SCREEN TIME/DIGITAL DETOX
Now that the summer is over, we need to pull back on the screen time so kids are ready to focus on school work. Sobering fact: Kids ages 8-18 now spend, on average, a whopping 7.5 hours in front of a screen for entertainment each day, 4.5 of which are spent watching TV, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Here are some tips from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4life for a Digital Detox for families:
- Replace Screen Time with Activity:It’s hard to get kids off the couch and get them moving, especially if they think of physical activity as ‘exercise’ or ‘boring’. So, sometimes we need to get creative and make moving fun for kids. Check out these ideas for fun indoor and outdoor activities.
- Ban Hand-Held Devices from the Bedroom:The burst of light from a phone (even if it’s just to check the time) can break a sleep cycle. A regular alarm clock is best. Additionally, getting devices out of the bedroom means kids can’t text, call or play at all hours of the night.
- No Screens During Meals: Being distracted by phones, handheld devices and TV shows during mealtime can not only lead to overeating, but additional unneeded screen time. Use mealtime instead as an opportunity to connect with your family.
- Dial it Down:Reduce screen time by 30 minutes (or more, depending on your child’s level of obsession) each week until your reach your goal. (Rule of thumb: Try to limit recreational screen time to 60 minutes every day. For every 30 minutes of screen time, make sure your kids get 30 minutes of physical activity.)
- Be a Role Model: Parents, you are the role models in your home, so set a good example when it comes to screen time. Lead by example and encourage (but don’t shame) your kids to do the same.
To read full story on tips to get on an early morning sleep schedule and pull back on screen time go to http://www.myajc.com/news/lifestyles/parenting/how-to-get-your-kids-back-into-school-year-sleepin/ngqSq/
I always find the statistics on how much time children are in front of a screen hard to believe. Portable screens can be a powerful parenting crutch, and they can come in handy on trips, at restaurants, etc. And it’s easy to slack on enforcing rules during the summer. At the same time, isn’t OK for kids to be bored and restless and figure out how to deal with it, without wanting/needing a portable screen for entertainment? And maybe the same is true for adults, too.