Screen time is the thing on a lot of parents’ minds. We want our kids to enjoy television and tablets. We want them to have the necessary technological skills that are practically expected of them. And yet, we don’t want kids to become too hooked. We don’t want to use screen time as a crutch for our own time, and we also don’t want our children to forget the world around them.
There’s a fine balance between not just having too much screen time, but relying on screens for the wrong reasons. When screens become too much of an escape, an emotional crutch, or an automatic response to boredom, it’s time for us to cut back. We all should cut back, but in this blog, our private preschool is focusing on making sure kids use screens less. Find out more from EVCS, and schedule a preschool tour with us before the next academic year!
If you tell your child “no more screens, and that’s final!” you should be ready for some (deserved) backlash. Kids, especially younger kids, will not understand the importance of looking away from screens in the scope of their overall growth. Older kids will think this is entirely unfair and confusing.
Figure out how many hours a day your child is looking at screens, then scale it back by a reasonable margin. If they’re staring at screens for three hours a day, cut it back by a half hour to start, then maybe by 15 minutes a little ways down the road, then another 15 minutes from there. This gradual release will be easier to manage — for you and your child.
Anytime rules are made without explanation, they don’t tend to go over well. Your child will likely not be as compliant if they feel like there’s no reason for this new rule. Have open dialogue with your child about screen time and how it can affect their physical and emotional health. Additionally, you should absolutely feel free to share about your own struggles with screen time, and why you want to cut back. Including your child on the conversation is a great way to connect and to implement changes without as much resistance.
Have Alternatives Ready
Whether you write ideas on popsicle sticks and your child picks out one at random when they’re feeling bored, or you create a fun poster together, having a list of alternatives ready to go is necessary for cutting back on screen time. You could even make a spinning wheel while you’re at it! Having a list (and adding to it) is an essential way for your child to have something fun and productive to look forward to.
Follow Your Own Rules
If you’re setting these changes in place, telling your child that screen time is bad, but then using your phone or laptop just as much as before, you’re not setting a good example. That certainly won’t encourage your young one to use screen time less, especially at the ages where fairness is everything.
Use this time to think about how you can also cut back on your screen time, and go through the struggle with your child! It will be something for you to both connect over.
At East Valley Christian School, we do everything we can to support families, and not solely by providing an exceptional private preschool program to the San Jose community. We know how important these early years are for overall development, and cutting back on screen time can make a huge difference. Find out more about our admissions timeline, and contact our school to set up a tour today!