Screen Time: 5 Steps to Set a Good Example for Your Kids

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Many parents worry that their children spend too much time in front of screens- computer screens, TV screens, smartphone screens, etc. Meanwhile, these same parents reach for their smartphone as soon as they wake up, spend all day in front of a computer at work, and watch an hour of TV before going to bed. In families, good screen habits begin at the top. If you want your kids to learn to limit screen time, you need to learn to limit your own. Here are five steps you can take to limit screen time and set a good example for your kids.

  • Family game night. Pick one night a week when everyone in your family engages in a screen-free activity together. Tabletop board games are a fun activity that encourages and rewards direct interaction with each other.
  • Screen free zones. Set up areas of your home with no screens. Kitchens and bedrooms work, but if you’re really daring, take your TV out of your living room to create a space that is specifically for being together as a family.
  • Set screen times (for yourself.) Pick specific times of the day you can use a screen, whether it’s a TV or a smartphone. For instance, restrict yourself to using a screen only during working hours- 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Get a real alarm clock. Many people reach for a smartphone as soon as they wake up, because their smartphone is also their alarm clock. To break this habit, go buy a traditional alarm clock and go back to using your phone as a phone.
  • Sit down for meals and make everyone put their phones away. This one can be tricky in a home where everyone is on their own busy schedules. As often as possible, sit down for meals together. When you sit down together, have everyone place their phones and other gadgets in an adjacent room where you can’t hear the buzz or ring. This will create a screen-free time and place all at once.

Learn more about why it’s a good idea to limit screen time for children under two years old.

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