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  • Junior Oliveira

Time to head back to school - how to cut back on your children’s screen time

Updated: Aug 22, 2019

I hope you are having a wondrous summer holiday with your family. Time flies!!! "Why, God, does everything have to end?" Hold on to the final weeks of this sunny season with good feelings and positive vibes; In any case, we have to bear in mind that very soon children in many parts of the world will be preparing to go back to school, after one of the most enjoyable time of the year.


Turning to the matter in hand, the school break for many families with children, means more time to spend using digital devices, as the little ones have more unstructured hours to fill, some parents adopt some kind of “permissive parenting style” and allow their kids spend a significant part of their days using tablets, phones and other digital gadgets more than usual.


However, it’s almost time to head back to the school routine, and for kids, that’s always going to be something of an unpleasant adjustment. Thus, I have decided to write this post with some tips provided by Dr Deborah Lan (Psychologist and Kids and Screens collaborator); and hopefully it might be useful, as some parents struggle to cut back on their children’s screen as the new school year is just around the corner.


See 4 ways to cut back on your children’s screen time ahead of the new school year:


We know that going back-to-school is an exciting and challenging time for children, as they can make new friends, meet new teachers, and get back to a routine with a more structured lifestyle. Also, that means children will be coming home with homework and assignments; for this reason an adult intervention is essential, and when you set limits with children they can start learning how to self-regulate and know when screen time is interfering too much with the rest of their lives. And for sure it helps children become responsible digital users.


1) Help Your Child Get Motivated in School - it is an important period of life that requires discipline and work and children need to learn to buy into the value of doing well. Talk about their expectations regarding the future challenges and other exciting things related to the school environment: sports team, music classes and etc. Another interesting point is that today's schools are changing the incorporation of digital technologies into the classroom, and the students can develop essential skills for the 21st century. In general lines, a new school year does not mean "no screen time".


2) Creating Screen-time Rules Together: Treat others as you would like to be treated, talk to your child on when you think it is appropriate and inappropriate to use screens. Agree times when screens are allowed and not allowed at home. For example, meals time, homework time and bedtime. Why not to create a Your Family Media Plan? But engage with them, screen time shouldn't always be alone time.


3) Encourage Other Activities - think of some enjoyable offline activities, such as sports or reading books; but please set an example, practice what you preach, how can we expect our kids to follow the rules if we are not doing the same? Try to spend some quality time with your child, and there are lots of offline activities that you can do together. I really enjoy bake with my son and we love to do some craft together as well.


4) Custom Rules for Each Child - Every child is different, and as such, different rules may be more effective; some kids may need more guidance as to what kind of content is appropriate, while others may just need more limitations as to how much screen time is okay. Dr Lan explains that as with other areas of parenting, what works for one kid will not necessarily work for another, depending on their personal characteristics. Whether those differences come in age or in maturity, parents should take the time to carefully consider what will work for each of their children.


I hope you found this post useful and informative. As we all know by now, digital technology and the internet are a double-edged sword for everyone, and they are an integral part of our world today, and definitely we have to bear in mind that the benefits of the technology, if used moderately and appropriately, can be very effective for our children.

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