We all know that too much TV is bad for us, but that's not all we need to be concerned about these days; limiting computer games and smartphone usage should also be top of our agenda for the New Year.
In fact, according to Early Childhood Ireland, too much screen time can be associated with developmental problems, sleep deprivation, obesity, stress and even aggression, none of which we want for our kids. It's also sad to see computer games and smartphones taking over from traditional play.
This Christmas, make the extra special effort to reduce your child’s and your own screen time, with these following tips :
No screen time in their bedroom
Ban TV, smartphones and computer games from your child’s bedroom. Not only for their safety, but also so you can monitor their usage.
Have ground rules from the start
If you are planning on giving them a phone or a computer game this year, make sure you have ground rules set from the very start so that there is no confusion.
Avoid getting young kids phones/computer games
Consider not introducing your kids, especially those under the age of three, to computer games or smartphones at all until they are old enough for you to be able to limit their consumption.
Buy play toys
Buy play toys that stimulate your child’s brain and imagination: books, Lego, jigsaws, arts & crafts, dolls, musical instruments, board games, bubbles and dress up outfits.
Limit your own consumption
Kids look to you to see how to behave and if you are constantly on your phone or watching TV, then they are going to think that it is ok.
While you don’t need to throw out the TV or hide your phone just yet, Early Childhood Ireland does recommend very little or no screen time at all for children under three years old and no more than two hours a day for kids aged between three and six.
Whether it’s due to busy lives or simply the ease of switching on the TV or laptop, kids have way too much screen time, and it’s important we as parents moderate our child’s usage, and encourage them to go outside to play.