Do you find yourself using iPads, TVs and game consoles as a baby sitter? It is extremely common in the modern world to let our children spend increasingly more time in front of devices with screens but we need to be cautious about letting them act as a baby sitter. Too much time in front of a screen can have detrimental effects on a child’s health and development.
Using the screen to hold a child’s attention to leave them alone for a few minutes whilst tending to an emergency or to give yourself 5 minutes of time alone for much needed bathroom time should not make you feel guilty. Your child keeping out of trouble and distracted from any hazardous temptations can be a good thing. It is only once the screen becomes the full time replacement for human interaction and care taking it is an issue.
Keeping your slightly older children entertained when you go out to appointments, to restaurants and other events which are more adult oriented does not necessarily mean the screen has to be their only source of entertainment. Bring colouring books, pencils, crayons, sticker books and action figures or puzzles with you to keep them entertained. These are not bulky and have proved to be a great way to entertain kids on the move long before screens were around.
For your children’s health try limit the amount of time in front a screen especially if they are young. Try avoid screens altogether if your child is under 2 years old and to less than an hour a day if between 2 and 5. If they are older than 5 no more than an hour or two is a good rule to stand by.
Setting rules early that grow with your family is an excellent way to encourage good behaviours that stick with your family for life.
Pixel Pounds can help your family to form screen time rules that grow with your family and are easy to manage.