6 Effective Strategies for Managing Children’s Screen Time

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With the myriad responsibilities facing today’s parents, finding quality time to spend with their children can be challenging. Simultaneously, technology and online media are increasingly becoming integral parts of children’s lives. To proactively address potential issues in the future, it is essential for parents to foster responsibility and discipline in their children’s screen usage. Establishing mutual agreements allows children to actively participate in decision-making, fostering a positive atmosphere and minimising conflicts.

6 strategies to reduce screen time and promote efficient use of time

  1. Establish Discipline and Rules: Set appropriate time limits for digital media usage based on the child’s age. oImplement rules and timeframes, such as restricting phone or computer use an hour before bedtime or during meals. Emphasise the “responsibilities first” principle to teach age-appropriate responsibilities and ensure that screen time doesn’t interfere with primary tasks. For younger children, limit screen time to 15-30 minutes per session, with a cumulative time not exceeding 1-2 hours per day
  2. Create Engaging Activities: Develop interesting and challenging non-screen activities, such as practical exercises, age-appropriate learning experiences, scheduled sports activities, reading, or artistic endeavors.
  3. Be a Positive Role Model: Recognise the profound impact of modelling behaviour on a child’s learning experience. Set a positive example by managing your own screen time effectively, emphasising balance and responsible usage.
  4. Choose Value-Added Media: Select media with educational value appropriate for the child’s age group. Alternate between informative content and entertainment, allowing children some freedom within defined boundaries. Ensure the chosen content is suitable, avoiding inappropriate material.
  5. Participate in Mutual Activities: Engage in activities that your child enjoys whenever possible. Play multiplayer games, board games, exercise together, or cook as a family to create a welcoming environment and share safe spaces. Build good relationships and encourage quality time spent together at home.
  6. Allocate Time for Yourself: Recognize the importance of allocating time for personal activities as a parent. Manage various tasks and create personal space for relaxation to reduce stress, contributing to a healthier parent-child relationship.

Understand that personal happiness and relaxation positively impact children.

Establishing warmth within the family acts as a vital shield against developmental and learning issues for children. Balancing screen time is not a simple task, but it is not impossible. The bottom line is, attitudes, self-discipline, and a long-term perspective are key to effectively managing screen time.

Wannapak Wiwatwongsa , M.D.

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