“I said turn that [insert screen of choice here] off. How many times do I have to ask you before you do as you’re told? Are your ears painted on?” Sound familiar? And as you’re reading this on a screen, we have some simple ideas to help you and your family to disconnect from the screens and connect - with each other.
Do you know what the research says on how much screen time is considered ok for kids? Here’s a summary for you:
- under two years old – no regular screen time
- two to five year olds - no more than one hour each day
- five to 17 year olds - no more than two hours each day.
If your kids meet the above, stop right now and give yourself a pat on the back – on both sides. We’d love for you to share your ideas on how you manage your kids’ screen time with other Canberra parents.
But if your kids are spending too much time in front of screens, here are four simple ideas to help:
- Make rules. For older kids, consider their age and education needs and negotiate with them how long they can use their screens each day. It’s also good to have some blanket rules for the whole household such as no screens during meals and no devices in bedrooms overnight.
- Control what your kids access while on their devices. Just as you control what TV shows or movies they watch, set some boundaries around what they can access, download or purchase on their devices.
- Keep an eye on what your kids are doing when they are on their devices. This way you know what they’re doing and how long they are spending on different activities.
- Lead by example. We’ve left this one to last as it’s probably the most controversial (and difficult) to do. Make some rules for the adults of the house too. When your kids see that you have put away your distraction of choice, it shows them that they have your attention to talk, play, read, snuggle...or whatever you like to do together. There’s also one less argument about why you’re allowed to use your device and they’re not.
We’ve created a list of 30 fun, cheap things to do in and around Canberra to help get you started. So, when you and your kids find yourself with some spare time, pick up this list instead of your device and see how many things you can do.