March 04th, 2019
Did you know that the UK Chief Medical Officers recently published a report advising us to control our children's screen time use – suggesting banning screens at mealtimes and bedtimes and making sure children don’t have more than 2 hours on screens in one sitting?
You might be thinking how on earth do I do that? And you might also be thinking when they’re safely occupied in front of a screen is when I get everything done!
Of course we know it's a good idea to encourage kids to spend time outdoors getting fresh air and exercise. We all know about the problems of obesity. And we may be aware of all the benefits of fresh air and being in nature in combatting anxiety. We know our kids need to get adequate sleep to function well the next day and to aid brain development and avoid depression. We may also want our kids to be interacting with human beings IRL (in real life) instead of staying glued to a screen all day. But I know that this new advice will throw up all sorts of questions and challenges for many parents.
For a start, 2 hours each day may not seem very long if your child already exceeds that limit, especially if you include homework time.
Just how are you going to change current patterns and reduce time in front of a screen?
What are you going to do or say that's not going to cause World War III?
How are you going to deal with claims that you’re the worst parent in the world and it’s so unfair!
If you’re separated from your child’s other parent how on earth are you going to make this rule stick, given that they don’t seem to have any rules?
It's no fun having to play 'policeman' just as you come home from work - you're tired, looking forward to some relaxation and quality time with the family. No-one wants arguments, do they?
My book ‘Real Parenting for Real Kids’ tackles just this challenge in the chapter ‘Their Digital World’. This whole chapter is dedicated to screen time usage with extra tips and advice on how to get kids into good habits and values in a digital world without friction.
In this book, I teach several essential skills to enable you to bring out the best in your kids. Using case studies and examples I show how these skills can be applied to real life situations such as this.
You can learn to make small changes to the words you use and ways you respond and discover how easy it can be to change your child's behaviour.You can read more about my book here.
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