Motherhood Survival Tips - Top 10 Tips to minimize your Child’s Screen Time this Spring and Summer

I woke up this morning in disbelieve that we are already into the third month of the year. The weather is finally turning and the thoughts of strolling through the park, the beginning of the festival season, and trips to Smith Mountain Lake are on the horizon. We know how difficult it can be to transition from the winter months where you and the kids have been locked up in the house. In some cases, using WAAAY too much of TVs, iPhones, iPads, video games, etc.




DISCLOSURE: This information is not meant to be ALL encompassing and should NOT replace seeking advice from your health care provider for specific, questions, solutions, and concerns about your health! The purpose is to spark curiosity and gain some insight into your health. Recently, the American Association of Pediatricians changed their screen-time recommendations as they recognize that many children today use electronics to communicate and socialize. They now recommend limited “productive screen use.”


FUN FACTS


DID YOU KNOW


  • Kids < 6 years old watch an average of 2 hours of screen media a day.

  • Kids from 8-18 years old spend nearly 4-6 hours a day in front of the TV and an additional 2 hours on the computer! (WHEN DO THEY FIND THE TIME WITH SCHOOL.)

  • Recent studies show 8-18 years old spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes on all media forms throughout the day.

  • Notions of a link between increased screen time and increase the risk of childhood obesity.

  • Linked to increasing their risk of engaging in “risky behavior.”

  • Increased screen time has been linked to more aggressive behavior. Children act out what they see and it's important to mediate what their daily exposures are.


TIPS


  1. SET an EXAMPLE (guilty as charged)- I know its hard Mamas but I am guilty of this one as well. Studies show that children tend to gravitate to modeling early behavior exposures from parents. Studies have shown that children who are around parents that read, tend to read more. Children whos parents are active in outdoor activities tend to enjoy outdoor activities themselves.

  2. Face to Face communication- Instead of watching your children spend hours communicating with their friends via snap chat, texts, Instagram, Facebook, ticktock, encourage meetups or face to face “hangouts” with their friends

  3. Media Free Zone “UNPLUG your family”- Creates spaces/times in the home when its okay to use the phone and when it's NOT okay. For example, meal prep (when kids can be helping you), and mealtime is a technology-free zone. Studies show that children who do not use “screens” during mealtimes have better eating habits, are overall healthier, and value quality time with family. 64% of families report having the tv on while eating together. YIKES!!!

  4. Car Rides- this is a screen-time trap for mothers who are exhausted after a long day and often pick up their children who are dying to use their cellphones. Make the ride home a Media Free Zone. Ask your children about their day, talk about upcoming events in the week. Here are some road trip activities you can play with your children. https://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2018/06/road-trip-games/

  5. Encourage Activities- With the warmer weather approaching have an arsenal of indoor-outdoor games and activities prepared when your children want to be stuck to their screen. Encourage swimming, park trips, cooking, making something from scratch, camps etc. If you are like me, you don’t have time to be creative. I try and plan ahead and spend some SERIOUS PINTREST TIME printing out and creating activities for us to do during our family time. Rainy Days?? No problem, see the link below for local activities. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g58134-Activities-zft11295-Roanoke_Virginia.html

  6. Earn their Screen Time, Make it a privilege- if you have children that are old enough to understand chores and responsibility a good way to encourage healthy screen time is to have kids earn their screen time. Start them off with NO screen time for the day and give them back PRODUCTIVE screen time based on chores, good deeds, volunteering etc.

  7. Be the Parents- This is always the hard one if you have teenagers and you are already struggling with communicating. At the end of the day, it's your job to encourage healthy behavior and limit unhealthy ones. I HATED even writing that because I know how hard it can be some times BUT this is a big one. It's important to not only set limits but to explain WHY you are doing so especially when it comes to limiting screen time.

  8. Limited View Times- “homework first”, “after dinner,” “after all your chores are done,” “after you play outside,” “not on the weekends when it's sunny and gorgeous outside.” All of these can be phrases you can use to limit your child’s screen time. Set designated time for your kids to watch tv or a movie. For example “Family movie night” once a week.

  9. Play with Your Kids- This may seem obvious but physical activity with your kids is a dying pastime. Pick up a ball, truck, board game. This for me takes unconditional LOVE. When your mom “to-do list” is piling up the last thing you want to do is play a board game that usually winds up in the kid crying win or loose but when your kids are teenagers you will be glad that you took the time to play with them one on one.

  10. Be Involved- Observe, listen, ask, about your children. If you see an increase in texts or screen time there may be something going on in your child’s life that you don’t know about. I am sure you all remember how dramatic grade school can be…the thought makes me cringe!!! Engage your children, find out why before you limit their connections with their friends.

BONUS:

  • Educate yourself on electronics- Today's kids are tech-savvy and if you are like me you struggle to keep up with the latest “TickTock Craze.” You cannot teach your children about the dangers of social media if you don’t understand the dangers and risks. It's important to teach kids and for parents to understand online predators. Use parental controls. CLICK BELOW for safety tips

https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/internetsafetyforkids/staying-safe-from-online-predators/1/


SAVE THE DATE!


This month Huddle Up Moms is hosting a local event called: Moms March Madness: Parent's Survival Guide. There will be local vendors and resources to further help you in relation to kid activities, education, and more! This event is FREE, but we do ask you to register by clicking on the image below.



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