5 Effective Ways to Keep Your Child Away From Screens!
Did you know that the pandemic has resulted in an increase in children’s screen time by five hours! This is a shocking revelation from research conducted by the Ministry of Human Resources in 2020. Researchers have been warning the world about the adverse effects of increased screen time on children. Ill effects range from a shorter attention span to a disturbed sleep cycle, and a higher risk of carpal tunnel syndrome and myopia.
Is there nothing we can do about this grave problem? As parents, caregivers and educators, we can certainly help kids cut down on their screen time. Let’s explore some effective ways of achieving this:
- Employ age-old play techniques
Just like there is freestyle dancing, there is something called freestyle play – a method of entertainment that is not bound by rules and also awakens the artist within a child. Encourage your child to get creative with clay, sand, craft material, jigsaw puzzles etc. When you simply supply materials and allow them to explore, their imagination flourishes. This helps in improving their cognitive skills too.
2. Reduce your own screen time
Children tend to turn to technology when adults around them become too busy to educate, entertain or guide them. Fortunately, this situation is not irreversible. You can go back to spending more time with children and teaching them right from wrong. Maintain a schedule for screen time and lead by example. Reduce your own screen time so that the child learns through imitation.
3. Create opportunities for outdoor play
Children today have fewer opportunities to play in the park, ride a bicycle or mingle with friends. That’s why they have grown increasingly comfortable with video games. This leads to an increased risk of paediatric obesity and heart disease. To avoid this, you must encourage children to go outdoors and participate in activities that require them to run, jump and hop. A safe play area is what your child needs.
4. Gift a reading habit
When you take away the screen that your child is addicted to, you must replace it with something equally effective. On this birthday, gift your child an engaging storybook instead of a video game. Inculcating the reading habit at a very young age ensures that the child grows up healthy and becomes a well-rounded individual. Choose books according to the age of your child. Younger kids are more likely to enjoy books with more illustrations. Fairy tales, fantasy stories, stories from epics etc are some genres suitable for young kids.
5. Build on a hobby
Children can be easily diverted from prolonged screen time if they are kept busy with a hobby. The only thing you must keep in mind is to find an activity that is healthy and engaging at the same time. Be it playing a musical instrument or a sport, identify your child’s interest and encourage them to practice to achieve perfection. Such activities contribute positively to your child’s physical and mental well-being.
You could use these five ways individually or in combination to effectively reduce your child’s screen time. This way, parents can ensure that technology does not rob the child of their health and childhood. Let’s make every child a conscious technology user.