Spending time on screens is part of modern life. But as a parent, it can be worrying to see your kids spend so much time in front of a tablet or wanting to play video games. Kids tend to spend a lot of time interacting with this virtual world, rather than getting outside for plenty of fresh air and exercise, or spending time with their family and peers. That can lead to problems later on in life.
However, if you set healthy guidelines right now, your kids are much more likely to develop a beneficial relationship with screens they need/want to use in the future. Let’s go through some good boundaries below.
Have a Hard Time Limit
A hard time limit means no ands, ifs, or buts. Once the time is up, your child has to put the screen down and find something else to do. Setting up a boundary like this keeps screen time as a treat to indulge in from time to time, and stops it from becoming a norm in your household. Yes, the kids might rant and rave about it, but it’ll ensure they can build life skills and have plenty of other hobbies to have fun with while devices are turned off and put away.
Play Games Together
Playing games with your child can help them to associate screens with family fun and bonding. And yes, while you may feel you’re not quite up to using a controller or working out the keyboard bindings in your child’s favourite video game, giving it a go will always be worth it! It’ll prove you’re interested in the same things, which encourages them to always share details about their hobby with you.
So, if they love Minecraft, look through this minecraft SMP server list and find one to play in together. Or if they’re a fan of Roblox, create your own character and try out a few games together! If you’re there with them, you can monitor what’s going on.
Change the Rules as They Grow
Kids are going to need different screen time rules as they get older. As they become teenagers and move into high school, they’re going to make friends who live with more lax rules, and they’re definitely going to want a few social media profiles! So the rules will need to change.
This can be a hard transition for you as parent, but sitting down with your child to set these new boundaries together will help to prevent tears on either side. For example, yes they can talk to their friends through Snapchat or Instagram, but they can’t accept friend requests from anyone they don’t know. You can also lay the law about posting pictures/videos. In the end they’ll see they’re allowed some kind of control, but you have the final say until they’re an adult.
A healthy relationship with screens isn’t impossible; promote privacy and online safety alongside all the fun they think they could have.