We just talked about oxygen and how important it is for the growth, healing and development of your child.
Now let’s talk about seven simple ways to limit or eliminate screen time so you can help your child become more active with effective and consistent results.
Because if you’re like us, you’ve noticed that children are easily captivated by screens – which is dangerous to their well being.
By following these simple techniques, you can help your child’s brain get the oxygen and information that will help them best learn and grow and prepare for their futures.
Notice all of these are working in the space of letting your child know what they CAN do rather than focusing on the CAN’T.
- Establish a checklist of what needs to be done each day to get screen time. For example, get dressed, make your bed, brush your teeth, brush your hair, have breakfast, 20 minutes of reading time, 20 minutes of writing, coloring or drawing, 30 minutes playing outside, creation time of building or making something (legos, blocks, helping in the kitchen), chore, etc. You may want to type your checklist up with a little box in front of each item so you can print it off and your child can check off each item on the list each day as they do them. Or you could print your checklist on cardstock, laminate it and use a washable marker.
- Set a timer for screen time. 20 minutes tops. Set and stick to the rule that they must be in a central part of the house near you. And you keep track what they are participating in online.
- Plan your day the day before so you can be ready with other activities to do and/or places to go so you won’t be caught off guard and give in out of desperation. Many moms have noticed a great difference on how their child’s day goes by taking a few minutes the day before to plan a list of activities they can use as a go to. You may want to take into account the week’s weather forecast, your child’s interest (like a particular animal in the zoo or an artist that may have an exhibit at a museum in town, or a play date at a park with friends, etc)
- Create an obstacle course outside or inside. You could use materials such as…hula hoops, swing set, blanket, tunnels, orange cones, you could incorporate a park, a slip n slide, splash pool, and hacky sack. Anything you’d like. Depending on the age of your children, you could use a timer to see how quickly they can get thru it or just enjoy the fun of making it through each obstacle. Join them! (And be ready for lots of laughs!)
- Painter’s Tape activity outside or inside…this can be done any number of ways. You can make 6-10 strips about a foot long and tape them on the ground about a foot apart (looks kinda like a ladder on the ground, if that makes sense). Then have your child do different activities like: jump from line to line, lay down and see how far they can reach, jump on one foot from line to line, bear crawl (just hands and feet touching the ground) over each line, etc. As the children master the activity, move the tape farther apart and add a little more complicated actions. Outside, you can even use sidewalk chalk instead of tape.
- Activities for focus and attention. The longer we human’s sit, the more our attention ability fades. When your child is sitting, no matter what they’re doing, if it’s screen time or school work, they need to change their position and get up and move every 20-30 minutes to optimize their focus ability. (This will feed their vestibular system which is what gives the brain sensory info) Set a timer for 20-30 minutes. When the timer goes off it’s time for a few minutes of something different like…Stand up and stretch. Dance break. Guided stretch. Hide and seek. Jumping jacks. Spin in a circle. Crab walk or giant steps to the kitchen for a drink. Lay on their stomachs on an exercise ball. Toss a ball from hand to hand counting to 10. Log roll across the floor and back. Choose something that is movement of as many muscles as you can and for bonus points choose something that will use both their right and left side.
- Give Technology tickets.
Here’s how one mom used technology tickets:
“While reading the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown …, there was a nugget of wisdom that rocked my world. The author suggested handing out a limited number of ‘Technology Tickets’ at the beginning of the week and letting the kids turn one in when they wanted screen time. They could also earn additional tickets by reading for 30 minutes. At the end of the week, they could turn in unused tickets for .50 each. We gave it a shot, and just like the author promised, IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM.”
Technology tickets have two time limits on them, one is for 15 minutes and the other is for 30 minutes. Decide how much screen time you want your child to have in the week and give that many tickets. Does that make sense?
You’ll notice each of these 7 items on this list, can be used according to the age of your child and they can grow with your child.
What’s more, you can combine them.
For example, a daily checklist combined with a technology ticket and planning the day before. Any combination and as many as you’d like. If you’re a beginner at this, start with one and build others in as you’d like to.
Take notice of:
- the quality and ability of communication with your child,
- your relationship,
- their energy,
- their focus ability, and especially
- the memories you’re making together and the overall attitude in your home as your week progresses and you begin to use some of these simple strategies.
Keep in mind, it’s likely it will take a few days of persistent patience on your part to help your child change their screen time habits. Be as consistent as possible and just keep at it.
It’s amazing what 10 minutes of uninterrupted time with your child will do for your relationship.
Always remember, our children follow the example they see.
As the song says…”I hope you always lead from the beating in your chest.”
Come in today and help your child gain healing and peace.
Next week we’ll talk about how to make sure the oxygen gets to our children’s cells to deliver the nutrients and take away the wastes.