Technology can be a fantastic gateway for your child to express their creativity, explore ideas and develop blossoming interests. However, while there are many benefits to living in such a technologically advanced age, with great advancement comes great responsibility!
When it comes to your child’s screen time, it can be beneficial to balance time spent on a device with other activities to ensure they’re developing numerous hobbies and interests and don’t heavily rely on time spent in front of a screen.
Aside from nurturing a wide variety of hobbies, how else can you reduce your child’s screen time in a fun, supportive way?
Lead By Example
Being mindful about how much time you spend in front of screens can prompt a shift in habits for the whole family.
Discourage having phones at the dinner table to put a focus on spending time together screen-free. You could also set a rule that phones or devices stay in a separate room during family events and quality time together; adults’ phones included!
Use Screen Time Apps
There are numerous apps available that will help you manage your child’s screen time. Some restrict screen use in fun ways, with one popular app giving phone users the time and space that they need to focus, all whilst watching a forest grow!
The longer you leave your phone to one side, the more trees will grow! ‘Forest’ is a fun app for kids of all ages and is great for promoting focus, too.
Do Screen-based Activities Together
Have you noticed your child really enjoying a certain game, podcast or programme? Engaging with what your child is doing on their screen can create common ground, and you could even suggest that you do the activity together.
Whether that’s dancing around the living room or practising a different language, screens can offer all sorts of enriching learning activities.
Creating a specific space in the house where everyone can use their devices for a certain amount of time is another encouraging way to be mindful of screen time.
Keep an Eye on the Time
Losing track of time when using an electronic device is easily done, so make sure you keep on top of how much time your child spends using devices.
You can set parental controls and limits on most devices these days, with specific apps to help cap screen usage. You could also ask your child to give their device to you after a certain time in the day.
Set a Bedtime Routine
Screens and sleep certainly don’t mix, so make sure your child knows the rules around bedtime.
The National Sleep Foundation suggests turning off screens at least half an hour before bedtime to get better sleep, but turning off screens even longer before this will help your child wind down and get ready for higher quality rest.
Ditch the screens and take to the great outdoors! We can sometimes forget how enriching the world on our doorstep can be when we have so much available at our fingertips. A simple walk in the fresh air is a great way to get away from all that technology for a while.
Gardening and learning about nature is another brilliant way to get kids outdoors and keep them engaged without the need to incorporate screens.
Head to the Library
Another way to encourage your child away from their screen is to show them other places to get information and engaging material.
Head down to the local library and explore their children’s section. Many libraries will set fun reading challenges or host events to add an extra layer of intrigue and keep your child reaching for their next book rather than their screen.
Review Video Platform Settings
Many video streaming platforms such as Netflix or YouTube automatically queue up the next programme in a series or recommend more videos to watch. This can lead to being less mindful when in front of screens.
Review the settings on these platforms to remove this feature and ensure you and your child have more say in what you watch next. It goes without saying that you may also want to set up parental controls and monitor the kinds of things your child watches and when.
Play Board Games
Your child may be familiar with various classic board games in virtual form, but how about bringing them to life and playing the real thing?
Games like Monopoly, snakes and ladders or dominoes are all easy games that provide endless hours of fun for all the family. Setting up a family leaderboard or having a weekly game night are good ways to keep your child’s interest going.
At St Peter’s Prep, we appreciate the benefits of technology but are always keen to encourage children to spend time away from screens. With 28 acres of woodland for our pupils to play in, as well as interactive classrooms where young minds can explore, we aim for our students to receive an inspiring, well-rounded education.
For more information on our educational prospects, including our opportunities as a flexi boarding school, please call Rachel Elliott, Director of Admissions & Marketing, on 01395 280335 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.