Parents around the world are struggling with this quarantine. Somehow, all parents are learning to deal with a different and very intense lifestyle that requires tons of in-house activities for the kids, distance learning, and remote work. This mix isn’t easy and for many of us, it can get really frustrating from time to time.
In this article, we are going to go over a subject that you’ve most likely talked about over and over with your kids during your lunchtimes, family dinners, and even a few times before their bedtime arrives. We are talking about screen time and how much of it should your kids have every day.
How much is considered to be too much screen time for kids? How can you limit screen time? What are the best parental control apps? These questions are a reason for debate in schools, families, and psychologists. But, at this point, we would like to turn this subject over and offer you a new perspective. Are you ready?
Is there such a thing as too much screen time for kids? What if your kids were using this time to develop fundamental skills for their near future? We invite you to take into consideration the good parts of screen time and the number of abilities your kids could strengthen while taking an online coding course, or even while playing either Minecraft or Fortnite.
Another fact we must take into consideration, is that our beloved descendants are interacting with devices that did not even exist when we were their age. Therefore, they have extremely valuable access to information and knowledge that we, their parents, couldn’t even dream of.
Of course, there is a recommended average screen time for kids, and there are numerous effects of too much screen time for kids. We are also fans of outdoor activities, and we don’t want to take away the feeling of enjoying a nice day in the woods, or a fantastic beach camping experience with the family.
The only thing we are saying is that screen time could be turned into something positive… Only if parents are actively involved in their kids’ lives, and if they pay lots of attention to the development of their abilities and to how are they strengthening their 21st-century skills.
But again, under the unusual circumstances we are experiencing, parents must moderate and control how much time their children spend in front of a screen, and how to limit screen time for their children. Parents should prepare fun activities for kids that do not require screens, but we’ll go over that in just a few paragraphs.
In this article, we are going to give you some insights and tips about screen time for kids. If there is anything else you would like to add to this blog post, just leave us a message in the comments section, and we’ll give it a thought. Pinky promise! Are you ready now?
How much screen time is good for kids?
There is no correct answer to this question. Experts around the world debate how much screen time can be considered ‘good’ for children of all ages, without coming to an agreement. Actually, most professionals agree that the ‘good’ or ‘bad’ screen time in children will depend on the usage of the screens.
That being said, there are some tips professionals give, that are easy to apply and implement in our homes. You can try to implement these new house rules starting today and see how your kids respond. If at the very beginning they don’t like them… it is normal! But just see how it goes in the long haul, and let us know how these rules worked after a few days or weeks.
Screen time for kids: Tips and recommendations
- Screens shouldn’t be used for at least 1 hour before bedtime. Not sleep time. Bedtime.
- Screens should not be used for at least 45 minutes after opening our eyes in the morning. That includes not checking your Telegram messages, and reading the news either in a physical newspaper or after an hour of having woken up.
- We should have screen breaks during breakfast, lunch and dinner. That includes all family members. To guarantee that this actually happens, you can turn the house Wi-Fi off during this time, or even do a family game or challenge to assure no one breaks the rules unless it is really urgent.
- Some remarkable psychologists around the world recommend not exposing kids of under 3 years of age to any kind of screen. Of course, when living far away from grandparents and without the possibility of traveling for a visit, one or two video conversations with them could be considered the exception for the rule. Don’t you agree?
In any case, decide on the amount of time your kids can be exposed to screens (except the time of remote learning), and create blocks of time in which your children can have enjoyable screen time.
But again, how much screen time is good for children? It will depend on a few factors:
- Is the screen being used for educational purposes?
- How old are your kids?
- Are your kids learning remotely and doing school homework that requires a certain amount of screen time?
- Are your kids creating something of their own that requires some screen time?
Take all of this information into consideration, and you will know exactly how much screen time is good for your own kids.
As Vygotsky once said, this is all about the individual. There are no general answers that can be applied to everyone and anyone.
How can we limit screen time for kids?
There are several things you can do to limit screen time for your kids without directly limiting it. As we said before, the invitation is to offer them numerous fun activities that do not require a screen, but do require all of their involvement and attention.
Of course, this will need parents to participate more actively and to constantly think out of the box when coming up with activities for their children and for the entire family. What kind of activities, you might be asking yourself? Well, fun and engaging offline activities that can help them gain 21st-century skills, and even games like chess which can definitely strengthen their strategic thinking and algorithmic skills.
When you are straight forward, especially with your teenage kids, about limiting their screen time, they’ll want to do it more. So, instead of forcing them to put their phones, tablets, and computers down, offer them something creative, fun, and interesting they’ll enjoy doing. You know your kids! You know which kind of unplugged activity they’ll like and which one they will turn down.
Maybe, if you have elementary or middle schoolers around, you guys can do an exciting STEM project that doesn’t require any screen time from your kids and do it as a family activity. What do you say?
In any case, sometimes you’ll have to play the bad guy and set up some rules. Remember the suggestions we gave you in the previous chapter about how much time is good for kids? Well, implement some of them in your house and let us know how it goes.
The good side of screen time
Let’s be positive and optimistic! There is always a bright side for everything! As we said at the very beginning of this article, your kids can learn lots of new things and strengthen numerous abilities while using screens.
Tablets, smartphones, and the best computers for kids are here not only for your kids to record and create videos for YouTube or TikTok, but also to serve as educational platforms for them to learn in a fast, fun, and engaging way.
Actually, there are a number of coding toys for kids that with a little bit of screen time, can help kids gain and develop abilities such as critical thinking, teamwork, and computational thinking, among others.
Again, if your kids respect the house rules, screens can be a very effective educational tool, and screen time could be actually seen as development time. If we look at everything with enough perspective, you will be happy to hear your kids exceeded their screen time while they were creating their very own app, or programming useful software for our society.
Screen time can have a positive impact on your kids, and believe it or not they can learn numerous things even while playing video games like Minecraft.
Let your children code their way to success!
What other positive things can your kids do with their screen time? Learn how to code! By learning programming, your kids will start thinking differently and, as we repeated many times before, strengthening skills that will be extremely beneficial for whatever career path they decide to pursue in the near future.
Let your kids experience the power of creation by enrolling them in one of Tekkie Uni’s online coding courses. Seeing your kids achieve their deepest dreams, and witnessing their success while they create their very own app or game will fill you with pride and happiness.
Do you want to help your kids land the job of their dreams, or create the next big thing? Then nurture them today with the tools and skills they’ll need in the future.
Stop asking yourself how much screen time kids should have, and start giving your kids the right tools for tomorrow’s world. The time is now!