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How To Prevent Screen Time From Killing Your Child’s Imagination

A new report by the Independent paper found that excessive screen time is dampening children’s imagination.

The survey conducted with 1,000 nursery workers found that screen time is negatively impacting children’s creativity.

Other Findings from the survey:

  • The poll also found that less than 48% of kids have an imaginary friend.
  • 72% of nursery workers believe far fewer children have imaginary friend compared to 5 years back
  • 63% of nursery workers believe screen time is to be blamed for this.

Before taking away all your kid’s devices, you need to remember that the keyword here is excessive. We all know too much of something is never good. The same goes for screen time.

Many would argue that technology can help with a child’s development. I believe using the right apps, technology can in fact facilitate creativity.

However, I also believe that too much of screen time is not good for a child. I find that in my own household children are no longer allowed to be ‘bored’.

Whenever a child in my house complains of being bored they are immediately given a Youtube show to watch or a video game to play.

This limits a child’s ability to use their imagination and be creative by being bored.  Such as, creating an imaginary friend or even a story they can tell so they can entertain themselves.

Related : How to balance toddler screen time and encourage independent play

 

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WHY YOU SHOULD ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO BE BORED:

According to Dr Vanessa Lapointe, a physcologist,  kids should be able to sit through their own boredom so they can hear themselves. The act of being surrounded by nothing can evoke something alive in the inside.

The problem children face growing up with screen is that it is readily available and increasingly becoming a numbing outlet.

The key to raising kids in a digital world is to help them find the right screen time balance and eventually teach children to self-regulate.

Check out the Happy Printable Journal that would teach kids about self-confidence and gratitude

WHAT IS THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF SCREEN TIME?

Following the British Screen time guidelines : 

The UK’s Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH for short) has published some new screen time guidelines for parents.

The screen time study they are referring to is largely television time.

There isn’t a direct answer provided- for instance, it does not specify daily time limit- that parents are looking for.

The RCPCH informed that “There is not enough evidence to confirm that screen time is in itself harmful to child health at any age.”

However, the study identifies some concerns of high screen time, such as :

  • A less healthy diet which can be indicators of obesity
  • Depressive symptoms for those exposed to more than 2 hours of screen time
  • Poor educational outcomes

The study also concludes that  “the contribution of screen-time to wellbeing is small when considered together with the contribution of sleep, physical activity, eating, and bullying as well as poverty”.

Related : Read more about the British Screen Time Balance

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Following the American Screen Time Recommendations:

Here are some screen time facts according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) :

  • No screen time below the age of 2 years old. But screen time is allowed for video chat with family members
  • For children aged 2-5 years old limit screen time to one hour a day and choose high quality programs
  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health.

Related : If you are a mom feeling guilty about your kid’s screen time, then read this article and stop that guilt.

HOW TO PREVENT EXCESSIVE SCREEN TIME :

Firstly, select the right screen time activity for your kids. Not all screen time is created equally. Watching the unboxing of toys on Youtube is very different than learning to code.

As a family, you should have the conversation with your child on what is allowed to do on their devices and the timing they are allowed to do it. For instance, they can watch cooking shows on Youtube but not Ryan Toy review.

You can use the list here to find positive screen time with your child and how it can evoke creativity in your child.

The next you want to do is set some rules on when screen time is allowed. This includes :

  1. No devices allowed in the bedroom
  2. No mobile phones at the dinner table
  3. Include alternative activities in your child’s schedule. For instance, exercising, learning a musical instrument, etc.
  4. Have a schedule for screen time.
  5. Finally, be a good role model. Show your child how you balance screen time.

download the smartphone self-evaluation toolkit for your kids which can help prevent excessive screen time. 

Get the Free Printable Kids Self-Evaluation Tool

 

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HOW TO GET KIDS TO UNPLUG:

If you think your child is spending too much on the screen then find offline activities that they like to get them to unplug.

I am a strong believer in practicing mindfulness for children who are growing up in a tech world. This would mean the simple step of getting them to write in a journal for a few minutes a day before bedtime.

It is surprisingly a calming activity that can help your child be at peace with their thoughts and reflect on their emotions. Also, a great way for them to practice gratitude at the end of a long day.

However, children must be given the right tool to practice journaling. Providing them with an empty book will not help them. They need the right prompts that would help them think about their feelings.

You can check out the Happy Printable Journal, 

159 pages of fun, positive and growth mindset activities for kids. Also, screen-free!

 

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