Top Tips: Reducing Screen Time for Children

August 5, 2013 Published by

The damaging consequences of too much screen time for children include:

  • delayed language and cognitive development
  • poor concentration on other activities.
  • children could become obese and lead an unhealthy lifestyle as when in front of a screen kids tend to snack as it is  an inactive activity
  • impaired social development, as screen time prevents social interaction as it is an isolated activity.

” A recent study has shown that children who watch more than 5 hours of TV per day are more likely to smoke or drink than those who watch the recommended 2 hours per day.”

Some screen time is fine and banning it completely can have negative repercussions. The best approach to help children develop healthy attitudes to screens and activity levels is to moderate it and ensure they have plenty of other alternatives to occupy themselves.

Here are some tips for helping reduce the negative impact of screen time

  • Watch programmes together so you can talk to children about the content and any issues the programme touched upon.
  • Treat screen time as a privilege in the same way that you’d treat ice cream or sweets -don’t let children just gorge on it and balance it with healthier activities.
  • Preview programmes before your child to ensure the content is suitable.
  • Plan with your kids TV/computer time and adhere to it

And when you really need to get them to turn it off….

  • Read stories and books and act them out.
  • Ensure the children have access to non-screen entertainment such as books, music, board games, jigsaws and crafts.
  • Encourage outdoor play- Fisbee, skipping, football, treasure hunts, den building, scavenger hunts.
  • Get your child to help out in the kitchen, plan menus together, allow them to help with food prep.
  • Get your child to help out with household chores, get them to fold clothes, pair socks, dust their rooms and turn it into a game.
  • Take TV’s or screen out of the bedroom. Bedrooms should be associated with peaceful connotations and sleep not a gaming environment.
  •  Outings- plan trips to museums, parks, zoos, family bike rides or walks
  • Set a good example- practice what you preach. If you sit in front of a screen 24 hours then so will your kids.

Good luck!

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This post was written by Dr Amanda Gummer

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