The beginning of the new school year probably means some changes in your family such as new bedtimes, homework and earlier mornings to name just a few. During the summer, screen time might have meant watching more movies and YouTube, lots of video games and using social media. Keeping summertime media habits will be tough and probably not so healthy because too much screen time can interfere with sleep. How can you help your children reset their media habits in a way that is acceptable to them and you?
Media Habits for a New School Year
The PBS website has a great article written by Dr. Eric Rasmussen who is the author of ChildrenAndMediaMan.com. It is about the three ways he and his family use media during the school year – as a tool to wind down after school, as a learning tool and as a family activity to eagerly anticipate such as a movie night. He says the most important thing to remember is the word balance. Too much screen time would interrupt schoolwork and sleep schedules. Not enough may cause your children to miss out on educational and family bonding opportunities. Click here to read what other advice he has for parents about media limits.
This article says that recent research has found that it’s not so much the length of the screen time, but the nature of the screen time that really matters. In other words, passive TV, movies or social media isn’t as healthy as watching educational videos or getting creative in iMovie for example. “Digital Nutrition” is like going on a diet. Rather than counting calories (or screen time), think about what you are “eating”! Is it “healthy” or just mindless grazing? Screen time in and of itself, isn’t harmful. Parents should do what they can to ensure that what their kids are watching, playing and reading is high quality. Here’s the “B” word again, balance! Click here to read more.
Parent-tested System for Limiting Screen Time
I love the advice in this Today’s Parent piece: “Harness the power of media as a positive force in your kid’s life.” Including your children in any discussions and decisions about screen time at your house will give them ownership and acceptance since they were part of the process! Some suggestions offered on this site are: set up a screen time schedule, select “binge” days and ask your children to justify, or tell you why they want to turn on their screen. There’s more to read by clicking here.
Honestly, I think we all could spend a little less time staring at a screen if for no other reason than to get that crick out of our necks from always looking down! I hope you got at least one idea about how to balance your children’s screen time with everything else that goes on during the school year.