I am a bit conflicted with screen time tbh. Anyone else?
We obviously want our children exposed to technology as it's the way things in the world work, BUT, we also want to instil the fact that family time and face to face conversations, playing outside, and kind physical gestures like hugs and touch are all more valued than screen time.
I think it's fair to say that as screen time increases, physical interaction and activity decreases. I'm no expert but what I can say is physical interaction and activities as opposed to extended screen time is such a critical part of healthy human development. We have seen and heard time and time again the down sides to extended screen time. Things like poor sleep patterns, physical strain on the eyes, negative effect on body posture, the risk of obesity, poor social skills and of course limited time for play.
While we want our kids exposed, the priority is to protect them from a digital world that is an undoubted influencer with no filters!!! In order for rules to work we need to stick to them. Kids cannot manipulate mum or dad because mum and dad are on the same page 🙌🏾.
We make every effort to keep screen time boundaries and while we don't win all the time, we make sure it's the exception and not the rule!
We found it helpful to encourage the kids to do different things instead of sitting behind a screen. Involve them in things like cooking, baking, building something, gardening, art, maybe paint a piece of old furniture etc, all these things serve as a distraction.
When kids do have a device ensure that the appropriate parental and search restrictions are in place.
I'm also aware that this kind of vibe isn't for everyone and what's right for me, may not be right for you.
Anyhoo, around our home ...
Screen time is earned.
Screen time is limited.
No ownership of devices for as long as we can possibly hold out.
Each child requires different rules so do what's best for your kids but be sure to weigh up the pros and cons before you set those rules because once you set them, it's go time and consistency is key!
In case you were unsure, here are some guidelines around screen time that are more or less the accepted times.
Kids under 2 should have little to no screen time if possible.
Kids 3 to 5 should have no more than 1 hour.
Kids 6 to 10, up to 1.5 hours.
Kids 11 to 13 no more than 2 hours.