour initiative. It encourages families across the UK to unplug and play for some inspiration. There are tons of ideas for activities and things to do with the kids, and many of them help with children’s development as well.
Instill in your kids the importance of regular digital detox or ‘logging off time’ from a young age. This will not only help them develop social skills, but it will also give you the chance to spend more quality time together as a family. Digital detox breaks and retreats for adults are vital, but it’s critical that you don’t exclude your children from incorporating the same values into their lives.