Screens all around us and their non-stop capability to keep us entertained, are turning us into screen zombies. Almost all parents have this question in their mind – “How to reduce screen time for kids?”
People with kids at home will be able to relate that our kids are specially impacted because of so much screen time that has crept into their daily routine.
Most of us, as parents, are concerned about the ever increasing impact it has on studies and their mental health. For many kids, the games on mobiles or playstations have seriously reduced their time spent in physical outdoor sports. In certain cases, excessive attachment to the screen is negatively impacting the social behavior of the young ones.
As parents, we want the best for our kids and any effort to keep them away from screens results in a squabble and is met with friction.
How to Reduce Screen Time for Kids?
I got this very useful idea from Greg Mckeown’s book titled Essentialism – The disciplined pursuit of less. My wife and I decided to try this parenting idea. We implemented this with my kids and found it super effective and hence sharing with you.
We introduced a token system. We gave 15 tokens each to both my sons every Sunday. Each token can be traded for 1 hour of screen time. Alternatively, each token can be exchanged for Rs.10 on the next Sunday. You can decide the amount of money and number of tokens based on your circumstances.
This worked like magic. Their screen time reduced drastically. From approximately 28 hours a week to 7-10 hours a week. That’s a whopping 75% reduction. This happened without any haggling or push from our side.
Maybe it was the motivation generated out of additional cash of Rs.70-80 per week per son. Or maybe it was just the excitement of showing off self-control. Whatever it was, it worked very smoothly for us.
Let me share another effective but little more demanding approach to answer the nagging question – how to reduce screen time for kids?
Make your kids learn trivial stuff
They will enjoy the activity part and in the process you will teach them important life skills. You can chose the activity based on the age of the child. Mentioning some activities –
- washing their clothes
- dusting and cleaning
- arranging their books
- arranging their wardrobe
- cleaning their shoes
- writing an actual letter to grand parents
- fabric painting
- basic cooking (be careful) like making Maggie or pop-corn
- making basic beverage like a lemonade
- watering the plants
There are great advantages of learning small but fun things when kids are bored. Share in comments other activities which you have tried.
Systems like this can help us bring the desired results both at home and at work. To implement any system like this, start small and then slowly improve it. Any sudden or drastic change is normally deterred by people. So start small and recognize or incentivize people on small progress.