As parents, we know that screen time for kids can be a good thing for all of us. Children can learn important things through educational programs, such as nature shows, or interactive shows like Sesame Street. It can serve as entertainment for them and hold their attention while you do some loads of laundry, for example.
Although it can be a good distraction for kids, we want to avoid giving the electronics to them every occasion they ask for it. It can become addicting for them if they are consumed with social media or certain games. They may not want to do anything else but sit with the iPad all day or make TikTok videos.
You have probably been in the position where after a long day, your kid has remained stubborn. They don’t want to do this, they only want to do what they want to do, and it’s their way or the highway. Now, you are out to dinner with family, and don’t want to cause a scene. So rather than argue with them, you give them the iPad so that they will be satisfied, and you can relax.
You recognize that although it can be a good alternative occasionally, you don’t want to be handing over electronics at every instance. You want them to get interested in reading, drawing, writing, or playing in nature with dirt and leaves. Rather than be curled up with their iPad, you want them to interact with the world around them.
Kids can often use electronics as a way to disconnect from the world around them. This can be good as it allows them freetime to do what they enjoy. However, when it becomes imbalanced and they use it to shut the world out to avoid difficult feelings or conversations, it’s a sign that there needs to be a limit on screen time.
Child therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, helps your child work past inner frustrations and behavioral issues.
3 Tips for Limiting Screen Time with Kids: Try to understand what they like about electronics.
When we take away electronics, we can be viewed as the villain. Our kids might think we are taking their electronics away to be mean to them and make them feel bad. Rather than immediately take it away or try to explain why you’re taking it away, consider listening to them first.
Kids can use electronics to express themselves, connect with others, and generally have fun in their downtime. This is a good time and allows for them to find communities in video gamers or on social media.
Try to understand what they like about their electronics! Show interest in the games they play, activities they enjoy, and what they have fun doing. Show that you care about them and their interests.
Ask questions about any characters, games, or how to utilize their electronic. Understand how using electronics makes them feel, whether they feel happy, excited, or take pride in their skills!
However, kids can also use electronics in an unhealthy way. Maybe they are relying too heavily on the feedback they receive from social media, like TikTok. It could be that rather than doing their homework, they procrastinate and distract themselves with their electronics.
When they want to avoid uncomfortable feelings or tasks, they may distract themselves with electronics. This is not healthy for them, and may subconsciously teach them to continue to distract themselves or avoid whatever is coming up for them.
As they grow up, in the future, they are more likely to withdraw to electronics and will lack the tools or confidence needed to take on difficult tasks or feelings.
You know your child has the strength and ability to take on difficult situations rather than avoid it, and you want them to know that.
Child therapy in Simi Valley, Ca, can address everyone’s concerns as a whole regarding electronics use.
3 Tips for Limiting Screen Time with Kids: Set boundaries for no-electronics time/zone throughout the day
Although you cannot control every aspect of your child’s life, you can set boundaries for when they can and when they cannot use electronics. They may be resistant to having you take it away for a period of time and not respond well to that. Consider setting a rule for no electronics at the table or no electronics from 12pm-3pm, for example.
Perhaps you could say that at meal times at the table together, there is no cell phone usage allowed. This is to ensure that all family members are connecting and sharing their day with each other. You all love and care about each other, and want to make sure that you spend quality time together while you still can.
Model what you want to see from your kids as well! Make sure you are also following the boundaries you set for them. If they see you breaking the boundary to be on your phone, they may not want to take it as seriously. You could even create some sort of basket together designated to hold phones/electronics. With the basket of electronics, put it somewhere safe and inaccessible to them until no-electronics time is over. This way, if they get upset, they won’t be able to get up and take their electronics back. At the end of the no-electronics time, give them back their devices or put them back in the common area.
Make it a good thing that there are no electronics at the table, not a punishment. Praise them in the beginning for doing a great job following the boundaries. Tell them how important it is to you to talk with them and get to know what’s going on for them in class, with friends, or life in general.
You could also consider shared screen time with your kid! Sit there with them as you go through Youtube videos, games, or tablet activities. Show interest in what they like and play along with them as well.
3 Tips for Limiting Screen Time with Kids: Introduce it early on
The younger your kids are when you start limiting screen time, the better! The early interventions will help along the way as they grow older. It can be relatively easy to set limits with children and have them understand the good in boundaries. They may be more receptive to understanding when explained in a positive way.
You can also delay from providing them with devices at early ages as well. This way, they won’t get used to using electronics and won’t really be missing out on much. You can hold off giving them any sorts of phones or gaming devices until you believe they are ready for that.
When you introduce it early on, you can also monitor the types of apps or games they are utilizing. This makes it easier to determine if it’s appropriate for them and that they are safe. For example, if they are secretly using chat rooms, that could be extremely dangerous. So, you want to make sure you are actively understanding just what they are using their electronics for.
In the end, it’s always a great idea to consider family counseling or child therapy for these issues. It could be that your child is defensive or more reactive when you want to take electronics away from them. Even though you’re doing the best you can while remaining positive and patient, they still seem to explode in frustration!
Child psychologists can help determine exactly why a child may react this way when limiting screen time. They can work with your child to help them learn new ways to manage frustration or anger. They can also help your child cope with limiting their screen time if they are having a hard time with that. Finally, child psychologists have the ability to address family concerns as a whole, and support you in working together to get through difficult times.
Consider contacting us today to get your child started in therapy! Simi Psychological Group is very family oriented and wants to ensure we are including all family members in the process. We are dedicated to ensuring that all families are included, supported and feel heard and understood.