Is your kids’ screen time out of control? When we had our firstborn, we were completely against letting our son watch TV. It wasn’t until we discovered Baby First TV that our perspective on screen time began to change.
There were a number of lessons we learned from Baby First TV on controlling a child’s screen time. Although some have changed throughout the years, there is one that stood out: being proactive while watching something with your child.
Growing up, we didn’t have anyone to sit and tell us about the things we saw in the media. As parents, we do our best to explain to our children the importance of communication. Also, we teach our children to ask questions when they don’t understand what’s going on.
How Media Affects Children’s Development
One of the many reasons parents want to control their children’s media consumption is because of their fear of what it’ll do to their development.
Remember, your child is like a sponge. Whatever they see, they will absorb and mimic in their own behavior.
As exciting as it might be for other parents to hear you say your child watches educational TV, there’s more to this statement.
The content your child is exposed to matters. Also, going back to being proactive, you want to focus on the essentials of good content.
What Kids Screen Time Isn’t
In 2018, we had the chance to interview Angela Santomero when she released her book, Preschool Clues (use our Amazon affiliate link if you’d like to snag it). In it, she describes the value in good content: Education, Interaction, and Engagement.
Our children learn through play and re-enact what they see in the media. This is why it’s important for us to sit with them and enjoy the show together — as a family.
When you offer your child a mobile device or tune into a program on TV, screen time isn’t a baby sitter for your child. It’s a time for your little one to explore something new.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of using media to catch a break from the kids. We’ve done this before, and it wasn’t until we sat down and talked about it that we decided to make some changes.
We shared insights on what bedtime used to be for us and tips on how to perfect your bedtime routine here.
Key Ways To Limits Kids Screen Time
Understanding how the use of media at a young age can rewarding. It’s our job as parents to teach our children the value in the information that surrounds them.
Here are 3 ways you can limit media use and focus on ways to get the most out of family time:
1. Set up a screen time schedule.
It’s easy to get caught up in everyday life. As working parents, it’s important to make the most out of the time we have with our children. We learned a trick from a fellow blogger and friend to not allow the kids to have any screens before noon. One thing we added was that if they take out a book — workbook or reading book — and complete the activity, we let them watch 30-minutes of their favorite show.
It’s always interesting to see the kids run to grab a book when we remind them about our rule.
2. Repeat TV programs that everyone enjoys.
There’s value in repeatedly watching shows together as a family. Not only does this help with your child’s self-esteem, but it also teaches them something they didn’t see before.
This exact thing happens when you watch a movie for the second or third time. It’s never quite like the first time you watched the film. You will always notice things the second or third time around. Your child is wired to think the same way.
3. Ask questions after the episode or movie ends.
By asking questions, you’re making kids screen time more interactive. A lot of the complaints with screen time use in children is that the screen doesn’t interact with them.
Although there are games today, such as educational screen toys , there is nothing more rewarding than the sound of a parent/guardian and child interacting.