SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

February 15, 2013

Setting limits on kids' screen time

Q: I have a boy and a girl, ages 6 and 8, who are overly focused on screen time with digital devices. How can I set limits without seeming like I want to take away all their fun? They insist all their friends use digital devices whenever they want.

A: Children will always push for more of what they want, whether or not it is good for them, but most children will respond positively when parents act authoritatively and set appropriate limits. Do not be afraid to say “no” to screen time. First, you need to find your own comfort level with technology and try not to be overly influenced by the culture we live in. You, not society, decide how to manage the devices in your home.

Second, realize that what children really want is to connect with friends and significant adults in a meaningful way. Look at your schedule and routine; how much downtime is there after school? If your children are not involved in positive activities after school, they are more at risk for overuse of technology. Most 6- and 8-year-olds can play independently for at least 30 minutes when engaged in such activities as sports, playing with friends, playing make-believe games or Legos, or doing art projects.

Children ages 6 and 8 are in school until about 3 p.m. and arrive home by 3:30 p.m.. Most will be in bed by 7:30. Here’s a suggested schedule for your children that could help you limit screen time:

Put away belongings, have a snack and school debrief, 3:30-4 p.m.

Semi-structured activity with or without friends, 4-5 p.m.

Homework, 5-5:30

Baths, 5:30-6

Dinner, 6- 6:30

Clean up and family activity-playing game, dancing, singing, 6:30-7

Teeth brushing and bedtime story, 7-7:30

Bedtime, 7:30 (an 8-year-old may read independently until 8 or 8:30)

Parenting Tips: How you structure time will directly influence screen time. Devise a plan for managing downtime with an adult available to be engaged when independent play breaks down. Recognize that the younger a child is when technology is introduced, the more reliant they will become on their devices. Children who use technology for extended periods (an hour or more) have more difficulty disengaging from it, since the interactive nature of technology makes it addictive.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle
  • Orchid North Shore Gardener: It’s the summer without hydrangeas August "Fairest of the months! Ripe summer's queen, the hey-day of the year, with robes that gleam with sunny sheen Sweet August doth appear." -- R. Combe Miller Q: Can you tell me why my numerous "Endless Summer" hydrangea plants are not blooming th

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dr. Kate: 8 strategies to help your child overcome a fear of bullies Despite the massive anti-bullying campaigns that dominate our current culture, many students continue to feel bullied. The current anti-bullying campaign focuses on decreasing bullying by policing the bullies, but what about empowering the victims? B

    August 1, 2014

  • booknotes0801 Stroll through a story at Danvers library Reading can be good for the body as well as the mind. That's especially true for visitors of the new StoryWalk at Peabody Institute Library of Danvers. "StoryWalk is combining physical activity with reading," said Karen Veilleux, a children's librar

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • frenkel Quick pick: Bring stories to life Bring stories to life Explore and experience the challenges and satisfactions of combining text with images in a four-session illustration workshop, led by award-winning published illustrator Yetti Frenkel at the Abbot Public Library, 235 Pleasant St

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • TV Outlander [Duplicate] 'Outlander' brings novels to life vibrantly NEW YORK -- There's an odd believability you find inside "Outlander" that somehow makes it feel true-to-life. Never mind that it's a rip-roaring fantasy. Claire, a lovely British Army nurse on a second honeymoon in Scotland, is mysteriously swept fr

    August 1, 2014 4 Photos

  • Dear Abby: Diabetic friend suffers close call miles away from hospital Dear Abby: My husband and I have a lake house and invited a couple (close friends) to join us for a few days. The husband has cancer and has been taking chemo. We wanted them both to rest, as the wife is his only caregiver. We all thought this would

    August 1, 2014

  • People-Alicia Keys [Duplicate] Alicia Keys pregnant with second child NEW YORK (AP) -- Alicia Keys is getting ready for another big release: her second child. A representative for the Grammy-winning performer confirmed Thursday that the singer is pregnant. Keys posted a photo with her baby bump on Instagram early Thurs

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, Aug. 1

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thursday's Best Bets Best Bets for Thursday, July 31

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • homecoming1 Festivals in Salem and Beverly celebrate cities' heritage

    Salem Heritage Days and Beverly Homecoming, both of which start this weekend, are roughly the same age. "This is the 49th year," said Bruce Doig, director of parks and recreation in Beverly. "The most recent form of homecoming started in 1966 as a wa

    July 31, 2014 6 Photos

NDN Video
Comments Tracker