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Friday, October 4, 2019

Managing Screen Time for Kids

Kids these days have grown up very differently compared to the way I grew up in my day. We didn’t have the internet. We didn’t have gadgets like smart phones back then. Who knew that one of the big problems for parents today would be controlling screen time for children? I don’t think I ever imagined this technologically advanced world we live in now!

I think a meme I saw on Facebook showed it well: back then, parents had to scold their kids for staying out too long playing with other kids but now parents force their kids to go out and play with others. Technology has played such a big role in this because while I grew up playing video games on my TV or on green-screened portable players, kids can now use their mobile phones and tablets to do this. And if you let them, they can do this ALL DAY.

I don’t have my own children, but I do have a niece and two nephews that I often spend time with. These days I’ve come to appreciate the childhood that I had that did not involve the constant use of gadgets, so I make it a point to have activities with the kids that do not involve them.

nondigital time with kids


My younger nephew is only 5, but he has already played games and watched videos on phones/tablets for a few years. For a time, his mom was worried because his eyelids used to twitch a lot and she thought it was from too much gadget use so she decided to limit screen time for him. My sister and her husband got him a bicycle and that is something that he enjoys that takes him away from phones and tablets (plus, it’s good exercise).

Another thing that my sister has enforced is having times when my nephew (and his teenage sister) can use gadgets. Sometimes gadgets are also withheld completely when they need to concentrate on schoolwork. Considering how distracting gadgets can be, that is a good call.

When it comes to spending time with my nephew, I try to come up with activities with him that do not involve gadgets. However, I do try to have activities that are related to the things in the games and videos that he usually enjoys. We play with his toy dinosaurs and reenact the dinosaur battles in the games that he plays. Sometimes we draw the dinosaurs and color them. When he was in his train phase, we used to play with toy trains, or pretend to be trains ourselves.

nondigital time with kids


Another thing that my nephew and I have come to enjoy together is playing Jenga. For someone so young this little guy is so good at the game! He has beat me several times and this has encouraged him to play the game more. I think that while it’s not physical activity, it’s still better than too much screen time. 

The good thing about limiting screen time with kids, based on the experience with my nephew is that you get to condition the child to not spend too much time on gadgets. We’ve noticed that even if my nephew does enjoy playing games or watching videos on gadgets, he gets tired of them easily and moves on to doing other activities. He stops watching or playing on his own accord, we don’t need to tell him to stop or remind him not to use gadgets too much. He does it on his own.

nondigital time with kids

Are any of my readers parents with kids who also enjoy their screen time? What do you do to manage their screen time? What kind of activities do you have with your kids to minimize their gadget use? I’d love to know!

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