Screen Time Habits to Teach Your Kids at Any Age
These days it’s not uncommon to see or hear about kids adopting the use of mobile devices starting at an early age. Many times, they are used as educational tools, for entertainment, and to stay connected. While some screen time is almost a necessity for modern kids, the last thing parents want is to instill unhealthy habits that might affect school performance, social skills, or even sleep patterns.
The good news is there are resources available that can help parents guide their kids toward healthy screen time habits. By using tools like Circle, parents are able to help manage screen time and online content. Even more, with the addition of conversation, teaching good screen time habits and modeling such behavior, you can work together to help instill the kind of behavior you would like to see.
Below are six principles that are key to shaping conversation about screen time with young children:
- Not all content is equal. While screen time is often looked at as “bad”, there are instances of screen time that are “good”. Think of video calls with grandparents or learning via educational apps. Letting kids know early on that technology can be used for good or bad gives context to the structure that parents place in the home.
- Relationships start offline. Staying connected online is very common and at times preferred, but it’s also important to stress to your kids about offline social time. While you are able to have healthy communication online, important conversations should be saved for face to face interactions. It’s also important to remember that this isn’t just true for kids, but for everyone!
- Bedtime is for sleeping, not browsing. When it’s time to wind down after a day of fun and learning, bedtime should be just that – bedtime. Device usage in bed can disrupt sleep time, which in turn can affect school performance, health and well-being.
- Screen time discussions happen often. Open family discussions about screen time, technology, internet, and social media are a good way to keep an open communication line with our kids. It gives you a chance to talk about what they’re doing online and to help answer any questions they may have about things they’ve seen or heard about.
- Dinner time is family time. Designate the dinner table as a “tech free zone”. Many times, this is where families are able to come together after a long day and spend quality time to connect. By keeping devices away, this will help ensure that family time stays family time.
- Put the screen away when you’re talking in person. When engaged in a conversation, we want to make sure we’re able to give our undivided attention. By not paying attention or looking elsewhere it may not only come off as rude, but also a missed relational opportunity.
Do you currently practice any of these six principles? Is there anything that you would add to this? Tell us in the comments below!