Finally the World Health Organisation has released guidelines on screen time for children.
One and under = 0 hours
Over one = 1 hour a day
The previous research is dated, allowing parents or experts to disagree with the recommendations as, ‘not with the times’. However, WHO’s recently released guidelines are remarkably similar, stating children under 1 should have ZERO screen time, with older children, (outside of school
hours) having one hour a day.
Are your kids meeting these guidelines?
Here are my top 5 tips to get kids off the screen:
1) When they ask for the screen, don’t outright say, ‘no’. Instead suggest they get out some colouring activities or set up a car track, build a cubby, etc. This simple deterrent can often be enough for children to re-engage in active/constructive play, we simply normally agree to the screen first up.
2) Sit with your child and write a list together, of activities they love doing that don’t involve a screen. This could be building LEGO , making up dances, playing with a family pet. The key here is that the child is involved in the process. Now decorate the list and give it pride of place – on the fridge, bedroom door, somewhere it’s easily visible and easily referred too.
3) Introduce a house policy, no screen time on weekdays. Lots feel this is an impossible to task to introduce, but trust me I’ve had many parents relate back to me with stories of amazement, less fighting, less arguing, easier bedtime routine. Many of these challenging behaviours are exasperated by screen time. This in-house policy is made easier when used with the above steps.
4) Parents put down the screens. Monkey see, monkey do. Your social media time can wait until the kids are in bed. And you’ll soon notice an improvement in your moods, sleep and interactions with your kids too! Less screen time has a positive effect on the whole family, not just the kids.
5) Get outdoors. Being, ‘too busy’ is not an acceptable excuse every time. Yes we need to prepare meals, get household chores done. But setting aside 15 minutes for a quick around the block bike ride, or half an hour at the park after school, is a wonderfully healthy lifestyle change to make to your family life. Like point 4, you will all benefit from this one and fresh air is good for everyone’s well-being.
So please, change your opinion from putting ‘reducing screen time’ in the too hard basket and apply some small, simple steps to help your family lead a healthier, more engaged life.
I’d love to hear your ideas and experiences in your household 😃