As winter sets in, it’s more than likely that the bad weather will too. This is turn means that the kids are more likely to be spending time in front of screens and playing on their devices.
Here at My Gator Watch we know it’s not possible to eradicate screen time all- together, but we are pleased to say that there are ways to reduce it and help divert their attention to more productive activities. And without having an argument in the process!
With the average UK child spending 6.5 hours a day on screens we know that something needs to change and fast. After all, we all want our kids to stay kids for as long as possible. So without further a do, here are our top tips for keeping screen time down this autumn.
Engaging kids in fun activities is a great way to keep them busy when it’s cold and wet outside. We know that it can be really hard to think of unique and fun ideas that they haven’t tried before; especially if like us you aren’t a pro at crafting yourself. But worry not. There are lots of great resources out there that will help the kids to get stuck into something fun.
We love these super fun craft ideas from Good Housekeeping. Pinterest also has loads of great projects for your kids to try on a rainy day. Keeping a cupboard full of craft supplies is also a great tool for quickly re-directing the kids when they start asking for the iPad or the computer!
The air might be getting colder but for the most part the sun is still making an appearance. Getting active is a great way for the kids to burn energy and get that all important dose of Vitamin D. Why not collect autumn leaves, go on a conquer hunt or source some chestnuts to roast in the oven? It’s our favourite season for getting the kids outdoors. We love these 50 fun autumn ideas from Sun Hats & Wellie Boots
LEAD BY EXAMPLE
It’s not easy but setting an example by reducing your own screen time is a really helpful way to encourage kids to do the same. In this technology driven world it is easy for us as parents to spend too much time on our own devices. Emails will ping up in front of us, and funny memes will appear on Facebook. Nowadays we are only one click away from answering that “urgent” email or text message immediately.
Of course, the fact that we can do this has many benefits, including the fact that parents of today are now multi tasking ninjas! But we also know that kids lead by example. 27% of UK children say their parents have double standards about technology. Have a think about how you can reduce time on your own devices. Can that email wait? Can your phone be put away at certain times of the day?
TALK ABOUT IT
Talking about it with the kids is a beneficial way to help them gain some understanding of the reasons behind it. Here at My Gator Watch we want kids to stay kids for as long as possible. We also know that they are pretty wise when it comes to understanding technology. Explaining to them that you know reducing screen time can be difficult (and that you find it hard yourself at times) is a positive way to enforce the fact that it needs to be done. Talk about the ways in which putting devices away at certain times can benefit them. Studies have shown that too much screen time can affect a child’s motivation to try new activities and socialise with friends. Why not talk to them about the activities you used to do as a kid before screens even existed?
As we have said before, eliminating screen time all together isn’t the solution. Kids thrive off routine and knowing what comes next. Why not talk about some boundaries and rules together?
This could include making a list of certain activities/chores that need to be done before they can play on the ipad? Or explain that they need to have had at least an hour outside (weather permitting) before they can watch their favourite TV show? Setting boundaries as a family for both the kids and the adults can be a positive way to make clear routines that everyone is happy with.
We hope these tips help you to feel confident in promoting less screentime in your house. We love hearing your tips and tricks so do let us know in the comments below or via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Pages.
Part of growing up is taking on independence, step by step, and My Gator Watch – the wearable mobile phone – makes that happen. It uses GPS, two-way calling, works across multiple networks and has an SOS feature for peace of mind.
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