During the colder months, it can be hard to have fun activities planned for you and your family. This can lead to some increased screen time for both you and your children. Here are some tips on how to structure media time for the family.
A good rule of thumb, if you are starting to look at building a screen time/media plan for your family is to keep screens out of your children’s bedrooms. Media curfews are a good rule of thumb to prevent children from looking at screens before bed time. Exposure to blue light from screens an hour before bedtime can cause a delay or disrupt sleep which can have cascading effects on behavior, school performance, and health.
Give your screens/technology a bedtime too! Send them to sleep at their charging stations and to nap at meal times. This will help teach your children to take care of their technology and keep them from bringing it with them to bed.
If you want to have your child watch shows and movies, but you are worried about them being educational and reflective of your parenting values be sure to watch the content before your child does.
Another great way to spend time with your child and to pass along your childhood favorite characters is to co-view shows and movies. Watching actively with your child allows you to answer questions, discuss hard topics that might be presented, encourage participation with some of the educational shows and movies, and to turn something that might be an isolating activity into family time.
In this day and age it is hard to keep things about you or your family off the internet. As adults we can choose what we put online, and we mostly understand the choices we are making. For your children this can be a difficult idea to understand. Before allowing your child alone time with technology that has things like comment sections, file/photo upload capability, in-game/app purchases, or chat features be sure to explain to them that what they put online stays online forever, and that the money they want to spend online is real currency.
Talk to your children about being good examples and “digital citizens.” Explaining to young children that the golden rule of treating others as we would like to be treated, applies online will help them navigate a world full of cyberbullying and comment sections.
Navigating screen time, the internet, and modern shows and movies can be difficult and it is certainly something that will be unique to every family. If you have any questions or concerns about the effect of technology on children, or are worried about cyberbullying and mental health for your child, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 540-349-3225.